5 Good Reasons to see TOM BALLARD, Tommy Little and Tommy Dassalo

Here is Tom Ballard’s Top 5 Good Reasons to see TOM BALLARD – My Ego Is Better Than Your Ego

1. It’s a profoundly self-indulgent exploration of my ego and self-esteem issues. It’s literally me talking for an hour about me needing you to like me, so it’s got this kind of “charmingly narcissistic” vibe going on.

2. My mum likes to see me being successful.

3. I’m not going to talk to you and humiliate you as an audience member. (Well..except for one person. Just at the start. But it’s not really about them. Or you, if it’s you. Honestly – it’s a good bit.)

4. It’s 100% fair trade and means tested.

5. I am not Ricky Nixon.

Tom Ballard – My Ego Is Better Than Your Ego is on at The Swiss Club throughout the Festival



5 Good Reasons to see Tommy Little – Sex, Drugs & Herbal Tea

5. No animals were harmed in the making of it.

4. You’ll learn about new words like foodie, shelving and lolocaust.

3. I’m not Ricky Nixon.

2. You’ll have a much needed laugh with me, at me or a combination of both.

1. It’s better than sitting alone and surfing the web, yes I’m talking to you, it’s time put down the keyboard and come to the party

TOMMY LITTLE – Sex, Drugs & Herbal Tea is on in the Cloak Room, Melbourne Town Hall throughout the Festival


Tommy Dassalo’s 5 Good Reasons to see Spread. 

1. It’s the true story about how my great-grandpa invented Vegemite.

I can guarantee that mine is the only show in the Festival that can claim that… Unless one of my cousins has decided to do a show… Shit… I really should have asked around at the family Christmas party.

2. My drawings are in the show.

I’ve been up until three in the morning every night finishing off drawings for a segment of the show. If you don’t laugh at the drawings, I would ask that you at least chuckle politely at the effort that’s gone into the drawings.

3. I play characters in the show.

Well, just one of them, but still! I’ve never done characters before! Maybe after this I never will again! Come and see me do some ‘acting’ and then be not at all surprised when I tell you that I never got a good role in any of my high school plays.

4. I will be wearing a very nice suit.

Not to brag, but it’s from Arthur Galan. I bought it for a fancy ball last year. Then I realised how dumb it was to spend so much money on something that I only wore for one night. Then I realised if I wear it onstage I can claim it on tax. So you should see my show if you a) like looking at well dressed men or b) are my accountant.

5. My show is at the beautiful Forum theatre.

Obviously in a small room within the Forum theatre, but my dad thinks that I’m in the MAIN, ACTUAL FORUM THEATRE. Hopefully heaps of people come to my show and I get moved into the main theatre and I won’t have to tell my dad that I’ve been lying to him for the last four months. Everybody wins!

[And I am definitely not Ricky Nixon]

Tommy Dassalo’s Spread is on at The Forum Theatre – Ladies’ Lounge

The Rubberbandits

By Cathy Culliver

The Rubberbandits are a couple of plastic bag-wearing lads from Limerick in Ireland who have become a YouTube sensation with their hilarious but supremely silly songs like “Horse Outside” and “Spastic Hawk”.

Cathy talked to Blindboy Boatclub (real name Dave Chambers) about their upcoming visit to Melbourne and what exactly makes these guys tick.

So what the Rubberbandits are all about?

We wear plastic bags on our heads, and we’re hardcore gangster rappers.

I have to ask, what’s with the plastic bags? My mother always told me it was dangerous to put them on your head.

The way we look at it, the only certainty in life is death. So you may as well put a plastic bag on your head.

Isn’t it also because you want to conceal your identity?

Well there’s a little bit of that as well. I like to go to the shop and buy toilet roll and peas without anyone looking at me. I like to buy peas in peace. And deodorant – I don’t want someone looking at my particular brand of deodorant.

What can Australian audiences expect from your live shows?

It’s like a rave, but if you let a lot of dogs into the rave.

You’re planning on having dogs in your show?

No, just metaphorically speaking. OK, imagine instead of a rave, it’s car. And then you let a dog into the back of the car. And you’ve got your shopping there, and the dog just does its thing in the back of the car.

Well I don’t think I’ve ever heard a comedy show explained in that way, so now I’m definitely intrigued.

Yeah, there’s no way to describe it really. It’s just us with plastic bags on, roaring and shouting, and anything can happen. We nailed Santa Claus to a crucifix once.

So you guys started out doing prank calls in school, and then got your big break when your video for the song ‘Horse Outside” went viral on YouTube, is that right?

Yeah, that was an accident. We just made a video with all our friends, and a TV company paid for it. Then it just got massive. We didn’t try to make it big or anything. It just kind of happened without us wanting it to happen.

What do you think you’d be doing now if that hadn’t happened and you’d never made it big?

