Mark Butler is undoubtedly the thinking man's comedian - funny goes hand in hand with knowledge, and his shows are carefully crafted and minutely researched to draw every joke out of a topic.
While in the past he’s taught us about sex and grammar (two separate shows), this festival he explores the concepts of lying. Why do we do it, how do we do it, and how can you notice it?
Bouncing on to the stage with the mood setting backing music of Charles and Eddie’s ‘Would I Lie to you’, Butler quickly took command of an eager audience. In the opening two minutes, he points out the four lies he's already told, beginning with what a great audience we are.
Rather than deliver a lecture better left out of the festival, Butler folds all of this around stories from his own life, most notably the experience of teaching and dating as a young man in Malaysia. How can you tell when someone from a very different culture is lying to you?
He comes back to this story regularly, but charges off topic to explain the concepts lying. There’s audience participation to see if we can lie convincingly, guides to expressions, how to read body language in a bar, and some nifty interaction with pre-recorded audio.
His quick wit keeps the audience doubled over, still laughing at the previous joke as he fires out another one with a cheeky, bubbly smile.
Mark Butler’s a regular in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and his shows are always worth your time. If you manage to stop laughing long enough to pay attention you'd actually learn how to spot a liar and/or creep.
Mark Butler in How to Spot a Liar (and/or Creep) is on at the Elephant and Wheelbarrow, Monday - Sunday at 7pm until April 22nd.