What if Oliver Coleman were just another pale male stand-up comic? As if that would ever happen! He’s known for winning hearts and confusing souls with bad cardboard props, nonsensical plots and surreally stupid sketches. Until now.
Sublime is Coleman in jeans and a nice dark-green button-up shirt in front of a black curtain with only a microphone. Really.
No, of course, it’s not. I mean it is, but this stand-up is a deconstruction of stand-up that includes so many clichés of stand-up that it’s almost perfect stand-up. Except it isn’t.
While many artists satirise being in an industry that’s still perceived as blokes in front of a microphone telling jokes about tits, few do it this well. Coleman understands how stand-up and stand-up characters work and why it can be so infuriating for performers to be compared to blokes standing in front of microphones. And he trusts that his audience will get it and go with his jokes about sport and not yell out that they are bored … unless they are bored.
Sure, he’d rather sit around and have a chat and share his tray of Arnott’s biscuits, but he knows that audiences want relatable jokes, some forced intimacy and to film him taking down a heckler.
Sublime takes so many unexpected turns that it’s hard to know what’s real, set up or joke. It could have gone so wrong, but Coleman is so in control that it hints of genius … before stumbling back to a joke about Eddie McGuire.
And there’s a person in a shark suit sitting in the back row. But don’t worry about that.
This show was reviewed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2022.