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

MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL 2013

By Lisa Clark

Spring has sprung, Melbourne is sparkling, our eyes are itchy and that means it’s time to get ready for the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Melbourne Fringe is an open-access, multi-arts Festival, that actively encourages diversity and is thus a great space for performers to experiment with new and unconventional ideas. The Festival encompasses theatre, music, circus, magic, furniture design, art and craft and more, but here at Squirrel Comedy we are nuts about comedy and thus we will be covering the comedy side of things which is pretty big. Some comedians use Fringe to reprise a successful Melbourne International Comedy Festival show (often new and improved versions) and others to give a new show a run leading up to next year’s MICF. There are wacky one off shows that can only be seen at Fringe and you never know when you’ll make a delightful surprising new discovery, as we did with Slutmonster and Friends last year. So it’s always worth going out of your comfort zone to try something new. Hey that is why Fringe exists!

There is so much comedy to choose from and it is our job to give you a hand as you make your way through the Fringe programme. Below are links to all the shows we’ve previously reviewed, many of which will have been tweaked and improved since their last outing and that’s followed by some recommendations for shows we’ve seen and/or are excited by. As usual we’ll be publishing ‘5 Good Reasons to see…’ leading up to the the festival and reviewing shows throughout.

Shows at Melbourne Fringe that Have Been Previously Reviewed by Squirrel Comedy.

Barry Morgan: Organ Is Not a Dirty Word
Squirrel Review: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3986
Barry Morgan is playing his magnificent organ at the Lithuanian Club at 7:30pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/barry-morgan-organ-is-not-a-dirty-word/

Lessons With Luis Famoucity!
Squirrel Review :  http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3372
Famoucity is playing at The Butterfly Club at 7pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/lessons-with-luis-famoucity/

Luke McGregor – My Soulmate is Out of My League  [Winner of The Best Newcomer at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival]
Squirrel Review :  http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3389
It’s playing at The Loft, Lithuanian Club at 9.15pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/luke-mc-gregor-my-soul-mate-is-out-of-my-league/

Khalad Khalafalla – Devious
Squirrel Review :  http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3810
Devious is Playing Upstairs at Errol’s at 10.30pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/khaled-kalafalla-encore/

Michael Burke in Cubehead
Squirrel Review : http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4134
Cubehead is playing at The Tuxedo Cat – The Jackle at 7.00pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/michael-burke-in-cubehead/

Nob Happy Sock – Simon Keck [Winner of The Golden Gibbo at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival]
Squirrel Review: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3550
It’s on at Son of Loft, Lithuanian Club at 6.30pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/nob-happy-sock/

Political Asylum
Squirrel Review: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3785
Political Asylum is on at the Festival Club (North Melbourne Town Hall) on 1/10 at 9:30pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/political-asylum/

Satan’s Finest Mitch Alexander & Jackson Voorhaar
Squirrel Review: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3889
Satan’s Finest is on at the Tuxedo Cat at 9:30pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/satan-s-finest/

Other recommended shows at the 2013 Melbourne Fringe.

Lisa-Skye – Songs my Parents told me

was a delightfully warm biographical story show that somehow missed out on a review during MICF. Lisa-Skye lovingly explores her parent’s generation and how it compares to and influences her own creative and interesting life. Lisa-Skye is just back from her first trip as a performer in Edinburgh, she should be on top form. It will be on at The Tuxedo Cat – The Jackle

Lisa-Skye will also be hosting a late night chat show at The Tuxedo Cat called Art Sex and Snacks, she will be interviewing performers about their craft.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/songs-my-parents-taught-me/

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/art-sex-and-snacks/

Sammy J’s 50 Year Show 

which is a deliriously silly idea of Sammy’s to perform one big long show in parts, once every five years, for 50 years. I attended the 1st part five years ago and it was a whole bunch of crazy fun in the packed North Melbourne Town Hall. Many projects were begun by guest comedians that will be repeated or added to and the time capsule will be opened. One Night Only! Don’t miss it or you’ll have to wait another five years.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/sammy-j-presents-the-50-year-show/

Comedy Pick and Mix 

is a one off Festival Club night curated by Melbourne comedy goddess Janet A McLeod and hosted by Andy McClelland and Oliver Clark in their personas of El Grande and Mr Nightlights. A creative mix of performers creating all sorts of mayhem and hopefully at some point El Grande will be tipping pot pouri down Mr Nightlights underpants. You won’t want to miss that.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/comedy-pick-n-mix/

The Experiment curated by Asher Treleaven. 

