One of the things I have noticed at this year’s comedy festival is that several comedians have written their shows around things that are very personal to them. The result, I have found, has been shows that have a lot of meaning and I am happy to say just as many laughs as well.
Another of the comedians that has taken the personal route with their show this time around is Danny McGinlay whose show, ‘Hardnut’, explores what happens when a routine vasectomy goes horribly wrong.
Now, I will admit that when I first heard the topic of this show I was not thinking that the show wouldn’t work but I was wondering just how uncomfortable it would be to sit through it. Especially if he went into great detail about what went wrong. I am happy to say though, I was proven completely wrong. Not only was this a show that had the audience in laughter throughout, it also turned out to be a little educational and inspirational. And that all came down to the way that McGinlay presented the material.
Danny McGinlay is a born storyteller. He has a natural ability to stand in front of an audience and not only entertain them but to draw them right into what he is talking about to the point where at times you feel like he is having a one-on-one conversation with you.
McGinlay makes the smart move of easing his audience into the surgical story by telling everyone a little about his life. His stories about becoming an actor and focussing on that left me wanting to hear more about his love for pop-culture, while his tales about his Ukrainian wife and his family soon had us all thinking that we really knew him.
By the time he started telling us about the surgery, I felt like I was watching a movie where I knew the lead character so well, there was no way I wanted anything bad to happen to them. Of course, there was even more to that and soon McGinlay’s stories also had me believing that I knew a lot about his doctors as well. Again, this all came down to the way he told the stories; the man has a unique knack.
What stood out to me most about ‘Hardnut’ was the deeper message behind McGinlay’s story. While we were all keen to hear what happened with the surgery the fact that he made this a show about the importance of men’s health, and how we should always think about what our female partners go through health wise, took the show to a completely differently level.
Danny McGinlay may not have been able to see it with all the lights in his face, but I noticed as I looked around the audience that there were many men reaching out and putting their hands on their wife’s hands or knees. It was obvious to see that while there was a lot of laughter in the room, there was also a lot of people that were taking McGinlay’s message to heart. That outpouring of emotion is not something you would normally expect from a comedy show.
I left ‘Hardnut’ realising that Danny McGinlay is one of the most gifted comedians we have here in Australia. His natural storytelling ability and the fact that he is a comedian that is still willing to talk about some un-PC topics make him a must-see and you can guarantee that I will be at his next show.
Unfortunately Danny McGinlay’s ‘Hardnut’ run at the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival run is over. The good news is that he will be heading to the Sydney and Perth Comedy Festivals.
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