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Nath Valvo Not in This House

Patricia Maunder

Nath Valvo’s observational humour is rooted in the old saying that comedy works when it draws on the truth.
Nath Valvo Not in This House

Nath Valvo image via Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Nath Valvo’s observational humour is rooted in the old saying that comedy works when it draws on the truth. Not in This House may be a bitch session full of caricatures, sarcasm and (ironic) self-pity, but the audience went with it because his jokes were obviously built on reality, and clad with plenty of sass too.

Ostensibly driven by his growing propensity to be jealous of others’ joy, which turns a thumbs-up into a middle finger, Valvo reflected on what’s troubling him at one of life’s great junctures, his early 30s. Couples buying houses and having babies was a major gripe, including their expectation that everyone shower them with gifts for every big moment in their lives. His running gag about an expensive gift registry item induced knowing chuckles.

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As a gay man he also had some witty insights on LGBTI issues. A couple of under-the-radar observations about why same-sex couples might want to tie the knot were among the night’s highlights. No matter one’s sexual orientation, they were funny because Valvo was essentially observing human nature.

Adulthood’s milestones and phases paved the way for numerous references to his family. Another highlight was an outrageous impersonation of his mother, who is finding time for herself again in retirement. Valvo does great female caricatures, mixing lithe physical humour with high-camp voices.

Not in This House is well paced and scripted, but one of the biggest laughs came when things went off-piste. Valvo’s sassy confidence turned to toying with the curtain when he forgot to self-edit something in deference to his partner’s mother’s presence on opening night. It was actually a fairly benign comment compared to some other racier material, but this rather sweet faux pas suggests Valvo’s family don’t mind that they are frequent source material.

From UberEats and facebook to hair loss, he covered a lot of territory, and the audience were generally willing to go with the fast-talking, sometimes curiously agile comedian. While some may squirm at a couple of risqué anecdotes, and the frequent use of the F-bomb and even the odd C-bomb, if you like a good bitch session and can identify with a bit of self-wallowing, Not in This House is good fun.

Rating: 3½ stars out of 5

Not in This House

Written and performed by Nath Valvo

Salon, ACMI, Melbourne, until 23 April

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Patricia Maunder is a Melbourne writer.

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