The Art of the YouTube Promo

by Colin Flaherty

Comedians have been using YouTube as a promotional tool for their Festival shows for several years now. One of the most notable was by Australian expatriate Yanni for his 2012 Edinburgh show “Numb and Number” (It’s still online on his YouTube Channel ). In the lead up to this years’ Melbourne Comedy Festival, it seems as though every comedian and their tech savvy dog has filmed a video to lure punters to their show.

Some videos simply have the performer addressing the camera to tell you what to expect from their show, usually with a wacky angle to prevent it from becoming too dry. Others present an excerpt from the show to literally give the potential audiences a taste of the actual performance.

The road of YouTube trailers is rife with dangerous pitfalls. A rough, quick shoot with a handycam may paint the whole production as amateurish (unless this is exactly what you are aiming for!). A lengthy running time may be too much for the short attention spans of some folk unless it has a rewarding punchline.

Amongst the deluge of promotional material are some wonderful examples of promo videos that rise above the mere show reel and really make a lasting impression…


For his show Can you do this? No you can’t, Ronny Chieng runs literally with the title and presents a montage of mundane tasks to prove that he can do anything better than a mere mortal. It gives you a clear idea of what to expect from Ronny and his hyper confident stage persona.


Utilising various colourful online characters for a nominal fee, Nicholas J Johnson has created a series of videos (the above puppet example is my personal favourite) to sell his show Today Tonight, Tomorrow The World. It has a very shyster air that is appropriate for this show about the dirty tabloid world of “Current Affairs” television and his work in general as swindler extraordinaire.


Ross Daniels has gone the music video route (there is also a full length version of this song here) to promote his character piece about 80s Synth Pop musician Graham Clone for the show The Future is Incorrect. It is so well done that it could easily pass as an actual music video of the period in spite of the numerous silly touches.


For their new show Once Were Planets, Watson employ spiffy animation. The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy styled infographics format fits in perfectly with the subject matter and includes many of the pop cultural references that are littered throughout a Watson show.


Lawrence Leung takes a leaf out of Yanni’s book by editing some existing television footage and inserting himself into the action. Rather than re-edit all the dialogue to suit his plot, he cleverly works around the existing lines of Benedict Cumberbatch to create a wonderful humourous exchange. A clever and entertaining invite to his Part Time Detective Agency.

Ronny Chieng’s Can you do this? No you can’t is on at Melbourne Town Hall – Council Chambers

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/can-you-do-this-no-you-can-t-ronny-chieng

Nicholas J Johnson’s Today Tonight, Tomorrow The World is on at Comedy On Collins

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/today-tonight-tomorrow-the-world-nicholas-j-johnson

Ross Daniels’ Graham Clone: The Future is Incorrect – is on at Three Degrees

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/graham-clone-this-future-is-incorrect-ross-daniels

Watson’s Once Were Planets is on at Trades Hall – Old Council Chambers

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/once-were-planets-watson

Lawrence Leung’s Part Time Detective Agency is on at Swiss Club

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/part-time-detective-agency-lawrence-leung-s

Five good reasons to see Cal Wilson Is Guilty, Saturn Returns and Daniel Connell – Mr Personality 1988

5 good reasons to see Cal Wilson Is Guilty

1. I have it on good authority Bradley Cooper/Scarlett Johannson/Justin Bieber/Chewbacca are coming to the show. I don’t know which night. You’ll have to come lots.

2. I know where you live. If you don’t come, I’ll hang around your house doing impressions of Chewbacca singing Justin Bieber songs.

3. I reveal lots of true stories, stripping away secrets, peeling off guilts. It’s like burlesque of the mouth.

4. There could a be surprise guest on stage with me. When I say “guest,” I mean “moth.”

5. I admit to the worst things I’ve ever done. Apart from stealing that roman artefact. No one knows about that. Oh.

Cal Wilson Is Guilty at the Melb Town Hall – Powder Room

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/guilty-cal-wilson-is

 

5 Good Reasons to See Lachlan MacLeod and Simon Abrahams in Saturn Returns

One. It’s funny. Which is a good start for the comedy festival. It’s fun for you because we laugh at at our real life traumas. Which is not that much fun for us. For us, every night brings another therapy bill. We’re laughing on the outside but crying on the inside. But for you, it’s funny. No therapy bills. Perhaps a dry cleaning bill.

