Milo McCabe – Kenny Moon this is your Life

By Lisa Clark

The Kenny Moon of the title is a character played by Milo McCabe’s actual father Mike McCabe and the story played out is something pretty close to Mikes life as a stand up comedian in the 80s and early 90s on the sea side circuit and television. Milo, who plays all the characters in his father’s life, makes sure you know that he is the actual star of the show. Apparently he was nominated for an Amused Moose Award last year for a show that was described as a ‘showcase for his … outrageous diamond cut characters’, and he has a burgeoning acting career.

There was little to suggest that there was much more to Milo’s motivations here, it was another showcase of character after character and they were played with gusto and a keen eye for detail but were all pretty unpleasant. Unfortunately there was also a horrible creeping sense in this show of a son using the relationship with his father and his father’s bitter, sad story to further his own career and of a father hoping to get back in the game after 20 years, while trying to get revenge on those he blames for a career that never went as far as he’d hoped. The third person on stage, Chris Henry, as the ‘This is Your Life’ host and the only warm and genuine presence on it, is completely superfluous, standing to the side watching, with little to say or do in a thankless role that could be played by a cardboard cutout.

The show begins with Mike, as Kenny Moon performing some of his old gags. It was hard to tell if we were supposed to laugh at how old fashioned and unfunny they were, or even if they were Mike’s real gags or if this was the ‘character’ Kenny Moon’s terrible gags and that maybe later we’d get to Mike’s actual classic stand up. As things unfold and old videos of Mike’s TV performances are played throughout you realise with horror that these were real jokes and we are supposed to laugh and admire him for them. Indeed there were a handful of elderly people in the audience who were obviously fans of that style (and possibly of Mike himself) and laughed warmly at them.

The videos and posters are presented like evidence in a case that was lost years ago yet there is no sense of redemption or admission that maybe stealing other people’s gags and using them on television might suggest a lack of talent, lapse in scruples or even perhaps just a lack in confidence in your own ability. There’s also not only the inability to admit that there’s no use snarking against ‘Alternative Comedians’ as his Mother-in-Law style was stale long before the early 90’s when his career died, but that maybe he just wasn’t good enough to write fresh gags to appeal to modern, savvy audiences.

Mike spends a the bulk of the show sitting with a bit of a lost look on his face while the videos are shown and the son showcases his talents as the ‘characters’ in his father’s/ Kenny Moon’s This is Your Life story. The worst smacking of racism, esp the Traveller brother displaying all the ugly cliche’s suspected of Gypsies and the Asian Ladyboy ex wife which Milo later admits he made up and added to the story because he wanted to have a go at a part in drag (& obviously some cheap racist/homophobic laughs). But after Kenny laments not being able to do his old racist material, you can see where the son gets his comedy instincts.

Eventually the denouement of the show is reached and a surprisingly creative twist gives hope that there is almost a chance for this story to get interesting and perhaps win some of the audience over but this is destroyed by the last part of the show with a poorly judged, self indulgent ending that wiped away any chance of sympathy with them. Milo came out of character to tell the audience that the tale is true and based on an appalling injustice for a brilliantly, talented, misunderstood and persecuted comedian who’s career was ruined by cruel outsiders and tries to milk it for schmaltz. I feel like I’ve watched some weird take on ‘Inception’ – a delusion within a delusion of delusion.

Milo McCabe is playing at The Gilded Balloon Teviot

http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/milo-mccabe-kenny-moon-this-is-your-life

Greg Proops

By Ron Bingham

He’s back and, unlike normal people, not mellowed with age. At this, his 20th (or 25th) year at the Fringe, he is playing in one of the big tents in the Assembly Gardens, quite appropriately called the Elegance, a room with wood panelling, mirrors and stained glass windows to let in the evening sun and bathe us all in a beatific glow, which is quickly dispelled when Greg comes on stage.

