Squeezing a 110-minute show into 75 is no mean feat, but if anyone can do it, it’s award-winning comedian Phil Nichol. A legend in the comedy circuit, Nichol has a loud, fast, and manic delivery that belies the belated reflection that comes with his content. It’s important to note the potential delay in appreciation of his craft, because while the audience is not quite with him for the opening of his latest show, Your Wrong, there is plenty to take away. From love and loss to trolls and Flat Earthers, Nichol takes us on a roller coaster of romantic and familial incidences that have informed the insight he has attained.
As someone who holds the value of facts over faith, I can appreciate the frustration that drives Nichol. As someone who is stubborn, I can also appreciate the self-acceptance of one’s foibles. No one likes to think they’re wrong, especially when it comes to their philosophical and/or religious perspective. However, as a self-professed “indie guy” and “freak”, who goes “too far sometimes”, it can be difficult to align with Nichol at times, though this probably more due to a general introversion among the crowd. “I wish you guys were responding more like her”, Nichol pines, regarding a more gleefully engaged woman in the audience, as he attempts antipodean provocations.
Tuesday may not be the easiest night to play, and I have no doubt that alcohol will aid an audience in tuning into Nichol’s vigour, but that’s not a reflection on his craft, which is en pointe. Perhaps it’s the slightly disjointed structure, or the occasional baseness of certain punchlines that are incongruous with his obvious intellect, that make it difficult to simply roll with Nichol’s flow. If, however, there’s room for a bit of mania in your Comedy Fest schedule, Phil Nichol might just be the comedian to provide you with an insightful commentary on the world in which we live for weeks two and three.