Review: Wage Against the Machine – Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2022 (VIC)

Written and performed by Matt Harvey

Review by Saskia Johnson

With a personality as colourful as his employment history, Matt Harvey’s Wage Against the Machine is an impassioned descent into the absurdity of life at the bottom of the capitalist pyramid. From undertaking death defying acts of bravery to becoming embroiled in legally dubious activities, Harvey has experienced the full gambit of minimum wage work and is unafraid to offer up every sordid detail of his harrowing yet wildly entertaining journey.

At 5 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, tucked away in a karaoke room at Heroes Bar and armed only with a microphone, Harvey announced with great enthusiasm that he had quit his job during the pandemic. As the majority of the audience slowly trickled in throughout the first quarter of the set, Harvey won them over with a highly intelligent performance that was grounded in the fierce honesty of a man with a whole lot of pent-up frustration and nothing to lose.

Harvey’s material is bold and unapologetic; he takes no prisoners in his comedic take down of the system and his performance is all the better for it. He never shies away from heavy and controversial subject matter, instead he expertly weaves politically charged content throughout the show while dazzling us with his expressive and passionate storytelling. A particular highlight of the set was a cleverly constructed argument for universal basic income. Utilising the rules of Monopoly as the basis of his thesis, Harvey was able to delve into the depths of socialist ideology without ever sounding preachy or darkening the mood.

Though brimming with exquisitely chaotic content, the show could have benefitted from some editing and tightening of the material, there were moments where jokes didn’t quite land which detracted from the otherwise consistent stream of laughs. Having said that, Harvey clearly has no shortage of fascinating anecdotes and was well equipped to leave his audience wanting more.

Matt Harvey’s Wage Against the Machine provides the next best thing to therapy for those who have ever found themselves at the mercy of a horrible boss or stuck under the boot of ‘the man’. From working in adult stores to theme parks to children’s play centres, his resume is bursting at the seams with extraordinary stories waiting to be told and we cannot wait to see what comes next for this supernova star on the rise.

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Wage Against the Machine‘s season continues 28 April 6:30pm and 29 April 5pm. Find tickets here.

Matt Harvey writes for The Shovel and hosts the Just for Funny Podcast, find his website here. Follow him on Instagram @justforfunnypod.

Leave a Reply