Reviewer: Jo Beggs
The Public Reviews Rating:
Steve Hughes is in his mid forties, and his big issues are mostly concerned with the oft-asked questions of his generation: ‘Just when did everything get so crazy?’ And ‘Wasn’t life simple once?’ From the Arab-Israeli conflict to the maddening lack of a complimentary mini toothpaste in hotels (“we all know that’s what we need…but what do they give us? A shower cap”), Hughes feels equally beleaguered by the big and the small problems in life.
It’s like Australian, ex-heavy-metal drummer Hughes has just woken up in the twenty-first century after some long drug induced slumber, only to find that life is out to get him. His hotels won’t let him open his window in case he inexplicably leaps out, he’s not allowed to swear in front of old people, the results of X-Factor have made the TV national news. Is all this normal? No. “See” he tells us “the world’s gone crazy”. None of this material feels totally unique, yet Hughes delivers it in an easy, conversational style. With his curious mix of right wing ranting and hippy idealism, he’s slightly out of his time, but in a way that offers an original voice amongst a lot of today’s generic stand-ups.
Hughes seems to be on a never-ending tour, and it’s living out of a suitcase and winding up in a lot of out-of-the-way places that provides a lot of his material. “Places” he says, “that you wouldn’t go unless you have to”. He can’t imagine having a job he tells us, but he’s a pretty hard working comedian. He’s also an intelligent one, and whether you agree with his point of view or not he’s certainly given it all plenty of thought. His very funny routines on colonization and the ill-treatment of indigenous people are successful because they retain a hard edge of truth, painful things spoken out loud in this context can offer a powerful message. And he’s an Aussie, so he should know about these things. Think a Bill Hicks / Paul Hogan fusion and you’re getting somewhere near to the fresh voice that is Steve Hughes.