Triple J’s Good Az Friday

By Jayden Edwards

Now in it’s third year, Triple J rolled into the Melbourne Town Hall with 1200 of their closest friends for the annual “Good Az Friday” Outside broadcast.

Quickly becoming a major highlight of the festival, Triple J’s breakfast young guns Tom Ballard and Alex Dyson beamed 3 hours of stand up comedy, music and shenanigans around the country with help from Triple J buddies Sam Simmons, Dave Callan and Father Bob plus a big line up of stand up spots from the likes of Steven K. Amos, Tom Green, Celia Paquola, Mike Wilmot Paul Foot, Andy Kindler and more!

Young songstress Lisa Mitchell performed a couple of songs including a fantastic cover of M83’s Midnight City (sorry oldies, that’s a hip song the young people are down with) for regular Triple J segment “Like a Version”. The day accumulated with another Triple J tradition, a massive Friday Dance Off, which saw the Melbourne Town Hall jumping to the beats of Skrillex (more young people stuff). All in all a whole lot of fun and a great showcase to get those young folks out and seeing live comedy!

If you weren’t there, or missed it on the radio, you can hear everything i just told you here!

The Show:

Lisa Mitchell’s Like a Version:

Some Pics:

Daniel Burt – Inspired by Mediocrity

By Lisa Clark

A comedian who names his show ‘Inspired by Mediocrity’ has to be pretty careful not to put ideas about his performance in the audience’s or reviewers’ minds. Daniel Burt has certainly chosen some pretty mundane topics for his Festival show this year, such as Masterchef, over ordering in a restaurant, picnics and his disinterest in clothes buying. It’s a shame that despite being a lovely, warm guy with some neat comedy writing skills, he can’t really make any of these topics shine.

The idea behind Daniel’s show is that he’s been too much of a perfectionist and he wants to relax a bit and enjoy the middle ground. At the same time he does end up taking the mickey out of the mundane topics he touches upon, as well as himself. He began with great confidence and a pleasantly gentle, flowing, jazzy style that became more stilted and disjointed as it went along. I was thinking he might be a good comedian to bring your mum to until he got into some rather racey material that seemed to make a kid in front of me squirm just a bit.

The strongest parts of the show are actually pretty funny. I felt that he could have written an entire show around his experience as a party bus host. Audiences love a funny ‘behind the scenes’ story based around real life experiences. His talents as a journalistic writer stand out when he rises above the mediocre, such as his belief that  ‘hating pedophiles’ is a lazy and easy sell for a journo and then he had the audience in his hands when, during our show, he broke away from his script to discuss a news report about an outrageous racist in the newspaper that day. There was a frisson in the room as both audience and comedian actually got excited by something and the laughter was notably louder. Then it was back to the less interesting body of his show about being crap at housework and stuff.

The low point was when he threw in a joke about a man who is sadly famous for having relations with a goat. Not only did Daniel try to pass off an old generic joke as his own, (and I know he’s not the first comedian to do this) but he did it with such little skill that there was a barely a hint of laughter in the room. Maybe most of them had heard it done better. He pretty much lost me at that point. Here it is in the urban dictionary. This throw away gag bares so little relation to his show I wonder why it is there at all. Unless it is a lack of confidence in his own comedic skill or trying to pad out the hour.

I know he does a lot of comedy writing, much of which I enjoy, but I’ve not seen Daniel around the live comedy traps. This is his third festival show and he’s still making rookie mistakes. I suggest that he might want to get out and do some spots at the regular comedy nights to iron this out in the future.

Daniel Burt – Inspired by Mediocrity is on at 1,000 pound bend

Sammy J and Randy in The Inheritance

By Daniel Sheppard

Carrying on the journey of their last two shows together (2010’s Rickett’s Lane and 2011’s Bin Night), The Inheritance takes our self-centered no-hopers to Britain in the wake of Randy’s uncle dying and leaving him with unexpected riches. A tale of secrets, debauchery, jealousy, mistaken identity and murder unfolds. There’s a series of twists in the saga, so I won’t go into great detail, but it’s a great little story that they’ve woven together.

The stage design and puppetry have taken a step up from the last few shows, especially the delightfully grotesque groundskeeper. While not quite at the level of production of Forest of Dreams, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a more impressive production in the festival. Heath McIvor’s skill as a puppeteer is really showcased here, and it’s a delight to see such an under-appreciated art given an outlet.

Sam and Heath seem really comfortable in their characters here, and their ease on stage allows them to really enjoy themselves. Even with such a tightly scripted show incorporating musical numbers and constant stage changes, they’re both relaxed enough on stage be able to break out of the show when the opportunity arises. This sense of fun is infectious, making it impossible not to get caught up in the enjoyment of the performers.

This show is probably a good re-entry point into Sammy J and Randy for those that were brought in by Forest of Dreams but were shocked away by the darker more misanthropic nature of the characters of recent years. The edge is all still there, but there’s an extra level of charm in this show that makes it much more accessible. Sammy J and Randy are on a great little journey together, and this show is a great opportunity to get on board and see where else they’re going to take us.

Sammy J & Randy perform The Inheritance at Forum Theatre downstairs.

Josh Earl is XXX

By Annette Slattery

It’s hard to find the right adjective to describe Josh Earl. He is a contrast. On the one hand he presents a show of high energy, adorably relatable, poppy joy. But he is also dryly acidic, knowingly exasperated and bluntly honest. However I can think of a couple of adjectives that do fit him neatly, such as fabulously funny.