Um, I’d own a hot air balloon company.

Has that always been your dream?

Yeah, I’ve always been very passionate about it. But I want to take the art of hot air ballooning and mix it with other disciplines, like being a milkman. I want to be the world’s first hot air balloon milkman. I’d drop the milk with little parachutes on them so they don’t smash outside someone’s doorstep.

How angry would you be if someone beat you to that?

Oh I’d be very, very angry. I think it’s Richard Branson’s next venture. He wants to be the world’s only hot air balloon milkman.

You sing songs about things like owning a disabled hawk, fighting your girlfriend’s dad and the merits of owning a horse instead of a car. Is there anything you wouldn’t sing a song about?

Actually, no. That’s often something I ask myself, “what would I not sing about?” I think I’d sing a song about anything. It’s all about the way that you interpret it.

Will this be your first time in Australia?

No we came over last year and we played in Irish pubs. But this is our first time going over to do the comedy festival.

Those gigs last year were crazy, and we stayed in a brothel in Sydney for a week.

Oh really? What was that like?

It was insane. It was in the middle of Kings Cross in Sydney, and there were prostitutes walking all over the hotel rooms and everything. It was absolute madness.

Oh and in Kings Cross I also saw a dog, and the dog was wearing shoes. And the policeman who was there told me it was so the dog didn’t step on any needles. I’d never seen a dog wearing shoes ever, but in Kings Cross, the dogs wear shoes.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re back here?

I like walking around and seeing wildlife. Last time I was in Melbourne, I went to a park and saw a giant lizard. And then I looked around and there was another lizard. Before I knew it, I found myself surrounded by all these lizards. That was incredible, so I want to try to do that again. I want to get acquainted with more lizards.

Most people say they want to meet a koala.

No, I don’t like koalas. I heard they’re in a perpetual state of flatulence. They just fart all the time and it never stops. It’s a slow cycle of fart. And I heard the fart smells like chemicals because of their exclusive eucalyptus diet. So I don’t want to f**k with koalas. I’d rather have lizards.

That’s fair enough.

Yeah, and I kind of also want to get bitten by a spider just so I can tell people.

Well we could probably sort that out for you. We’ve got a few here.

So if I wanted to get bit, what should I do? I heard the best thing to do was to go outside and put your hand into an old brick or a piece of patio furniture.

Yep, that’ll do it.

What about snakes? Do you have them in the city?

No, you’d probably have to go out into the bush to find those.

Oh. But it would be good if Australian TV decided to syndicate Sex and the City, but then replace all the actresses with snakes and call it Snakes and the City. You could have an anaconda with a blonde wig and a mole on its face like Sarah Jessica Parker. I’d watch it.

That’s brilliant, but unfortunately we don’t have any anacondas. We do have some of the world’s most poisonous snakes here, though.

Oh god. What’s wrong with your animals? Why are they so aggressive and poisonous? Jesus Christ. I mean, you never have that in Ireland. The other day I was walking to the shop and a dog scowled at me. He gave me a dirty look. But that’s the closest I ever came to danger in Ireland with an animal.

A lot of your humour is very Irish-centric. Do you think Australians will get it?

I don’t know. That was one fear we had when we went to Britain, that the British people wouldn’t get it. But they did.

I don’t know a hell of a lot about Australian culture, so I guess we’re going to have to find out when we get to Melbourne.

I think you’ll be fine. Australians and the Irish are pretty similar in their sense of humour.

Well that’s good. If that’s the case then we’ll get on quite good. But you know, in Australia I’m sure people fight people’s fathers, I’m sure you have horses and I’m sure you’ve got retarded birds of prey. We’ll get on fine.

The Rubberbandits are performing at the Hi-Fi from 28th March to 7th April. For tickets and more information, visit:

5 Good Reasons to see Lisa-Skye and two shows by John Robertson

5 Good Reasons to see LISA-SKYE: Songs My Parents Taught Me

1. Her last show, LADYBONER, got 6 reviews and they were all completely effing glowing/4-star. So she is OBJECTIVELY FINE.

2. You’re most likely not out of her league, and that’s nice to know.
2.1 (Nice to know in the loos of Tuxedo Cat post-show).

3. Honestly – she’s just so fucking sparkly and magnetic.

4. She still has the motherflipping metronome, people. And it’s still for motherflipping real.

5. Her YouTube clips are… Ridiculous and very, very funny.


Lisa-Skye Songs My Parents Taught Me is on at The Tuxedo Cat for 11 shows from April 11.


5 Good Reasons to see John Robertson in THE DARK ROOM

1. It’s an accessible, interactive adventure brought to life with cash prizes and personal abuse from a disembodied head. Adults find it confusing – teenagers understand it instinctively. You awake to find yourself in a dark room.

