Steen Raskopoulos is so hot right now. He seems to be everywhere on the Australian comedy scene at the moment. I’ve seen him in one of ABC’s recent Fresh Blood web comedies, he was in ABC2’s This is Littleton not too long ago (did anyone see that?), and he is constantly in my Facebook feed as part of Giant Dwarf’s weekly news with his show The Bear Pack (with Carlo Ritchie).
Steen is the younger brother of Jordan Raskopoulos, member of the legitimately titled musical comedy trio Axis of Awesome. Not that you would know it to look at them. They may as well be Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in Twins (do you youngsters even remember Twins?) I’m sure this is one of the most annoying bits of obviousness that is pointed out to both of them on a regular basis, so apologies lads.
Raskopoulos won Best Newcomer at the 2013 Sydney Comedy Festival and was nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. This particular show sold out at the Comedy Festival here in Sydney earlier in the year and the delightful peeps at Sydney’s Comedy Store have helped Raskopoulos bring it back one more time for those who missed out (like me).
Billed as ‘a one-man sketch comedy show’, I’m Wearing Two Suits Because I Mean Business is exactly that. Raskopoulos works through a string of wayward, off-beat characters whose bits all loosely fall under the banner of ‘doing business’.
There’s the Greek Orthodox Priest Film Reviewer, who chants away about Gravity with Sandra Bullock and George ‘Yorgo’ Clooney; a Moose Dad trying to keep the horrible truth about Moose Mum from his Moose son; a contrary rapper who forces everyone to throw their hands in the air and then abuses his audience for being mindless drones who do as their told.
The main character though comes in the form of ‘Toby Zegamo’ — a man for whom Business Never Stops. A man so committed to his business that he conducts impromptu job interviews on stage and reminds us all that nothing is as important as keeping the business wheels turning, including family and life itself. One of the most touching performances of the show was Raskopoulos playing Zegamo’s young son, a pathologically optimistic boy who never gets to play for his footy team and whose father presumably never shows up to support him. Everyone in the audience was sighing in pity for the character almost immediately — it was glorious.
A big part of the show’s charm is courtesy of its deliberate and extensive audience participation. Raskopoulos’ background as an improv comic is abundantly clear as he pulls a rapid succession of unwitting participants onto stage throughout the show and yet somehow manages to make it all flow without ever stalling, despite some members of the audience clearly having a lot of trouble understanding exactly what he was asking them to do. A few highlights included a man in a blue pinstripe shirt completely committing to a slow motion sprint race through the crowd, a young woman helping tell a campfire fairytale by throwing out random words whenever Raskopoulos shone a flashlight in her face, and a woman who genuinely struggled for quite some time to understand what Raskopoulos exactly meant when he was saying ‘underneath your seat’. Golf claps to you all.
It also must be noted: kudos to this male character comedian who abstained from frocking up and pretending to be a sheila.
I was lucky enough to catch Raskopoulos’ last performance of this show in Australia as he now prepares to take it to the Edinburgh Fringe later this year. If you happen to be in that part of the world at the time, I’d certainly recommend it.
Steen Raskopoulos’ I’m Wearing Two Suits Because I Mean Business had an encore show at Sydney’s Comedy Store in the Entertainment Quarter on July 12th 2014. You can find Steen through his Facebook page here, on Twitter with @srasko and Instagram with @steenrasko.