Nina Flanagan writes …

I want to hug Luke McGregor. He’s that kid who comes out with completely logical but hilariously unexpected thought bubbles. That kid grew up to be socially awkward, but self-aware enough to tell a riveted audience all about his mishaps from school uniforms through to first jobs to trying to find a girlfriend.

There are two types of stand-up comedians: those who make fun of themselves, and those who make fun of everybody else. Luke McGregor’s show was largely in the former camp, with smatterings of tangential anecdotes and insightful asides. Think Josh Thomas but less in-your-face and more boy-next-door: McGregor is clever, endearing and likeable.

There was some minor clumsiness when McGregor started the show on a weak joke, went backstage, then re-emerged and started the show proper. It was obviously part of the act but seemed completely unnecessary—the rest of his show was much funnier than the false start.

After that, My Soul Mate is Out of my League quickly gathered momentum. Though there was slight emphasis on McGregor’s search for a lady friend, there wasn’t much more than a nod towards the show’s title: rather, we were treated to a mosaic of polished stories and observations with enough shiny bits to dazzle a magpie. McGregor flitted from one story to the next so quickly it was hard to tell where each bit ended, and he didn’t once resort to cheapening the show with swearing or obvious gags.

McGregor was the winner of the 2013 Best Newcomer award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and it’s easy to see why his shows are quickly selling out. Unlike other emerging comedians, where you can see a glimmer of potential but also the need for a great deal of practice, McGregor has well and truly got his act together. An admirable effort and a thoroughly enjoyable show.

Luke McGregor’s My Soul Mate is Out of my League is playing 20 September to 5 October (selected dates) at the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

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