Andrew McClelland – A Seated Walking Tour of Western Europe

By Colin Flaherty

Comedy shows exploring travel tend to be comedic lectures that provide amusing facts and figures about the destinations with variable accuracy. Andrew McClelland’s A Seated Walking Tour of Western Europe goes beyond this by presenting a narrative of intrigue, adventure and many wacky shenanigans. From the opening song and dance number you know you are in for a great time.

In a “get to know the tour group” activity, McClelland assigns the audience identities, either as part of social groups or individuals. These characters pop up during the course of the tour with some getting more things to do than others. The amusing misadventures of these travellers are often described in retrospect (as in “the footy club certainly got drunk last night”) and he gently pressures us as a group into making decisions about what what we should do next. This leaves a little bit of wiggle room for McClelland to react and riff on our responses but this is essentially a linear story. There’s one segment of audience participation where someone joins Andrew on stage, but all that’s required of everyone else is to laugh and cheer when their characters are mentioned from the safety of their seats.

Our tour is narrated in brilliant detail by McClelland with the odd sequence of images from Google Earth to help set the scene. There is some clever wordplay in describing our surrounds as well as the lame puns you would expect from most guides. He is peppy and comically upbeat no matter how pear-shaped things are going, be it from encounters with a rival tour group or unexpected route detours due to our highly unreliable mode of transport. Andrew weaves a terrific yarn, keeping us invested in the story with his infectious enthusiasm.

Although you probably won’t learn many useful things about the places we visit, this is a rolicking fun hour. With such a packed itinerary that criss-crosses Europe, it’s a good thing we are merely armchair travellers. This high paced show would be too exhausting otherwise!

A Seated Walking Tour of Western Europe is on at The Coopers Malthouse -The Tower until April 22
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/a-seated-walking-tour-of-western-europe

A BIG YEAR’S ROUND UP AND 5 VERY GOOD SHOWS OF 2017

By Lisa Clark

In 2017 I decided to set a challenge for myself to write up every show that I saw in my Lisa’s Live Comedy Big Year Blog. Well. As you can see, it became harder to keep up with in the second half of the year, even though it seems that is when things are usually quieter, I was wrong and life stayed pretty busy and when it was not it was because I was ill. I still kept other records of my gigs and so was able to list them all, but not reviews sadly, so I don’t have reviews of a lot of my comedy experiences for the last part of the year. I also wanted to keep a pictorial record of gigs, but it’s not always possible to take photos and even in the regular comedy rooms, I was not good at taking subtle photos and got caught out and commented upon/told off. Then my flash went off by mistake. Arrrggghhh! So I gave up on my own photos and got some much better ones from room runners or friends with more experience.

Of course I spent a lot of time at my regular comedy haunt Local Laughs, but managed to visit several other rooms as well. I have had a lot of wonderful comedy experiences this year, especially during the trip to the UK which included seeing Daniel Kitson’s Something Other Than Everything at the Roundhouse in London and two weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where highlights included seeing The Doug Anthony Allstars still making jaws drop in their home away from home, new discovery Jayde Adams just blowing the room away at The Pleasance media showcase with her surprising vocal talent and the hilarious story that goes with it, seeing Yianni do his best work in some time because it came from his life and his heart, Adam Vincent slaying packed rooms with deep dark tales of suburbia and playing interactive Wifi Wars at midnight.

Other highlights of the year include the final shows of the debauched boutique comedy legend that was The Shelf and in particular the performance of Fringe Wives Club who brought the house down and made everyone rush out to see their show.  Andy Zaltzman did the searing political comedy, Plan Z, that everyone had expected from  Ex Bugler John Oliver when he last toured and finally I adored Sammy J’s Magnum Opus – Hero Compex for a 2nd time, to find it had evolved, as the story had in real life and it was joyful to watch everyone’s jaw dropping and howling with laughter as the story unfolded, knowing where it was going. Under the radar: Not enough people were talking about UK comedian Kieran Hodgson at MICF but my goodness Maestro was a gorgeous show and the joyful weirdness of Aussie duo The Lioness who’s show  Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock had a much too short run in an out of the way venue.

