Angus Hodge’s favourite animal, as he has regretfully discovered, doesn’t exist. The mythical, horned Jackalope is, in reality, just a rabbit that has died a slow death from papilloma virus, its antlers nothing more than horrible tumours. In a perfect world, according the Hodge, the Jackalope would exist. In a perfect world, a lot of things would be different. This is the glue that holds Hodge’s routine together, as he fluidly traverses anecdotal experiences that he wishes could have taken place in this mythical perfect world. From his ‘non-judgemental’ encounter with a meth-cooking neo-Nazi, his spiteful anti-Greenpeace campaign following an activist’s judgemental glare, and his trials in hospitality as he prepares himself for ‘giving up’, Hodge concludes and thematically links each story with an alternate, ‘perfect world’ version, where things are just a little bit different.
Hodge’s anecdotal style, particularly as a local, makes his content relatable and accessible to a broad audience. He is clearly very comfortable on stage and he makes the intimate Rhino Room Beer Garden lively and snug. His well-timed pacing and cheeky audience interaction ensure a warm reception for even some of his flatter jokes. He may call himself an angry little man, but ultimately Hodge is optimistic. He just wants to make the world a better place, and it is this optimism that shines through in his performance. Hodge is young, and a relative newcomer, but he shows a remarkable talent for endearing himself to his audience, and his clear grasp of some of the subtleties of pacing and delivery show that even with material that could be tightened just slightly around the edges, he possesses the essence of what will hopefully keep him from that dreaded life in hospitality. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hodge appearing in festival line-ups for years to come.
This review originally appeared in Dirt & Candy