These Kids are Good.

By Lisa Clark

It’s great to see a show where you get a taste of several performers, to give you an idea of what they are like and hopefully encourage you to see their solo shows. This one is six regular comedians, plus a guest, who do around five minutes each. If one doesn’t appeal, it won’t be long before you’re checking out the next one.

The comedians appearing in this show have been handpicked by affable host Tom Ward, most famously best friend of Josh Thomas in real life as well as playing the part in the TV series ‘Please Like Me.’ Tom is getting a fine reputation of his own in comedy circles and has chosen the kind of comedian that he enjoys and is unsurprisingly closest to his own and Josh’s style. So we get a line-up of six youngish gen Y bespectacled and/or bearded, smart, slightly awkward, gentle charmers doing a modern brand of observational humour and getting away with the occasional filth. These are not ‘angry young men’ (or woman) shouting about what boils their blood, they’re more likely to be bemused or annoyed about stuff.

Some of the performers though unknown have been treading the boards for a while and are pretty solid standups including the laid back Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall, cheeky Jonathan Schuster and ever delightful Neil Sinclair. Then there is Nellie White who’s been living away from Melbourne, in the UK and Perth for the past six years. She’s someone I’ve always admired for being very left of centre, if a little nervous in her delivery. She’s doing some filthy gear and it’s nice to have her back on the scene.

It’s lovely to discover new faces too like tonight’s guest comedian John Campbell (he had a MICF show last year, but is new to me) reading his annoyed letter about public transport and the confident Andy Matthews who is currently doing a double act in the festival with Tony Besselink

I’ve seen several of these comedians performing elsewhere and they’ve been refreshing in the line up and often even killed the room, but all together, I felt they needed some sort of contrast to add more balance to the hour. Still, if this style of comedy is what really rocks your boat, it’s a great way to see some appealing up and comers who are pretty good at it.

These Kids are Good is on at The Imperial Hotel
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/these-kids-are-good

I Love Green Guide Letters Live.

Last Saturday, Steele Saunders kicked off his run of Live “I Love Green Guide Letter” podcasts at the Melbourne Town Hall.
Special guests Tony Martin, Sam Pang and Tom Ballard helped Steele discuss letters about Digital TV, netball, Josh Thomas’ Please Like Me, Formula 1 advertising, Peter Mitchell’s Melbourne and The Biggest Looser.

Check out the shorter sizzle video below for a taste of what went down, and grab the entire episode from iTunes or direct from here.

The Green Guide Letters live show will continue throughout the comedy festival with more special surprise guests.
Grab your tickets here http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/with-steele-saunders-i-love-green-guide-letters

 

Pat Burtscher’s Breaking Even

By Cathy Culliver

Pat Burtscher doesn’t have any grand ambitions. As the title of his new show suggests, he’s just focused on breaking even and not losing any more of what he currently has.

And this mentality sums him up as a performer quite well too; he’s not flashy or self-important, he just gets up on stage and tells his jokes and stories. No gimmicks, no complex light and sound show (Burtscher freely admits he doesn’t even a tech guy because he can’t afford one).

But just because his approach to life and this particular show is simple, you shouldn’t think that the same goes for his abilities as a comedian. This guy knows his stuff.

The UK-based Canadian has some interesting and very funny ideas about life; what’s so great about them is that they seem so obvious and yet you never thought of them yourself, like the idea that people should have to earn their face. If you’re a good person, you get a nice face. And vice versa. So simple.

It’s also pretty clear that Burtscher doesn’t suffer idiots. Imagine my trepidation as he told the story of when he’d thrown a reviewer out of his show in Adelaide for being a heckling smart arse. That probably makes him sound like a bit of an arse himself, but he actually comes off as the good guy in the story; he just didn’t want the show being ruined for everyone else. So it turns out I was safe as long as I kept my mouth shut.

This is a simple, back-to-basics, gimmick-free show but it’s still a really fun way to spend 60 minutes. Burtscher is a genuinely funny man who will make you laugh at his unusual world view, but at the same time somehow make you eventually agree with everything he says.

Breaking Even is playing at Tuxedo Cat until April 21.
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/breaking-even-pat-burtscher-s

5 GOOD REASONS TO SEE CRAIG HILL, Angus Brown and 50 Shades of Gravey

CRAIG HILL – 5 GOOD REASONS TO COME TO MY SHOW JOCK’S TRAP

REASON NUMBER ONE
So you can say you’ve seen a dancing Scotsman in a red leather kilt with a spectacular entrance!

REASON NUMBER TWO
Every night’s a different show! So it’s fun to be there on the night something special happens…like when I found a man who was an ‘artificial pig insemanator’ or like last week when a lovely homely blow dried granny came out as lesbian and gobsmacked the audience!

REASON NUMBER THREE
I only come once a year! To Melbourne that is…

REASON NUMBER FOUR
It’s in The Famous Spiegeltent! Probably one of the loveliest venues you could play in. It’s got ‘Night Out’ written all over it!

REASON NUMBER FIVE
Because me and the audience have a riotous laugh together and I’d feel awful if you missed out! Come join us! Can’t wait!!!! X

Craig Hill will be performing at The Famous Spiegeltent at Arts Centre
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/jock-s-trap-craig-hill

 

5 Good Reasons To see Angus Brown – Mania

1 It’s at The Forum, which is seriously one of the greatest theatre’s in the world. And it’s in the Carpet room, so you know the show is going to be “plush”, so hot it “burns” and several other puns about carpet.
(*Note, there are no jokes about carpet in the show)

2 Erotic Murder, She Wrote fan fiction.

C I will give away a prize. Every night someone in the audience will win something and get to take it home! And it’s something good. And useful.