Its always hard sorting out a shortlist of the best comedy shows. I have picked out 5 outstanding experiences and they are set down in the order that I saw them.

 

5 VERY GOOD SHOWS OF 2017

Wil Anderson Fire at Wil at The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. January 22

Lineup: Wil Anderson, Supported by Justin Hamilton

Wil Anderson

January’s highlight was definitely seeing Wil Anderson and Justin Hamilton in a theatre full of excited fans. Both consummate comedians at the top of their game.  Am determined to see Wil’s solo show this year and looking forward to it. I’ve been missing seeing Justin around the traps since he moved to Sydney but am hoping to see more of Wil Anderson, now he’s taken a job in Melbourne breakfast radio.

Hannah Gadsby: Nanette April 6 

Hannah Gadsby

Hannah’s final festival show was indeed a showstopper. It was a show about the Zeitgeist, about equal rights, about truth – in life and in comedy, about standing up and being listened to. It was powerful, moving and of course funny. A masterpiece of Standup. During her interview on Comedian’s Comedian at MICF, Stuart Goldsmith shrewdly asked what would happen if this amazing show won all the awards, like The Barry and even the Edinburgh Fringe Best Comedy award?

Would she still quit comedy? Well all of those predictions have come to pass (including a Helpmann Award along the way) and Hannah is still going strong. Having sold out many shows at the Victorian Arts Centre and The Sydney Opera House she is adding further shows this month to the Opera House, followed by Perth and then a month from February in London at the Soho Theatre. They are selling out.

All comedians should go out on this sort of high. The world is her oyster and she’s certainly making the most of it all. Whatever she chooses to do next, I wish her all the happiness.

My review: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=11198

Craig Ferguson

Craig Ferguson – The Craig Ferguson Show, Gilded Balloon @ Rose Theatre, Edinburgh. August 7 

Craig Ferguson’s quirky tonight show was a staple in our house and I’m missing his Peabody Award winning interviewing style on late night TV. I’ve been hoping he might at least tour his standup comedy here in Australia, as he has happy memories of performing here in the 80s (as do I), but sadly there is no sign of this, especially as he is now busily hosting a successful drive time radio show. Craig decided to record some of his radio shows live from Edinburgh, taking advantage of all of the gathered performers from around the world to appear as guests, and all of the Squirrels were lucky enough to attend in the wee hours of the Festival. The Rose is a lovely old theatre in the New Town with a great atmosphere and the packed audience had an awesome time.  The live radio broadcast lasted for 2 hours and consisted of two very entertaining in-depth chats with performers who were often old friends of Craig. In our case an old close friend impressionist/comedian Jan Ravens and Scottish writer Iain Rankin. Ron later saw the show with guests Daniel Sloss and Tommy Tiernan and Craig had Aunty Donna on the show towards the end of the run. Its a pity there is no podcasts of these recordings and that the radio show is not broadcast outside of the Americas.

Childproof the Podcast Recording at The Bella Union Bar, Carlton. September 20-22 

Tony Martin, Cristina Laria, Damian Cowel, Roz Hammond, Gerraldine Quinn

Episodes 1 to 6 over three nights – written by Tony Martin & Serina Rowell

Performed by Tony Martin, Geraldine Quinn, Roz Hammond, Andrew McClelland, Damian Cowell, Lachy Hulme, Djovan Caro, Simon Rogers, Casey Bennetto, Serina Rowell, Cristina Laria, Sam Petersen and Jay Mueller as the Narrator.

A brilliant sitcom in 6 episodes about a couple who chooses to be childless while they navigate the changing, diminishing, modern workplace in radio and book publishing and their changing, diminishing friendships as their friends succumb to parenthood and all that entails. The episodes are easily as entertaining & funny as other recent Australian ABC comedies, so it’s surprising that they were knocked back for Television broadcast. The talented performers were all having a ball playing the various characters and Jay Mueller made a brilliant honey tongued Narrator. This was a unique and special experience this year.

These shows were recorded for podcasting and so you can listen to them all here.