Two. It’s got music. 12 original songs that poke fun at everything from Uranus to grey pubic hair, Matt Preston to golden Gaytimes. There’s electro synth, piano ballads, ukelele ditties and rollicking dance numbers. There’s even a CD you can buy at the end. And if that’s not enough for you, we wear fancy silver suits. FANCY SILVER SUITS, I SAY.

Three. It’s good. And not just cos we say so. There’s this fancy four star review (http://au.artshub.com/au/news-article/reviews/performing-arts/saturn-returns-190291?sc=1), plus a whole lot of people who saw our sold out 2012 season who will say so. And Tripod – who we recently toured with – they’ll say so too. Won’t you guys? Eh, Tripod? Gatesy? Yon? The other one? Remember us… from the tour, you know… Ummm *sigh*. Plus TheatrePress.com.au said Lachlan was “everyday funny like Hamish and Andy, writes clever and witty lyrics like Tim Minchin, and delivers them with the pathos of Tripod.”. So at least one of us is funny. And the other is a bit funny looking…

Four. It’s deep. Like… yeah. It’s a show with heart. You’ll come out laughing and humming catchy tunes but maybe – just maybe – you’ll even come out having been moved a teensy tiny bit. Unless you’re a heartless bastard, in which case, I totally empathise.

Five. This show is about crisis. It’s poking fun at the traumas of turning 30. We’re really pretty stressed as it is. Have some heart. Even the aforementioned heartless bastards. See our show. We’re already getting old, going grey, going bald and getting fat. Don’t send us broke too.

Saturn Returns is on from  27 March to 6 April at The Butterfly Club.

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/saturn-returns-simon-abrahams-lachlan-macleod-in

 

5 Good Reasons to see Daniel Connell – Mr Personality 1988
1. The show features a ceramic owl.

2. Daniel won a Mr Personality contest aged 5, he has a sash to prove it. Last year he asked questions about what happened on that day in 1988, he regretted this.

3. Martin Riggs is an L.A. cop with suicidal tendencies and Roger Murtaugh is the unlucky police officer with whom Riggs is assigned. Together they uncover a huge drug-smuggling operation, and as their success rate grows so does their friendship. (This will make sense if you see this show)

4. It’s at 8:30 every night (except Sunday 7:30pm), I know that’s the time most good TV shows or movies start but you can record those and watch them later. Come and see this live (please don’t record it). (unless you have a sweet camera and good sound and can give me a copy).

5. There might be some singing and dancing in this show, there might not be……

Daniel Connell – Mr Personality 1988 is on at the Forum Theatre in the Carpet Room throughout the Festival

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/mr-personality-1988-daniel-connell

Interview with Tegan Higginbotham about being Touched By Fev, and other things…

By Lisa Clark

Tegan Higginbotham has been around the Melbourne comedy scene a long time, yet still seems like a fresh faced kid. Last year she told us about her new hobby – professional boxing in her debut solo standup show Million Dollar Tegan which gained a lot of praise and thankfully didn’t end with her coach euthenising her. This year she is talking about her childhood obsessions in Touched by Fev. She began her comedy career performing wild fast-paced sketch shows with Rob Lloyd and Adam Mckenzie as the Hounds. This has morphed into Watson without Rob and they will be performing Once Were Planets this year. Apart from her work with Watson and her own stand up solo show, she will be doing her regular Monday night spot at The Shelf at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this year. Tegan is clearly very busy at the moment, but she kindly found some time to answer my questions.

How Long have you been doing comedy and how old were you when you did your first comedy gig?

I was 17 when I did my first gig. So I’ve performing for 2ish years. (ish).

Did you always want to perform on stage?
Unfortunately, yes. I was that annoying kid who made my parents sit down every night to watch my latest piece of theatre. I just never would have thought that one day I’d actually be enjoying them laughing at me.

Who in comedy has inspired you?
Celia Pacquola, Judith Lucy, Nick Cody, Justin Hamilton and my good friend Adam McKenzie.