He starts with the Olympics and how the opening ceremony could have been improved, and then goes on to entertainingly insult almost every group/race/class/creed/religion he can in the hour. He also had to contend with noise from a nearby Irish band which became a drumming group, so Proops the comedy veteran adeptly worked them into the routine as he was going. He swears and berates the audience if they don’t get his jokes or laugh loud or quickly enough for his liking. It isn’t a show for the faint hearted or those who prefer their comedy slow and obvious. The routine about Ex-Mrs Macca which moved into an abuse session about the Scots, the Irish, the English, modern music, sport, Nascars and finally US politics, where he left us rather abruptly.

It involves very strong language, a bit of knowledge of American culture and politics would be handy (I didn’t understand why he eulogised US bacon, which is apparently ambrisoa). Greg pointed out his shows are getting earlier every year he comes to Scottishland from Californiania (as he calls them) and he predicts he’ll be doing a lunchtime show on the Royal Mile next year (with a weasel up his bum). Not likely.

Fans will love it all of course. See him if you love comedy that comes fast and multi-layered. I think they should rename the room the Curmudgeon for his shows, though.

Greg Proops is playing at The Assembly George Square in The Elegance.

http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/greg-proops

My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver by Toby Hadoke

By Colin Flaherty

‘My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver’ is Toby Hadoke’s loose sequel to his previous show ‘Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf’. A warm, heartfelt exploration of father-son relationships (that covers not only the titular stepson but other offspring, his wives and an absent father) he wraps it in the framework of Doctor Who to make this story highly personal and attract an audience who perhaps wouldn’t normally go to see a show about abandonment issues

This is yet another show about Doctor Who fandom that also appeals to a wide audience by justifying the devotion and explaining the impact on the fan’s relationship with others. In doing so, Toby presents plentiful Who facts and opinions to delight/ignite the fans (his demonstrations of uber-devotion puts many others to shame) while progressing the story without getting sidetracked too much from the main story. He even throws in plenty of political and pop-culture references to prove that he isn’t a complete basement dweller.

On stage Toby comes across as eccentric enough to be individualistic but not so weird as to be a pitiful loner. He is wonderfully animated as he presents his views of the Who Universe, bouncing around the stage like an excited puppy, that it’s impossible not to get caught up in his enthusiasm. Even when not geeking out he tells his tale with genuine passion that sells the material perfectly. He makes use of enough gentle self-deprecation to portray himself as flawed without being a sad sack.

The staging of this show includes some visual elements via a video screen that go beyond merely illustrating points to the uninitiated by creating an amusing autobiographical photo album. The addition of some amusing captions provided some wonderful jokes on the peripheral that linked in to the main thread. Also on the AV front is a special audio treat by a revered figure in the Who Universe that will delight.

This is a brilliant hour in the company of a great storyteller that will delight all. It is sure to encourage you to go home and give your dad a big hug.

Toby Hadoke is on at the Gilded Balloon Teviot.
http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/my-stepson-stole-my-sonic-screwdriver

Ethan Addie: Rookie Mistakes

Ethan Addie is a young gay comedian that grew up in homophobic regional Australia – you’re laughing already right? He certainly is.

Ethan identifies with Beyoncé – but not the gay community. A self confessed ‘gay anti-hero’, he has made a lot of ‘Rookie Mistakes’ (Hey! That’s the name of his show!) After just twelve months of doing stand-up comedy Ethan is going to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Here are five agayzing reasons you should see his show ‘Rookie Mistakes’:

1. He is the epitome of an ‘underdog’. He has only been doing stand-up comedy for twelve months and is doing what even veteran comedians fear – their first show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

2. Ethan is actually pretty funny. After just 6 months on the Melbourne comedy circuit he appeared in the Grand Final of the 2012 St Kilda Laughs Festival new comic competition and the Preliminary Final of the prestigious 2012 Australian Raw Comedy national talent search. He has since performed at the 2012 Melbourne Midsumma Festival, and the 2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

3. There is a hysterical surprise in the show. He won’t say much about what it is – it could involve Beyoncé herself (it doesn’t) and it could involve whipped cream (it doesn’t either).

4. Ethan’s story is unique. There isn’t a single reference to the good old fashioned gay-comedian-fallback-jokes (think MY MUM LOVES WINE AND IS AN ALCOHOLIC – LOL). From dating a Jehovah’s Witness to living with a Rent Boy to studying chemistry, Ethan enjoys sharing his ‘Rookie Mistakes’ with an unsuspecting audience. Even gay men are enlightened (usually terrified) by the stories that Ethan eases his audiences into *cough* so to speak.