Tessa Waters and Laura Davis

Frocking Hilarious at The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. November 17th 

Denise Scott, Cal Wilson, Fiona O’Loughlin, Anne Edmonds, Celia Pacquoa, Demi Ladner, Tessa Waters, Laura Davis, Kelly Fastuca, Geraldine Quinn, Double Denim.

A fundraiser for Action Aid curated by the inimitable comedy goddess Janet A Mcleod. All of the performers brought their A Game and there was not a weak spot on the night. It really felt like a Comedy Gala and we were all pretty privileged to be there laughing our arses off. Great to have a majority of women in the audience too. It wasn’t just some of the best Australian women in comedy it was some of the best Australian comedy on stage.

 

LISA’S LIVE COMEDY BIG YEAR 2017 – http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?page_id=10666

Comedy for Christmas in Melbourne

By Lisa Clark

Comedy at Christmas time is the perfect choice for festive celebrations. Sometimes Very Christmassy, sometimes a look at the year gone by (& aren’t we just hanging out for 2016 to have gone bye bye?), sometimes a chance to drink, laugh and forget….  The Comedy Rooms in Melbourne are putting on some Fantastic line ups throughout December and brilliant comedians doing exciting Christmas shows. So organise your bookings, get together with your friends to laugh and forget about the past year and the coming Christmas family obligations.

3 Sat – A Very Judy Christmas – The Butterfly Club

Brendy Ford  as Judy Free

https://thebutterflyclub.com/show/a-very-judy-christmas

4  Sun – Political Asylum – The Brunswick Green

Mathew Kenneally
Toby Halligan
Jess Moir
Tom Ballard
Ben Pobjie
Nicholas J Johnson
& more!

http://blog.politicalasylum.com.au/2016/11/first-show-of-new-trump-tatorship.html

7 Wed – The Wheeler Centre The Show of the Year 2016  – The Atheneum Theatre

Casey Bennetto  Geraldine Quinn , Deborah Conway, Tom Ballard, Geraldine Hickey, Cal Wilson, Danny McGinlay, Jennifer Byrne and more…

http://www.wheelercentre.com/events/the-show-of-the-year-2016

9 Fri –  Tripod Christmas Turkeys – Memo Music Hall in St Kilda

http://3pod.com.au/site/christmas-turkeys/

10 Sat –  Tripod Christmas Turkeys – Memo Music Hall in St Kilda

http://3pod.com.au/site/christmas-turkeys/

15 Thurs –  Sammy J & Randy Land – Xmas Tour – The Atheneum

http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=SAMMRAND16&v=ATT

16 Fri –  Sammy J & Randy Land – Xmas Tour – The Atheneum

http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=SAMMRAND16&v=ATT

17 Sat –  Sammy J & Randy Land – Xmas Tour – The Atheneum

http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=SAMMRAND16&v=ATT

19 Mon – Local Laughs Christmas show – Local Taphouse StKilda

MC Andrew McClelland
The Bedroom Philosopher
David Quirk
Michael Williams
Geraldine Hickey
& More!

21 Wed – Swingin’ Bella Christmas – Bella Union Bar

MCs Casey Bennetto and Geraldine Quinn will be joined by Tim Rogers

https://www.bellaunion.com.au/event/1114/

22 Thur – Swingin’ Bella Christmas – Bella Union Bar

MCs Casey Bennetto and Geraldine Quinn will be joined by Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier

https://www.bellaunion.com.au/event/1114/

23 Fri – Swingin’ Bella Christmas – Bella Union Bar

MCs Casey Bennetto and Geraldine Quinn will be joined by Scott Edgar, Steven Gates & Eddie Perfect

https://www.bellaunion.com.au/event/1114/

24 Sat – Little Dum Dum Club Orphan Christmas – European Bier Café

Tommy Dassalo and Karl Chandler and their mates.

https://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=241442&hs=littledumdumclub.com

 

Andrew McClelland – We Really Must Do This Again Sometime

By Lisa Clark Andy McClelland

Andrew is always a big bundle of joy on stage, especially as he seems to be in a pretty happy place at the moment,  so you can go along with friends knowing you can relax and just have a jolly time. Nothing nasty is going to be flung at you, he’s not going to grab you inappropriately or make you get on stage, though he might challenge your mind and you may learn some new big words.

