Festive Season Comedy in Melbourne

Comedy for Christmas! Or Festivus! Or celebrating surviving 2018!

What a great idea for a festive get together with your comedy loving buddies.

Every year the comedy venues of Melbourne put on their Christmas shows and there are also quite a few one-off Christmas themed special shows happening. If you are not in Melbourne, check out the gig guides, some of these performers are touring and there should be similar nights happening in comedy clubs near you.

Here is the Squirrel Comedy annual End of Year – Christmas Gig list in roughly date order – of the local ones we could find out about… 

MON 26 Nov – SUN 2 Dec
A Very Kransky Christmas 

At Alex Theatre –  135 Fitzroy St, St Kilda at 7.30 pm

The Kransky Sisters are on a Christmas Tour of Australia and will grace Melbourne with their hilarious Gothic musical-comedy delights for three nights. (They are also touring Sydney and Perth)

Prices – Adult: $49.90 Conc: $44.90

Bookings: https://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=KRANSKY18

Sat 1 Dec
The Wheeler Centre Presents: Show of the Year

At The Athenaeum Theatre at 7pm

Host Casey ‘Tasty’ Bennetto And A Cast Of Writers, Comedians And Musicians, Including Mama Alto, Steph Tisdell, Shaun Micallef, Jan Fran, Michele Lee, Candy Bowers, WāNi Le Frère, Rebecca Shaw, Laura Jean Mckay And Alan Duffy.

https://www.wheelercentre.com/events/the-show-of-the-year-2018

Sat Dec 1 – 9.30pm
Jackie Lime’s Year End Rear End  

At The Improv Conspiracy Theatre

L1 / 19 Meyers Place, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3000

The one and only Jackie Lime is back for his final appearance of 2018. Join Jackie, Indiana, Bitch Boy and a whole slew of special guests to celebrate a massive year with the Talkie Time family in an improvised kind of way.

Price $5 at the Door or $5.50 online to guarantee a seat.

Booking: https://www.improvconspiracy.com/shows/unit/2768/buy-tickets

Dec 6 – 7 – 9.30pm
The Chaser & The Shovel Presents: The War On 2018

At The Village Roadshow Theatrette – 179 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, Vic 3000

Join Charles Firth (The Chaser), James Schloeffel (The Shovel), Mark Humphries (Channel 10’s Pointless) And Special Guests To Be Announced As They Dissect Everything From The Leadership Crisis To The Banking Royal Commission.  (Also touring Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane)

Price: $34 – $104.04

Bookings: https://events.ticketbooth.com.au/event/the-war-on-2018-melbourneHzchcPM

Thurs 8 Dec at 7pm
Merry Salt-Mas! One Hour Of Improvised Christmas

At the Improve Conspiracy Theatre at 7pm

Help them ease into the silly season by suggesting something Christmassy to spring them into an hour of improvised comedy. The Heralayan Salt Lamps’ signature show involves creating a completely improvised show with 8 people on stage at once.

Price: $10

https://www.facebook.com/events/291125438188379/

Tues 11 Dec at 8pm
Catfish Comedy Christmas

At The Catfish upstairs, Fitzroy

Standup Comedy with Daniel Connell, Danielle Walker and Brett Blake  and more great acts To Be Confirmed

Doors open 7:30, $12 entry and don’t forget to try the Philly Cheesesteaks

Sat 15 Dec at 3pm
Don’t You Know Who I Am? 2018 XMAS SHOW

At The Catfish upstairs, Fitzroy

30 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy VIC 3056

Live podcast recording. The last live show of the year. An all-star cast raising money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation all hosted by Josh Earl from 3:00 PM

Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=446103

Mon 17 Dec at 8.30pm
Local Laughs XMAS SHOW

At The Local Taphouse 184 Carlisle St. St Kilda East

– MC Andrew McClelland, Cal Wilson, Tom Ballard, Sami Shah, Ethan Cavanagh, plus a host of special Christmassy guests.

Price: $25/20

Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=175052&

17, 19, 20, 21, 22 Dec at 7pm
A Christmas Tale a Girls Act Good Production 

At The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne

The all female Verbatim Theatre play that takes a comedic and heartfelt look at the Aussie festivities and celebrates how we can come together to remember the magic of Christmas. Yes! Verbatim Theatre! That is Funny! And about Christmas!

Bookings: https://thebutterflyclub.com/show/a-christmas-tale-2018

10, 12, 13, 14 & 15th Dec at 7pm
’Tis the Season…

At The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne a\

Winner of the prestigious Julie Michael Cabaret Award, ’Tis the Season is performed by Maverick Newman and Stacey Thomsett. It’s a comedy about divorce, dysfunction, love and Christmas!

Cost: $25-34

Bookings : https://thebutterflyclub.com/show/tis-the-season

Dec 20, 21, 22 at 8pm
A Swingin’ Bella Christmas!

At The Melba Spiegeltent this year, the legendary palace of festivity and frivolity adjoining Circus Oz /Melbourne Polytechnic / Collingwood TAFE / Collingwood Tech (depending on your era)!

– a finger-snappin’, toe-tappin’ romp through traditional carols, modern favourites and specially-written original songs of the season, executed with airy panache by a horn-laden bevy of brilliant performers known throughout the civilised world as The Bella All-Stars!

Out front, MCs Casey Bennetto and Geraldine Quinn will be joined by special guests:
Selina Jenkins – Thur 20th December
Nina Ferro & Tripod – Fri 21st December
Mike McLeish – Sat 22nd December

Limited tickets remaining
Bookings: https://www.bellaunion.com.au/

Sat 22 Dec at 8pm
Basement Comedy Club – Special Xmas Show!

European Bier Café, 120 Exhibition St Melbourne

There will be fantastic Comedians on the bill as ever….TBA

Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=263827&

Sun 23 Dec at 8pm
The Little Dum Dum Club Orphans Christmas Live Podcast

Downstairs at Basement Comedy Club,

European Bier Cafe, 120 Exhibition St, Melbourne CBD

Come and hang out with The Dum Dums: Karl Chandler and Tommy Dassalo and heaps of their comedian friends. + a little bonus Christmas gift with every ticket sold!

Bookings: http://littledumdumclub.com/?events=orphans-christmas-december-23-8pm

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