There’s something strangely compelling about the other-worldliness of Dan Rath, who makes occasional breaks from what comes across as a random stream of consciousness to ask the usual questions a comic asks members of the audience in the front row (name, occupation, etc), from which springs a related one-liner, or otherwise a full-blown anecdote. Except this doesn’t happen every time: rather than say anything condescending about a punter’s home city or what they do for a living, he would rather resume his previous train of thought, or more commonly, go in a completely different and unrelated direction. The powers of deflection are themselves an effective putdown.
He has, he says, an “acquired brain injury”, which seems to be an excuse for some of his more leftfield opinions. Somewhat ironically, there’s also material about mental ill health being an overexploited topic, asserting that football players bursting into tears elicits more sympathy than the challenges faced by people with far more significant mental health issues and far less significant disposable income. It’s not entirely clear how Rath would address that imbalance – he swiftly goes off on yet another tangent.
I mean, there are some memorable takeaway moments, such as his thoughts on how characters from folklore would fare in the real world – it is, it seems, only dwarves that would have the same characteristics between universes. An explanation of how it is that the Taliban have the upper hand over the Italian mafia is difficult to disagree with. Overall, it was utterly peculiar but utterly hilarious. Oh, and a special shout-out to the chap in the row in front of me who kept laughing so raucously even the apparently maladjusted Rath seemed a little spooked.
Review by Chris Omaweng
Cockroach Party will be a rambling tour through a mind that is on its last legs. It only takes one cockroach to ruin a bowl of cherries. But it takes a cockroach party to save the world. Will include crowd work but don’t worry the water’s warm. Have you ever gone on incognito mode to Google symptoms of multiple sclerosis? Well let’s get this party started.
DAN RATH: COCKROACH PARTY
Nominee – Best Newcomer: 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Studio 5, Assembly, George Square