2. Because you can’t “see” this show, you’re in a dark room!

3. It’s immersive like a pool and addictive like chocolate. It’s a chocolate pool, is what I’m saying. (BUT THERE IS NO CHOCOLATE, ONLY DARKNESS. DARKNESS. IN THE DARK ROOM.)

4. It’s surprisingly popular in France, Germany and China. Of course, you’re not in any of those places; YOU’RE IN A DARK ROOM!

5. It was originally a YouTube hit – and it’s played as a live show all over the world, get some practice here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvkjP6dqpfY

8.15pm 1st, 8th, 15th April
Melbourne Town Hall – Cloak Room


5 Good Reasons to see John Robertson’s KINKLING 

1. It’s funny and contains no elements of heartbreak.

2. It won’t “make you think”; it’ll assume you already do.

3. I wear a nice jacket and I smile lots.

4. The title’s a made-up word for a made-up person.

5. It’s a late-night party in a hotel. If the show runs over time we’ll go into the foyer. If we get kicked out we’ll go have dinner. If you’re still with me, we’ll to to my apartment on La Trobe St. After awhile you’ll have to leave the apartment, watching me sleep is not part of the show.

28th March – 20th April (Thurs – Sat)
11pm Portland Hotel, Locker Room

Interview with Mike Birbiglia about his show My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend.

By Cathy Culliver

Tell me about My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend.

It’s sort of a hybrid between a one-man play and a comedy routine that I have been working on for about three or four years. I performed it Off-Broadway in 2011 as a warm up, and I’ve now performed it in about 70 different cities.

It’s basically a show that’s a one-man romantic comedy, which is difficult to do because comedy is a cynical art form in a lot of ways and I wanted to do something that was true to the cynical roots of comedy but also had beams of optimism in it. So I’d like to think that I’ve done it.

It’s basically about how I decided to get married, while not believing in the idea of marriage. But I love doing the show; one of the cool things is that over the years there have been a bunch of couples who have proposed marriage in the lobby after the show.

There’s a clip on YouTube where a couple propose at the end of my show. I jumped off stage, took the microphone, the guy got down on one knee, she said yes … it was very exciting.

Part of this show aired on a recent episode of the This American Life podcast, where you talk about a girlfriend from high school who treated you horribly and didn’t want anyone to know you two were dating. I have to say this struck a chord with me, as I’ve had a really similar experience. Do you think it’s part of the appeal that people can really relate to the stories you tell in the show?

Well yeah, when I wrote that story I thought I was the only person on earth that has ever happened to. But I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me and said, “that EXACT same thing happened to me!”

And to me that’s when comedy is most exciting, when you uncover something and a lot of people are like “me too”.

Would you describe yourself more of a storyteller than a stand up comedian?

I think of myself as a comedian, because I ultimately always try to have what I’m doing be funny. To make an audience laugh, that’s the number one goal.

But then over the years I’ve kind of branched into storytelling and film making as an extension of the comedy. Now that I know I can make people laugh, I feel like I can do a longer form version of that and go outside of my comfort zone.

Last time I was in Australia, I was compared most by the locals to Daniel Kitson, who’s a comedian I admire a great deal. And he’s also a sort of genre-bending comedian, but I still think of him as a comedian.

Many Australians would be well aware of your work with This American Life. Do you feel like you have a good fan base here?

I was very surprised when I was last in Australia that anyone even knew who I was, so that was very exciting for me. And I feel like this time there could be more, because I think This American Life has started airing on the radio over there. So I’m hoping now it has an even wider reach.

But yeah, I wouldn’t be coming back and getting on a 23-hour flight if I didn’t love it there. My wife and I just absolutely love Australia; we love the people, we love the spirit of it, we love the sights, the beaches, the cliffs … everything about it just overtook us.

You’ve had one of your live shows go on to be made into a movie (Sleepwalk with Me, which is having its Australian premiere in Melbourne during MICF). Do you have any plans to do the same with this one?

I do, yeah. I’m tasking myself with finishing a draft of the movie script on the plane ride to Australia. Because it’s so long, I’m like, if I can’t finish a script in 23 hours then I’m worthless. It’s also a good way to distract myself from the fact that I’m up 30,000 feet in the air.

You made Sleepwalk with Me with Ira Glass and the team from This American Life. And are you planning on working with Ira on this new movie as well?

I hope so. Ira and I work on a ton of stuff together, so it will definitely be something that I will beg him to do.

Before we finish up, how are you doing with the whole sleepwalking thing? Do you still have to sleep in a sleeping bag with mittens on? (As explored in Sleepwalk with Me, Birbiglia has a sleep condition that causes him to act out his dreams, so he has confine himself at night for his own safety).

I don’t wear the mittens anymore because they’re just too hot. But I do wear the sleeping bag; I wear a kind of summer sleeping liner thing. And when I go to bed at night, my wife will literally say “it’s time to go in your pod”.

That’s so romantic.

