I was comfortably numb from a very fine meal, accompanied by very fine wine, with friends at Stuzzichino in Lygon St when I rocked up to the Melbourne City Hall to see Andrew O’Neill strut his stuff as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Which probably isn’t a bad way to see a comedy gig, even one by a man whose descriptor is ‘occult comedian’: it sounds devilish, but he’s simply charming.
O’Neill is 30, he tells us, but still resisting the notion of maturing; it’s the least of his confidences shared during his set. There’s the obvious goth cheerleader look, for instance, his long black hair tied pack in bushy pigtails, the metal t-shirt and skirt completing the picture. Yes, he says, he likes wearing women’s clothing. And then there’s the metalhead aspect, inspiring a pleasant breakdown of some of the genres for the unitiated, which is tied into his active interest in the occult, in particular infamous Crowley and famous Newton.
(I think inciting the viewers to kill and rape the band is perhaps over the top, but you can understand the sentiments.)
Anyway, there is something very cool about sitting in council chambers surrounded by a mixed audience heavy on the metalheads listening to an erudite, passionate young man (in a skirt) expounding his belief that magic is fucked, but it works.
There are engaging — he’s an engaging guy, helped along by that English accent and occasional outbursts of ditty — anecdotes about being hassled by numbskulls for his fashion choice and a month spent in Adelaide to leaven his journey of interest away from Christianity into atheism and then into the occult; the latter journey being aided by black and death metal, that interest having arisen due to the influence of Metallica.
Satan, he says, gets the best music, and the best gags.
After more than an hour of his entertaining dissembling, I’m tempted to agree.