Neal Portenza is Joshua Ladgrove review

Comedy, Stand Up
4 out of 5 stars
Neal Portenza is Joshua Ladgrove MICF 2019
Photograph: Supplied

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Joshua Ladgrove shows the Comedy Festival how to pump out the bilge

Five years ago Joshua Ladgrove had long hair and a long beard and tied himself to a cross during the Comedy Festival so we could Come Heckle Christ. Ladgrove’s more famous character is Neal Portenza and last year he put on Portenza’s red beret and lipstick for the final time and said goodbye to comedy.

Quitting didn’t work for him, either. Portenza wasn’t having any of it and this year he’s taken charge and performing his new character in Neal Portenza is Joshua Ladgrove. He’s dumped the hat and makeup but kept a nice white polo-neck skivvy and has got into sales – because money.

It’s clearly promoted as a seminar about how to sell bilge pumps. “Ladgrove” is the number-one sales person and knows everything about the importance of pumping out bilge to sell, sell, sell. It’s all about numbers and money – and selling out just means more money.

It’s a masterclass in sales. Or another step in Ladgrove’s ongoing re-invention of clowning where the only consistency is a flurry of brain-burning absurdist logic that makes complete sense in the moment. Or a metaphor about an industry that pumps out bilge.

Ladgrove questions everything about comedy to make comedy that questions why he questioned it in the first place. Some comedians tell you what to feel; Ladgrove rearranges your brain cells as you realise that you know the words to 'I Still Call Australia Home' and try not to snort so loudly that he notices you. There’s no one like him.

By: Anne-Marie Peard



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