As self-proclaimed “naughty man” Lawrence Mooney bops his way through red curtains and onto the stage to Endor’s “Pump It Up”, you can’t help but notice that, unlike in his promotional photos, he’s wearing a black tee beneath his velvet suit jacket. Does this evoke a sense of relief or disappointment in his audience? Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder – a theme that flows throughout this show.

During Beauty, An Encore, we hear witty anecdotes about Mooney’s recent move from Melbourne to Sydney as pokes fun at Gladys Berejiklian and Jamie Oliver. He continues his humorous observations and impersonation of politicians and celebrities alike throughout the routine, even bringing out his iconic Malcolm Turnbull impression.

Mooney – also familiar to most as a radio broadcaster and TV host – shares the origins of his comedy career, reaching into his early teens where he got the first taste of laughter that led to him chasing that high ever since.

The comedian’s sometimes crude humour won’t appeal to everyone. On this night, however, his target demographic was well-represented, with bursts of laughter filling the tent. A man seated across the aisle from me laughed so hard he snorted.

Mooney isn’t one to waste time chatting with individual audience members, instead inviting people to finish his jokes when there is an ongoing punchline. He occasionally calls somebody out for excessive laughter or applause at one of his self-deprecating jokes, an endearing quirk that only encourages more laughter. He also caters to his audience – albeit referencing the typical Adelaide stereotypes of weird crimes and wine obsessions.

One of the best things about Mooney’s performance is how much he obviously enjoys himself throughout the show. He laughs along with his jokes and calls himself out humorously for his more macabre witticisms. His charming demeanour and the universal themes he touches on during Beauty, An Encore make for an entertaining hour of comedy.

Lawrence Mooney’s Beauty, An Encore is playing in The Garden of Unearthly Delights until March 20.

Read more 2022 Adelaide Fringe stories and reviews here.

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