The Squirrels have each picked 5 shows at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival that we’re excited about and would like to share with you. Here’s hoping you’re excited too!
Lisa Clark is excited by
Way too much! I’ve been banging on about Lessons with Luis and Slutmonster and Friends to anyone who’ll listen (seriously go see them) but I’d like to pick some shows that I’ve not mentioned on this site before. I’m excited about seeing Daniel Kitson of course, but his trial shows are sold out and he’s not really part of the official festival. I’m also excited by a lot of the shows picked by the other Squirrels but I’m going to pick out ones they’ve not chosen. So taking all that into consideration here are my picks.
Judith Lucy and Denise Scott The Spiral
You can’t go wrong with these savvy troopers, they know funny. They’ve taken to writing fabulous books and this show is about their experiences as authors. I saw them try out some stuff for this at Local Laughs and am looking forward to seeing the polished results.
Luke McGreggor – My Soulmate is Out Of My League
Luke McGreggor is thrice blessed; he has a comedians face, voice and timing. I first saw him when he came to Melbourne from Tasmania and have been enjoying watching him grow in confidence and ability. He was easily the funniest thing in Ed Kavalee’s film Scum Bus and I’m looking forward to seeing his debut solo festival show.
DC3 – The Ringtone Cycle
DC3 is a band led by former TISM frontman & inspired wordsmith Damien Cowell. This show is described as ‘a punk rock Eurodisco version of Wagner’s Ring Cycle – for people in hurry’. How could you not want to see this? The Ring Cycle is coming to Melbourne later this year with much hoohaa & hallyballoo and Wagner nerds flying in. But why spend all that money ($1,000 for the cheapest tickets) and time (20 hours to see the full cycle) when you can see this version in 55 mins for $25? And you get to see the face behind the mask.
Australia You’re Standing in It
This is a sentimental favourite from some performers who virtually created the live comedy scene in Melbourne from scratch back in the 70s. There were no stand up comedy venues, they had to do it in a cafe. You can go on Rod’s other MICF gig – his annual Mystery Walking Tour and find out all about it. The show was a sketch show with recurring characters and included a stand up set by Rod at the beginning. It was patchy and sometimes brilliant. But Hey it was an Australian sketch comedy series. ON TV!! You think there’s not enough Australian comedy on TV now! I think this might’ve been the 1st Melbourne sketch show on TV too. Or at least the only one I can think of. (Paul Hogan, Aunty Jack, Naked Vicar Show & Mavis Bramston were all Sydney based)
Splendid Chaps – 4 Tom Baker / Comedy
I’m not ashamed to admit that I love Dr Who and my first Doctor was Tom Baker. John Cleese and Elenor Bron appear in my favourite episode ‘City of Death’ while the Doctor and his assistant (soon to be real wife) Romana skip about Paris hand in hand and Douglas Adams was the script editor keeping it funny. Nerd comedian Ben McKenzie, creator of Outland John Richards and their plucky assistant Petra Elliot have been impressively producing a podcast a month to celebrate the Fiftieth Anniversary of Dr Who. Each month covers each actor who played the Doctor in turn. If it’s April it must be Tom Baker, so I’ll be there with Bells on. And my Dr Who Tshirt.
Colin Flaherty is looking forward to…
Once Were Planets by Watson
Watson are always great fun; a quick fire, enthusiastic and witty show
with more pop culture quips than you can poke a stick at. Hopefully I
will get more out of it this year as I paid WAY more attention to
science and astronomy in school than Shakespeare.
Horses That Shoot Lasers From Their Eyes – Subject To Change
I can find absolutely no information about this show anywhere online
but the title intrigues me. It could be the greatest show ever… or
it could just as easily be a steaming pile.
Sam Simmons – Shitty Trivia
This looks like it will be an extension of the delightfully pointless
and confusing trivia segments from “Problems” & his previous live
shows. An hour in Sam’s world is always a treat.
