Titus O’Reily @ Octagon Theatre
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Sports satirist Titus O’Reily hit the Octagon Theatre at UWA on Saturday night expanding his popular stand-up comedy tour Insufficient Intent to Western Australia for the first time. The show was billed as a comical review of the 2017 AFL home-and-away season, aptly doing the rounds of the country appeasing football fans during the vacuous bye-week ahead of the finals.
Titus O’Reily’s wry wit has made him a star of radio, newspaper and television and built a cult following of fans with over 50,000 Facebook followers and over 150,000 Twitter followers. A healthy showing of these bustled into the theatre as they announced the show was beginning, with many forcing down the last of their drinks in the foyer just in time for the introduction, welcoming “the man that Gillon McLachlan once described as ‘irrelevant and unfunny.'”
Titus thanked the audience for the warm welcome, claiming he was “led to believe you only boo’d over here,” referring to West Coast’s unenviable reputation of jeering legends such as Adam Goodes and Jobe Watson. He then predictably began the occasion by lamenting the fate of his beloved Melbourne Demons, who historically missed their place in the finals due to a couple of late goals from West Coast against Adelaide in the last game of Round 23.
“People were calling me from the rooftops in Houston saying, ‘I know we’ve had it tough here but missing out on the finals by half a percent really puts things in perspective.'” He went on to summarise his journey as a Demons supporter more broadly. “It’s an interesting thing to think about what technologies have developed since your team last did well. For Melbourne, just since they last made the finals NASA have been able to build a ship that was able to travel 4.4 billion kilometres and reach Pluto.”
O’Reily then amusingly went after some of the season’s lowest hanging comical fruit like Ty Vickery, Jake King, the umpires and the Perth Stadium, noting “it’s like they ordered the bridge online.” On Nathan Buckley’s re-signing as Collingwood coach he claimed he “was glad at least to hear the Magpies aren’t going to make finals for the next two years.” He also went at length into the scenario which led to them signing Chris Mayne: “I saw you were really chatty with Chris Mayne last night. Anything happen from that? Wait… you didn’t did you? Tell me you didn’t. How many years? 4? Years?!! You must have been fucked up.”
The evening didn’t promise to be much more than this: Titus O’Reily standing there with a microphone talking about football. Now for someone to give up time and money for that as opposed to everything else you could do on a Saturday night you’d think they would have some kind of unhealthy obsession.
It brought to mind a memorable Simpsons episode where Homer talks to the Smashing Pumpkins at a music festival and the band claims “making teenagers feel depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel.” And for the first forty minutes it was exactly that – simply giving people what they wanted. However, after a short break the tune changed completely.
O’Reily returned with Sergio from Titus and Sergio’s Variety Hour and it dampened the occasion. Suddenly we weren’t talking about football anymore but instead about Nick Kyrgios, Michael Phelps racing a shark and a bunch of other random topics. But if they were random it would have been some kind of appeasement. This was a planned, scripted divergence from what everyone was expecting.
There wasn’t anything wrong with Sergio, it just wasn’t what people came for and for much of that time people were sitting there thinking “sure, sure this is fun but looking forward to when they start talking about football again.” And then, they didn’t. O’Reily said goodnight and the lights came on a 9pm. It just felt that he could have easily given another half hour at least.
It was well worth the venture with most patrons leaving feeling mildly satisfied, however it seemed it could have been a lot better without much more of an effort.