4 Climate change. There is a good chance that we’ll all be underwater in a few years and jokes will be less funny when the punch-line to everything it “blub blub blub” so you should come and see my show now while it’s still funny and dry.

5 It’s silly. And it’s fun. And it doesn’t hurt anybody. I just want us all to have a good time, we’ll tell some stories, have a few laughs and at there will be dancing and maybe confetti.

Anugus Brown will be performing in the Forum Theatre – Carpet Room
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/mania-angus-brown

 

5 good reasons to come and see “50 Shades of Gravey”! 

1. It’s a rockin show

2. There are 2 puns used

3. It’s got a catchy name

4. We play instruments and sing (at the same time)

5. We like people coming to see us, it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy

50 Shades of Gravey is on at Word Warehouse

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/50-shades-of-gravey-gravey

The Writers

By Lisa Clark

It must be a bit irresistible for a writer to write about writing. There are many, many examples of writers as protagonists such as Adaptation or Barton Fink, and Bob Franklin’s comic play reminded me a little of the recent cerebral romp The Seven Psychopaths without so much blood soaked violence. Sometimes it’s hard to know where reality stops and fantasy begins.

Ostensibly it’s about a writer of comedy named Simon and played by writer/actor Steven Stagg having a bit of writers block while being pestered by his annoying, arrogant housemate played by Stephen Curry (The Castle and he was Graham Kennedy in The King) prancing about in very short shorts. His housemate denies wanting to be a writer but keeps offering his opinions and crazy character ideas that come to life as Bob Franklin (The Librarians) in wacky outfits and accents.

Simon keeps quoting classic writers such as George Bernard Shaw, William Burrows and even Kierkegaard while his flatmate conjures up clichéd sitcom characters. They discuss comedy tropes like running gags and surprise twists and of course these magically manifest themselves in the play we are watching. The play is being created in physical form as it is being created in the mind of the writer.

From the beginning this seemed like there was a lot more going on under the surface. It became clear that we were getting a view inside Bob the writer’s head. I think the obsession with biscuits was the big giveaway, and the tribute to The Cheese Shop sketch using tea was gorgeous.

The intellectual, occasionally smug Simon thinks he is controlling things but he is blocked creatively while his housemate, who acts as the instinctively driven id part of Bob’s brain taunts him by having ‘characters coming out of [his] arse.’

The Writers might not be for everyone, writers will probably have the most fun here. If you’ve missed out on Hughsey tickets and are looking for something mainstream, you might want to go elsewhere. Still, there is a lot of joy in watching the three performers on top form bouncing off one another and having a ball. It’s lighter, better performed and more snappily written than last year’s Stubborn Monkey Disorder. It’s brief, playful and the audience laughed all the way though, of course there were a lot of reviewers in.

If you can be sure of anything Bob enjoys working with people called Steve and he loves a biscuit. If you love Bob Franklin you won’t want to miss this.
Think it’s time for a cup of tea and a bicky.

The Writers is on at The Melbourne Town Hall Regent Room
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/the-writers-bob-franklin-stephen-curry-steven-stagg

Naked Unicorn Vomit

By Colin Flaherty

Despite the colourful and intriguing title, Naked Unicorn Vomit does not contain naturists, mythical creatures or the expulsion of bodily fluids. What we do get is Nicole Henriksen from New South Wales doing some stand up and songs, presenting some video pieces and bringing her characters to life.

The show was introduced by Nicole Henriksensen as a sort of TV presenter before Nicole appears as herself to do some stand up. It was always going to be an uphill battle trying to get a small crowd amped up but with actual humorous lines few and far between, it was a particularly hard slog. There were a number of comments (mostly of an absurdist nature) that were absolute gems but getting to them was quite an ordeal.

It seems that Nicole is trying to do the “constant, massive build up with little payoff” shtick ala Paul Foot but she doesn’t have the clever whimsical material to make it work. She spent so much time talking herself up with exaggerated confidence that there was barely any room left for jokes. There was a list of amusing life tips (each given a bizarre twist) and a comically over-dramatic movie trailer to watch so this section wasn’t a complete loss.

Her next character was Electro-Pop Diva “Big Yellow Button” who also banged on about how great she was amongst performing a couple of tunes. The stalker tinged “Why Did You Leave Me Baby” was great even though it was a one joke song that relied on increasingly insane repetition and deadpan delivery for it’s humour.

Next was ex-talk show host and junkie N.K. who between convincing us of how valuable she was to the show spent most of her spot wailing about every little thing and menacing the audience.

Rounding out Nicole’s characters was MC Misogynist who took the Gangsta Rap genre, flipped the gender and extended it to its natural conclusion. This was a one joke concept that outstayed it’s welcome and sounded too much like real Gangsta Rap to be amusing.

All of the characters were one note creations that relied too heavily on letting us know that they were “The Shit”. To make matters worse, EVERY CHARACTER took the pains to explain a lame joke that had gone down like a lead balloon. Using this ploy once can be amusing and endearing but to repeat it in different guises is insulting. Surely she could have executed this ploy with some variety.

There were some interesting ideas and silly lines littered throughout this performance but it was a shame you had to wade through so much dull filler.

NB: If you want to see a show at Dane Certificate’s Magic Theatre, the venue is a little difficult to find as there is no signage on Sydney Rd. You must head down Cozens St and take the first lane on the right (effectively going behind 859 Sydney Rd).

Naked Unicorn Vomit is on at Dane Certificate’s Magic Theatre.

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/naked-unicorn-vomit-nicole-henriksen