Writer-director Daniel Audritt has had success writing for TV programmes and directing his own series Modern Horror Stories for Comedy Central, and now he’s back at the festival to demonstrate his skill as a solid stand-up comedian.
For his debut hour he starts by showing off one of his strengths, a short film he’s made that mashes up of different bits of media related to his set. He admits that it’s slightly too cool for him to follow, but he’s going to try anyway. He dives into the relationships he’s had and soon the relationships of the people in the audience, trying to get an honest view of how people perceive their own lives together. This introspective look stems from a recent relationship speedbump that he had with his own partner – she missed her period. Racing thoughts going through a person’s head at the moment the trajectory of their life is going to change is certainly going to alter the way you approach your material.
Better Man is a reference to a line from As Good As It Gets, a favourite film of Audritt’s. The rom-com genre has a lot to offer to anyone looking to follow an arc of self-improvement, but it’s pointed out that when it comes to the expectations of the women in these films, they’re treated quite poorly. In a keen observation, Audritt looks at the ways men and women are offered the same products but in completely different ways. He’s able to dress down parts of language that’s trying to tell us something and dissect why it’s completely ridiculous. That’s where his best stuff is found, reflecting on the tiny parts of life we see every day but never question.
His flow is quite distinctive in that he keeps a fast pace going throughout his set, trying to fit in extra laughs at the end of any punchline. It feels slick and carefully curated because it’s joke after joke without needing gaps for laying groundwork for the next one. If there’s anything jarring about his delivery, it’s because it might be too cookie cutter clean, like it’s being delivered by the host of a late night talk show. So many comedians are going for a certain style, but this is the first I’ve seen in a while that’s bothered to wear a tie, making that comparison harder to dissociate. Audritt has been inspired by his experiences as a writer to deliver a style of comedy combining joke heavy material with a personal touch. As the show bookends with another film he’s prepared, it becomes clear what angle he’s coming from. You can make a show all about you and your personal struggles, but in front of an audience, the laughs are what comes first.