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Review: Andrew Portelli: Real Talk at the Fad Gallery - MICF

Review by Darcy Rock


For a self-confessed Thursday night comedian, Andrew Portelli delivers his latest show ‘Real Talk’ with a candid and endearing ease that is unlike most everything else these days: understated but satisfying. He appears in Melbourne CBD’s Fad Gallery – a trendy casual venue for the remainder of his run from March 27th to April 21st at Melbourne’s International Comedy Festival for 2024.


Hailing from Western Australia but residing in Melbourne, the ex-lawyer turned comedian has a seasoned edge to his demeanour, skilfully managing the room’s energy, interacting with the crowd while insisting that tonight he was bombing and last night he bombed as well. That didn’t feel the case from where I was sitting but his honesty is redeeming. It’s this confessional but trusting nature of Portelli (think Mark Corrigan of Peep Show) that is grounding enough to allow you to trust the ride.


The show is ‘Real Talk’ – nothing too serious, nothing to complain about, nothing to cry about, nothing out of touch but everything you might expect most people can relate to. What we discover over the 50 minute run time are Portelli’s musings on ALDI’s best buys or how good it would be to have ‘fuck it off’ money – yes he talks of the financial pinch we all seem to be in, playing to the very everyday problems we all may face, it feels successfully like ‘Real Talk’ you could have with anyone.


Portelli portrays this persona of soft-spoken childish innocence, but thwarted unexpectedly against bouts of rage, profanities and at times unusual and somewhat unsettling fixations. The full spectrum of neuroticism is on offer through Portelli and I’m here for it. His nerdiness is also undeniable but endearing. We mustn’t forget the charm of the right amount of self-deprecation and a shirt buttoned up to the collar, Portelli has it all. 


‘Real Talk’ on the most part feels like a show for any outcast-type that loves dark, observational and absurd comedy. It is humbling however, to find a comedian on the wrong side of 30 impressing a crowd consisting of throuples and people under 25 who have never experienced a world without sushi. He brings the everyday fascination of life (even in it’s most insufferable ways, ahem... cyclists) to people who may never stop to consider it. Life is mundane but Portelli still finds some imaginative ways to make it feel more than that.


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