Earl has turned thirty. As someone two months shy of her fortieth birthday, I was concerned that thirty year old Josh Earl was going to bemoan his advancing age. Earl however is quite aware that he’s not old; in fact this show sees him questioning whether he’s grown up enough. This fear is enunciated to him by nine year old Rosie, a character who has appeared in two of his previous shows. This monopoly playing adversary believes that Earl has grown old without ever becoming a grown up. Rosie has a list of criteria by which she judges whether someone is grown up and it is upon this list that Earl hangs this show.

In doing so he tells us about his son, his marriage and his driving history. He assesses his own level of wisdom (occasionally comparing himself to an owl), determines if he’s ever had a proper job and discusses his home rental history. Earl’s take on these stories is never dull, never ham and never old hat. He works from his individual history thus rendering his tales authentic.

Whilst Earl began his comic existence as a musical comedian, usually accompanied by Tasmanian cohort Justin Heazlewood (The Bedroom Philosopher) these days he’s a “comedian who uses music”. His musical ability has in no way diminished; in fact it has expanded in style and content, becoming occasionally reminiscent of Flight of the Conchords. The difference is that Earl doesn’t rely on musical interludes but rather he uses them to enhance his comedy.

Earl relates to his audience exceptionally well. Whilst he may be well known enough to attract a favourable demographic, his work is accessible enough to attract knowing laughs from a wide spectrum of society. Nevertheless he is never in danger of becoming “broad”.

This is not a show that will disappoint. In fact I was thrilled to see this young (yeah I said young) comedian’s latest stage of evolution. Josh Earl is a youthful thirty years old. But he is also fabulously funny.

Josh Earl is XXX is on at Arthurs Bar on Flinders Lane

Steele Saunders – The Cat’s Meow

By Lisa Clark

Lets get this straight upfront, this is a show for cat people. If you hate cats, this is not the show for you. The title should give you a clue and once you’re in the room a screen showing 50 pics of an orange grumpy looking Persian while Tom Jones croons ‘What’s New Pussycat” should ring some really loud alarm bells. This is not an ‘’ kind of cutesy show, thank god. I mean, really, if cats could use computers they would be able to spell and have good grammar. This is a story about Steele’s relationship with cats and especially his grumpy looking marmalade Persian named Jerry.

The idea for this show was spawned by the fact that Steele included his cat Jerry in his twitter avatar and noticed there was more interest in Jerry than in himself. This led to Jerry getting his own twitter @JerryThePersian which is not at all surprising considering the proven success of cats on the internet. The Cat’s Meow is all about how successful cats are, especially in comparison to ape descendent life forms. Steele has a list of topics stuck to the wall behind him of things that Cats are better at than humans, such as Fitness, Honesty, Happiness and Intelligence. He covers them all, some more successfully than others, with funny anecdotes about cats being smart and people being not so smart.

Steele is an anecdotal comedian, it’s not a grand biographical story show and his experience as a regular in the clubs and pubs of Melbourne is clear from his confidence and ability to get laughs. Some of his stories are crackers and most of them actually stuck to the topic of the show (which isn’t always the case with even the best of comedians) but there was one long personal tale that made me wish the rest of the show had been a bit more of the same, but then I’m a fan of a story show. His account of Chewy the cat and how Jerry came into his life was funny and moving and will stay with you long after seeing the show.

From the get go, Steele reminds us that cat lovers are often teased and looked down upon and I can’t help but be amused that he rarely speaks of his own emotional attachment. He tends to put the blame on his girlfriend for his cat owning, but there is no doubt of his affection. Steele is a warm, friendly comedian and this is the best I’ve ever seen him. This would be a great date show for cat lovers, it is a sweet and funny show.

Steel Saunders is performing The Cat’s Meow upstairs at Spleen

Bedroom Philosopher’s, The High School Assembly

By Jayden Edwards

Pull up your socks, straighten that tie and prepare to sit up straight and speak only when spoken to, The Bedroom Philosopher (aka Justin Heazlewood) is taking us back to high school.

Off the back of some big airtime on triple j with his anti-hipster anthem “So Hungover”, a bundle of live touring, comedy festival shows and CD hits, Beddy Phil returns to the festival with his new show “High School Assembly”.

Upon walking into the Forum theatre, the audience is greeted by the musical stylings of school band “Sex on Toast”. The band are kitted out in the Croxton High School uniform and are, well, really bad. Yep, the high school band to the tee. This perfectly cringeworthy cover band sets the tone for the nights performance.

The familiar stiff high school principal leads proceedings from his lectern, introducing the barrage of high school stereotypes. The drama kids, the class clown, participation certificates and Rock Estedford performances all feature. The performances are spot on, so spot on it will have you flashing-back to your own school experience so fast, your mortarboard will spin.

Fan’s expecting to see The Bedroom Philosopher’s own musical comedy will be disappointed, as this is well and truly a ensemble cast play. Beddy Phil does appear as a “special guest of the school” to perform an educational (and unfortunately, not very funny) song but for most of the night, assumes the role of a hand-full of characters, accompanied by his sizeable cast.

There’s a heap of variety in the show, and there are some gems in there, like an perfectly awkward love ode and hilariously inappropriate Rock Estedford entry, but a lot of the acts fell well and truly flat.

The show achieves the feel of a high school assembly remarkably, but that’s just the problem. High School Assembly’s were not fun or entertaining. That’s not to say the show isn’t entertaining, but it could be so much better that it was.

The underlining problem with this show is that it doesn’t go far enough with it’s characters, less subtlety and more depth could have gone a long way.

An A for effort, but needs to apply himself more.

Bedroom Philosopher’s, The High School Assembly plays at the Forum Theatre.