Backstage at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Melbourne collective Little Picture Box have been busy producing “Backstage” at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Headed by Amanda Reedy, Little Picture Box and her team have produced a couple of seasons of Channel 31′s Studio A and have also produced comedy short films and sketches for online.

The “Backstage” project is a collaboration between Reedy, her team at Little Picture Box and comedians Tommy little, Dave Thornton and Nat Harris. They’ll be producing exclusive online content including interviews, sketches and other funny stuff during the festival plus a half hour Comedy Festival special to air on Channel 31, April 14 at 8.30.

There’s a bunch of videos online now including Tommy Little interviewing Tom Green, Frank Woodley, Tom Ballard, Paul Foot and more. Here’s a few of our fav’s. You can check out more on Little Picture Box’s YouTube Channel.

 

 

 

 

5 Good Reasons to go to St Ali to see Jack Druce, Ross Daniels, Brad Hearne, The Classic Tale of Faust and Rob Lloyd.

This is St Ali’s first year as a Comedy Festival venue and they are jumping in with gusto. St Ali is the venue for ten official MICF shows  and seven of them will include at least one night with an Auslan interpreter. Their late night shows under the umbrella of ‘The Late Night Percolator, have a sophisticated Melbourne comedy in a cafe kind of vibe, but also sound like a hoot! They include The Comedy Manifesto Reunion night, musical comedy, kareoke with comedians, trivia, burlesque and a puppet night. It’s a venue run by performers and I urge comedy fans to support them in their venture away (but not too far away) from the CBD.

5 Good Reasons to go to the venue St Ali

1. We feature internationally renowned 5 star and green room award nominated artists

2. We have parties every night from Tues – Sat where our cafe doors open to the public with free shows and awesome DJs

3. It’s an Artist Run Initiative, so we do our best to support our artists in as many ways as we possibly can

4. You can drive there easily and PARK around the corner for free after 6pm!! A novel concept. Alternatively, we’re an easy tram ride.

5. We’re actually funny, we like to dance, our heart is in exactly the right place, and we’re inviting you into our little nook to play with us.

Learn about all that is happening at St Ali at The St Ali Comedy website.

If you need any more convincing, consider the following:

5 Good Reasons to see JACK DRUCE – INTROVERT DEF JAM 
Jack Druce

1.  If you see a show out side of the Town Hall area you don’t have to be hounded by people flyering you, this means you have a pleasant walk out, and comedians have their self esteem crushed.

2.  My show is called ‘Introvert Def Jam’ and Involves a lot of ranting about StarWars and also at St Ali is Rob Lloyd doing a show about Dr. Who, So you could line up a perfect nerdy Comedy Double bill.

3. This is the first time this has happened, if this grows to be the biggest, coolest, comedy place in town, then you get to be the hip and trendy person who say’s “ohh, yea… St. Ali comedy I went there back in 2012… no big deal.’

4. Go there before the show to enjoy world class food and coffee

5. It always bothers me when a comedy night advertises its self with things external to the performance its self, like bar deals and venue stuff. The only real reason you should come and see a show at St Ali is that they have a picked spectacular line up of unique and talented comedians and you will have a really fun time.

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2012/season/shows/introvert-def-jam-jack-druce/

5 Good Reasons to see ROSS DANIELS – PUNKED
Punked
1. If you missed it last time, or even if you didn’t, here’s your last chance to see my acclaimed one person show in a special encore season.

2. It’s made up of not only stand up, but story telling, characters, improvisation and real drama.

3. You’ll witness the birth of punk rock in a very cool [as in hip not uninsulated] venue.

4. I zip around the stage transforming into punks, evil cops, Molly Meldrum, my grandparents, former Queensland premier/dictator Joh Bjelke-Petersen, myself at age 15 and more.

5. You don’t have to be into punk, history, Brisbane or police to enjoy it. Audiences of all ages and locations [as well as the critics] have embraced ‘Punked’!

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2012/season/shows/punked-ross-daniels/
5 Good Reasons to see BRAD HEARNE – DEAF DEFYING
Brad Hearne

1. Given that there will be an AUSLAN interpreter for two of the shows you can come and see what rude words look like in sign language and then insult your co workers the following day without their knowledge.

2.Two words – Pity Vote, Australia has a proud tradition of championing people like me in the arts. Just look at every season of Australian Idol.

3.People are going to get a unique insight into what it’s like to be a partially deaf person in a hearing world. But it’s not just wall to wall deafness, because that would be weird…and really quiet. I also tell a funny story about getting a haircut.

4.If you come to my show it will validate my sense of self worth. Okay, so that one doesn’t do much for you,…but hey there’s always that karma thing.

