COMEDY – Xavier Toby: White Trash
I do feel for comics – often the target of unintelligent outbursts from someone in the crowd who thinks they’re funnier than the guy or gal up the front actually being funny for a living, which is exactly – and unfortunately – what faced Xavier Toby on Monday night as he delivered his 2013 show White Trash to a near-full room at the Imperial Hotel.
Toby’s brand of humour is best described as thought-provoking, often asking the audience to make more informed choices after being revealed to the stories and reflections which Toby delivers that often hit very close to home. White Trash is no different, and following on from his very successful 2012 show, Binge Thinking, Toby challenges the controversial topic of racism in modern life.
He begins lightly, with a “Things Bogans Like” angle, smartly so as Australians are always more than happy to take the mickey out of themselves and laugh at their own misfortunes, highlighted by the question “Only one nationality in the world technically pronounces my name, Xavier, wrong. Can anyone guess which one?” the first response from a modestly shy crowd is “Australia”, which is incorrect. Toby highlights the fact that Australians think “Gee, we’re pretty dumb; it must be us!” and that Australia is always the first answer someone calls out – proving my point, and no doubt his point as well.
Starting in this way softens up the crowd for some hard-hitting topics in the remainder of Xavier’s show. Despite the aforementioned drunken heckles from the front row, Toby maintains his composure throughout the middle part of his show and his comic delivery doesn’t waiver.
There’s a healthy balance of self-deprecation and sex jokes as standard, and a slightly risky manoeuvre of hitting on female members of the audience (more than once) in White Trash, but the overall context of this show is to get people thinking about how racism and stereotyping can be a particularly damaging fallacy.
Going from past experience, Toby always backs up his claims with scientific evidence which is a testament to the amount of research and time he puts into developing each show. White Trash is backed up with the principle that in the Human Race, there is such miniscule genetic difference between each person, and he highlights that two penguins in the same colony would have a far greater genetic difference than two humans who stand or walk side-by-side on a city street.
The comic himself doesn’t excuse himself from racism, “What would I know about racism?” he poses to the crowd. “I’m a male, middle class, white guy… the last person who should be lecturing anyone about racism…” and late in the show his ideals come out, providing the example of his recent trip to Sydney and his inability to communicate with Asian Laundrette operators.
“It’s fine to think something, as long as you don’t act on it”, Toby informs us, and likens it to toeing a very fine line. Ultimately, his final message is what the crowd are asked to take home with them, the fact that the surface of someone’s surface is all that we are judging them by when we act in a racist manner, when we deprecate someone’s background, as genetically, as science has proven, we are literally so closely related that it is beyond belief that someone decided one day that the colour of one’s skin was enough to discount their self-worth as part of the amazingly evolved and (apparently) intelligent species that is the human race.
Not that you’d know it when there are those that still attend comedy shows that seem to ruin the performance for others. To Toby’s credit, he made an example of the guys and we all had a little bit of a chuckle at their expense; I guess that’s the risk you take as a heckler. Hopefully they learned something on Monday night – though probably not what they should have – the message in White Trash.
Xavier Toby’s White Trash will close tonight: Tuesday 9/4/13 and he is offering half-price entry to his show at the Imperial Hotel from 9 PM.
He is also running a walking tour during the Comedy Festival called “When We Were Idiots” which has been extended until the 21st of April along with fellow comic Micah Higbed. Visit www.xaviertoby.com for more details.
The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.
Author DetailsJosh Forner
Josh Forner is a folk/pop songwriter from Melbourne, Australia and Virginia, USA. Forner was born in Melbourne on July 2 1988, and spent the first 18 months of his life there before moving with his parents to the town of Reston in Virginia, USA. At the age of 3, Forner and his mother returned to Melbourne, where he has stayed ever since.
Josh sings of love, primarily (wow, what a shock right?), but also on his list of ‘hot topics’ are politics, famine, poverty and - of course – landscapes: the folk writer’s favourite.
He’s played with some of Melbourne’s stalwarts including Timothy Cannon, Bridget Pross, Mr Brady, Pro Rata, Gabriel Lynch & Kyle Taylor, and has contributed two of his tracks to non-profit compilation CDs in the past.
Josh’s repertoire continues to grow. He released his first album, a 10-track LP entitled ‘Leading to Nowhere’ at The Workers Club on May 28th, 2013. Forner has since returned to the studio to begin work on a 5-track solo EP to be released by the end of 2013. Following that, he has plans for album number two in 2014.