A late night show at The Lithuanian Club during Fringe showcasing a great line up
of alternative comedy acts encouraged to take risks. There will be an air of competition to the show and the comedians will be competing with small dogs. I will leave it to Asher to explain:

“Each show I’m inviting members of the public to bring their small dogs to compete with the acts so we can finally discover whether Melbourne’s best Alternative comedians are more entertaining than a small dog. There will be a $15 prize for best small dog and at the end of the show the audience will judge who has been more entertaining. There will be excellent comedy, sketches and music but its mainly about ze dog”

Hopefully there will be a pooper scooper on hand in case of nerves.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/the-experiment/

Tony Martin – The Yeti 

Probably the most highly anticipated show at this year’s (maybe any years!) Melbourne Fringe Festival. I don’t know if Tony has ever performed a solo festival show before and although he has recently tread the boards as a guest at The Shelf. it’s been a long time since he’s performed in his own festival show. This will be a narrative drawn from his autobiographical novel  Lollyscramble. A book that had me laughing out loud on public transport. Tony is what’s known as a ‘comedian’s comedian’ with a huge following so tickets are bound to sell out. He’s at The Butterfly Club.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/tony-martin-the-yeti/

Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2013 Program Launch

By Lisa Clark

Aaaaaaand we’re off! The Melbourne International Comedy Festival was officially launched today at The Famous Spiegeltent at the Arts Centre with deliciously dry host Hannah Gadsby being appropriately disrespectful toward the ‘VIP’s and cheeky to the officiating Lord Mayor. Most comedians are interstate or overseas, with the Adelaide Fringe Festival in full swing, but spotted in the audience were Lawrence Leung (Part-Tme Detective Agency), Aamer Rahman (The Truth Hurts), Brian Nankervis (Rockwiz), Andrew Goodone (voice of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala), Janet A McLeod(Cinema Fiasco), Jessie Ngaio (Slutmonster & Friends), Hayman Kent (The Comedy Zone).

Over champagne and lamingtons we were given a taste of some of this year’s talent and the official speeches. Bite sized performances to whet our appetites for the Festival were served up by Moosehead Awarded Kate McLennan & Wes Snelling in Double Standard which will be performed in a hotel room at The Blackman (Justin Bieber stayed there apparently) as well from Windmill Theatre who dazzled us with some nerdy choreographed energetic bike riding from their show School Dance.

From Festival Director Susan Provan we learned that this year there are over a (record breaking) thousand participants in RAW comedy, Matt Okine will be this year’s host for the National Grand Final and that for the first time one of the finalists will be drawn from India. She also spoke about a new movement of comedians who are proving themselves on YouTube and have well selling shows at this year’s MICF despite not having tread the boards in comedy clubs. The Festival crew are particularly proud that this year’s program features an entire page of Daves. (p49, though in one case it’s not the name of the comedian)

We were all given the first programs to study, and they’ll be out for the general public with sponsors The Herald Sun on Saturday 23rd of February. We’ve previously reviewed some of the shows on offer and will be doing a story about that soon. We’re also currently publishing lots of “5 Good Reasons to see” MICF shows to give you more information in helping to organise your Festival calendar. We’ll be bringing more interviews, news and reviews as they come in. So stay tuned to Squirrel Comedy for all your Melbourne International Comedy Festival information.

Janet A McLeod – Producer of Local Laughs

By Lisa Clark

I first got to know Janet A McLeod as co hostess of The Cheese shop, a public radio show about comedy and its live standup counterpart at The Prince Patrick Hotel. Since then she has gone on to host many rooms and encourage many fledgeling comedians into the limelight. I cornered her before a gig with a few questions about her legendary room Local Laughs.

1. When did you start running venues by yourself
The Planet [at The Prince Patrick Hotel] started in 1999, but prior to that I was always putting on things like Quiz International.
I was one of the instigators of Upfront, I actually came up with the name. Lots of ideas were put forward and that was the one that nobody had anything against.

More recently Janet ran comedy rooms at The Laundry in Fitzroy for a while as well as in Bendigo.

2. What is your policy re newbies
I check out as many Newbies as I can. I either see them personally and think oh I like you I want to support you! Or I might take advice from people I trust. The way I check if it’s genuine is by saying to them ‘OK, if your reputation stood on this, would you still recommend them?’ If they suddenly backtrack I say ‘OK fair enough we won’t worry about it then, you see, my reputation does stand on it.’

