Four’s Kin – Review from 3/10/11

By Colin Flaherty

Given the pronunciation of the show title, it’s inevitable that sex features as a topic. In fact all the performers fall back to smutty jokes when their other material doesn’t get the big laughs. Timothy Clark, Morven Smith, Dilruk Jayasinha and Suren Jayemanne (aka Jay E Manne) are joined by a guest MC to bust out their best ten to twelve minutes. Despite mining similar topics, the performers are varied enough to provide an interesting taster plate of new comics on theMelbournecircuit.

The guest on the night I attended was Aiden Pyne who is an excitable wild man. He attempted to whip the crowd up into a frenzy with some dodgy puns, crazy poetry, weird rapping and plenty of shouting but he soon settled down with self deprecating tales of his lack of action in the boudoir. I was intrigued by his modus operandi of digging a comedy hole before introducing the next act, going against the first rule of being an MC. I’m not sure how others viewed it but I found his mini attempts at sabotage hilarious.

First to hit the stage is Clark with plenty of witty wordplay and puns of varying quality. His jokes go to very dark places with filth, offence or a combination of the two being the order of the day. It’s not delivered with any real nastiness, instead he adopts a confident smart-arse persona. He spouts these lines in a rather dismissive manner which manages to elicit laughter and then cause you feel guilty immediately afterwards. A fair chunk of his jokes can be telegraphed, giving you plenty of time to prepare your groan.

Smith is the token female, who delivers tales of sexual predators and jilted love, treading similar ground to the males on the program, albeit from a different perspective. She has an upbeat yet bitchy and cynical air to her stage persona that fits. The tried and proven method of delivering punchlines with biting sarcasm or feigned ignorance reinforces the amusing irony of her material.

The supremely charismatic Jayasinha is next to strut his stuff and impresses with his storytelling. We hear all about his disillusionment with his career, the apathy that struck during university and his lack of luck with the ladies. His main story about a mugging isn’t full of laughs but goes in some unexpected directions to maintain interest and deliver a satisfying pay off.

Rounding out the evening is Jayemanne who bills himself as deadpan but doesn’t really nail it. He is far too animated and expressive to develop the correct atmosphere for the form but his material is certainly subversive. A centrepiece routine about a full body massage manages to combine truncated storytelling with clever wordplay and puns. He comes across as a light hearted version of Clark, neatly bookending this amusing hour.

Originally reviewed at The Melbourne Fringe Festival and published by Chortle.Au on Monday 3rd Oct, ’11

Shaping Up for The Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2012

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is quickly approaching and we are getting very exited! So many shows and less than a month to see them all! To help you through the madness of it all, we your busy, bushy tailed Squirrels will be helping you decide what shows to see.

We will be asking comedians to give us Five Good Reasons for you to choose their Festival show over  the hundreds of others that are happening.

We will also be publishing reviews of festival shows that we have already seen.

During the Festival we will be putting up masses of reviews, pictures and interviews and have other exciting plans in the works.

Meanwhile it’s still a great time to be out at comedy clubs so keep an eye on our fabulous Gig Guide. Many comedians who are performing at the festival are out and about testing their material and big names often suddenly surprise everyone by dropping in. At the same time you might be discovering next year’s festival newcomers. All of Melbourne is buzzing, get out and join the buzz!

 

 

Adelaide Fringe Award Winners 2012 Announced

After another very successful Fringe where ticket sales were up by 10% The Adelaide Fringe Festival Awards were handed out yesterday. Michael Workman, who won best Newcomer at last years Melbourne International Comedy Festival won the Best Comedy award for his new show Mercy. Workman is originally from Perth and won Raw in 2008, which was his first year of doing comedy and that saw him flying off to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe. Workman will next be performing Mercy at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The other nominees were Andrew O’Neill for Alternative and Felicity Ward in the Hedgehog Dilemma.

The Award for Emerging Comedy Artist was given to UK hip hop act Abandoman who are Rob Broderick and multi instrumentalist James Hancox.

Best Children’s Presentation Award went to Brown Brown Brown Brown – The Kids’s Show by Dr Brown & Stuart Bowden.

The Pick of the Fringe went to sexy circus troupe La Clique’s La Soiree and The TalkFringe Award went to Mindblown a close up magic show by Matt Tarrant.

