Rove McManus is a stand-up comedian and the namesake creator and host of former national TV staple Rove Live, Australia's own version of The Tonight Show.
The show played host to some of entertainment's biggest names, with the likes of Cameron Diaz, John Travolta, Drew Barrymore, Matt Damon, The Duchess of York and U2 taking time out to chat with Rove.
After Rove's namesake show came to its conclusion in 2009, Rove had a brief foray into comedic TV in the U.S., before settling back into the commercial radio and stand-up comedy circuit in Australia, now residing in Sydney.
Rove has also been a three-time recipient of "Australia's most prestigious television award", winning the Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality.
At this year's Adelaide Fringe, Rove McManus returned for the first time since 2008 with a limited run stand-up comedy special entitled "That's Me Talking" taking place over three nights. The show took place in The Garden of Unearthly Delights' Corona tent to a sold-out crowd.
It's been a number of years since Australians, particularly in Adelaide, have seen Rove's face making regular appearances, so, as reflected in ticket sales, curiosity was piqued, and expectations high.
Rove burst onto the ground-level stage unexpectedly from stage left, much to the shock of one front-row audience member, and from the get-go set out to demonstrate one of his definitive stand-up competencies: crowd-work and audience interaction.
Rove commanded the theatre through careful interactions and clever responses, quick to highlight absurdity from audience members with varying levels of passive or intentional input, which ranged from shaking empty bottles of wine to check for the last drop, to reacting to jokes with critical body language, or mentioning that their husband was shot when asked if they're married.
This control of the room and ability to set the pacing consistently was the highlight of Rove's set. The material itself was fairly stock-standard, and reflected the reluctantly aging comedians journey through life, particularly into parenthood. Rove's humour could be described as dinner-table vulgar — much like when delivering a late night talk-show monologue, there's a few bits to make you cringe, but nothing you'd be ashamed to repeat to your parents.
Although Rove's material may turn some audience members off by taking the "Say hi to your mum for me," gag closer to home with a lot of humour relatable to parents, it's not for no reason; Rove's 2017 Fringe offering is a genuinely heartfelt and sentimental reflection on his transition from independent man-about-the-world to the high expectation world of what being a "good dad" actually means, complete with Rosebudesque teddy bears.
Rove McManus has achieved a lot in Australian comedy, and still has the ability to put sets together that demonstrate why you should say hi to your mum for him. ★ ★ ★
Header image via Adelaide Fringe, body image via Channel Ten
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