5 Good reasons to see Matt Harvey – Just For Funny: A live comedy podcast

1.  Honestly the festival is huge and unless you’ve “seen them on the telly” picking between unknown comics is hard. We’ve seen them, performed with them, moved among them. This is a hand picked list of comics we trust you will enjoy.

2. You can try us out first. We’re on iTunes so really you’re not even taking a chance on us.

3. There is a roller coaster at our venue. Seriously, if after the show you haven’t had enough fun you can then go ride a roller coaster!

4. Its a live podcast recording, be a part of recorded history. Hear your unique laugh resonate through your headphones in a sort of comedy inception. This may be your chance for immortality, or for your laugh to be immortalised.

5. You like to support local, right? Local bands, local produce, local comedians. Put all your good will into one podcast.

The Just For Funny podcast is being recorded live at Luna Park!

For more information see the MICF website:

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2016/season/shows/just-for-funny-matt-harvey

Live Podcast Recordings at Melbourne International Comedy Festival or PODFEST 2015

By Lisa Clark

There are many comedians performing at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival who have popular podcasts. Some of those popular podcasts will be recorded live in front of an audience at this year’s Festival.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is calling it Podfest 2015 in the guide .

Here we present a comprehensive list of live recordings of Podcasts that we know of taking place at this years Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

First there is a link to bookings for the Live recording (many of which are sold or selling out fast)

The second link is to the podcast website itself. If you cant be there in person; you can listen!

CJ Delling Under The News Desk on Tuesdays

What never makes it to the news desk? Comedian and SBS Radio satirist CJ Delling unearths the week’s topical news stories found under a reputable, and imaginary, TV news desk.

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/under-the-news-desk-cj-delling

http://www.cjdelling.com/category/podcast/

 

David tulk & Jamie McCarney – Full of it: The True or False Game Show

A comedy quiz show, with one contestant, where one man tries to convince another that the truth is out there. We’re just not sure where!

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/full-of-it-the-true-or-false-game-show-david-tulk-jamie-mccarney

http://fullofit.podbean.com/

 

Greg Behrendt & Dave Anthony- Walking the Room

“Greg Behrendt and Dave Anthony reunite after 25 years (or perhaps a bit less) to bring their podcast live to Melbourne.”

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/walking-the-room-live-recording-greg-behrendt-dave-anthony

http://www.walkingtheroom.com/

 

I love Green Guide Letters with Steele Saunders

Steele brings on fabulous guests from Comedy and TV to discuss reader’s letters to the (green) TV guide in The Age Newspaper.

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/i-love-green-guide-letters-with-steele-saunders

http://ilovegreenguideletters.com/

 

Jen Kirkman I Seem Fun (Live Recording)

Usually talking into a microphone in a room by herself…

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/i-seem-fun-live-recording-jen-kirkman

http://jenkirkman.com/i-seem-fun

 

Lisa-Skye’s Lovely Tea Party

Lisa records her naughty Tea Parties and puts them out as podcasts during Festivals

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/lisa-skye-s-lovely-tea-party

http://lisaskye.podbean.com/

 

Spark! How ‘bout This?

The guys from one of Australia’s favourite improv groups, Spark! get together and talk about the things, all of the things, mostly the ridiculous things.

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/how-bout-this-spark

 

Steele Wars: Live Star Wars Chat

Previously called This is Not the Pod You Are Looking for, Steele Saunders has streamlined the name to “Steele Wars“, but it remains a podcast where Star Wars fans can get together and chat about Steele’s obsession with the Star Wars Universe.

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/steele-wars-live-star-wars-chat

http://steelewars.com/

 

The Dollop With Dave Anthony & Gareth Reynolds

The live show on April 18th at The Comics Lounge is SOLD OUT.

http://thedollop.libsyn.com/

 

The Little Dum Dum Club with Tommy Dassalo and Karl Chandler Live!

Two top dickheads chatting to other comedians  about fast food and other things.

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/live-the-little-dum-dum-club-with-tommy-dassalo-and-karl-chandler

http://littledumdumclub.com/

 

The Shelf Podcast Show

Adam Richard and Justin Hamilton catch up with each other and some comedian friends.

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/podcast-show-the-shelf

http://shelvers.com.au/

Also there is also bound to be a surprise Fofop / Walk In the Room mash-up/pop-up show at some point.