5.MICF at St Ali – what could be better. There’s comedy, there’s caffiene, there’s late night shenanigans. It’s like spending an evening inside a really funny can of Red Bull!

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2012/season/shows/deaf-defying-brad-hearne/
5 Good Reasons to see RAG THEATRE’S – THE CLASSIC TALE OF FAUST
Faust

1. possibility of free vodka

2. possibility of free easter eggs

3. Debi Rice’s new poem

4. Scott Gooding in a Tux

5. support art made in collaboration with communities

http://www.thatgirlentertainment.com/stalicomedy/portfolio/rags-theatre-faust/

5 Good Reasons to see ROB LLOYD – WHO, ME???
Who Me?

Five!?! Ha…I can give you ELEVEN good reasons to see ‘WHO, ME’ at St Ali during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

1- Like the First Doctor, ‘WHO, ME’ can be a little cranky but it does have a heart of gold.

2- Like the Second Doctor, ‘WHO, ME’ is slapstick joy to watch but has a deeper side.

3- ‘WHO, ME’ is as stylish and classy as the Third Doctors frilly shirts and velvet jackets.

4- Like the Fourth Doctor, ‘WHO, ME’ isn’t as stupid as it seems.

5- ‘WHO, ME’ thinks a vegetable is an appropriate fashion accessory, like the Fifth Doctor.

6- Like the Sixth Doctor, ‘WHO, ME’ can be pompous and self important but only for a very brief time.

7- Like the Seventh Doctor, ‘WHO, ME’ is enigmatic and controlling.

8- Like the Eighth Doctor, ‘WHO, ME’ has an exciting motorbike/ambulance chase (chase not guaranteed).

9- ‘WHO, ME’ loves to be dark and broody, like the Ninth Doctor.

10- Like the Tenth Doctor, ‘WHO, ME’ appeals to ‘the ladies’.

11- Like the Eleventh Doctor, ‘WHO, ME’ thinks Fish Fingers and Custard is delicious.

And that would be one of the nerdiest promos for a show you will every read my friends!

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2012/season/shows/who-me-rob-lloyd/

Dave Bloustien

by Lisa Clark

How did you become a stand up comedian?

I certainly never trained or applied for it. But there was a point when I looked back and realised I’d been doing stand-up and comedy writing all my life. Having said that, I do remember performing an entire Colin Lane routine for a camp talent contest when I was about 14, so I must have had an inkling. I didn’t start performing at open mic at the Sydney Comedy Store for another 12 years.

Who inspired you in comedy?

Growing up, I was a massive comedy nerd. My earliest stand-up memories are of Bill Cosby and Tom Lehrer on vinyl, but when I got a bit older I used to watch the Big Gig. I was a big fan of Anthony Morgan, Glynn Nicholas, Jean Kittson, The Found Objects and the Doug Anthony All-Stars, and I’d go see what I could at the Adelaide Fringe. I also went through a big Steve Martin and Emo Philips phase. The first full stand-up concert I remember seeing was Lenny Henry on SBS, and I was mad for Alexei Sayle in High School, so my tastes were pretty eclectic.

You’re obviously very busy at the moment. Is this why you’ve decided to perform your brilliant Moosehead winning The Social Contract instead of a new show (which was to be called The Grand Guignol)?

Yeah, there were a number of factors, but the biggest one was probably Randling. It’s a new show I’m writing for and helping develop for the ABC, and it turned out to need all my days, two of my evenings and bits of my weekends. Plus I’m co-producing two other shows, developing a sketch comedy show and (until recently) running a monthly comedy room in a bookshop. And being a dad. If I’d had time to think, I would have realised much earlier that I was an idiot and could’t get Grand Guignol as polished as I wanted in time.

But I was also particularly proud of both The Social Contract and A Complete history of Western Philosophy, and wasn’t prepared to perform Grand Guignol if it wasn’t up to the same level of quality yet.

Is it true that you will be doing a short taster of The Grand Guignol at the MICF this year?

Sure is! There are parts of it I’ve been developing over the last year at a room in Sydney called Arthur B’s. Every so often I’d go read out a new comedic horror story, so about half the show had already been written. It just wasn’t going to be polished or memorised. I’m no quite sure what the taster will be yet, basically an hour of stand-up, mucking about, some horror stories and maybe some impro. But I know it will be fun.

In reply to Justin Hamilton’s blog about performing his last festival show you tweeted: “Mine (current MICF show) must be about ‘realising last year SHOULD have been the last one”. I’ve had the feeling that Justin Hamilton has been putting off changing his life for a few years now, are you getting those feelings too?