A stand up show involving live cartooning and animation sounds like a
lot of fun. An ambitious project that is sure to be a magical
This Is History Walking Tour by Ged and Jamie
I’m curious as to what anarchic hijinks the boys will get up to on
this character based walking tour. If the promo videos are anything to
go by, it will be a wild, amusing and very puzzling ride.
5 shows Jayden Edwards is looking forward to.
1. School Dance
I was lucky enough to catch a little teaser of this show at the Comedy Festival’s launch event a couple of weeks back and was totally enthralled! Three men pounding 3 stationary bicycles to the tune of Bonnie Tyler’s I Need A Hero while performing acrobatic feats, it was daggy, and spectacular. The show tells the story of 3 awkward teenagers striving for popularity. A quick google search reveals rave reviews and sell out seasons, so expecting big things from this show.
2. Karl Chandler- Has (literally) 1.5 Million Jokes.
I’m looking forward to seeing Karl’s full show for the first time. I’ve seen him in bits and pieces in rooms and of course on The Little Dum Dum club, so hanging to see his quick fire short form mastery in it’s full glory. I think the only other show I’ve seen done in this style is Tim Vine a few years back, and loved it, it’s exhausting at times (in a good way) but value for money that’s for sure!<
3. Mel Buttle- How Embarrassment
I heard a lot good stuff about Mel’s show a couple years back but didn’t get a chance to see her, so looking forward to finally seeing her live. I’ve since read some of her stuff on her blog and heard her on triple j. I loved her cooky and slightly awkward ‘strongly worded letters’ segment where she analysed and dissected the petty complaints of listeners then finely crafted her writen response into comedy gold. I just like the cut of her jib.
4. Lessons with Luis- Famoucity!
I totally missed the bandwagon last year! I’ve seen very little of Luis but can’t wait to see what the fuss is all about this year. If word of mouth is anything to go by, i’m sure i won’t be disappointed.
5. Sam Simmons- Shitty Trivia.
I’m an unashamed Simmons fan. Ever since I first saw his show a few years back, i’ve been back every year since. There’s few comedians you can come back to year after year and get such a different experience like you can with Sam. I love his Shitty Trivia segment on the radio so very interested to see how he builds a whole show around it.
5 Shows that Elyce Phillips is excited by
Mike Birbiglia – My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend:
Mike Birbiglia’s stories are always my favourites when I hear them on ‘This American Life’. Birbiglia has such a wonderful comedic style. He’s sweet, but biting and the man knows how to structure a tale. He’s doing a Q&A about his film ‘Sleepwalk with Me’ at Cinema Nova as well, which I am super excited about – even if it’s not an official MICF event.
Lessons with Luis – Famoucity!: ’
‘Kidney Kingdom’ was one of the best shows I saw last year, so I can’t wait to see ‘Famoucity!’ The premise of the show is that Luis is casting for his new show – I’m entirely expecting some more delightfully awkward audience participation. And if Luis’ tweets are anything to go by, Luelin is still having some difficulty with the finer points of stagecraft. I definitely won’t be missing this one.
These Kids Are Good:
Thomas Ward has put together a great line-up of new Australian comedians including Jonathan Schuster, Neil Sinclair, Nellie Wight, Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall and Andy Matthews. Even better, tickets are only five bucks. It looks like a really good way to check out some Aussie talent that you might not have seen before.
Ronny Chieng – Can You Do This? No You Can’t:
I have yet to see one of Ronny’s solo shows, which is a terrible wrong I intend to correct this year. He’s been hilarious at stand-up nights and I loved him on ‘Problems’ – this one’s really a no-brainer.
Yon and his Prism of Sexy Thoughts:
I’ve been a fan of Tripod since way back when, so I am automatically excited about anything any of the guys do (‘Men of Substance’ would be on this list if I hadn’t already raced out to see it when it was on last year and it’s a sneaky number six on this list, because I recommend it a bunch). Yon getting all sexy up in the Butterfly Club’s new digs pretty much sounds like a perfect show.
Cathy Culliver is exited by…
1. Mike Birbiglia –
I’m a big fan of his work through This American Life so I can’t wait to see him do his thing live.