Keep your eyes on their websites and ears on their podcasts.

Meanwhile during the festival you can checkout the Comedy Festival Fan podcast MICF Daily Where Mike Brown talks to many comedians and various people involved with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with the addition of daily news and information about the Festival.

https://soundcloud.com/micfdaily

Interview with Ben McKenzie about his ‘Uncool’ Festival show, Splendid Chaps and Night Terrace.

By Lisa Clark

Ben McKenzie, also known as The Man in the Labcoat, has been spreading his intelligent geeky comedy around Australia for ten years. This includes comedy tours of the Melbourne Museum, performing a comedic version of Dungeons & Dragons (Dungeon Crawl) and performing with the Anarchist Guild Collective sketch troupe.  In 2012 Ben appeared in eight different shows at MICF but none of them were his own Solo show. In 2013 Ben took part in celebrating 50 years of Dr Who with the monthly live podcast ‘Splendid Chaps. This year Ben and the Splendid Chaps team are working on an online audio series called Night Terrace and Ben is performing a solo festival show at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival called Ben McKenzie is Uncool.

Lisa: How long has it been since you last did a solo show at MICF?
Ben: Seven years! I’ve done a few smaller solo shows here and there, and plenty of solo work – MCing corporate events, charity gigs and conferences, plus presenting and spots here and there – but it’s mostly been, and continues to be, collaborative stuff for me, like Dungeon Crawl, Splendid Chaps and Night Terrace. So this is pretty exciting!

Lisa: You said in our last interview that your next solo show would be about Nerd culture is that how it turned out?
Ben: …sort of. I mean, yes, I talk about stuff that is part of geek culture, and I talk about why I love it so much. It’s that rejection of cool, of embracing passion and enthusiasm, that’s such a part of being a fan of things.

Lisa: Tell us about Ben McKenzie is Uncool
Ben: It’s a whole pile of (un)cool stuff, essentially: little bits of all the things I love. What I was saying about nerds embracing enthusiasm and passion, that’s what this show is about – the things for which I’m a fan, that mainstream culture perhaps doesn’t embrace in the same way. I want to share them with the audience!

Lisa: Will it be a more general show about nerdery in your science professorial style or will it have some personal stories as well?
Ben: There’s a little bit of personal stuff, but mostly just as background for who I am and where I fit in. Establishing nerd credentials, you might say – though also rejecting the idea that those should be necessary! Mostly though this show is not about me, it’s about some of the things I love, which probably says as much about me as anything else. 😉

Lisa: How do you tend to write shows; all at once, long and slow, at a set time and place every day…?
Ben: In the past I’ve come at it from a very theatrical kind of bent. I would workshop ideas and then script the entire show, then learn it like a monologue. But this show has been different, partly because I haven’t had time to do that, and partly because it’s a show made of lots of parts. It was an interesting development process, I didn’t know exactly what it was going to be, but I had a pretty good idea of what I didn’t want it to be! So not just stand-up, but using other skills I have; it has a bit of sketch, and some games and impro. I’ve worked on it in fits and starts, whenever inspiration took me. I come up with a lot of ideas in the shower for some reason, when I’m least able to write them down! And it’s not all new, I should say; it’s got some stuff I’ve written in the last few years, but it’s stuff comedy festival audiences probably won’t have seen.

Lisa: Will you be doing any other shows in the Festival this time?
Ben: Nothing official, this year – which is quite a departure for me. For the last six years I’ve usually been in three to five shows each year, though mostly they weren’t long runs. I’m sad to miss out on Late Night Letters & Numbers this year; typically the year it clashes with something else is they year they make it into the Town Hall! But they have Lawrence Leung on board filling my spot at the whiteboard, who I know will smash it out of the park. (Though I’ll lay odds he won’t get as many solutions as I did. Take that, racist stereotypes!) Richard and I are doing two late night Dungeon Crawl shows during MICF as part of our final regular season, but they aren’t officially part of the festival.

Lisa: You spent a lot of last year working on Splendid Chaps, now that it’s over how do you look back on it?
Ben: It’s funny, I often have trouble talking up my own work, but I’m really proud of Splendid Chaps. I wanted to talk about this show that I love so much, but make sure the podcast wasn’t like all the other ones, and that it wasn’t just about Doctor Who. That’s why we had the guests, and the broad topics, and performed (nearly) every show to a live audience. And I think it worked. It’s one of the few things I’ve done that I go back to every now and then and listen to, because the guests were so great and the conversations went to interesting places I didn’t expect. And that’s just the stuff that made it into the podcast! I really must get the raw recordings from John and listen to the full versions some time.