Not really, but never let the truth get in the way of a good punchline. I’m constantly overwhelmed by the amount of work that’s needed to be a successful comedian. I’ve never had an agent or a manager, and I’ve frequently vowed to quit and be a full-time writer / improvisor. But being on stage is very addictive, particularly once you get to the point where most of your gigs are good ones. I don’t think I could ever stay away for too long. You look at people like Lewis Black and think: screw success, I’ll just keep doing this til I’m old and shaky.

Does having a child to provide for change your perspective on your career?

Yes and no. I was a comedy writer with a steady income before I was a paid comedian. The big difference with having a child is that it saps your will to tour. It’s almost impossible to be a successful comedian in Australia without the ability to travel around it. If it wasn’t for my daughter, I’d probably spend at least 4 months of the year doing festivals. As it is, I usually just do a few weeks.

Tell us what you can about Randling.

It’s a game show about words, hosted by Andrew Denton and starring an excellent and bizarrely eclectic bunch of talent. It’s been really strange hammering it into shape, but the shows we’ve recorded so far have been thrilling and hilarious. If I wasn’t having so much fun with it, I would have written Grand Guignol by now.

You’ve done a lot of TV. How does it compare to stand up?

I tend to be behind the scenes, which is both exciting and frustrating. I will quite happily write pages of jokes every day, but I often get very emotionally invested in what I’ve written, and that can be hard when the person you’re writing for rejects your favourites or (worse) likes your favourite joke but screws up the delivery. More often they pick a joke you threw together as filler and use their superior delivery skills to spin it into gold. But with stand-up, you have to own the material yourself then and there. It keeps you honest in a completely different way.

Do you see yourself leaving performance behind and becoming a straight writer?

I could never be a straight writer. It always comes out bent.

What would be your dream job?

Computer Game tester, purely because I fit the demographics so well. I’m in my mid 30s and 60% male.

Tell us about Wit Large.

I started Wit Large because I was becoming frustrated with the Sydney comedy scene. It felt like it wanted to appeal to the largest common denominator, and as a semi-literate nerd with an open mind, I wasn’t just wasn’t part of that audience.

So, I approached a bookshop about running a political, socially progressive and intellectual comedy room, which seems to have worked. (I wanted to call it Smug, but the bookshop wisely convinced me that wasn’t a great idea). Since then it’s evolved out of the bookshop and into a ‘comedy label’, largely thanks to Carrie Hardie, who acts as my organisational brain. We’re producing my show at the MICF, along with those of Jack Druce and Shane Matheson.

What is your favourite thing about The Melbourne International Comedy Festival?

People whose work I don’t know bring their comedy close enough for me to see it. And the people whose work I already know push themselves to create something new and exciting. Mostly, that friends of mine from all around the world come to Melbourne to work and drink like the blazes.

Give us 5 Reasons to choose your show The Social Contract.

1. It’s a heart-warming tale of the little guy (that’s me) going up against ‘The Man’.

2. It’s topical: ‘The Man’ went on the run late last year with tens of thousands of dollars from high school formals around NSW. I’ve no idea if he’s been found, but he certainly made the papers.

3. It has been certified funny by the Bondi Junction Small Claims tribunal, and I have the legal documentation to prove it.

4. You’ll be supporting the fantastic St. Ali cafe venue in South Melbourne, a truly independent hub venue run by comedians, for comedians.

5. If you don’t, I’ll sue. 😉

The Social Contract is on at St Ali
Click here for tickets and more infomation

An Evening with John Cleese

By David Slattery

It is really quite difficult to begin a review about someone who has already established themself so firmly as a comedic icon. Writer and actor in Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, A Fish Called Wanda…. do I have to go through every one of his contributions to the comedic world right here? We all know he is a comic genius, a pioneer of so much that we see on stage and in television today, right? Good. Let’s move straight on to the show.

I was not entirely sure what to expect from a John Cleese live show. Part of me was thinking a myriad of stand-up, sketch comedy, maybe some deep and meaningful insight into his past and his comedic process. I was almost right, just not quite in the way I expected. The opening of the show was an introduction (as if he needed one) from Richard Stubbs (Whom most of you will know from Radio station 774), who then sat down with him for what became an hour long look into Cleese’s past life. Even as Stubbs was pointing it out to the audience I realised that with all the hours of time spent watching and listening to Cleese’s many works, I knew almost nothing about him at all. So as we were regaled with all sorts of stories and anecdotes about his father, mother, and just about every single known comedian in England in the 1960’s (all of whom he knew personally), I was genuinely amazed at how I had never known any of it. All of these stories were coupled with the obligatory slideshow of photos and film excerpts, and of course Cleese’s unique brand of wit. On that note, it certainly seems Cleese has become much more mellow and even-tempered of late. There were definite layers of bitterness and resentment on certain subjects; the $17 million alimony to his ex-wife for one. But not the red-faced, passionate torrent of abuse that I had been used to seeing from the man.

