WORKING in a bottle shop is bound to give you a few stories worth sharing over a pint, and Luke Heggie certainly makes the most of them.
Awkward customers get a good airing, prompting more than a few laughs of recognition from guilty parties in the audience, as Heggie offers his refreshing take on the drudgery of low-paying service jobs.
Dryly delivered in the tone of a man resigned to having spent years in his 9 to 5 fate, the winner of Time Out Sydney's Best Comedian 2012 doesn't dwell on the negative.
Instead, he leaves the audience barracking for the ultimate underdog as he leads the way on an entertaining and surprisingly uplifting 50 minutes.
If you've ever wondered what the guy behind the cash register is really thinking, or just need reminding that your own job isn't as bad as all that, Heggie is well worth discovering.
Now Heggie’s an interesting character, take it or leave it, he doesn’t really give a sh*t, he’s there to tell his jokes anyway.
Luke’s show is centered on his job at a bottle shop and the characters he came across – if it weren’t for the customers, it would have been a great job! He also throws in some dad jokes, and has great advice for avoiding mosquitoes – if you don’t want to be bitten by one, share a room with a baby… they love babies.
His deadpan delivery makes his show that much funnier and I can see why Time Out Magazine named him ‘Sydney’s Best Comedian’ last year.
As a parting shot, Luke reminds you “when you go into a shop don’t be such a fu*king prat.” You can catch Luke from Tuesday right through until Saturday at the Brooklyn Bar and Lounge.
Pretty much everyone’s had to do it at one point or another:take a dead-end retail job that involves slapping on a veneer of professional politeness each day, no matter how irritating the customers.
But for former bottle-shop assistant Luke Heggie, selling booze to alcoholics, losers and tiresome ‘wits’ with their tired pat lines certainly took its toll. Months of irritation have gone into Mega Dry, in which he rails against his idiot clientele with an authentic, intense bitterness.
Heggie insists – and you believe him – that he was a perfectly reasonable bloke until his job turned him in to a ‘spiteful little vandal’. His comedy is forged from frustration not anger, although it eventually ends up that way. If hell is other people, Heggie was the professional greeter at the gates of the netherworld.
He may have become a misanthropist, but the festering resentment is good for his comedy. The tirade is relentless, against old people, bucks’ parties, bourbon-drinking yahoos – and, adding an hilarious note of pedantry – crimes against grammar.
Yet we don’t think him cruel for berating the customers; we’ve all been there and feel the pain of an everyman wanting a straightforward life that eludes him. Sometimes he seems like the jerk for bristling against customers just employing some conversational lube to lighten the day... but you understand absolutely why he gets so vexed.
His eye for detail means the routines aren’t bland rants against, say, bogan ‘culture’, but more nuanced character assassinations. Plus he has a great turn of phrase; his brutally vivid description of an unfortunate booze-hound’s prominent head cyst is unforgettable... unfortunately. And that’s just one example.
There is a good line in puns, too, largely attributed to the forced bonhomie of store regular Brian, though it would come as no surprise to find he was a figment of Heggie’s imagination. But if he’s putting distance between himself and the gags, he needn’t – as ‘dad jokes’ go, these are remarkably funny.
This is a dense, passionate, and funny hour, ideal for anyone who’s ever worked in a shop. Or been in one.