The Shack's Massive Gong Show Final
Gong shows are vicious good fun, giving audiences the chance to play Simon Cowell by gonging comedians off the stage in mid-set. The Shack's gong show has been running for months now culminating in this, thirteen comedians who've beaten the buzzer and survived to the end.
So what effect does this have on the comedy? Good and bad: all of the weak stuff you'd expect at an open mic night has been consigned to oblivion, but the pressure of having to win the audience from the first moment means that there's not much room to be experimental or daring. Everyone is very good and it's a solid, funny few hours of entertainment, but there's a lot of playing it safe and several of the acts end up in the same territory as MC Chris Conroy. Which costs them, because Conroy - a really kind and supportive host - is much funnier.
Still, you can't keep a good man down (twelve of the thirteen finalists being male). Third place went to Chris Grady, a one-liner merchant who actually tries to build his short, snappy jokes into something coherent with a story. It's clever and very funny, and the fact that he looks like Rob Corddry should make some people think he's already a famous comedian.
Second place went to Richard Hunter. Although Hunter isn't breaking new ground with a material, he's got a kind of charisma that makes him really stand out from the others. A very warm and natural guy who makes an instant connection with the audience.
Absolutely no-one was surprised, though, when the trophy and cash were handed over to the final act, Wayne Mazadza. Mazadza has had a phenomenal year and had already scored third place in So You Think You're Funny the night before. He's got charm, intelligence, and a gloriously surreal imagination, and anybody watching him regularly will know that he's turning out new material at a phenomenal rate. His rise to stardom looks unstoppable and even the other acts tonight agree that it's thoroughly deserved.