Lessons With Luis’ Raw Comedy victory last year polarised the critics. You see, the Melbourne trio – cat-mad, bad sweater-wearing Luis, his dad Len and younger brother Luelin – don’t really deal in jokes. Lessons With Luis’ style is what has been dubbed “anti-comedy” – the laughs come from the awkward pauses, the uncomfortable banter and the performers’ clear sense of self-consciousness.
But, if the punchline-less humour of Ricky Gervais, Tim & Eric and Sam Simmons is your thing, Famoucity! – Lessons With Luis’ second full-length festival show – is nothing short of genius.
The chemistry between the trio is some of the best character comedy going around. Luis, with his permanently forced smile and bag of daggy jokes, is the host and our hero, who we cheer for and encourage to make him feel better. Len, who is reminiscent of Kath & Kim’s Kel Knight, is the overbearing father who happily reads his lines from a script. Luelin is the deadpan younger brother, in charge of sound effects and clearly embarrassed by Luis’ over-excitement.
The narrative is about Luis’ desire to be a celebrity by winning the coveted “Famous Award” awarded to the best filmmaker in the world. He and his family stage a low-brow production, involving choreographed dance routines, pre-recorded skits, audience participation, homemade props and even a clip from Luis’ DIY film Cats are Forever. The (anti) humour builds to a hilarious song-and-dance crescendo (think leotards).
In addition to its Raw Comedy win, Lessons With Luis last year won the coveted Golden Gibbo award, previously won by the likes of Eddie Perfect and Sam Simmons. While its left-of-centre humour is an acquired taste, it’s clear that these comic creations are some of the most original in a long, long time. Head along and make your own opinion, as they won’t be performing in venues as tiny at the Town Hall’s Portico Room for much longer.