The Underbelly Edinburgh Award which comes with $27,000 went to beat box vocal percussionist Tom Thum for his show Strut & Fret and Tom Thum.

Full list of winners can be found on the Adelaide Fringe Festival site

Justin Hamilton somehow finds time to explain The Shelf Podcast

By Lisa Clark

The Shelf Podcast accompanies a comedy room curated by yourself and Adam Richard, was there always going to be a companion podcast?

That was always the plan.  We originally wanted to record the game show and put that up as a podcast but it would have cost way too much to put together.   We may do something like that in the future but for now it will be Adam and I with the occasional guest.

Was the podcast always planned to keep going at times when the show itself was not on?

Definitely.  Since we decided that The Shelf would be produced season to season the idea of a podcast that bridged the gap was always the plan.

You are both workaholics from what I can gather and have discussed on The Shelf the stress this can create.

Apart from preparing for upcoming festival shows Adam Richard has recently hosted the Showdown on Sunday afternoons and Justin Hamilton has been in Adelaide for The Fringe Festival.

Justin Hamilton – The blog and Podcasts Can You Take this Photo Please? And Dig Flicks

Adam Richard, – The radio gig/s, online blogs, promoting Outland and looking after Fab’s online presence as well as podcast The Poofcast.

Have I missed anything?

The work Adam does every day for radio is out of control.  I think he works three different markets every morning all over Australia so it isn’t just Fox FM in Melbourne.  I am staggered at the amount of work that goes into what appears to be a breezy grab each day.

I have also been producing a late night show in Adelaide for the Fringe Festival while working for the Talk Fringe website interviewing performers and audience.   While in Adelaide I also hosted the Adelaide Comedy Gala, performed in the Adelaide Debate and hosted the South Australian final of Raw Comedy. I produce and host a show out in Berwick that happens once a month.  I also have a weekly movie and TV review spot for Botica’s Bunch in Perth, their number one breakfast radio show that I’ve been lucky to be a part of for the last five years.  In my spare time I am finishing up the latest draft of my first manuscript that will hopefully see the light of the day at the end of the year. 

Oh…and I’m directing Tegan Higginbotham’s first solo MICF show. 

You’re only here for a short time, no point in lounging around.  People are quite surprised to know I’m usually working anywhere between 9am to midnight most days.  I know people don’t believe me when I tell them that I’m busy but this is what my life has been like for at least the last five years.

How does the Shelf podcast fit in with the other podcasts you both do?

This is 100% what Adam and I sound like when the mics aren’t on.  That is one of the things we love about the podcast and I think it has worked even better while I’m in Adelaide.  We really are just catching up.  If you listen to our latest podcast you will hear us talk about everything from Yumi Stynes to The Dark Knight Rises to my disdain for bread that won’t toast properly.  “Can You Take This Photo Please?” is more about interviewing comedians and the like about their process and history in regards to their craft with anecdotes to pepper the tales while “Helliar and Hammo Dig Flicks!” is really just two movie buffs getting extremely nerdy with each other and our guests.

Do you see this as an avenue to explore different topics to your other podcasts?

We literally do no preparation for the Shelfcast.  Invariably when the show starts is exactly when we’ve begun talking to each other.  I love the spontaneity of it.  I’m as surprised as anyone to hear what we’ve talked about when I listen back to the show.

Has the podcast has morphed into something beyond its original scope?

The great thing about podcasts is that is there is no governing regulation stating what makes a good show and what makes a bad show.  Therefore it is completely creative and isn’t trapped by a set of didactic guidelines that try to dictate how a podcast should work.  I would hope that all the podcasts I’m involved with are slowly morphing over time.  My prediction is once they introduce podcasts awards; if they haven’t already; we’ll see a conservatism begin to sneak in as people chase the “prize”.

You often talk about how you love to get together and chat at your favourite café. I think you’ve captured that well on the podcast. Listening in to your conversations is like sitting at a nearby table and listening in to your private conversations. Do you sometimes forget that there is an Audience listening?

Without a doubt.

Have you thought about the difference between performing this sort of chat live & it being recorded for posterity?

