Freudian Nip's Honeymooned: 'Hideously funny and too real'
WORDS BY SWETHA DAS
As my taste in comedy matures, I find that I really enjoy comedy that makes me laugh first and cry second. In the midst of the burgeoning talent performing at the Sydney Comedy Festival, Freudian Nip’s ‘Honeymooned’ triumphed as a solid hour of sketch comedy, catchy raps and tremendous versatility, that successfully made me do both.
Victoria Zerbst, Jenna Owens and Jess Bush were a team that inhabited characters worlds from their own. Whether it was a bunch of mums, vagabonds or motivational speakers, their ability to commit to characters highlights their knack for navigating the very demanding sketch comedy medium.
Of particular note were the sketches that rang beautifully too real.
There was a particularly memorable sketch that portrayed an awkward conversation between a male agent and a young actress in which the agent lists films for the actress to audition for - all of which had a salacious element. It was not only hideously funny but also noted the persistent objectification of women in the industry. This layered sketch was a triumph, where these female comedians [waits for you to stop rolling your eyes] used humour to make valid feminist points.
Jenna Owens is truly hilarious in all her characters; her omnipresent narrator and male American acting agent were especially noteworthy. Jess Bush’s timing was impeccable, and Victoria Zerbst smashed it playing Victoria Zerbst (tough gig) - oh, and her impression of Buzz Lightyear/Elmo definitely stole the show.
‘Honeymooned’ boasted a few sketches that transcended the divide between audience and performers. Sketches in which Zerbst performed frantic impersonations to impress the ‘agents’ in the audience was interactivity that I wasn’t expecting but made for an engaging narrative. A particularly clever bit poked fun at restrictions when it comes to particularly flagrant humour. The group opened a ‘Deal or No Deal’ case to reveal a photograph of Australian rugby league legend, Darren Lockyer. When the audience was left confused by the seeming lack-of-punchline, Zerbst explained the ‘Swastika’ zinger that could never be, thus making a valuable point about the censorship that plagues comedy writers too often.
While their individual personalities shone through, a few sketches did drag on. The show could have benefited from a more apparent throughline, and by pushing the ‘Honeymooned’ theme further. The performers’ tenacity definitely lifted the show’s energy, but a lack of props left the stage bare and the visuals lacking.
They also made me add Darren Lockyer to my Google search history, which a sin that I cannot forgive.
Despite this, the group held their own in the big leagues. Freudian Nip have displayed their incredible range by performing quick snappy jokes, indulging in crude humour but also casually tackling the big issues like gender inequality in their sketches. Individually, they’re all extremely talented, and it was a pleasure to see these three perform together in a medium they are, quite clearly, so comfortable in.