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Steve Hughes: Big Issues

13 March 2013 | 11:44 am | Baz McAlister

He’s meant to do an hour but is having such a good time he adds on another thirty beer-fuelled minutes – and it’s certainly not as if anyone’s got time between laughs to check their watch.

The quietly-spoken Steve Hughes could probably lazily be described as the 'thinking person's comic', but it's more than that. His obvious passion for playing with ideas and meticulously dissecting them shines through in his act, as does his love of wordplay and vocabulary. “Come and see the convict wizard talk about the apocalypse,” he says, imagining himself drumming up business for his show – and it's a perfect self-assessment. The expat Aussie and one-time metal drummer, now based in the UK, does indeed talk about 'big issues' such as the relentless onslaught of human stupidity, but he always goes deeper than other comics might, takes the material further. Sure, we're losing our common sense. Sure, we're being nannied more than at any time in history. But who might benefit from that, and why? This is the kind of territory where Hughes is comfortable, and he's a master of comic structure. One beautifully-written bit about hotel rooms contains a babushka-doll set of callbacks within callbacks and is a joy to witness. He's meant to do an hour but is having such a good time he adds on another thirty beer-fuelled minutes – and it's certainly not as if anyone's got time between laughs to check their watch.

Brisbane Comedy Festival, Powerhouse (finished)