When you’re performing live there is a sense of responsibility to go for the laughs more but since people are listening to podcasts driving or going for a jog etc I think there is an easy going nature to just recording your conversations and letting the jokes flow a bit more naturally.  It is good to think about what you’re saying though.  I was quoted from one podcast recently in regards to the Jim Schembri scandal.  You never know who is listening out there.

Are the recordings edited afterwards?

Adam and I don’t but we’ve had guests on who like to change something a little bit later.

In the first series, last year I noticed that you had some Shelf regulars as guests, such as Tegan Higginbotham and Gatesy and Not as many guests in 2nd series of podcasts.

That is purely down to time and distance.  I’m still in Adelaide and Adam can call me first thing in the morning to record.  Have you ever attempted to organise a gaggle of comics?  It can be a nightmare!

Can we expect that the live Shelf shows during Melbourne International Comedy Festival will be like the previous versions of the show?

I think there will be elements that will be similar, there will be the chat with Adam and I, possibly even some guests for that part.  I remember the night we flew Wil Anderson down just for the chat was a highlight.  I also enjoyed performing an old Bunta Boys song with Gatesy a lot.  I hadn’t warbled in public in over 12 years!  The singing might have needed some work but it was gratifying to see a 15-year-old comedy song still get big laughs.  We’re re-introducing the game show for the MICF.  We will also have a few new regulars and special guests.  We’ll always keep you guessing.  The idea behind the show was never to reinvent comedy.  The idea was to provide a show that was exactly that:  a show.  That way we could intertwine skits, character comedy, stand up, musical comedy and games.  I’m very proud of everyone who was involved in the first two seasons, I think it inspired them to some of their best work yet.  This was the kind of room I would have loved to have seen when I was a young man.

Monday nights are becoming increasingly popular for performers. Please give our readers 5 reasons to choose to come and see The Shelf during The Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

  1. 1.     We have some very special guests who are going to make cameos every night alongside our regular crew.
  2. 2.     For a measly $25 you will be treated to a two-hour show that is unlike any comedy show in Australia. 
  3. 3.     You will see some of your favourite acts in a way that you’re not used to seeing them eg Gatesy performing stand up, Wil not performing stand up, Tegan Higginbotham and Adam Rozenbachs nailing the news etc
  4. 4.     You won’t see this show on TV because we want this show to be naughty, dangerous and exciting…something that TV executives just don’t understand.  This is what a comedy night should be.
  5. 5.     European Man.
You can listen to the podcast from The Shelf website  http://shelvers.com.au/

You can get tickets or a season pass to see the naughty, dangerous and exciting The Shelf live during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival here

The Shelf season 1, 2011.

By Lisa Clark

To Celebrate our Featured Podcast we are republishing a room review of The Shelf from it’s Debut at The Toff in Town.

Melbourne has a fabulously healthy live comedy scene with venues offering comedians for all tastes, from the nervous newcomers to the polished stars. Four months ago Melbourne comedy legend Dave O’Neil started up his Comedy Funhouse in Fairfield and now two other stalwarts have opened up a weekly room, for the month of October at least, and have their own fun.

These two are Fabulous Adam Richards, gossip bitch of top rating breakfast radio show The Matt & Jo Show,and Justin Hamilton, currently a movie reviewer for breakfast at Mix FM in Perth but cherished as Australia’s best stand-up comedian who isn’t a household name. They seem like an unlikely pair of mates, but apart from both being astute experienced comedians they are geeky fanboys at heart and have obviously created a place where they can put on a show in their own terms and have some fun with friends.

So what is The Shelf and how is it different to the established rooms about town? For starters it has a team of regulars joining Hamilton and Richards: Steven ‘Gatesy’ Gates of Tripod, Tegan Higginbotham of The Hounds and relative newcomer European Man (Ted Wilson). The evening is separated into three distinct brackets, the first is a bit of a mix of chat, stand-up and music, the second a full long set from a headlining guest and the third a live trivia gameshow.

The first section on opening night begins with Hamilton providing a searing set about his recent shenanigans touring New Zealand with Greg Fleet, as well as introducing the evening and co-host Richards. Hamilton is fairly renowned as one of the best comedy MCs in the country and is the perfect host, clearly excited by his new enterprise.