2. Paul Foot –
I saw his show last year and really, really loved it, so I’m excited to see what he does with this new show.
3. Rubberbandits –
I didn’t know much about them until I interviewed Blindboy a few days ago, and he made me laugh so much that I’m now definitely going to have to check out this show.
4. Dr Professor Neal Portenza –
I actually caught this show at the Adelaide Fringe where it was showing a lot of potential, so I can’t wait to see a more polished version in Melbourne. I love it when Australian comedians have the guts to do something as original and off-beat as what Neal’s doing.
5. Abigoliah Schamaun –
I caught this lady doing a story at an Adelaide performance of Darkness and Light, and she was amazing. I’m really keen to see what her stand up is like.
JAMES SHACKELL’S Top 5 Shows He’s excited about
1. Michael Workman – Ave Loretta
Back at the MICF for his third year, having won just about every comedy award this country
can bestow, Workman faces the inevitable downside of success: how to keep topping
yourself. Hopefully Ave Loretta gives us more of the same whimsical narrative and poignant
miscellany we enjoyed in Humans Are Beautiful and Mercy.
2. David O’Doherty – Seize the David O’Doherty (Carpe Do’Diem)
With his slightly dorky, last-kid-picked-for-sports-team feel and repertoire of irreverent
but infectiously funny keyboard melodies, O’Doherty has entrenched himself as a festival
favourite, packing out The Forum Theatre year after year. Become a member of Team
O’Doherty 2013 and don’t miss this one.
3. Arj Barker – Go Time
Barker’s material is as sharp as his delivery is odd. Just try not to laugh at his trademark rage-
bursts, in which the punch line of a joke is sometimes screamed at the audience as a small
vein throbs on Barker’s right temple. A festival stalwart, it’s surprising he hasn’t received the
international acclaim he’s due.
4. Joel Tito – The Trial and Death of Socrates (no relation)
Breaking away from successful comedy troupe Vigelantelope, Joel Tito promises a “darkly
euphoric narrative that is as cerebral as it is silly.” That sounds like my kind of show. It
sounds like an ambitious concept, but it’s always more fun to watch a comic shoot for the
moon, whether they hit it or not.
5. Chessmates – The Story of Kasparov and Deep Blue
The concept of a show mixing comedy and chess sounds like just the right combination
of ‘what the – ?’ and ‘why-didn’t-I-think-of-that?’ If comedy duo Skills in Time, back for their
second festival this year, can somehow make chess interesting and funny at the same time,
they’ll have pulled off something special. Check – it out.
Here’s Luke Simmons’ choice 5 pics
1. Trevor Noah’s THE RACIST at Trades Hall – New Ballroom.
If his show is anywhere near as funny as his YouTube clips, it could get chaotic.
2. UNDIAGNOSED at the The Bull and Bear Tavern.
It features Becky Lucas who is a frightfully funny comedian from QLD.
3. SET LIST: STAND UP WITHOUT A NET at the Melbourne Trades Hall.
You know that only the best-of-the-best-of-the-best are going to agree to be a part of this pressure-cooker style of comedy.
4. Michael Connell’s FIRST WORLD BLUES at Comedy On Collins.
The über contemporary subject matter tackled by one of Melbourne’s sharpest comics.
5. FREEZER BREAD by Dave Hughes at the Comedy Theatre.
This man once saved my life and I cannot get enough of his drier-than-freezer-bread style.
We love supporting smaller independent venues away from The Town Hall during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, ’cause lets face it, everyone knows about that venue – they really don’t need any of our help. We were sad to say goodbye to the little bar Rue Rabelons as a venue in Melbourne, but we’re happy to announce a new venue for the festival up the posh end of town, opposite the Government House – The Imperial Hotel. The comedy there is being curated by Angela Thompson and Micah D Higbed. It will have 2 rooms running through the festival with a variety of young and up and coming performers giving it a great vibe. They had their own mini Gala on Thursday night where host Jimmy James Eaton and performers Tom Ward, Victoria Healy and Neil Sinclair (above) gave us a great taste of what’s to come. So with fourteen shows to choose from, a bar and some yummy pub food deals on offer, don’t forget to hop on a tram and pop up to The Imperial during the festival this year.
