Ally Morgan: Hard Launch {Melbourne International Comedy Festival} – Comedy Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I associate Ally Morgan the most with her wonderful show, Not Today so I didn’t immediately recognise her from her vast work in commercials before this show.  This is part of what Hard Launch is about; Morgan takes the audience through some of the ‘highlights’ working in commercials and how this wasn’t where she saw her career after leaving drama school. So, if you love critics of capitalism, comedic musical numbers and guessing games, Hard Launch is the show for you!

Ally Morgan begins her show by telling us about wanting to reach a Britney Spears level of famous, assuming this would happen straight out of drama school. Morgan has been compared to Tim Minchin before and this isn’t hyperbolic, so you can trust this comparison comfortably, her quick wit and songwriting style are part of what draws this comparison. The fact that Morgan wrote a funny song about what “didn’t happen” when she was auditioning and recording these commercials, and had an audience at 5:30pm show cheerfully smiling and eating out of the palm of her hand, should be enough of a selling point.

In my introduction, I mentioned a guessing game and this was Morgan’s clever little way of skirting past a possible lawsuit, “I didn’t name your company, one of my audience guessed”. Peeking behind the curtain of commercial recording through Morgan’s storytelling is one of the most entertaining insights I’ve seen. She mentions this show might ruin her source of income, but she takes us on the journey anyway.

Part of what makes Morgan so wonderful is her honesty. In her songs or jokes, there is never a feeling of her holding back. Few comedians will gleefully sing about an ER visit for a cervix mistaken for a tumour, the fact that she made it legitimately funny, not just in a “hahaha she said cervix” way.

I love a visual aid for a joke which just shows a little extra preparation, so Morgan whipping out a funny little visual aid for the types of chicken you would find in a bucket from a certain company, was a nice touch. This was very helpful to visualise filming the ad for as Morgan, in the more complicated piece, attempted to take multiple bites out of the chicken and not bite into the bone. I haven’t eaten meat in over 20 years, but this story, and one filming a commercial for lamb where Morgan was paired with a young girl, who innocently looked up and asked her “When do we get to meet the lambs?” did get a good laugh out of me.

So, if you love a musical number, some insight into the world of commercials and how to win at that audition, Ally Morgan has you covered with Hard Launch. If your brain clicks and remembers Ally from something on TV after reading this review, I strongly urge you to look up everything she’s done, because none of it will disappoint.

Ally Morgan has clearly spent enough time in commercials to understand the best way to sell something, but she wouldn’t need to have told you about her work in commercials for you to be sold on her. Morgan is the type of performer who wants nothing more than to entertain her audience. Her energy ramps up with every joke, her songs are catchy, and if you’re the person that’s not a fan of musical numbers, she’ll turn you around by the end of the show.

Ally Morgan is currently playing Hard Launch at The Butterfly Club – Upstairs as part of the 2024 Melbourne International Comedy Festival until March 31st.
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