The Death of Chimp Cop

By Will Erskine 

Ben Vernel, Adam Knox, Rosie Vernel and Timothy Clark are Melbourne based sketch troupe Chimp Cop. Over the past 4 years they have established themselves at the festival through their spoof cop movie franchise of the same name. The Death of Chimp Cop is the 4th installment in the series and to tackle the obvious question first, no you don’t need to have seen the first 3 for this one to make sense. This is a marvelously slick production that engages and delivers laughs throughout, from the quirky opening credits to the ridiculous conclusion.

It is a spoof cop action movie, presented in cinematic form complete with soundtrack and opening credits. The pace is of the show is incredible, making the 50-minute performance feel like half that. Each scene is so packed with puns, gags and prop comedy that it feels like for every joke that you notice there were 3 more hidden behind the surface. The plot progresses over a series of sketches blending between a current day courthouse and flashbacks to scenes of central protagonist Chimp Cop’s battle against one of his toughest adversaries.

The shows strength comes from its overall narrative and the combination of its parts. While each sketch could stand-alone in isolation the show is so much more than a series of unrelated sketches, delivering genuine story progression and character development often missing from sketch comedy.

On paper spoofing cop shows doesn’t seem like the strongest idea for a comedy festival show – and particularly not 4 comedy festival shows. The show is carried by the creativity and talent of every member of the group. This is very much an ensemble cast with each member getting equal measure of the laughs and funny moments.

The gags in The Death of Chimp Cop range from the bizarre, to the intelligent all the way to the wilfully awful – it is the combination of the three that leaves the audience begging for more by the end of the performance.

It will be fascinating to see if this really is the death of the Chimp Cop character. Whether, in the spirit of movie franchises, the troupe return to the well once more, or they decide to create new characters it will without doubt be another a must see show.

The Death of Chimp Cop is on at Trades Hall until 22nd April details on the website: 

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/the-death-of-chimp-cop

 

 

Chimp Cop Forever

By Elyce Phillips
Chimp Cop Forever

Sketch group Chimp Cop (Timothy Clark, Adam Knox, Ben Vernel and Rosie Vernel) have earnt themselves a reputation as cult favourites at MICF. At the last couple of festivals, word quickly spread around about how hilarious they were, and their late-night shows became must-see viewing for comedy fans. Chimp Cop Forever, the third installment of the Chimp Cop saga, keeps the old-school gags coming in a thrilling tale about a man who is part chimp, all cop.

Chimp Cop Forever starts out strong with one of the most inventive opening sequences I’ve seen in a comedy show. The crew don’t have a screen this year so there are no pre-recorded sketches, and with the regular audio-visual element out, they’ve come up with clever workarounds. It’s a great introduction, and it sets up the story neatly. Chimp Cop must head to his hometown, working undercover to expose a drug ring, and it gets personal.

In the past, Chimp Cop’s humour has been compared to Police Squad! and Naked Gun, and not without reason. The group is clearly influenced by these sight-gag-heavy pun-fests and it’s absolutely delightful to see that tradition continue on. Chimp Cop Forever hits on all the great tropes of the crime genre, playing with them in an affectionate, utterly silly way.

The cast of Chimp Cop work together brilliantly. There’s clear chemistry between them all and their performances are slicker than they’ve been in the past. Clark is brilliantly funny as the titular Chimp Cop, and Knox, Vernel and Vernel are absolutely terrific as a rotating cast of characters – from Chimp Cop’s dad, Criminal Cop, to a series of bumbling henchmen and stooges.

Chimp Cop Forever is the best kind of late-night festival fun. It had the audience doubled over with laughter, and continues Chimp Cop’s record of producing fabulous comedy.

Chimp Cop Forever
’s run at MICF has finished, but the sketch group will be premiering a new show later this year.
https://www.facebook.com/chimpcop/

Chimp Cop

By Elyce PhillipsChimp Cop

When a business mogul goes missing and a man shows up dead, Detectives Chimp Cop and Tijuana Goldberg are on the case. Adam Knox, Ben Vernel, Timothy Clark and Rosie Vernel ham it up as a cast of good cops, bad cops, rogues and dames. It’s everything you love about a good detective drama, done on about 1/100th of the budget.

Chimp Cop is a loving parody of detective noir. It feels heavily influenced by Naked Gun, with a dose of Raymond Chandler in there for good measure. There are a lot of cheesy puns, plenty of stupid sight gags, and enough accents to cover every single cop show stereotype. The Chimp Cop team throw themselves into their performance wholeheartedly – to the point that there were probably a few prop-based injuries on stage. There aren’t a whole heap of bells and whistles in this show, but they work well with what they’ve got. A video screen is used to good effect to set the tone at the start. The character transitions could be clunky in the small space, but a few ad-libbed lines smooth things over.