Lisa: How did you and John get together and decide to do it?
Ben: It was kind of my idea. John and I met through Boxcutters, the TV podcast; I knew host Josh Kinal through some friends and did a guest spot. We discovered our mutual love of Doctor Who and got along really well, so we used to go out on these “nerd dates”, as John called them. We’d have a coffee and talk about the new series and possible casting and our opinions of the old series. John had an idea for a pretty nerdy show he wanted to do with me, though it didn’t work out; then when the anniversary was coming up, I thought it was high time I talked about Doctor Who in public. I mean why not? I love it, other people love it. And I wanted to get into podcasting, to make something that would persist; the vast bulk of my work is live only, so you can’t show it to anyone. I love that but I wanted to record something. The idea for Splendid Chaps came to me nearly fully-formed, and I pitched it to John, and he loved it, tweaked it a bit, and that was that.

Lisa: How did you meet Petra and get her involved?
Ben: I met Petra through a mutual friend years ago, when she first moved to Melbourne. We hung out a bit. I’d seen her perform a couple of times and we caught up again a couple of years ago, and it struck me she would be great to work with on the Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour. And I was right! Originally the idea for Splendid Chaps was that we’d have a different announcer/co-host every episode, and I invited Petra to do the first episode; she has a brilliant voice for that kind of work. But then she worked so well, and the audience loved her too, that we just decided she had to stay! And she’s really part of the Splendid Chaps family now. We couldn’t do the show without her.

Lisa: Do you have Splendid Chaps Highlights?
Ben: Oh, loads! The Seven/Religion episode is probably my favourite, and getting to take the show to Sydney thanks to the support of fans through our crowdfunding campaign, that was amazing. Meeting Alexandra Tynan, the designer who created the Cybermen, was fantastic; she’s so wonderful! But most of all I think I loved the songs! Finding those old songs about Who and reviving them for the show, and getting to pay these wonderful performers to cover some truly awful tunes. I love them all, but performing The Universe is Big and blowing bubbles into the audience was a moment I’ll always treasure. I also absolutely love Georgia Fields and her cover of Doctor Who Is Gonna Fix It, this ridiculous song from the 80s by Australian band Bullamakanka. And getting Keira Daley to cover Jackson Zumdish’s I Wanna Be Doctor Who…I don’t think she’ll ever forgive me, but it was totally worth it.

Lisa: Tell us about the new project for the Splendid Chaps team Night Terrace.
Ben: Night Terrace is an audio series, so like a radio serial, a bit Hitchhiker’s-esque I suppose! It’s not a podcast, we’ll be selling it as a digital download; you get the whole thing all at once, eight episodes in this first series, kind of like a Netflix original show, or the newer stuff from Big Finish. It’s a sci-fi comedy, in which adventuring scientist Anastasia Black (Jackie Woodburne, best known as Susan on Neighbours) quits her job saving the world for a secretive government organisation and tries to retire to the suburbs. But just as she’s trying to get rid of a door-to-door electricity plan salesman, her house starts travelling through time and space! So she’s stuck having these fantastic adventures with this guy, and it just makes her seriously annoyed. She hates it! But they have to try and survive and make their way back home by figuring out the mystery of this house. They also meet this mystery woman, “Sue”, played by Petra…but I can’t reveal too much. I’m playing the sidekick, Eddie. He’s the salesman, but he’s also a university student; someone who’s studied a lot but doesn’t have practical, real-world experience. He’s a bit useless most of the time, but excited about their adventures. A nice counterpoint to Anastasia being grumpy about it.

Lisa: How did you get Jackie Woodburne involved?
Ben: We asked her! John just got in touch and pitched it to her. She was our first choice and she said yes! We were over the moon. She’s so perfect for it, and it’s going to be great fun; Anastasia is a very different role to Susan Kennedy!

