by Laura Ferguson
“Oh, he’s so clever” I think as MacGougan parades on stage. Using his body to give winking nods to social inequalities experienced by women. He shows off the ridiculousness of these gender standards while I simultaneously get to experience the conservative argument of being uncomfortable. Again, this show is not about a sex act or a sexual situation, but I blush and shift in my seat. Glancing up I see with relief a ‘Cold Water’ pipe above me in case the heat of my cheeks gets too much. These are stupid thoughts, I know, but how strange it is to viscerally experience what I’ve always thought were preposterous ideologies.
MacGougan continues his set with anecdotes on life including some hilarious interactions he has with his friend from Westport, a small town in the South Island. MacGougan describes his friend’s alternative reasonings about climate change and race in a way that made me laugh so much, my cheeks hurt. MacGougan uses this to brilliantly bring up potentially offensive topics in a way that have us laughing at instead of with these opinions.
MacGougan has a great deal of repeatability in his performance. I could go to see him multiple times with the same material and still continuously laugh. Though most of his material is new for me, there is one old joke that shows up, and honestly a true favourite of mine. If sound effects comedy isn’t a thing, it should be, and MacGougan’s efforts in this area have never failed to make me laugh uproariously. Booms, whistles and radio crackling all work together to produce one astounding joke. MacGougan’s delivery of it is amazing and this one sequence alone is worth the ticket price.
Jumping into his second half, MacGougan pokes fun at a range of comedy tropes. From puns, to prop humour, voice-overs to repetitious, unoriginal music numbers, MacGougan deftly eviscerates what we have come to expect from mainstream comedy. I snort, impressed at the way he shows us the difference between what is actually funny and what is socially-conditioned expectation of laughter. It is a thought that I have often wondered myself and I love seeing it physically brought to the stage. However, I wish that this had been on first and then having MacGougan’s original stand-up material afterwards. His first half was so strong and ridiculously funny that I would have loved to see it after going through the comedy cliché’s in a kind of “see this is how you do it” kind of way.
Ben MacGougan’s Magical Foot Job is very pleasurable and satisfying to watch, and, while still not a sex act, we, the audience still leave on a proper endorphin high. The giddy release of tension watching MacGougan made my night and I thoroughly enjoyed his sly wit. Go for the laughs, go for the sounds, heck go because you still misunderstand the title. Magical Foot Job will give you want you want and leave you wanting more.
Ben MacGougan’s Magical Foot Job is on at Ivy Bar & Cabaret on Thursday 11th and Saturday 13th of May. You can find tickets here.