The second part of the evening was Cleese on his own, explaining to us his view on Black Comedy, and how it influenced his own writing. This was accompanied by some small excerpts of his own writing for film, such as the ever-popular Black Knight sketch from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and even his own memorial service from Graham Chapman’s funeral. As self-indulgent as this seemed at first, it really felt deserved. He also gave a lot of praise to all the comedians he worked with during his time, presenting several anecdotes citing the great comedic abilities of his peers. The image of Graham Chapman in a carrot suit while speaking at a debate for nuclear disarmament is not one I shall soon forget.

But now the most important announcement of all. Two more shows have been announced at the Princess Theatre. If you are a fan of any or all of his works, or if you would just like an insight into how he got to where he is today, buy a ticket. Before it’s too late.

Cleese finishes his run in Melbourne on March 27th then he’s off to Sydney from the 30th.

Click here for tickets and more infomation

Tommy Dassalo- Pipsqueak

By Jayden Edwards

Since coming runner up in Triple J’s Raw Comedy competition and debuting at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2006, Tommy Dassalo has pushed himself: dabbling in theatrics, illustrations, voice-overs and complex story telling. But its in his new show that he takes on his biggest challenge yet.

He’s a young, baby faced, squeaky voiced, self proclaimed “Little Buddy” to all and believe it or not, Cancer survivor. Yep, as a young child, Tommy was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and spent much of his childhood in hospital, and it’s this that Tommy ambitiously chose to source material for his new comedy festival show “Pipsqueak”.

Performing to a small Wednesday night crowd at Brisbane’s Powerhouse Theatre minus his desired backing artwork that Officeworks fucked up, Tommy jumps onto stage and dives into some casual stand up and banter, then drops the C bomb… (Cancer, not that other word). The audience is taken aback at first and things are a little uncomfortable but, like ripping off a band-aid, the worst part is over and the show comes into it’s own.

Tommy cleverly structures the show around a few letters he wrote and received during his childhood. It’s these letters that produce some of the more sobering moments of the show, and some great comedic opportunities to riff off little Tommy’s apparent naivety during the whole ordeal (like totally screwing up his Make-a-wish!). Tommy masterfully uses light and shade throughout the show, brilliantly using the darker moments to surprise attack the audience with punchlines.

The heavy subject matter of the show was risky, and to revisit and retell this story mustn’t have been easy for Tommy, let alone to an audience night after night. But with comic timing and story telling skills well above his years, the underlying trauma just adds a whole lot of heart and soul to an hilarious story based show.

Tommy’s style of stand up and mannerisms are not dissimilar to that of Micheal Chamberlin. On stage he’s quick, witty, confident and just so bloody likeable. He really is ‘the little buddy that could’, sure to be a highlight of this years festival, and in years to come.

Reviewed at Brisbane Comedy Festival

Performing at Melbourne International Comedy Festival
at Victoria Hotel – Acacia Room
215 Lt Collins St, Melbourne
29 March – 22 April
Click here for tickets and more infomation

5 GOOD REASONS TO SEE: The Extraordinary General Meeting, Max Attwood & Paul Culliver and Kai Smythe

5 Good Reasons to see the EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING:
Agenda item one: it’s an absurd and biting comedy

Agenda item two:  It features four performers and a multitude of characters

Agenda item three:  It’s being performed at the Tuxedo Cat, a fantastic hub for independent comedy

Agenda item four:  The show sold-out at the 2011 Melbourne Fringe, which is more than the families of the cast combined

Agenda item five:  No one needs to take minutes

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2012/season/shows/extraordinary-general-meeting-the/

5 Good Reasons to see MAX ATTWOOD & PAUL CULLIVER in NO PARTICULAR ORDER: 
1. We’re amongst the more handsome performers in the Festival.

2. Two comedians for the price of one. We’re both very different performers so if you don’t like one of us, you’ll probably like the other. (But really, you’ll like both of us).

3. Enjoying our show will let you know your opinions match those of reviewers.

4. On the right night we’re cheaper than going to the cinema.

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2012/season/shows/in-no-particular-order-max-attwood-paul-culliver/

5 Good Reasons to see KAI SMYTHE – BIG HAIRY FUN 

Kai Smythe – Big Hairy Fun

1. Because he is so attractive.

2. He may look like a scary homeless man, but he sings and dances like an angel.

3. If you see his show, he wont have to eat his own shoes for fear of starvation from poor ticket sales.

4. the show in fuses video and live action comedy making Kai a multi-disciplinary artist. This is particularly good for grant applications.

5. Did we mention how attractive he was?

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2012/season/shows/in-no-particular-order-max-attwood-paul-culliver/