The first guest is rising star Celia Pacquola, home from her new digs in London, her stand up just gets better and better as she becomes more assured about her work. Pacquola has a delightfully quirky edge to her comedy that always adds surprises to her warm, friendly style. She endears herself to the home crowd, which tonight is full of friends and comedy geeks, with tales about how she’s having fun in the UK using her Australian openness to freak out the Pommies.

Next up is a bit of a historical moment in Australian comedy, the first ever solo spot by Gatesy from Tripod. The highlight, which is going to be a weekly feature is his ‘Non Topical’ song where Gatesy sings a song that has been topical in the past, but is not now. Tonight’s song is about Stuart Diver being rescued. It was a bit shaky, but his experience at working an adoring crowd got him through.

The second bracket is pure nonstop Tom Gleeson, currently starring in Good News World and fresh from Edinburgh, where hecklers quickly learned that Tom is not to be messed with. In fact the bulk of his material was about how his hair-raising experiences at boarding school made him impervious to persecution. Tom is in top form, like a thoroughbred during the Spring Racing Carnival he sprints out of the gates with the crowd roaring, and is magnificent to behold.

The final segment is the least polished, which is part of its charm. A mini game show hosted by Richards, with team captains Hamilton and Higginbotham with a guest each, Pacquola and Gleeson. The trivia questions are about things found on the shelf: books, DVDs, CDs or games etc. Helping Richards are European Man and Gatsey, who provides the clues through song.

The room itself is set up in cabaret style with small tables. Toff in Town has hosted many legendary comedy nights including Tripod’s Pod August Nights and Asher Treleaven’s Oyster Club. On this night, I couldn’t recommend the bar as everyone on our table had bad experiences with service. A more positive aspect is that you can book your seat and know in advance that you will get in, which is important for a room with a limited run and popular line-ups.

There is nothing revolutionary about The Shelf, it reminds me a little of Hessie’s Shed by Crowded House’s Paul Hester which was a series of high quality live comedy and music with a trivia quiz at the end hosted by Brian Nankervis. That quiz went on to become Rockwiz on SBS, so who knows maybe ‘The comedy show you’ll never see on TV’ as The Shelf is describes itself, will somehow end up there anyway

Originally published in Chortle.Au on 7th October 2011

Check out  http://shelvers.com.au/

Danny McGinlay

By Lisa Clark

Last year Danny McGinlay wrote a correspondence article for Chortle Au called How to MC. It garnered a lot of positive feedback from the comedy industry and we’ve decided to re publish it here. Danny is currently out and about gigging interstate and has found the time to answer some questions about his career, his Festival show and the MCing article. He has recently performed as part of the inaugural Ballarat Beer Festival and is also an Ambassador for the Festival

What was the Ballarat Beer Festival like?

The Beer Fest was great fun. Four thousand people in the sunshine enjoying craft beer, no arrests. A brilliant vibe and will be even bigger and better next year.

You started at 16, how did this comedy thing come about?
The school I went to [Thornbury High] had a pretty good arts program, especially music. [Jordie Lane is a fellow alumni] I’ve never been particularly musical, but I loved performing and public speaking. The teachers would book me to host the musical nights and I would tell jokes and I guess it kinda grew from there. I played the Espy Hotel four days after my sixteenth birthday and it was a great rush. Although due to being underage I could really do comedy properly until I was 18. Since then I threw myself into it and here I am… still going with no desire to stop!

Who do you look up to or who inspired you in comedy?
My father comes from the same part of Glasgow as Billy Connolly, so growing up I listened and watched a lot of Billy, and every Saturday morning we would listen to The Goon Show on Radio National. I admit now I didn’t understand most of it but when you’re a child you just like laughing along with your parents.
I got right into comedy when I was about nine years old. I remember I taped a special off the tv called “Hey Hey it’s the comedians!” which was all the stand ups who had been on Hey Hey, I must have watched that about 100 times and can still recite a lot of the routines. This was the same time that The Late Show was on ABC, Fast Forward was really strong and I remember I used to fall asleep listening to 12th Man tapes.
These days I still love Billy Connolly, his comedy is just so flexible, whether he’s bantering with the crowd or telling a well prepared routine he looks so effortless. I would love to be like that on stage. Tom Gleeson looks effortless, I just finished a run with Tommy Dean and he is definitely effortless. Adam Hills is probably the most effortless comic in Australia at the moment. I MC’d for Adam a few weeks back and before I brought him on I had what I thought was some really good audience banter, then Hillsy came on and showed why he is the Dumbledore of audience banter. It was really inspiring.