Well yeah, it’s really romantic and demeaning at the same time, which is really what romance is about I think.

My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend is on at Arts Centre Melbourne from 28 March – 4 April. For tickets and info visit:

Mike will also hold a live Q&A at the Australian premiere of his film Sleepwalk with Me at Cinema Nova on Sunday 31st March. For more information, visit:

5 Good Reasons to see Josh Earl three times and the other Lime Champions

Josh Earl vs The Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book 

1. This show is about the greatest book ever published, a book that made birthdays exciting for thousands of children across Australia throughout the 80’s and early 90’s

2. This show actually helped get the original book republished, which then went on to become the highest selling cook book in Australia of 2012, of which I get…none of the profits

3. Every cake in this show will be shown on a cinema sized screen, You’ve never seen dessicated coconut this big!

4. I write a letter to Ita Buttrose on a typewriter cake to the theme music to Murder She Wrote

5. It has sold out shows all over the country and won the Best Comedy show at Fringeworld 2012

Josh Earl vs The Australian Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book is on at The State Library of Victoria at 8pm March 29, 30, April 5, 6



Josh Earl is a Librarian

1. This is a show about Librarians, in a Library, by a Librarian, it’s like the holy trinity

2. This show goes all through the Dewey Decimal System, the only comedy show to have ever attempted this feat (probably for good reason)

3. This is the best place to see a lot of Librarians lose their mind as they see the Call Number 612.6 on a big screen

4. If you want to see a guy who looks like a hairy skeleton take his shirt off this is the one for you

5. This show is match fit having just sold out my entire season at Fringworld in Perth and Brisbane Comedy Festival

Josh Earl is a Librarian is on at The State Library of Victoria at 8pm  April 12, 13, 19, 20



Lime Champions’ Nightmare Tales

1. After 4 years of performing the only sketch comedy show on Melbourne radio the Lime Champions are bringing their confusing world to the stage

2. There are Dancing men, a secret revealed, an accident in a stairwell, robotic phone sex and strong frequent acting

3. This show is banned in Queensland

4. The acts in this have been described as “SHOCKING!! DISTURBING!!! NUNAWADING!!!”

5. Oliver Clark provides a voiceover, that is worth the ticket price alone

Lime Champions’ Nightmare Tales is on at The Lunch Room at The Melbourne Town Hall at 9:45 April 1, 8, 15


5 Good Reasons to see Dave Bloustien, Laura Davis and Shane Matheson.

5 reasons to see Dave Bloustien’s Grand Guignol 

1. Rip It Up Magazine said “murder will never make you laugh so hard”. And they’re from Adelaide, so they should know.

2. It’s equal parts comedy and horror. So if it’s hilarious, it’s comedy. And if it’s horrible, it’s on purpose.

3. It has creeptastic puppets designed and built by Henson-trained comedian Lana Schwarcz and original music written and performed by FourPlay String Quartet’s Peter Hollo (with Dave) (you can see / hear some of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWBBIjim0NU)

4. It has something for everyone: standup, storytelling, extreme silliness, a castrated pharoah, party political cult conspiracies, fractured fairy tales, barista confessions, beat poetry and a fez.

5. In 10 years of comedy, it’s the best thing Dave Bloustien (Good News Week, Glass house, Randling) has written. And he’s written a LOT.

6. It’s ‘arts’ so you can enjoy it, even if you are innumerate.

Dave Bloustien’s Grand Guignol is on at Trades Hall in the The Evatt Room


FIVE REASONS TO SEE Laura Davis Look Out, It’s a Trap!

1: This is the worst joke Laura has ever written. Q: “What’s a ghosts favourite kind of beer? A: Ghosts don’t like beer. They prefer spirits. See? Even that’s pretty good.

2: If you would like to see what it would be like if Lisa Simpson did Stand-Up Comedy.

3: If you’d like to see something that you’ll never have expected unless you’re very good at expecting things.

4: The show is free. As in the adjective, not the adverb. “You walk out feeling warm, contented, practically hugged…Go and see Laura Davis if you like laughing and feeling nice.” –Watchoutfor.com

5:Laura has been compared to Comics Daniel Kitson, Josie Long and David O’Doherty. If you enjoy any of those people, then you’ll probably enjoy “Look Out, It’s a Trap!”

Laura Davis Look Out, It’s a Trap! is on at The Tuxedo Cat from the 11th of April


Five good reasons to see Shane Matheson  And The Immortal Space Hopper of Doom

1.Last year I won the mysterious “Jhonsy Award” for most innovative local act.

2.The show has a great Broadway number.

3.The audience gets to join in the fun by throwing things at me.

4.It contains a topical joke about 16th Century religious persecution.

5.I literally die on stage (not literally).

Shane Matheson And The Immortal Space Hopper of Doom is on at The Tuxedo Cat from the 11th of April