Chimp Cop is a little rough around the edges, but there is some absolute gold in this hour of sketch. A graphic visual stand-in for a sex scene was…memorable, and an extended video montage about friendship was hands-down the funniest thing I’ve seen at the Festival so far. It sent me into one of those slightly terrifying hysterical laughs where you momentarily fear that you may never stop laughing. It’s the kind of unhinged madness that you want in late-night comedy.

Chimp Cop is incredibly silly and a whole lot of fun. If you’re a fan of cop dramas, there’s plenty of laughs to be had, and if you’re not, you’ll probably still get a chuckle out of the nonsense of it all.

Chimp Cop is on at the Imperial Hotel until April 18
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/chimp-cop

Squirrel Comedy’s Recommended and Previously Reviewed Shows at Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2015

By Lisa Clark

Well the Squirrels are getting ruffled up and ready for autumn nut collecting. And comedy reviewing. There are soooo many shows on offer at the 2015 Melbourne International comedy Festival and it can be very difficult for us to see everything we want to see, let alone review everything we want to review. For those readers who are planning their Festival schedules and are in need of help, we have some good news: Squirrel Comedy has previously reviewed thirty of this year’s shows and we have laid out links to all those reviews below.

 

First Up here are some brilliant shows I previously saw & loved but Squirrel Comedy hasn’t reviewed.

I recommend you see:Claire Hooper School Camp

Claire Hooper’s School Camp

Claire takes us back to school days in a raw & truthful way where nostalgia takes some surprising and dark turns that make this show very special.

 

Celia Pacquola – Let Me Know How It All Works Out.

Celia’s show about fortune telling and her international lifestyle was another of Celia’s crowd-pleasing corkers.
Celia Pac Let me Know

Barry Nominated last year as word got around it was selling out like hotcakes, so if you weren’t lucky enough to see this gorgeous show better book now.

 

Denise Scott – Mother Bare

Denise deservedly won the Barry Award last year for her droll and often riotous reflections on motherhood and other aspects of her comedic life.Denise Scott Mother Bare pic

She’s only doing four shows this year at the fan friendly time of 4.30 Sundays, so get your tickets early.

 

 

And now for shows that we have previously reviewed.

Particular highlights this year that I can also recommend include:

Are You Afraid of the Dark by Watson Watson Afraid of the Dark

Watson’s funny and occasionally genuinely scary show is not for those with a nervous disposition or heart condition but my goodness it is a monstrous load of fun. It can only fit smallish audiences into the space at the Old Melbourne Gaol so book early, I hear the first week is booking out fast. Not surprising as this show won Best Comedy at the Melbourne Fringe Festival and considering it is site specific it is one you will have to come to Melbourne to see.

 

Bart Freebairn Ultra Power LordBart Freebairn pic

Bart is a comedian at the top of his game just waiting to be discovered by the mainstream. I get the joyful shivers when I see a stand up comedian reach a point where they can host a room and own it keeping everyone rolling with laughter non stop. Bart is there and I hope everyone loves Ultra Power Lord as much as I did at Fringe last year.

 

Bucket’s List by Sarah Collins starring Justin Kennedybuckets list

Buckets List is a whimsical, beautiful and of course very funny tale with a star turn by the amazing Justin Kennedy (who we just don’t see enough of on the circuit any more – I miss him, but if this is the sort of work he’s producing then I’ll forgive his absence). Justin is blessed with the ability to make an audience laugh without saying a word and when I see independent theatre this good I think our major theatre companies should have a good hard look at themselves.

 

Damian Callinan – The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy CallinanPaddy Callinan

A perfect show for this anniversary of ANZAC it’s another comedy character tour de force by Damian where truth and tall tales blur with loads of laughs and a streak of darkness. The true spirit of the ANZAC is thoroughly celebrated.

 

We can’t wait to discover new exciting comedy at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival  but meanwhile

Here’s the full list with links of those we reviewed earlier:

The 13–Storey Treehouse

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=6692

Anthony Jeannot is Unaccept-a-bubble

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7985

Bart Freebairn: Ultra Power Lord

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7643

Clem Bastow – Escape From LA

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7956

Damian Callinan – The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy Callinan

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=6010

Dr Brown – Befrdfgth

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=1244

Dylan Cole – The Moon in Me

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7760

Fancy Boy Variety Show

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=6647

Faulty Towers – The Dining Experience

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=1633

Geraldine Hickey – Listen Out For The Castanets

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7669

I Love Green Guide Letters Live

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5892

Justin Kennedy – Bucket’s List

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7723

Late Night Letters and Numbers

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3846

Lee Naimo – Finding Lee

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7970

Lisa-Skye’s Lovely Tea Party

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5880

The Little Dum Dum Club Live

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5938

Luke McGregor – I Worry That I Worry Too Much

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=6045

Mark Butler – Grammar don’t matter on a first date

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7885

Political Asylum – Late Night Riot

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3785

Sam Rankin – Wake Up, Sheeple! (2.0)