You travel a lot, do you always enjoy the travelling?
You have to travel if you want to make a living from stand up comedy. I do like it, but boredom is a constant struggle. I play a lot of Word with Friends.

Did you live overseas for a while?
I did the customary two years in London that all comedians should do. I could have stayed but ultimately, although the comedy scene is better over in the UK, every other aspect of life is better in Australia.

What’s the reasoning behind your blog about Soccer?
Just like the cooking, it’s a way of turning a procrastination tool into something handy. I love the round ball game and spend a lot of time reading football forums and watching highlights so I thought I would at least turn it into a writing exercise.

You’ve done a lot of things including performing in films and on TV. Would you like to do more acting?
Absolutely! Acting is a great thrill and so different to stand up. You don’t get the immediate acknowledgement, you get to do it in a team and you usually get paid well!

If you had a dream job preferably related to your comedy work, but not necessarily, what would it be?
There’s many dream jobs – Cooking show host, Football Show host, Action Movie star, President of the Republic of Australia. I covet all of these jobs for the main reason that they would increase my profile and I would get more people to my stand up shows. Stand Up is my dream job and the more people I could play to the better!

Last year you wrote an impressive article for Chortle au about MCing a comedy night that we are reprinting in Squirrel Comedy. Did you enjoy the feedback from this article?
Yeah I’ve had some lovely things said to me from younger comics and even some established comics in the UK. The best thing is hearing that people are doing a better job at MCing. It’s a highly undervalued craft and there should be more discussion of how to do it well.

Do you have any general advice to younger comedians?
Read Zen and the Art of Stand Up Comedy by Jay Sankey. It’s brilliant.

I loved Food Dude, How did you end up cooking things live on Stage.
When I procrastinate, I cook. So I would always be trying to come up with comedic ideas whilst I was cooking, so I guess almost inevitably I came up with funny things to cook. People seemed to like the idea so I’ve kept doing it, fingers crossed something happens with it soon!

Do you have an interesting story that came out of the show?
I had a lot of Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules contestants come along, I don’t really watch those shows so I didn’t recognise them but my front of house staff got a thrill. The most exciting thing was, I was told a rumour that Heston Blumenthal saw snippets on youtube and loved it. I hope that’s true!

Your Festival show this year is called Danny McGinlay Learns Ukranian
The subtitle is
How far would you go for a Chick in Kiev
Deary me that has to be up there for one of the most astonishing puns in the Comedy Festival Guide this year!
Did the show come out of the pun or a real story? And did you really learn Ukrainian?
This show is based on a true story, last year I got engaged to my long term girlfriend and decided to learn her native tongue so I could make a speech at our wedding. The pun was conceived in a car in Hobart with comedian Gavin Baskerville. Gav has named a couple of my shows and has a great mind for titles and puns. His fee is a slab of Boags.

You are also doing Squeaky Clean Comedy during the festival this year. Are you planning to pop up anywhere else in the Festival?
I am indeed, Squeaky Clean Comedy is a nice night for people who want it kept nice. If nice isn’t your thing I am also involved in The Dirty Bits which is the direct opposite. It’s a nice compliment that people think I’m versatile enough to do both. There’s a few late night shows around town, Ben McKenzie’s Dungeon Crawl, Letters & Numbers and hopefully the Hi-Fi Bar as well.

Give our punters 5 reasons to see your show over others at the Festival this year.
1. There’s less chance of food poisoning than last year’s show.
2. From the advance bookings, we can tell that some nights there will be a lot of Ukrainians in the audience, and all Ukrainians are ridiculously good looking.
3. My show is on before Dave O’Neil’s so afterward you could meet a real 774 announcer.
4. The show cures the flu.*
5. All other shows are actually fronts for Joseph Kony.

*please allow 6-8 weeks for results.

Danny McGinlay’s Festival show is Danny McGinlay learns Ukranian Details here

Danny’s website

Danny’s football blog