Eschewing the black Tshirt and jeans, Andrew is always dressed to the nines, usually as a man in the Nineteenth Century and his comedy style does often, come across as if he has descended into the Forum in his time machine (possibly shaped like a pizza oven) from an earlier era. However, his talk about his penchant for dead languages & tweed tends to be undermined somewhat by his love of computer games and modern pop music. He gradually becomes more dishevelled as he strips away the tweedy layers of clothing in the sweltry Pizza Room to find his way to the twenty first century talking about SIMs and David Duchovny.

In the past Andy has concocted phenomenal shows about his love of history and his passion for music as well as heart-achingly personal storytelling shows. This is a little of everything and seems to go some way further into becoming a more cabaret style performance with silly songs breaking up his stories, quips and quizzical notions. He doesn’t quite have the vocal chops of his mate Oliver Clark, but he’s not going to let a little thing like that hold him back and makes up for it with debonair dance moves, enthusiasm and endearing charm. Andrew’s opening song is definitely a winner, a little bit rap, a little bit funk and with a reprise of last year’s catchy theme tune in the middle, so you get to singalong with that again if you wish (and we do!). His closing song is a pretty repetitive and catchy singalong too but I still manage to drift off to sleep murmuring “Andy, Andy McClelland” to the tune of I Dream of Jeanie.

For some reason over the past couple of years or so I didn’t make it to Andrew’s shows until near the end of the Festival and they have always ended up on my list of favourite shows of the festival. I made myself go see him a bit earlier this year, so I can encourage you all to get out early and see him being funny & adorable at you. Unless you are a magician. You might want to steer clear of this if you are a magician.

Andrew McClelland performs We Really Must Do This Again Sometime at the Forum (we saw it in the Pizza Room)

For more information see the MICF website:

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2016/season/shows/we-really-must-do-this-again-sometime-andrew-mcclelland

Jonestown – Guinea Pigs

By Lisa Clark Jonestown Guinea pigs

When stand-up/ventriloquist Sarah Jones and standup/magician Nicholas Johnson got together to create the wildly successful Pajama Party it was pretty obvious that they have a fabulous rapport as a comedy team. It’s wonderful to see them build on that as Jonestown with their new Moosehead Awarded show Guinea Pigs.

The show begins with a reassuring fairly traditional opening monologue by Sarah that really highlights what a brilliant standup comedian she is even without her ventriloquist puppets. It settles the audience in and lets us know that we are in safe hands. She is eventually joined by Nick and the show can start going off the conventional rails. We soon learn that while retaining the sense of fun of their first outing, this is more assured and cleverly constructed production with a very different atmosphere. Guinea Pigs is a bit more science-fictiony. The dynamic duo soon find themselves locked in a sealed white room and being experimented on by a sort of villainous but polite looney scientist who is performed by a disembodied voice otherwise know as Andy McClelland.

The experiments carried out such as The Sanford Prison Experiment and the Milgram Experiment are apparently famous. There were audible noises of recognition from the audience but I’d not heard of the names of any of them, or Radio-lab (an American radio show/podcast about science) which they referenced. I knew of some of the experiments from descriptions and depictions in the media and other tests such as shock treatment are pretty well known. My ignorance of science did not matter at all because Sarah and Nick know how to entertain the whole audience and it was fun watching social conventions being stripped away as they approached these tests in various silly ways

It was interesting to note the lack of magic or ventriloquism, considering the specialist talents of the performers involved, but they were not missed in a show jam packed with various exciting stunts, genial audience participation, fanciful flashbacks to a fictitious back story and a gorgeous black theatre puppet show. I was slightly disappointed the screen couldn’t have been used a bit more but the wait to find out what it would be used for was certainly well worth it. The end felt a teensy bit wobbly and not quite up to the quality of the strong beginning, but over all the script is well written and the performers are a joy to spend an hour with.

