Review: Dan Rath

All Quiet Carriage Along the Inner Western Line is a head-banging hour of original comedy

comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Dan Rath | image courtesy of Underbelly
Published 20 Aug 2023

A one-man crash course in neurodiversity, you wouldn't say Dan Rath has a beautiful mind exactly. But it is exhilarating to witness in action. As a high-functioning autistic stand-up, he can bemoan everyone else, even footballers, belatedly jumping on the mental illness bandwagon because he's a past master, a canary in the coalmine for perceiving the world in a different way. Consistently banging his head off his microphone for emphasis, markedly avoiding eye contact, muttering the catchphrase “I'm not doing well, folks” and stumbling through stilted crowd work, the Australian seems to be on his uppers, haunting a hostel in his home city of Sydney, a freak outlier to the young holidaymakers there seeking hedonism.

Yet he mines plenty of deep, original humour from his condition, hilariously deconstructing the well-meaning efforts of supermarkets to accommodate the autistic and more generally fashions some uproariously funny flights of fantasy out of seemingly mundane inspiration, such as the differences between flies, bees and wasps.

With a memorable turn of phrase, he's preoccupied with the “big horse cocks” of his potential cuckolds. And zeitgeisty in the phenomenon that's capturing his attention, exploring polyamory, the gig economy, robot automation, emotional support animals and cancel culture, all from a slightly cracked viewpoint that surprises with each oblique take even as it hums with a near-constant barrage of laughs.