‘Still Dry White’ // Nick Schuller

‘Still Dry White’ was deadpan.

The audience are greeted with the set, or lack thereof, which consisted of a couple of wine bottles stacked around a box of – what I assume were – wine bottles. Tempting. Still Dry White is a mockery of what Schuller spent his marketing budget on, wine with his face slapped on it. Schuller promised us a bottle of this wine which he valued at the price of my complimentary ticket.

The show started with a short interlude from a supporting comedian Aiden, a second show for the price of one! Having a support act gave the audience a separate perspective to warm them up for the night, it gave us something to compare the main act, Schuller to. Aiden’s comedy had many of the same elements as Schuller’s, particularly the use of punchline narratives and deadpan characterisation.

Commentating on commentary comedy is hard, because it is situational to the site and time it was performed in. Schuller chats to the crowd, cracking jokes on the spot which were specific to his chats with the audience. Here Schuller shows his skills as a stand-up comedian, being able to reel off a series of original jokes on the spot from a few words. His jokes were brilliant and made the intimate audience feel part of the show. Schuller is a comedian who is constantly evolving and refining his act, he takes on feedback and criticism, and meddles it into his show, but defiantly refuses the aspects that set him apart.

His comedy is both unique and mainstream, reflecting the era of comedians who seek to incorporate conventions of narrative, cabaret and physical performance into their acts. One hilarious segment was himself referencing a previous critic, who commented he should include more short one-liner jokes. He then reads a rapid fire of dad jokes. Brilliant enough for me to reference here.

It’s hard to pull off a comedy act that plays up on the irony of something being intentionally so bad that it is brilliantly entertaining, but Schuller does. Halfway through his act, he brings in his own version of the laugh track, recordings of himself reading out how he would assume the audience would react to his jokes. It’s incredible how self-aware Schuller is, when he goes in for a second round of his ‘laugh track assumptions’, I sit and think that it’s too much repetition to have the same joke drawn out twice, but halfway through his laugh track says ‘not again’, assuming that the audience would be bored of a second round of this same joke viciously clever!

Unfortunately, comedians, particularly ones who are very funny, rely on an old joke where they assume they are not funny and mock that. This joke plays up the notion that their jokes are not funny when they are. Whilst some people find this ironic humour entertaining, it is distracting and detracting. Schuller fills his show with some hilarious original anecdotes and jokes that play up personal stories, current affairs and ongoing issues, but interludes them with the ongoing joke of him assuming himself to not be funny. If he had left this aspect of the show out, it would have enhanced his performance and made it stand out.

Now to the wine, I love a good bottle of dry white, and I have a bar inside my house that is hungry for some. I was led into this with the promise of receiving a bottle of a fine South Australian white. I left empty-handed, funny false advertising.

Schuller’s deadpan ability to mock the world around him is something special, don’t give this one a miss and show Schuller some love, his show is too terrible not to miss.

‘Still Dry White’ performs in the Archive Room at Trades Hall until Sunday 7th March 2024. To book tickets and read more about the show, visit their website.

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