Wednesday 19 April 2023


WHAT: Earnestly Said Than Done
WHEN: 17 - 23 April 2023
WHERE: The Motley Bauhaus Black Box
WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY: Nick Robertson and Rowan Thambar
Nick Robertson and Rowan Thanbar - photo by Tony Dymock

At the start of the month I wrote about a clever pair of stand up comedians who decided to share a bill - Gay Horseplay - the result of which was an hour of sharp comedy with no fill. Earnestly Said Than Done is another shared bill in the same style and is playing at The Motley Bauhaus Black Box for this last week of the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

Earnestly Said Than Done is a collaboration between two emerging comedians - Rowan Thambar and Nick Robertson. Thambar is well on the way to building a strong career and writes comedy for The Project. Nick is more of an 'around the traps' comedian, with a several years of stage performance behind him.

Thambar opens the show with tales of how his family history is kind of like the OG of MAFS. Leaning into his Sri Lankan heritage, Thambar's comedy pokes loving fun at his grand parents' arranged marriage, before moving on to his own parents and some of their sweet but funny cultural dissonances. You can definitely hear the 'voice' of The Project in Thambar's writing and delivery. He is very funny but I think the material is still really new and he hasn't quite identified all the punch lines. Thambar has just closed another show in the Festival so he may not have had time to fully immerse himself in this show.

Robertson is so physically different to Thambar you get a laugh before anything happens. Where Thambar is a tall and imposing, slightly balding man of colour, Robertson is a tiny white man with the most outrageous head of curly untamed flame red locks. This first chuckle is followed by many more as Robertson tells us about his ill-fated trip to Scotland.

Prior. Preparation. Prevents. Piss. Poor. Performance. An adage we have all heard and one Robertson's mum keeps trying to drill into his head. I think he has probably finally learnt his lesson now though, as you will discover when he tells his story. 

People always say comedians make the best comedy out of the reality of their own lives. Both comedians do this, and it is this honesty which makes their sets work. Robertson's story though, hides an experience of great trauma and, much like the truths Hannah Gadsby brings to her work, it is that pain escaping the constraints of the well scripted comedy show which reveals Robertson's raw humanity.

Earnestly Said Than Done is a bit rough but full of comedic gems. There are a range of great shows at The Motley Bauhaus and my recommendation is to make an evening out of it. See Earnestly Said Than Done as one plate in a multi-course dinner, with some spicy margaritas in between. Now that is living!

2.5 Stars

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