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7639

The Sexy Detectives – Mono Logs

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7952

The Sound of Nazis

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7712

The Umbilical Brothers – KiDSHoW – Not Suitable for Children

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=6870

Stuart Daulman is an Absolute Credit

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7706

Stew Walker – A Hard Day’s Night of Beatles Parodies

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7920

Gary Portenza: Apologies in Advance

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7915

Set List

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=6695

Watson – Who’s Afraid of the Dark

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7786

World Record Show with Andy Matthews, Adam Knox and Dave Warneke

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5973

Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=6963

 

A Brief History of Comedy

By Colin Flaherty

Adam Knox, Ben Vernel and Timothy Clark have created a sketch show that takes the topics of comedy and history and smashes them together. The resultant rubble was a sometimes clever but often just plain silly hour of lunacy.

Sketches ranged from meta discussions of humour to twisted historical examples of jokes to current events given a darkly comedic treatment to scenes set in the past with a passing whiff of humour tropes. Some particularly clever ideas looked at humour from an almost alien perspective and used wordplay to fantastic effect. The scenes came thick and fast with some witty linking material holding it together.

On the whole this was a blunt kind of humour that didn’t shy away from using broad stereotypes and touchy subjects to get laughs. The fourth wall was regularly demolished while every imaginable comedic trope was held up to ridicule. Historical facts usually took a back seat to the jokes and merely provided a convenient setting for the sketches.

In any other sketch show the rough nature of the performance would be seen as a failure but this show revelled in this kind of anarchy. Things were seemingly always in danger of falling apart and there was a nice story arc of sorts where the performers comically lost control of proceedings.

Several of the sketches were a little long and the punchlines could be telegraphed quite early but this was probably by design. They were clearly trying to milk every piece of over acting and knowing glance at the audience for as many laughs as possible but it came dangerously close to needless self-indulgence. Nonetheless it was hard not to get swept up in the chaotic spirit of the show and find yourself regularly in fits of laughter.

The chemistry within the trio was wonderful with Clark regularly playing the fool on stage and Vernel the straight man. Knox’s tinkling of the ivories was an unexpected treat. The music that he played didn’t exactly provide humour but fitted in with the scenes perfectly.

This was a brilliant hour of sketch that combined enough smarts to satisfy the comedy nerds in the audience with plenty of base humour the keep everyone else chuckling. You won’t learn much but you’ll have a great time doing so.

A Brief History of Comedy is on at The Imperial Hotel at 7pm until September 28

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/a-brief-history-of-comedy/

People Crying “Adam Knox” As They Leap From Planes

By Elyce Phillips

Going into this show, I had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t seen Adam Knox perform before, and his Festival Guide entry keeps it short and sweet. All I knew was that Knox’s show has the best title I have seen in a long time. People Crying “Adam Knox” As They Leap From Planes is all about Knox’s desire to be remembered. Over the course of the show Knox explores different ways to continue in the public memory after death and takes a good hard look at why anyone would want to be remembered anyway.

Knox’s choice of theme is clever. Discussing ways to be remembered allows to him to touch upon a wide range of topics – religion, politics, TV – while still maintaining a cohesive show. Thematically, there’s nothing revolutionary here, but the jokes feel fresh and original. Knox’s observational humour is witty and relatable, even when the observing is limited to the eccentricities of his tiny apartment. In fact, the more specific to his life the material, the stronger it was – a bracket about a truly disgusting share house played wonderfully. The show is well-honed and consistently funny. Knox is aware of the jokes that don’t land so strongly and has devised interesting ways to perk them up. A particularly lame joke that he hypes up as being ‘the greatest joke ever’ is actually one of the highlights of the performance.

Knox is an engaging performer. He’s confident in his delivery and appears completely at ease in front of the audience, aside from the occasional referral to his pocket notebook. Personally, I didn’t find these moments too distracting but he did start to lose the crowd when he flipped through for that second too long. However, when Knox in his groove, he’s the sort of performer that makes it look all too easy and, for the most part, this is the performer we got to see.

People Crying “Adam Knox” As They Leap From Planes is a strong show from an up-and-coming comedian. If Knox continues at this pace, he is sure to be remembered.

People Crying “Adam Knox” As They Leap From Planes is on at The Provincial Hotel until April 20
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/people-crying-adam-knox-as-they-leap-from-planes-adam-knox