Review: Daniel Lobell - Tipping the Scales at Underbelly Bristo Square

Daniel Lobell has always been fat. He’s been described as a number of things from chubby to obese, big-boned to rotund. Sugar, he details, has been scientifically proven to be more addictive than cocaine. And to this Lobell will testify.

After an hour with Lobell, you feel inspired to do anything: tour America, complete rehab, marry someone more attractive than yourself or climb a mountain. This set is part-stand up, part-motivational speech and you will leave feeling pretty good about yourself.

Lobell peppers his set with various anecdotes about his life as a fat person – from joining Weight Watchers aged 8, to creating a side-business dealing macaroni to kids while on kitchen duty at Fat Camp, to trying every diet from Atkins to Paleo. The audience is intimate and so some of the jokes fall a little flat – it’s fair to assume this set was designed for greater audience interaction. There are laugh-out-loud moments, however, and Lobell has a great aptitude for accents and impressions – with some of them admittedly leaning more towards the offensive. There is some great observational comedy in there, too with his insights on the ridiculous nature of the diet industry, his long-standing friendship with a fellow fat comedian and his stint in rehab to kick his eating habits giving warmth to the show.

There are times where this show falls slightly short of the mark: some quips don’t get much of a response but Lobell bounces back easy enough. Lobell is a brilliant storyteller, and he creates a careful and nuanced narrative that keeps you hooked, jokes or not. He is easy going, personable and jovial: all the attributes that make you root for him in his journey and enjoy his company, sharp storytelling and ‘fat swagger’.

Daniel Lobell: Tipping the Scales, Underbelly Bristo Square, 31 Jul – 25 Aug, 5.30pm

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