Rhys Nicholson: “Huge Big Party Congratulations” at Melbourne 2024

****1/2 (out of 5)

When a couple of punters arrived late to Rhys Nicholson’s show, the comedian quickly caught them up with a quip: “Hopefully I’m gay. Otherwise this is a very homophobic character.”

Nicholson won the top prize for their 2022 Melbourne show, and they’ve returned with the news that they’ve married their partner in the interim. But also a reminder that marriage isn’t quite the fairy tale for them, because fairy tales weren’t exactly written for queers, despite the nomenclature. And yet now that they’re married, though, they’re facing the same somewhat inevitable unavoidable question: Will they have kids? Nicholson recollects their own mischievous youth with drugs and porn (selling it, not making it!), and contrasts those experiences with this past Christmas spending the holidays with their in-laws and extended relatives, who brought 25 kids in all onto the rural property they all shared.

While Nicholson attempts to make “Aunty Rhys” make sense as a potential parent, they’re also still grappling with being honest with themself and others about what’s going on. They even cop to lying in their own journals. No wonder they have two separate doctors.

Throughout, the comedian may at times come off as scatterbrained, but they’re whip-smart, sleek, and sharply polished, and the 99 percent of the crowd who knew what they were in for were loving it (only one lone woman in the audience the night I attended said she hadn’t heard of Rhys). To pay it forward, Nicholson also delivers quite the comedic solid not just by recommending other acts to see at the festival (as many other comedians do here in Melbourne), but also by specifically challenging their fans to be like that lone woman, and seek out shows and acts they’ve never heard of before, as well. Even if the act isn’t selling out the room, Nicholson says: “They might be your new favorite comedian!”

Rhys Nicholson presents “Huge Big Party Congratulations” through 21 April at the 2024 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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