Lisa: Will Night Terrace involve any live performances?
Ben: We have talked about it, but it’s difficult. There have been some great live radio play style shows in recent years, like the superhero story Bullet, but those were written with that sort of performance in mind. And being sci-fi, there’s a lot of effects and post-production work needed; David Ashton, our fourth Splendid Chap and professional sound engineer, who’s also writing an episode (he used to write and perform on The Third Ear with John on RRR), he’s got his work cut out for him! That said, we’re planning on having a live event to launch the series, to which many of our Kickstarter backers will be invited, and we will have live performance at that. We might write something especially for that, though it’ll probably be difficult to fit that into Jackie’s Neighbours commitments!

Lisa: Will it have a finite number of episodes or will it be ongoing?
Ben: We’re approaching it like a TV series, so what we’re writing now is a first series of eight 25-minute episodes. If it’s popular and sells pretty well, we’d love to come back and do more series later on. We already have lots of ideas about where to take it!

Ben McKenzie is Uncool at The Provincial Hotel during Melbourne Comedy Festival.

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/uncool-ben-mckenzie-is

Information about the web audio series Night Terrace can be found on their website

http://nightterrace.com/

The podcasts for Splendid Chaps – A year of  Dr Who celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr Who can still be found on the website if you missed out on it last year.

http://www.splendidchaps.com/category/podcasts/

The Little Dum Dum Club

By Elyce Phillips

One of the great things about the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is that you get the chance to see shows like ‘The Little Dum Dum Club’, where comedians from around the globe are brought together in a more informal way and you get to see them mucking around and enjoying each other’s comedic stylings.

‘The Little Dum Dum Club’ is a live recording of the popular podcast. The setup is much like a talk show. Tommy Dassalo and Karl Chandler do their thing as hosts and then three guests are brought out one at a time – by no means do you have to be a regular listener to the podcast to enjoy the live show.

The boys have had some great guests on in the past and opening night of this year’s live show was no exception. Dave O’Neil was first out. As always, he appeared to be effortlessly funny, telling a story about how he dropped Rove home from a gig when he was just starting out.

US guests Pete Holmes and Eddie Pepitone were great additions. Holmes near took over the proceedings, but it was certainly fine by the audience – the man is hilarious. Indeed, Holmes and O’Neil made for a great pairing – O’Neil’s laidback style was the perfect foil to Holmes’ manic energy.  Pepitone was a little more restrained, having just flown into the country. He did impress, however, with his non-existent improvisation skills, letting the entire audience in on what floor he and Holmes were staying on at the Medina.

Dassalo and Chandler work together brilliantly as hosts, Dassalo asking the questions and Chandler chiming in with perfectly-timed barbs. Of course, the show will be different every week, but if the quality of guests continues to be as good as opening night, ‘The Little Dum Dum Club’ is well worth checking out.

‘The Little Dum Dum Club’ is on in The Powder Room at Melbourne Town Hall, Mondays until April 15. The recording of the April 1 show will be available on Libsyn

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/live-podcasts-the-little-dum-dum-club

Russell Wigginton & Doug Gordon talk about their Podcast Open Mic Life

by Lisa Clark

Since June 2012 Russell Wigginton & Doug Gordon have been hosting a podcast about starting out in comedy in Melbourne that asks guest comedians about their experiences. Meanwhile Doug and Russell are learning from their own experiences of starting out in standup and share those on their podcast with us.

For the first time Open Mic Life will be having live recordings at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. So I thought I’d ask them about their podcast and what we are likely to expect.

How long have you both been doing Stand up?

RUSSELL: I’ve been doing it for about 2.5 years and I am hoping that Doug is going to start anytime now!
DOUG: About 2 and a half years actually

What made you want to do it?

DOUG: I was always funny in school, loved comedy needed a different creative outlet other than making music and short films. I knew nothing about doing stand up except that it cost nothing, you didn’t have to rely on anyone else and you got all the credit. So I gave it a crack and everything just fell into place and I haven’t stopped. Stand up made me feel normal about being weird.

RUSSELL: What made me want to do it? – The untold wealth and pussy!

Who in comedy inspired you?

RUSSELL: Everyone who ever made me laugh! I was watching Monty Python at Primary school and things just snowballed from there.

DOUG: Tony Martin, Mick Molloy, Greg Fleet, Shaun Micallef, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Hicks, Jimmy Carr, Bill Burr

What inspired you to start your podcast?

RUSSELL: Doug’s just told me one day about his idea and I pointed out to him that he needed some talent to help him do it. Unfortunately no one else was available so I stepped in.

