Studies Have Shown (Urzila Carlson)
Brisbane Powerhouse, Powerhouse Theatre
March 22 – 25
Studies show knowledge is power and with her knowledge of the absurdity of online surveys, Carlson is well equipped to provide commentary on them, whether they be about cats vs dogs or toilet cubicle comparisons. And the result is her very funny show “Studies Have Shown”. Indeed, in isolating the absurdities of modern life, Carlson has constructed a very accessible work that combines comfortable observational comedy with personal amusement.
Although there is some literal toilet humour, some of the most humourous moments come from her personal reflections of parenting and the cultural shock of moving from South Africa to New Zealand. And when, early on, she shares her experiences road-tripping around Australia between gigs, with her recall about overtaking lanes and reflection on Canberra audiences, it makes for a comfortable initiation that audience members appreciate.
Carlson is a self-confessed bogan from way back, which only makes audiences love her more. Her demeanour is at once forthright and casual and so very engaging, in a conversational type way. She doesn’t pick on the audience (despite reassuring that she does have the skillset), though there is a serious (and well-received) dig at anti-vaxxers.
“Studies Have Shown” represents a wonderful respite from the confrontational and controversial humour of many comedians today. In finding absurd in the everyday it presents an easy-to-appreciate but still cleverly crafted through-line as it moves from the personal experience to hit some universal truths and it is easy to understand why Carlson’s Brisbane Comedy Festival season was so quickly sold out.