Before the show starts the unmistakable presence of Phil Nichols filled the room as he moves from row to row, greeting audience members. By the time show started, Monkey Barrel’s energy isn’t that happy babble of conversation that precedes most shows, but a curious crackle of anticipation. “Are you ready?” Phil Nichols asks and then the act begins.
He starts detailing a horrendous Facebook interaction with a flat-earther. The story is generic – we’ve all read in that comment section at one time or another, but laughs come easily and everyone starts leaning in. It’s Phil’s conspiratorial vivaciousness: he is a magnetic storyteller with a contagious joy.
This rundown of the most notable times that Phil has been wrong over the course of his life are riddled with his relatable, personal humor, somehow funny in the same way that an inside joke is funny – this untranslatable energy specific to Phil himself and the moment created not just on the stage but between himself and each audience member.
Nevertheless, the stories were wild, and the overarching story that brought it all together of Phil’s brother going into a coma was beautiful and touching. Between that suspenseful epic you’ll find out the original version of Phil got naked on The Weakest Link and some of the worst things anyone’s ever said to a girlfriend with good intentions.
Wildly human, wildly hopeful, Phil Nichol: Your Wrong is not just comedy but soul-quenching storytelling at its finest.
Words: Emily Hall
Picture: Steve Ullathorne
Phil Nichol: Your Wrong, Monkey Barrel, Aug 5-27, 9pm