5. The reason Ethan is doing the show. Ethan ran into an ex-boyfriend who was doing much better than him. Refusing to admit defeat, Ethan told a white lie. Everyone has done it. His lie was that he would be doing a solo stand-up show at the Edinburgh Fringe. Imagine his surprise when his ex replied that would be there, and would love to see the show. Was he serious? Ethan thought so.

Ethan is apart of PBH’s Free Fringe and the show runs from the 15th – 25th of August at The Street (Venue 239) at 6.30pm.

Ethan Addie: Rookie Mistakes listing in the fringe guide is here: http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/rookie-mistakes

 

5 Good Reasons to see Sarah Jones Does Not Play Well With Others – at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Sarah Jones is a Ventriloquist / Comedian from Melbourne currently living in London. She recently took a trip to Fort Mitchell, Kentucky for the World Ventriloquist Convention Vent Haven and is preparing for her first go at the Edinburgh Fringe. She’s found some time to give us all 5 Good Reasons to see her show…

1. The show has puppets. The quirky, whimsical kind, not the kind that come alive in the night and eat your soul. It’s a great show to see if you love puppets, like puppets, are indifferent to puppets or have a debilitating fear of puppets that you wish to overcome.

2. There’s a pretty funny Star Wars bit in. If you like Star Wars you will really enjoy it. If you don’t like Star Wars, well, it only goes for a few minutes so you can just close your eyes for a bit and think of things you do like. Like sex and cake and pugs wearing bow ties.

3. You can use it as an excuse to ask your crush on a date. If they say no you just say “yeah, I was totally joking! As if I would ask you out to a ventriloquist show. I don’t even like you anyway.”

4. If your crush says yes and you go to my show you will definitely get a second date. We can even secretly arrange for me to turn up at the next date and pretend that we’re friends. Your crush will be impressed that you know someone famous (we’ll lie and tell them that I’m super famous in Australia.) I’ll come up to you and say “Hi!” and you can say “Not, now I’m kinda busy.” Your crush will swoon because you are so badass and important.

5. It’s a ventriloquist show! Everyone likes ventriloquism right? Right? No, wait, don’t leave! Love me! Love me like I love you!

My show is this one:  http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/sarah-jones-does-not-play-well-with-others

Sarah Jones Does not Play Well with Others is on at C Venues – C Aquila from the 19th to the 27th of August at 2.30pm

5 Good Reasons to see Jennifer Carnovale in Scraping the Barrel – free – in Edinburgh

Jennifer Carnovale has gone solo.
Previously half of Carnovale and Culp, who won Best Newcomer at the 2010 Sydney Comedy Festival, Jennifer is performing in Scraping the Barrel as part of the Free Fringe in Edinburgh.

Here are the 5 Good Reasons that you should see her show.

1. You have an interest in hating call centres, how London can cure depression, my fear of toddlers and everything else I’m going to talk about.

2. You have no interest in getting picked on, yelled at, preached to or any of the other things that have no place in this classy show. Though I may ask you to sign a petition to make pole dancing an Olympic sport. keep on slidin’ girls!

3. You have a spare 45mins in Edinburgh and know the best thing to do is to see my free show at The Three Sisters, while eating haggis soaked in whiskey with a Scotty dog, rain, Sean Connery and a highland cow*  A truly Welsh experience.

4. You find 5:30pm to be the perfect show viewing time. It’s too early to be drunk and too late to be sober, perfect!

5. I will at no point talk about my penis even though it pains me not to.

*Whiskey, haggis, rain, Scotty dogs, Sean Connery and Highland Cows are welcome and considered audience.

Show Link: http://www.laughinghorsecomedy.co.uk/edinburgh/show.asp?ShowID=875        (Laughing Horse)

or http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/jennifer-carnovale-scraping-the-barrel-free   (Edinburgh Fringe)

And here’s her blog so you can keep up with her adventures in Edinburgh.
http://jennifercarnovale.com/