5 Good Reasons to see a show at The Imperial during MICF
1) There are 14 great shows on in the one venue!
1. Andy Matthews & Tony Besselink – Atchieve Nothing
2. Balderdash (Tim Clark & Liam Ryan)
3. Dave Fairclough – In Love
4. Elliot Cyngler is Too Small to Function
5. Jason Geary & Jimmy James Eaton – Sketch-ual Healing
6. Jonathan Schuster’s Chrysalis
7. Micah D Higbed – Noteworthy
8. Neil Sinclair – Phoney
9. Sam Peterson, Natalie Harris & Nick Quon – 3 Little Gigs
10. Sullivan & Bok
11. The Time Machine
12. These Kids Are Good
13. Victoria Healy’s Anatomy
14. Xavier Toby – White Trash
2) The shows are all cheap. Most are $15 full price. Some are even cheaper. Also, cheap student tickets on the door.
3) Independently produced! We’ve even kitted the place out ourselves. BYO stage? Yes siree.
4) The Imperial has great food, and they are doing even more special specials during MICF. They also have a top notch drinks selection.
5) All the shows are great. We don’t have any duds, hidden away in a smaller font. They are ALL THE SAME FONT SIZE!
Check out facebook.com/ImpyComedy for updates on the shows, pics, giveaways and competitions. We’re also on @ImpyComedy if you’re in to that kind of thing.
The Imperial Hotel is at 2 – 8 Bourke St Melbourne on the corner of Spring St.
See the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Guide and website for show details
By Lisa Clark
Waiting for reviews to come in to make a decision about what shows you are seeing this year? Well we’ve already reviewed quite a lot of shows that are on at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Of course some of the shows reviewed here may have been reworked, improved or changed in some way. Hang the DJ has a new DJ, Eddie Pepitonne’s show isn’t called Bloodbath and some of these shows will be different at every performance. Hopefully the past reviews that you will find linked here in alphabetical order will give you an idea of what to expect and help you work out what you are going to see this year. Look out for our new reviews from this years comedy festival, coming soon to Squirrel Comedy!
AUNTY DONNA AND THE FAX MACHINE SHOP
Aunty Donna’s first show Aunty Donna in Pants Suits got them nominated for a Golden Gibbo Award, this new show, originally performed at Melbourne Fringe 2012 made them winners of the People’s Choice Award. Aunty Donna are a sketch troupe of four guys performing very adult humour. Cathy enjoyed it and thought it was ‘a very slick production. It’s tightly scripted and well-performed.’
Aunty Donna will be late at The Portland Hotel
BEN POBJIE – LET’S PUT ON A SHOW
Ben’s show is a collaboration with the audience to explore the nature of putting on a comedy show. Elyce thought the show was fun and that’ the more the audience puts into this show, the more you will get back’.
Ben Pobjie will be on at Gertrude’s Brown Couch
I adored Eddie when I first saw him in Edinburgh at the recording of Stuart Goldsmiths’ Comedian’s Comedian podcast. I knew I had to see his solo show Blood Bath and was not disappointed. I described him as ‘arse-achingly funny’.
Eddie’s solo show is on at 11pm on April 5th at Victoria Hotel – Banquet Room
He’ll be doing seven shows as part of Headliners
and there will be a showing of his documentary Bitter Buddha is on at the Hifi Bar 4pm on April 6th
FELICITY WARD – THE HEDGEHOG DILEMMA
Felicity’s only appearance at this year’s comedy festival will be a reprise of her stunning, hilarious and moving show The Hedgehog Dilema. She’s filming it for prosperity and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It was one of the first shows I saw last year and her story stayed with me for a long time. ‘Her ability to keep the audience in stitches throughout all of this is a testament to her stunning talent.’