DOUG: I wanted to do a radio show as another medium to get my funny ideas out there and I’d started listening to podcasts like: Get This, The Little Dum Dum Club, WTF and realized they leave the radio for dead. No music or ads, just comedy – performed to a direct audience/fan base instead of people who randomly listen. I also wanted to have different comedians that I’d become friends with to be guests on the show and thus the concept was born.

Is maintaining a podcast and a stand up career hard work?

RUSSELL: The use of the word career in this question kind of negates any serious answer. If this is a career then times are very tough indeed, in fact I may have to sell a kidney.

DOUG: I don’t know, as I don’t have a career yet. The podcast is enough to keep me on my toes but not enough to be overwhelming.

Where do you usually record it?

DOUG: In a wrestling ring on a space ship aka my flat in East Malvern

RUSSELL: We usually say ‘a wrestling ring on a space ship’ but the reality is in stark contrast to that. We don’t want to put off future guests but as stated we actually record in Doug’s flat which is a kin to an abandoned crack den. Tripadvisor.com should really do an expose of that place and get it condemned. I wouldn’t keep chickens there.

Do you think having choosing a niche area about stand up (i.e. beginning a stand up career) helps give your podcast a hook and makes it special? Are you going to stick to that niche (starting out in Melbourne) or branch out?

DOUG: It definitely gives it a hook and makes it special. There’s like 1,000,000 comedy podcasts out there both in Australia and around the world and while some of them discuss stand up, it’s always from a pro’s perspective rather than someone who’s just starting out. This is something open mic comics want to listen to or anyone thinking about getting into comedy. I feel it still fits the format though of appearing as a normal comedy podcast with 2-3 funny people riffing off each other, the topics of conversation are more focused though. We’re trying to stop the Melbourne references to expand our audience but all in good time.

RUSSELL: Yes – as the Bee Gees sung in the early 80s – “Niche is the word” or something to that effect. We feel we’re producing a unique podcast. Just as a note about the use of the word special in that question. Doug has always been special, in fact he went to a school for a while before he got expelled that had the word special in its name!

When do you think you’ll stop being beginners and do you think the podcast will stop being about beginning and just be about general stand up?

DOUG: I’ll stop being a beginner when I start getting paid to do comedy full time and that won’t happen for years. At that point we’d probably bring the podcast to a natural end as it’d be weird to rename it “Mic Life” and have it about pro stand up. There’s already too many of those podcasts out there anyway.

Having spoken to so many comedians about their experiences, what is the most interesting/surprising thing you’ve learned?

DOUG: How many people genuinely love talking about comedy and how passionate they are about it! It still blows my mind that others feel that way and I don’t have something wrong with me.

RUSSELL: That there are still some people who think the RAW comedy competition is worthwhile and based on talent. Also The Nelson Twins are actually female and their beards are fake, just like their breasts.

Who would be your dream guest?

DOUG: Bill Burr for his voice and Jimmy Carr for his knowledge on comedy. Both have totally different approaches to stand up so either way it’s be interesting

RUSSELL: Lance Armstrong – he’s got loads of great made up stories and clearly has a very creative side, which he doesn’t mind exploring in interviews.

Tell us about your live podcasts coming up at MICF 13?

RUSSELL: If you listen to the podcast on itunes then you’ll know what we’re all about. The live shows will very much be an extension of what we have been doing week on week, with the added bonus that the audience will be able to enjoy the show as it is recorded and we’ll even throw the floor open to let them put questions to the guests we have on the each episode.

Have you done a live podcast before?

DOUG: We’re new to the live thing, but we’ve got plenty of hours at the coal face doing the regular show.

Are you nervous about doing it in front of a live audience?

RUSSELL: Doug still gets nervous if he has to pee at a urinal when someone is standing behind him so I am guessing he’ll be shitting himself at this prospect. Don’t worry I’ll carry him as is the case on all our pre-recorded stuff.

DOUG: Definitely not, I’m pumped for it!

Did you get advice from other podcasters about putting it together? [45 mins seems a very short time for a recording btw]

DOUG: Not really, though I’ve seen a few live podcasts now so I have an idea of how we’re going to adapt our show to a live format. 45 min is great for episode length, especially with next to no editing and non-stop laughs.

RUSSELL: We usually knock over our recordings in 45 mins and then spend a week editing out all the shit jokes and anything that is totally false or libellous.

