Political correctness. Cultural appropriation. Outrage as a spectator sport. We’re living in a time where those on the left are worried about offending anyone, those on the right seem to think it’s their right to do exactly that, and those in the middle – well, we don’t really hear from them because they don’t seem to be as quick to turn their outrage into social media content.
New Zealand comic Tim Batt’s show My Outrage Is Better Than Your Outrage is about a lot of different things – Chinese-made kimonos, the cultural divisions between New Zealand’s north and south islands as well as the existential implications of SpongeBob SquarePants fandom. Yet ultimately what it’s about is not outrage as the title may suggest, but rather what it’s like to be trapped in the middle of this maelstrom of short attention spans and big reactions. Do you remember in 2008 when CCN’s Richard Quest was caught in Central Park after hours getting up to some pretty interesting private activities while blasted on meth? Batt remembers, and he balances it against the news-and-commentary climate ten years later.
Batt’s standup is delivered with a kind of red-cordial energy and plenty of self-deprecation, more amplified natural persona than put-on character and he’s obviously put a lot of thought into the structure and flow of the show. One gets the feeling that he has a lot more stories up his kimono sleeve about his visit to Japan than he shares in this particular show. Perhaps next year he could return with a show called ‘My Drunken Escapades Are Better Than Your Drunken Escapades’.