REMEMBER the good old days before Health and Safety, when it was called common sense?
Steve Hughes does ... my word, he does. The self-confessed conspiracy realist went into a bakery in England once and was served a hot bottle of soft drink and a cold sausage roll. They could not, and would not, heat his sausage roll, due to new H & S rules.
I feel his outrage - it's happened to me there, too. Indignant at the memory, Hughes wonders why they couldn't have put the sausage rolls in with the soft drink to keep them warm?
A bizarrely rational paranoia burns deep within this Aussie expat, perhaps fuelled by having spent a dozen years in Europe - and building quite a fan base.
Relaxed but angry, rocking (as he would never, ever say) a heavy-metal look most guys half his age have grown out of, Hughes reports that his returns to the Lucky Country fill him with only a modest sense of good fortune. He is a patriot, and loves the space, just not the one between our ears.
He is filthy on Julia, wide-screen TVs, reality shows, sport and fans of all four.
A square peg early on, Hughes proudly recalls he did cooking at high school, not footy. When the other blokes gave him heaps, he retorted: "I'm icing cakes with 30 chicks and you guys are showering together."
He commands the stage of the luxurious council chamber at Melbourne Town Hall. And we are forced back into our carved, plushly upholstered seats - the best of any festival venue - by non-stop convulsions.
Hughes's delivery is peerless, his pauses for emphasis . . . pristine. But mostly, his mind and sceptical motormouth are in top gear all the way.
There IS global warming, and it is towards Hughes.
Steve Hughes is back at the NZ International Comedy Festival for his show ‘Big Issues’ which he will perform in both Auckland and Wellington.
If you missed him last year don’t make the same mistake twice as you will rarely see a comedian as edgy, clever, blunt and hilariously funny as this one.
This self-exiled Aussie now resides in the UK. His disillusionment with his homeland makes for some brilliant observational comedy, as well as insightful social commentary.
The ‘Big Issues’ are all around us and Hughes isn’t afraid to talk about them. No topic is taboo in this show, which makes it a wonderfully adult affair where permission is granted to just laugh at life.
looking at the world with Steve Hughes highlights, the now obvious, hypocrisies and injustices that blight our existence. This all sounds very heavy, and I guess it is, but yet it’s a consistently hilarious hour. Cancer, drugs, war, capitalism and questionable government ‘research’ all feature in this anarchic hour.
His opinions and discussions are perfectly delivered and there’s no room for offence. A commander of the stage and of the words spoken on it. A provocative and thought provoking show, but most importantly it’s immensely funny.
Drugs, sex and shower caps, but not necessarily in that order.
Heavy Metal Drummer turned stand-up philosopher takes funniness to extremes.
For Steve Hughes, there’s a fine line between making ‘em laugh and making ‘em squirm. It’s a line he likes to cross frequently during his stand-up routines. Acute observations on sex, drugs and rock & roll mutate into sociopolitical diatribes touching on anything from governmental subterfuge to sport as a social sedative to the irony of having good-looking newsreaders to soften the impact of non-stop bad news. Hughes makes Armageddon sound like a proper laugh riot. “I never had any noble intentions, like I could change the world,” he says. “This is just what I do.” A lanky long-haired metalhead with quintessential goatee, Hughes’ aggressive style and anti-authoritarian stance stem from his days as an extreme metal drummer, playing with Sydney bands Slaughter Lord, Mortal Sin and Nazxul. “The expression of art through death metal has always been extremist, outcast, on the fringe,” he points out. “Coming from that world, I find social commentary comes quite naturally.” After playing in bands for ten years, Hughes decided in the mid-Nineties that comedy was likely toget him off the dole quicker thandeath metal. He cut his teeth on the local comedy circuit before relocatingto the U.K. in 2002, where his caustic brand of humour found favour.Hughes makes no apologies for his highly opinionated, controversial routines, which often run closer to the spoken-word spiels of punk icons Jello Biafra and Henry Rollins than typical one-liner stand-up. He’s not so arrogant as to think the whole world should agree with everything he says. He just wants to tickle some funnybones and possibly open some minds – in that exact order. “It’s an old trick,” he laughs. “Do some jokes first, make you like me, then we’ll discuss genocide.”
Steve Hughes is a commanding presence on the stand-up circuit. Making his entrance with no introduction, he takes us on a lengthy look at some of the big issues affecting society today.
Warming the audience up with a heady mix of jokes at the expense of his homeland of Australia, whilst describing the mythical qualities of New Zealand, Hughes hits the mark straight away, setting the scene for the bigger issues.
Mixing insightful social commentary, his intelligence is used to bare many of the taboos and injustices in the world today. No subject is off limits and as a master of his craft, Hughes sticks it to the man whilst remaining entirely humble about his suspicions toward society. A cynic he may be, but an extremely eloquent and witty one all the same.
Political correctness and the war on terror are two notable subjects which Hughes tackles with skill and humour. Yet there are also moments of light humour sprinkled in throughout, such as the implausibility of joining the mile high club and the road safety signs he keeps encountering telling people how to cross the road.
One thing is for sure: this is a comedian who makes you think as much as he makes you laugh. A seriously funny set.