I notice that neither of you are doing your own stand up shows at the festival, have you done them previously?

RUSSELL: No – My wife and I are expecting our first born child on the first day of the live show so to have booked a whole run through the festival would have been plain stupid. Doug only has 15 minutes of material over 7 minutes of which is shit so he‘s not doing a show!

DOUG: Nah, I’m self-aware enough to know my place and that doing a solo show not even 3 years in with only 15 min of material isn’t the best approach. You only get one debut show and I want to be experienced and good enough to make that show a brilliant one.

[I know you’ll put a lot of work into the live podcasts but] does it feel a bit easier than getting a show of Festival standard stand up together? and/or Do you think it’s a good way into the festival for you guys – to be doing what you’ve been doing comfortably for several months now?

RUSSELL: You should sack your source – We’ve put minimal work into the live shows!

DOUG: It’s easier yes, but we didn’t really opt for the live podcast as some cop out for not doing solo shows. Ideally if we’re still doing the podcast in the year we debut solo shows, then we’d still be doing live podcasts as well. I think taking the podcast live in front of an audience adds a new edge and energy to the podcast and keeping it fresh.

Do you see a time when your stand up might take over your life and you’ll give up the podcasting or is it something you’d like to keep doing?

DOUG: Definitely not. Stand up already dominates my life but Open Mic Life is a part of that. In fact, I’ll be delving further into podcasting after the festival as I’m planning to also launch a 2nd comedy podcast to be released every week simultaneous with Open Mic Life.

RUSSELL: For me a fictional Dr. Who villain is more likely to take over my life just now. Oh, and quite possibly my first born child.

Do you think the podcast thing is a fad that will pass or is it going to replace radio?

DOUG: I think radio is dying a slow death. I can’t remember the last time I heard a good show on the radio and even when you do it’s cheesy, watered down and filled with bad music or ads. Podcasts allow the listener to find shows on topics that they’re interested in and most of the time it’s free and no ads. On demand media is the way things are going and I think we’ll be better off for it.

RUSSELL: I don’t put podcasts in quite the same bracket as ‘Planking’ or the ‘Harlem Shake’ so hopefully they’ll have a bit more of a shelf life than this year’s X Factor contestants. As we all know video killed the radio star and Oscar Pistorius killed his girl friend. (That’ll teach her to get him socks for Valentine’s Day). I’d quite like to do some radio stuff so I hope it doesn’t get replaced anytime soon.

Do you think performers will be able to make a living from podcasting?

DOUG: Yes, if the podcast is good enough and has a strong enough following.

RUSSELL: We feel that our podcast is gold and are pretty disappointed that Apple hasn’t stumped up a 6 figure deal for us to date. I mean, it’s not like they’re short of money. Again it depends what standard of living you’d find acceptable. If trawling through the bins in Albert Park looking for your next feed and sleeping on Flinders Street station steps is all good then we’ll live like kings off the royalties from our festival show.

 

Open Mic Live will be recording live in front of audiences during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Bookings are on the website http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/live-podcast-with-doug-gordon-russell-wigginton-open-mic-life

The Open Mic Live Podcast can be downloaded from iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/open-mic-life/id535031899

 

Interview with Ben McKenzie about the Splendid Chaps podcast which celebrates Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary

By Lisa Clark

We love it when comedians push the envelope and do something interesting and outside the box. Especially when it involves something they really care about. 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of Doctor Who and geeky stand up comedian Ben McKenzie and creator of the best gay, scifi sitcom ever, Outland John Richards, have committed themselves to producing a monthly podcast discussing the history and influence of The Doctor. Each month the podcast will focus on a different Doctor (Eleven actors have played The Doctor so far – though this can be contentious, Wikipedia says it is eleven and they must be right…) and also cover a theme important to the world of Doctor Who. They promise guests, laughs and surprises.

Why have you decided to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who with a live podcast?

