The Blair Witch Projector marks a point of transformation, as Mustapic explores a new comedic domain. The performance is structured predominantly as stand-up, with frequent interjections from the show’s phantom who plays the audience pieces of Mustapic’s old material, referring to them as “repressed memories” in reference to his former segment on The Spinoff TV. The issue with this structure is that it implies a kind of shame for his old work, but this is not capitalised on. Instead of using the opportunity for self-deprecation he uses it to recycle material. He revisits some of the more cringe-worthy moments from shows like Sensing Murder, Shortland Street, and surprise, surprise, The Spinoff TV. This isn’t a bad thing, because it is brilliant content that wins a laugh every time, but it does feel a bit like you are being cheated out of fresh content when it makes up around half of the show.
One of the show’s strengths is its commentary on the struggles of the working artist. Mustapic jokes about clients who pull the exposure card to avoid paying for art, and about being complimented by strangers for your “work” when you are officially unemployed. There is a focus on shifting generational ideals here that gives the show direction. Older generations value overworking in the pursuit of success. Mustapic closes the show with his “wrapped up message”: sometimes leaving a job is the best thing you can do for your mental health.
The form is original and entertaining, but the show has a definite air of being a guinea pig run for a new style. It seems like Mustapic is testing the waters of stripped stand-up by smuggling pieces of it in with his old style. Video-comedy is clearly a strength for Mustapic, so it would be a shame to shelve this. He has a comedic style that feels relevant to millennial humour, and there is nothing wrong with letting comedy transform with us.
The Blair Witch Projector is showing at BATS in The Heyday Dome until Saturday 11 May, at 8:30pm. To purchase tickets, visit the BATS website, or for information on other shows in NZ International Comedy Fest, visit the NZICF website.