Does your work with Watson inform your stand up and visa versa?
I think that the joke writing skills I’m learning from stand-up have most definitely helped with my writing for Watson. But I was actually surprised how little all the years of performing sketch helped when I finally got the balls to get up on stage by myself. It was a whole new game. I kept running out of breath because I was waiting for someone else to start delivering lines but it NEVER HAPPENED

Do you think the timing and running around with Watson helped you be a better boxer?
Better” would imply that I’m any good. I’m terrible at boxing. Just ask the trainers.

When did you decide it was time to do solo standup?

I felt like it was a natural progression. And I’d been hanging around with stand-up’s for so many years I felt it would have been wrong not to give it a go. But specifically, I was 21 when I bit the bullet.

Was it hard to step out on your own away from the support of Adam McKenzie & Rob Lloyd?

Absolutely. Not only in the sense that performing solo was difficult, but the support they offer after a show is invaluable. When you’re part of a group, you all ride the hard shows together and share the blame, so to speak. Whereas having to pick yourself up after a bad stand-up set can be a very tricky task indeed.

Did they prepare you for life as a comedian?
Adam and Robby taught me right from the get-go that to be a successful comedian you have to work incredibly hard. During our very first comedy festival we would often be performing three times a night, so doing that now seems quite natural. In this way, they did help. Robby and Adam also exposed me to a very unique style of comedy that I would have missed completely had I just gone straight into stand-up and I’m very lucky that I got a fabulous opportunity to experience that and experiment with them on stage.

When you were growing up did you ever see yourself as a comedian, who punches people as a side hobby?
I saw myself as Ripley from Aliens. So the punching thing was certainly there. It’s the comedy I’m surprised by.

Have you enjoyed working on The Shelf?
Defintely! But it still scares me. Sometimes I find myself standing on stage with people who are SO much better than me and I have to stop myself from freaking out or yelling “You’re from the TV! Say hi to my Mum!”

How do you plan to juggle 3 shows at this years MICF?
With a mixture of coffee, Lindt and pure adrenaline. Wish me luck.

Have you done much hosting at comedy gigs?
A little bit. I’m hoping to do more and more over time. It requires a really fabulous set of skills that I haven’t quite mastered yet. Harley Breen, who is another comic I look up to, once pointed out to me that when you’re performing a solo-show, you ostensibly have to be your own MC. So it helps to be good at it.

When did you start thinking about this as a topic for a festival show.
A long time ago, actually. I usually think of my shows long before I attempt to write them. In fact, I already know what my very last show will be.
I second guessed “Touched By Fev” a bit and considered doing something else for a while. But for me, there was too much to talk about and I’m genuinely interested in the subject matter. It felt right.

How do you write a show, in bits and pieces, in big chunks?
I actually don’t have a set style of writing just yet. Last year it was matter of experiencing boxing, then simply taking note of what happened. This show has involved more research and delves a little further in to personal stories.

Are you disciplined, do you have a routine or is it more organic?
Organic.

Do you think you can make this festival show appeal to people who know nothing of Aussie Rules or Brendan Fevola?
The show is also about Harry Potter, so I’m hoping that if people aren’t massive AFL fans, they’ll come for the Potter instead. That being said, I have written this show with a non-sporty audience in mind as well, and I’m pretty sure that they’ll still understand everything hat’s going on.

What’s your favourite thing about taking part in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival?

I have been thinking about this answer for 20 minutes now. I just have to pick something, don’t I?
Um…oh god! It’s so many things! It’s the laughter; both from an audience and from myself as I watch Adam try to keep a straight face each night. It’s the incredibly warm feeling you get when someone enjoys something that you’ve written. It’s huddling with other comics on the steps of The Melbourne Town hall and sharing battle tales. It’s feeling a little bit spesh for a whole month. It’s meeting new people and eating pizza at 1am on Swanston Street and so many things. I honestly can’t choose.

Tegan Higginbotham’s Touched by Fev is on upstairs in The Spleen Bar throughout the Festival – There are NO performances Mondays, Fridays & Sundays

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/touched-by-fev-tegan-higginbotham

Watson – Once Were Planets is on at Trades Hall

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/once-were-planets-watson

The Shelf – is on for three nights at Toff of Town

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/the-shelf

 

5 Good Reasons to See Dave Thornton, AUNTY DONNA AND THE FAX MACHINE SHOP, Bron Batten and her parents

5 good reasons to see DAVE THORNTON – Tall & Pointy 

1.)  No ads. I won’t ask you to skip ads after 5 seconds, how to find singles in your area or ask if you want to advertise your page on Facebook.