BEN: I’ve had some limited podcast experience, appearing on other people’s – including John Richards’ one, Boxcutters – and I’ve been planning to make my own for some time. (I’m hoping to start another one, about games, later this year.) I also knew I wanted to do something special for the fiftieth anniversary, since I’ve not really publicly celebrated my love for the show before. It seemed natural to combine the two. Once I made the connection between eleven months from January to the anniversary itself and the number of Doctors, a monthly podcast seemed the way to go – but I wanted it to have a community feel, to be something special. I’ve been to many of the “Live in the Studio” events at ACMI, which are live discussions recorded and later podcast, and that seemed like just the basic format I was looking for, so with a couple of tweaks Splendid Chaps was born! I asked John to co-host, since we have been on many nerd dates discussing Doctor Who and we’ve wanted to work together for a while – plus he’s got loads of podcasting experience. He was the perfect choice!

I can see the sci/fi comedy backgrounds in both you and John, did you bring different perspectives in how to approach this?

BEN: I think so. I know how to run a live show; John knows how to produce a podcast. And we each have contacts relevant to proceedings.

How did you bring the rest of the group together and will it be the same group for each podcast or will they change?

BEN: The plan is to have different guests and record in a different venue every episode – we already have plans to go to Adelaide, and we’ll hopefully head up to Sydney too. We’re like the TARDIS, popping up all over the place, with an ever changing crew!

So where did the Name come from?

BEN: It’s from a couple of famous lines in the twentieth anniversary special, ‘The Five Doctors’. The Brigadier describes the Doctor: ‘Wonderful chap. All of them.” and later “Splendid chaps, all of you.” The popularly quoted version is a mashup of the two, but it’s become the stock answer for anyone who doesn’t wish to name a specific favourite Doctor.

What exactly is going to happen in the podcast? (Just chat? Serious chat? Nostalgia chat? Comedy skits?)

BEN: It’s a discussion podcast, so there aren’t skits – and I don’t want to give too much away! But basically John and I will host a panel discussion with our guests about the era in question, and then about the theme. We’ll finish off with a performance by a special guest – probably

I understood that each podcast was going to celebrate an incarnation of the Doctor, (I’m looking forward to Tom Baker in April – during the Comedy Festival – How appropriate!) What’s with the ‘theme’ and why have a theme on top of focusing on Doctor of the Month?

BEN: The theme is important because Splendid Chaps is intended to be something new. The Doctors themselves, and their eras, have been discussed and written about to death, and while we want to talk about them, we also want to talk about the many things the show has been over 50 years, and talk about things that haven’t been discussed as often. It’s also a way of making every episode relevant to a broader fan base; you might only be into the new series, but while Episode One will talk about William Hartnell, our examination of Authority in Doctor Who will cover the show throughout its history.

What sort of audience are you expecting? I suspect the live audience will differ to the wider podcast audience, will this appeal to the serious Whovian?

BEN: I’m not quite sure. I think initially our audience will be people who like John and myself! But yes, I think we’ll appeal to serious fans, though hopefully we’ll be accessible and interesting to anyone who’s curious about thinking deeper about Doctor Who.

Will this appeal to the casual watcher who may only know the modern Who?

BEN: I hope so! The new series, while a vastly different show to the ones that came before, still wears its links to the past on its sleeve, and I’d like to think most fans are interested in where it comes from. Perhaps our discussions will be a good starting point for fans who’ve not watched any “classic” Who!

How long will the Live recording  as compared to the finished product take do you think?

BEN: The plan is to allow 90 minutes, including time for an interval. This will be edited down to under an hour for the podcast, so you’ll get to hear exclusive stuff if you’re at the show!

You have got an exciting guest for the first show – original Cyberman costume designer Alexandra Tynan, do you hope to have serious Who related guests for each show?

BEN: We’re not planning that, but when we get the opportunity to speak with people who’ve worked on the show, we’ll certainly take it!

Have you got a favourite Doctor, alien or Episode?

BEN: I think you know the answer to the first one: splendid chaps, all of him! I still think ‘Caves of Androzani’ is my favourite story, though I also love A ‘Christmas Carol’. I have a favourite or two for each Doctor as well.

There is a preliminary podcast Zero where Ben and John sit in a café and chat about Doctor Who and what they hope the Podcast will be

The first podcast celebrating William Hartnel will be recorded on Sunday 13th of January at The Bella Union Bar, special guests will include Geraldine Quinn and Dr Who Costume designer of the original 1966 Cybermen, Alexandra Tynan (aka Sandra Reid). Be aware that late comers will not be admitted, because they are recording, so be punctual!

The Splendid Chaps Podcasts will be released on the 23rd of each month.

For more information, bookings for the live shows, future downloads etc check their website

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