As well as Running Local Laughs Janet judges at Melbourne Fringe Festival and at RAW.

I’ve probably seen in excess of 10,000 comedy performances easily, which is quite extraordinary really, so I think My judgement of comedy horseflesh is pretty refined.

3. Any advice for wannabe comedians
Be Nice. When you are approaching people who run rooms be considerate of the fact that you’re not the only person in the world wanting gigs.

Be inventive, if everybody is talking about the one thing, don’t talk about it, find something else to say.

Find a different way to express yourself, find your own voice on stage.

If you really love comedy, you don’t always have to be a comedian. That might not be your calling and sometimes trying to fit a square peg into a round hole isn’t a great thing to do. You can do other things, production, front of house, writing.

4. Your Favorite Performances here, anything that stands out?
The Flashmobbing last year organised by Dingo & Wolf who were joined in there dance routine by Dave Callinan, then me, who was inveigled on stage and to the surprise of everyone I knew the dance routine as well then just when it seemed to be over we dragged Anyone from Tennis on stage and they knew the Routine as well. Appropriately it was to ‘Strawberry Kisses’ which I’d selected. That was really good fun because it was pranking the audience.

Another great time was when Adam Hills was doing an extended set and discovered something I’ve known for ages, that people on the trams stopping out the front can here the performers up on stage. He was able to get a couple to get off the tram and come on stage and in great StKilda style they were hilarious. That was a top moment. The Bedroom Philosopher running out into the street partially naked pretending he was crazy frog. Duff vs Tram, he ended his set by disappearing onto the tram.

5. Any Tips for others wanting to start their own Room?
Start your room on time. If you wait hoping that extra people turn up, the people who are there will get pissed off and the people who turn up late think ‘oh it looks like it starts late, so next time we’ll come at quarter to instead of half past’. So the start time will get later & later.

Book people because you like them, not because you think the audience might like them. If you think they are funny, put them on, if you don’t, you don’t have to. If they are a mate and you don’t think they are funny, invite them to your party, don’t put them on. Don’t make it a ‘mate’s room’ which can also be a bit of a sausage fest, go out and beat a drum together instead.

It doesn’t have to be free to get people in, even as a student I could afford $5 to see comedy which is more like 10 or 20 dollars now. Make the audience value it and make the comedians feel valued. And if you’re running a room, you’ve gotta feel valued as well. You’re not allowed to be a martyr and pay everyone else and miss out yourself, because you will stop running your room. It’s important that everybody gets something out of it.

Local Laughs

By Colin Flaherty

An institution of the Melbourne comedy scene, Local Laughs has been running since June 2003. It has built up the reputation of being a quality night that attracts a quite comedy savvy audience and has many performers queuing to get a spot.

The format of Local Laughs is the standard two brackets containing three or four performers in each. The acts are lovingly curated by Melbourne comedy queen Janet A McLeod and comprises an interesting mix of established acts, up and comers, and special guests from interstate and overseas. Local Laughs doesn’t feature open mic spots, instead giving stage time to new faces who have proven themselves elsewhere, such as finalists in Raw Comedy and other events where they may have caught Janet’s eye.

Quite a few comics come down to watch when they’re not performing, so there’s always plenty of interesting conversations to be had during interval and after the show. The rest of the audience is made up of hard core comedy fans, the families & friends of the comedians and St Kilda Backpackers. Often big names will drop in to try out some new material, especially in the lead up to festivals. The Local provides a comfortable and forgiving atmosphere in which to perform so comics are often happy to try out material and concepts they wouldn’t normally use in other rooms, which has led to some very special performances.

Being a Taphouse, The Local boasts an impressive range of beer from many smaller breweries. There are fifteen on tap (each with its own unique glass) and many more bottled varieties in the fridges. They also have plenty of other beverages available if beer is not your tipple of choice. The friendly bar staff are highly knowledgeable in the beers that they stock and this attention to detail enhances the drinking experience. There is a restaurant upstairs where all of their dishes contain beer, and a rooftop bar. A smaller menu of simpler fare is available downstairs during the comedy.

The comedy venue on the ground floor looks like a old school men’s club, with wood panelling, shelves of old books, lamp shades and seating mostly made up of comfy couches, arm chairs and a few tables and chairs. The doors open at 7.30 and the show starts crack on 8.30 and it pays to get there early if you want a seat.