Guinea Pigs in other comedian’s hands might become a Gothic horror sci fi comedy, but with Sarah and Nick things never get too far down the dark path. It’s all fun and games, a bit of a romp with a scifi bent that keeps the audience on side at all times. There is the odd rude word & mild adult reference but this would be an excellent Festival show to take friends or family to, especially families with kids over 16, you’re all bound to have a ball.

Guinea Pigs is on at the Portland Hotel until April 19

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/guinea-pigs-jonestown

Comedy Xmas Shows Are Coming to Town

By Lisa Clark

All around Melbourne the comedy venues are putting together Christmas shows with more laughs than you’ll find in any Christmas Cracker. We put together a list and you can check it twice. These are all the Christmas shows we know about, coming to Melbourne this December, including some exciting live podcast recordings.

THE BELLA UNION BAR

The Bella Union Bar is in a Seriously Festive mood and has a lot of Christmas cheer to offer. Comedy wise there are three main offerings.

Sweetest Plum – How the Plum Stole Christmas 
Podcasters Nick Maxwell and Declan Fay will present their usual razor sharp banter**, with a star-studded line-up of celebrity guests***

**   Razor sharp banter is not guaranteed.
*** Star-studded line-up may just be Gatesy, on a stool, with a guitar
Date: 14th December, 2014
Time: 5:00pm
Price: $20/15

http://www.bellaunion.com.au/program_guide/show_902/

 

After Dinner Mint Christmas Spectacular By The Lords Of Luxury 
The final After Dinner Mint of the year features:
– Master of the dark arts, David Quirk
– Masters of mayhem, Aunty Donna
– Master of sideburns, Hairy Soul Man aka Kai Smythe
Plus many special guests AND a visit from the one and only Santa Claus!

Hosted by The Lords of Luxury with music from Gillian Cosgriff.

Date: Tuesday December 9
Time: 8:30pm.
Price: Presale $12/9  or $15/10 at the door

http://www.bellaunion.com.au/program_guide/show_838/

 

A Swinging Bella Christmas 

This will be a musical comedy show with MC Casey Bennetto and his co-host being comedy chanteuse Geraldine Quinn with their band the Bella All Stars. On Thursday 18th the special guests will be Alan Brough and Mike McLeish and on Friday the special guests will be Tripod so you can no doubt go to both and are pretty much guaranteed a sensational time.

Dates:
Thur 18 Dec 2014
Fri 19 Dec 2014

Time: 7:30pm
Price: $35 Full $30 Group $25 Conc

http://www.bellaunion.com.au/program_guide/show_656/

 

THE BUTTERFLY CLUB 

What The Dickens!

Travel back in time to 1851, to Victorian England and the great age of discovery and storytelling. Created from your suggestions, tales of sweet-hearted heroes, sickly orphans, bumbling constables and winsome ladies are woven into a new, unique Dickensian tale every night.

Play parlour games like Poor Pussy, the Laughing Game and join Melbourne’s finest improvisors for mince pies and some Christmas cheer in the wonderful ‘curiosity shoppe’ that is The Butterfly Club.

Wednesday 17 December 2014    6:00pm
Thursday 18 December 2014     7:00pm
Friday 19 December 2014  7:00pm
Saturday 20 December 2014     7:00pm
Sunday 21 December 2014       6:00pm

Price $28/23

https://www.thebutterflyclub.com/show/what-the-dickens

 

The Comedy Gallery @ Jacksons Christmas 
Jacksons – 8 Jackson Street Toorak

With Marty Fields, Nelson Twins, Andrew Brown, Dale Craig and Mayumi Nobetsu

Date: Tue  16 Dec
Price: $25 SHOW ONLY  $50 MEAL & SHOW – contact details for dinner and show bookings – 9827 8244
Time: 8.30

 

THE GH HOTEL (formally Greyhound Hotel) St Kilda

Joel Creasey’s Office Christmas Party 

Joel Creasey and special guests share their Christmas tales, disasters and songs. Join Australia’s finest comedians and celebrities at Joel’s office Christmas party!

Seating is unallocated- come down early for some pre-show Christmas cheer!

