Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2017: ROMESH RANGANATHAN is IRRATIONAL

Delightfully disarming

By Tania Herbert

A relative newcomer to the comedy scene (he was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards in 2013), Romesh Ranganathan has been a regular face across the BBC stand-up and mock-news genres in recent years. At his first appearance in Australia for this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Romesh himself queried “Can it be worth it?” to have travelled from his UK home to present Irrational – a stand-up show which has previously sold over 100,000 tickets in its 2016 run.


Romesh brings a generally self-deprecating style and continual tongue-in-cheek humour which is full of charm, wit and the occasional ‘awww’ (though Romesh, do you really expect us to believe you are exceedingly unattractive?)

As irrationality tends to be, it was a highly amusing performance, and one which Romesh is clearly comfortable and polished in. The laughs were constant and genuine, and created that lovely and not-so-common feeling of a community of laughter in the audience. There’s no particular single narrative or ‘plot’ – it’s a life-ramble through family, technology, politics, entertainment and sexuality, with an ongoing theme of the comedic opportunities one has as a ‘brown person with a lazy eye’ living in the Western world.

Too often it is the case that one goes to see a beloved BBC comedian on stage rather than screen, and instead finds themselves inundated with unsophisticated adult humour. However, this was not the case in Irrational. Whilst swearing like a trooper (and amusing us by his tales of encouraging his children to do the same), Romesh maintains his charisma throughout, though I probably could have lived without quite such a vivid description of an afterbirth.

Overall, this is a fun show, and very typical of both his usual humour and stand-up generally, though I was actually most entertained by his off-the-cuff stuff, which was infrequent but hilarious.

If you enjoy a bit of charming, slightly awkward and lightly-political British humour, then you’ll have a great time at Irrational.

Irrational is playing at The Pavillion at The Arts Centre until April 23, with new sessions added for the 21st and 22nd