2.)  I may or may not be using the phrase ‘Unicorn spaff’ That will be worth the price of admission alone.

3.)  It will make your hair thicker and most lustrous. No wait, that’s salon level shampoo isn’t it?

4.)  I’ll be using a microphone. Have you seen these things? I don’t need to yell and you will all be able to hear without cupping your ear. The 21st century truly is amazing.

5.)  I won’t be using fusion words. You know words like chillax or amazeballs. I don’t want to make a frenemy out of you. Crap, ok I got that one out of system but I’m done now.

Dave Thornton – Tall & Pointy is on at the Banquet Room, Victoria Hotel for the duration of the festival

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/tall-pointy-dave-thornton

5 Good Reasons To See AUNTY DONNA AND THE FAX MACHINE SHOP

1) The following four points will be presented in Japanese Haikus

2) A Warm Spring Morning,
Rice Farmer Begins His Day,
The Sun Warms his Soul.

3) The Coy Pond is Full
The Coy Pond, Splashing with Light,
What Joy the Coy Have.

4) The Young Labourer
Rides to His Workplace, Sunrise.
The Boy Learns Ethic.

5) She Kneels to Master,
He Takes Her By the Warm Hand,
Pride In Her Soul.

AUNTY DONNA AND THE FAX MACHINE SHOP is on at the Portland Hotel except for on Mondays when it will be at the Melbourne Town Hall.

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/aunty-donna-and-the-fax-machine-shop<

5 Good Reasons to See Bron Batten and her parents in Sweet Child of Mine

1. It features Bron Batten and her parents- live onstage!

2. The Sydney Morning Herald called it ‘Excruciating and hilarious…’ (in a good way)

3. Her Dad tells awesome Dad jokes

4. It won the award for Best Experimental Performance at the 2011 Melbourne Fringe Festival

5. It’s funny and also arty (in a good way)

Sweet Child of Mine is on at 7pm at The Northcote Town Hall, 4th-12th of april

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/sweet-child-of-mine-bron-batten-her-parents

Sarah Jones’ Magical History Tour

By Cathy Culliver

There’s really nothing to not like about Sarah Jones; she’s sweet, warm and engaging with a healthy dose of self-deprecation. And the lady is one fine ventriloquist.

Her latest show Sarah Jones’ Magical History Tour takes the audience through the history of ventriloquism while introducing a host of colourful characters along the way.

There’s Maxwell the magical parrot (who may or may not survive the show), the mermaid Helvetica and Dennis Hall the tennis ball, to name a few. Jones also manages to make one of the audience members her puppet, which makes for one of the funniest moments of the show.

If there is a criticism of this thoroughly enjoyable show, it would be that more material on the history on ventriloquism is needed; instead of it being the focus of the show as the title would suggest, Jones only devotes a small segment to it.

What material she does have, however, is as interesting as it is entertaining. For example, did you know that early ventriloquists didn’t use puppets at all? Instead they used their skills to trick people into thinking it was a spirit talking to them.

Jones also mentions that although it used to be a popular art form in the days of vaudeville, she is now one of only four ventriloquists left in the whole of Australia. It seems sad and a little alarming.

Given Jones has only been performing ventriloquism for two and a half years, we can only hope this talented performer keeps going from strength to strength and keeps this art form alive for some years to come.

 

Sarah’s Show has finished it’s season in Adelaide.

5 Good Reasons to see The Improv Conspiracy’s Our Friend Harold, Dirty Thirties and Here Come The Girls

The Improv Conspiracy will soon return to The Croft Institute for another festival season of hilarious improvised mayhem.  

Here are 5 Good Reasons to check out their new show Our Friend Harold:
                                      
1. It’s 100% improvised, so no two shows will be the same. We have no idea what is going to happen each night until you suggest something, which means we’re always genuinely excited to perform.  Get burnt out or sick of our material halfway through the festival? Not us!