This is an ALL AGES event however anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Date: Sat 6th December, 2014
Time: 7:00pm (Doors open at 6pm for 7 – 8:30pm show.)
Price: $30 or $33.80 with Booking fee

Bookings through Moshtix http://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/joel-creaseys-office-christmas-party/74160

 

LOCAL LAUGHS presented by Janet A Mcleod 

At The Local Taphouse – 184 Carlisle St StKilda

With Janet’s famous Christmas style, decorations, the inimitable Andrew McClelland as MC and guests who so far include: Matt Elsbury, Rusty Berther, Dilruk Jayasinha and Cal Wilson, it’s sure to be a jolly good wiz bang night.

Date: Mon 22nd Dec
Time: 8.30pm
Price: $15/12

https://www.facebook.com/LocalLaughs

 

PUBLIC BAR 

238 Victoria St Melbourne (opposite Queen Vic Market)

The Public Bar Xmas Show

With Steele Saunders, who will be cooking up an all-star mystery line up.

Date: Wed 17 December
Time: 8.30pm
Price: $5

https://www.facebook.com/ThePublicBarComedy

 

THE SHELF 

At The Toff in Town, 252 Level 2 Curtain House Swanston St Melbourne.

Have a Christmas celebration with The Shelf. For three Mondays in December, The Shelf team will be rocking the night away with their final show being Dec 15 (So it must be a Christmas Show)

Hosted by Justin Hamilton and Adam Richard, regulars include Cal Wilson, sketch troupe Aunty Donna and Claire Hooper and there  is always a huge line up of very special guests

Date: Mon 15 December
Time: 7.30pm
Price – $25/$30

 http://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/the-shelf-season-10-15-december/73460

 

COMEDY AT SPLEEN 

Spleen Bar, 41 Bourke St Melbourne

Spleen Xmas  Show is having a huge three bracket show that closes with the naming of the 2014 Spleen Comic of the year.

Featuring:

Harley Breen, Oliver Clark, Tommy Little, Greg Larsen, Gary Chook, Xavier Michelides, Nick Cody, Anne Edmonds, Dilruk Jayasinha, Karl Chandler , Steele Saunders and surprise guests!

Date: Mon 15 December
Time: 8.30pm
Price: Gold Coin Donation

http://www.comedyatspleen.com/

 

YARRAVILLE LAUGHS

The Yarraville Club 135 Stephen St, Yarraville.

Yarraville Laughs has two sparkly fabulous Christmas Shows this year.

The 2014 Christmas Cracker 

Sat 13 Dec

Featuring Denise Scott & Fiona O’Loughlin
Plus Special MC Jeff Green (UK)

A top comedy line-up that will sell out fast.

Tickets: www.yarravillelaughs.com

DOORS
Dinner & Show: 6:30pm
Show Only: 8pm
Show Starts: 8:30pm

TICKET OPTIONS
Dinner & Show $100 (Doors open at 6:30pm)
Reserved Seating $55 (Doors open at 7:30pm)
General Admission $45 (Doors open at 7:30pm)

EFFIE in A Date With Effie – ‘Kiss Me Under The Camel-Toe… Sorry, Mistletoe’ 

Sat December 20

DOORS
Dinner & Show: 6:30pm
Show Only: 8pm
Show Starts: 8:30pm

Ticket Options

Dinner & Show $90 (Doors open at 6:30pm)
Reserved Seating $45 (Doors open at 8pm)
General Admission $35 (Doors open at 8pm)
On the Door $40 (if available)

 

Also Other Pre Christmas Live Podcast Recordings:

I Love Green Guide Letters 15th Episode Live Spectacular 
At the Last Laugh Comedy Club at the Athenaeum Theatre 188 Collins St Melbourne

With a cast of 1,00s including adorable Channel 9 Newsreader Peter Hitchener

Date: Saturday Dec 6
Time: 3.30pm
Price: $20

 

Little Dum Dum Club 4th Birthday Show Live 

At Five Boroughs Comedy, 68 Hardware Lane (upstairs), Melbourne.

Tommy Dassalo and Karl Chandler present the usual dickheadery, tips about fast food outlets and some super special guests. Includes an extra post show by Nick Cody

Date: Sunday, December 7,
Time: 4pm.
Price: $21