The Hedgehog Dilemma will be on at the Atheneum Theatre on April 15
GIRLS UNINTERUPTED ARE GOOD VALUE
Cathy thought that it was criminal that Louise Joy McCrae and Nicolette Minster don’t have higher comedy profiles on the Australian Comedy Scene in her review from Melbourne Fringe 2012
They’re performing at Portland Hotel in the Portland Room
HANG THE DJ – ANDY McCLELLAND & KIEREN O’SULLIVAN –
This now has a different DJ to the one reviewed at Melbourne Fringe 2012. But Andy is still there in a show where he gets to share his passion for music and hilarious tales of being a DJ. Colin said ‘This fusion of comedy, music and dancing was a brilliant way to end an evening.’
Hang the DJ is on late at Trades Hall in the Quilt Room<
HOW TO GET RICH – ALEISHA McCORMAC
Originally directed by Julia Zemiro for the 2012 Melbourne Fringe, I thought this one woman play was ‘a pretty light and fluffy soufflé of a show that would suit a girls’ night out or hen’s night’
Aleisha will be performing at Trades Hall – The Meeting Room til April 7th
LIVE ON AIR WITH POET LAUREATE TELIA NEVILE
When I first saw Live on Air it was really a work in progress but I still found it very entertaining and Telia was ‘able to consistently create new ways to make her audience laugh with her clever poetry and personas.’ She’s apparently put a lot of work in it since so it should be a pretty fabulous show.
Live on Air will be on at The Northcote Town Hall
NICHOLAS J JOHNSON – TODAY TONIGHT, TOMORROW THE WORLD
Based on his own true experience appearing on Today Tonight and Cathy thought it was ‘a cracker’
Today Tonight, Tomorrrow the World will be at Comedy on Collins at The Scots Church Assembly Hall
ROB HUNTER – LATE O’ CLOCK WITH ROB HUNTER
In the tradition of Alan Partridge and Dame Edna amongst other purveyors of Theatre of Cruelty, Rob Hunter’s interview show satirises chat shows while being pretty mean to the guests, who are mostly in on the joke. Our reviewer wasn’t when he saw it at last year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival and did not have a very good time as he explained ‘ The MICF blurb about this show being “uncomfortably tense” and “not for the squeamish” was a freaking understatement for me personally’ Well if Rob Hunter is hoping to provoke strong reactions, it certainly worked with Andrew who gifted Rob with the poster quote ‘I fucking hated this show’ . We’ll be giving another reviewer a go at it this year.
Late O’Clock with Rob Hunter is on at Melb Town Hall in the Cloak Room
SIMON MUNNERY – FYLM MAKKER
Simon Munnery has been around a long time is always up to something creative, original and silly. We think Simon is a comedy genius and this was the highlight of Colin’s 2012 Edinburgh Fringe. He describes it thusly; ‘Broadcast via video link from the middle of the room, he performs sketches, monologues, puppetry and songs to camera using all sorts of video trickery to create a unique and hilarious show.’
Simon is performing at The Victoria Hotel in the Vic’s Bar
SLUTMONSTER AND FRIENDS
This was a show that blew the minds of everyone who saw it at last year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival. You came out wondering ‘What the hell was that?’ and ‘Why am I still still laughing hours later?’ Beautifully designed, sharply written with clever catchy songs, surprises and lots of rude bits. Colin said ‘It’s a sick, twisted and perverted play that’s gutbustingly hilarious.’
Slutmonster will be Strutting her stuff at the Northcote Town Hall
TRYING HARD – ALASDAIR TREMBLAY-BIRCHALL
Alasdair gives us two shows for the price of one in what Cathy describes as ‘some entertaining and delightfully original comedy’
Trying Hard is on at the Forum Theatre – Carpet Room
VICTORIA HEALY ‘S ANATOMY
Victoria Healy is not very comfortable with her body but manages to spend an hour exploring it for laughs. Elyce described Healy as ‘a quick-witted and talented comedic performer, who is only getting better and better at her craft.’
Victoria is on at the Imperial Hotel