There are a lot of great Australian comedians around. They fill clubs and bars on a nightly basis; they pack theatres during festival season. Then you’ve got comics that can book the Sydney Opera House for a single night, and perform two sold-out shows one after the other – you’ve got Wil Anderson.
Performed in January of 2015, Wiluminati is a recording of Anderson’s 2014 festival show, written in America, brought to life in Australia, and toured to the far reaches of Alaska. The Opera House shows are the last of its run, making the performance captured on DVD the most matured version of Wiluminati possible.
That being said, a matured show isn’t necessarily composed of matured content. While the show’s storyline and core material is a well-established foundation, Anderson isn’t afraid to try new things on stage, location be damned. It’s a testament to his confidence as a comic – one imagines that many would balk at riffing and improvising on the premier entertainment stage of the country, preferring to stick to the safety of their prepared material, but Wil clearly relishes the opportunity.
It’s a very self-aware show – Anderson makes occasional references to the fact that he is recording a DVD, there are moments when he improvises an entirely new bit and notifies the audience, he even takes the time to point out his favourite joke of the show when the audience gives it the response he knows it deserves.
Wil bounds on to stage with a youthful grin, exuding the kind of joyous satisfaction you’d expect from someone who just had 4000+ people pay to see them say some funny words. Those funny words range from stories about a mysterious secret Santa, to the time he shot at Mario. There’s an over-arching narrative about Matt Damon’s importance in his life, and some nostalgic criticism of the Walkman, which goes straight over my 20 year-old head.
But the cherry on top of the entire special is an additional hour of improvised content; Whatchu Talkin’ ‘Bout, Wil? Recorded during a week of such shows at Sydney’s Comedy Store, it’s an hour of Anderson in his element – up close with the crowd, riffing, trying out new gear, and constantly winding the audience in and out of the narrative he manages to construct on stage.
Whether you prefer big venue comics or those that can own a club crowd, Wiluminati proves that Wil Anderson is capable of either.
Wiluminati is now available at JB Hi-Fi or online. Come back Wednesday for our interview with Wil Anderson himself!