2. Each show is actually TWO shows in one!  The Harold is an improvised format that takes around 30 minutes to perform, so our hour-long show features two Harold teams who each get their chance to make you laugh!
                                                                         
3. We now have five different Harold teams, so you’d have to come to three shows in order to see them all and pick your favourite.  And we really recommend that you DO pick a favourite, and let everyone know… we want our in-house team rivalries to mimic the best feuds in the sporting world!

4. In addition to our large list of veteran cast members, we’ve just added 11 hilarious new performers to the roster. We’ve been training them in a secret comedy laboratory since October! Seriously, we actually have a secret comedy laboratory: http://improvconspiracy.com/workshops 

5. Improvised comedy is underrepresented in the Comedy Festival. The Harold format is underrepresented in the world of Australian improvised comedy. We’re performing Harolds in one of the city’s most difficult-to-find, hidden laneway bars. Come on hipsters, it doesn’t get much more niche than this!  Melbourne at its finest.

For more information, check out http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/our-friend-harold-the-improv-conspiracy and http://www.improvconspiracy.com

 

5 Good Reasons To See Erin Melville and Morven Smith in  Dirty Thirties @ Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2013

1. Are you feeling a little bit dirty? Or are you simply feeling a little bit thirty? Whether you’re in your Dirty Thirties, Naughty Forties or the Nifty Fifties, Morven and Erin’s tales
of the past, the present and perspective on the future really resonate. The ladies, 31 and 35, have led an interesting existence to say the least!

2. If you’re in your twenties this is a show that will give you plenty of belly laughs – at some point you’ll reach your thirties – they did and look at them now! The show is pro-ageing. It’s about embracing the fine lines, nuzzling those metabolic changes and getting ready for the next stage; you can’t go backwards, only forward!

3. All the single ladies, all the single ladies don’t fret. Dirty Thirties will show you a sure-fire way to figure out whether he’s a good egg or a bad egg. Applicable to the single gents as well!

4. Morven treats the audience to a demonstration of her ‘special’ talent, which all audience members can attempt to learn at home, guaranteed to massively improve your life, in many different ways! They’re a generous pair and want to make sure they’re doing their bit to ‘give back’.

5. The girls powered through a great run at the Adelaide Fringe securing great reviews and awesome feedback from the crowds (despite a bumpy start with knobbish venue owners of the Bullshit and Hard to Bear Adelaide pulling the plug on day 1 of Fringe – thanks Ambassadors Hotel Adelaide!). This duo of up and coming Melbourne comediennes have been working hard all around the world and have great show-chemistry. Come to the show, share in the fun and the laughs and feel as though you’re hanging out with a couple of old mates.

Dirty Thirties is on from March 27th – April 7th, 11 shows only. No Mondays. 930pm/830pm Sunday @ Red Violin 231 Bourke Street. 3000.

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/dirty-thirties-erin-melville-morven-smith

 

And now: the 5 reasons for Here Come The Girls

1. The sell-out 2012 show returns with a new line up of hilarious ladies from the local Melbourne circuit, interstate and around the world. Host Erin Melville (Otherwise known as Lady Melville) puts together a different
line up every night with a few surprises!

2. Each show features one bloke, the token bloke or as they’re affectionately known, the ‘cock spot’. Just one though. 5 girls, 1 guy – lucky fella!

3. Previous acts have included Shappi Khorsandi, Bev Killick, Urzula Carlson, Jan Maree, Em O’Loughlin, Linda Beatty, Geraldine Quinn and many more. Plus last year we saw Akmal Saleh, Jeff Green, Marcel Lucont, Chris Franklin and Greg Fleet make special appearances. This year will feature some firm favourites as well as a few names that can’t be mentioned…yet!

4. The show will continue it’s support of White Ribbon – Australia’s campaign to stop violence against women. Last year the show contributed part proceeds and sold bands and ribbons, raising almost $1000. A one-off all-proceeds event was held in November 2012 and HCTG raised over $1400 in one night.

5. It’s a fun night out for girls and guys alike, something for everyone. Silly, sassy, surprising comedy… Here Come The Girls!

Red Violin 231 Bourke St, Melbourne 3000. www.tixnofee.com
March 27th – April 21st (No Monday’s) 815pm/715pm Sundays

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/here-come-the-girls