Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2018 – Previously reviewed shows

The 32nd Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been officially

Lano & Woodley

Launched for 2018. Hosted by comedy legends Lano & Woodley, their reunion this year, after 12 years apart, in their new show Fly is one of the big thrills causing quite a buzz in a gigantic, exciting programme. There are more than 620 shows in this years festival. Some of the shows are encore performances and others that we Squirrels managed to catch and review at other festivals.

Feel free to click on the links below and read what we thought of these earlier iterations, keeping in mind that festival shows are ever evolving beasts that change and develop over time, so the new version may be quite different to one we saw.

See a favourite off the telly, See someone you’ve never heard of. Most of all have a wonderful time and keep an eye on Squirrel Comedy as the new reviews roll in and we keep you up to date on what’s happening via our Social Media.

Previously Reviewed Shows:

The Bear Pack
Phoebe O’Brien’s review from Edinburgh Fringe 2017 : http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=11820
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/the-bear-pack

Ben Volchok Presents…
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=12001
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/ben-volchok-presents

Chris Lassig Dr Chris’s Theory of Everything
Conor Merrigan-Turner’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=11940
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/dr-chris-s-theory-of-everything

Elizabeth Davie – Super Woman Money Program
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=11987
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/super-woman-money-program

Geraldine Hickey – It’s My Show
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=12005
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/it-s-my-show

Hit By A Blimp – I’m Here
Colin Flaherty’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=11906
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/i-m-here

Impromptunes
Elyce Phillips’review from Melbourne Fringe 2013: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5083
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/the-completely-improvised-musical

Laura Davis – Ghost Machine
Elyce Phillips’review from MICF 2013: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=8543
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/ghost-machine

Lauren Bok – Between a Bok and a Hard Place (Originally performed as A Bok In Progress)
Colin Flaherty’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=11903
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/lauren-bok-between-a-bok-and-a-hard-place

Luke McGregor – Almost Fixed it
Lisa Clark’s review from MICF 2017: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=11056
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/almost-fixed-it

Matt Harvey – War of the words
Conor Merrigan-Turner’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=12035
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/war-of-the-words

Phil Wang – Kinabalu
Colin Flaherty’s review from Edinburgh Fringe 2017: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=11627
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/phil-wang

Political Asylum Comedy – Late Night Riot!
Angela East’s review from MICF 2017: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=11271
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/political-asylum-late-night-riot

Rob Hunter – Late O’Clock
Andrew Holmes’review from MICF 2012: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=1380
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/late-o-clock

Sean Bedlam – Death to America
Colin Flaherty’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=12011
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/death-to-america

Soothplayers -Completely Improvised Shakespeare
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2015: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=9433
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/completely-improvised-shakespeare

Snort With Friends
Elyce Phillips’review from MICF 2017: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=11053
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/snort-with-friends

Wanda and Mel
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=12008
Booking details:
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/wanda-and-mel

Luke McGregor – Almost Fixed it

By Lisa Clark
Luke McGregor

Luke McGregor was always a bit of a fixer upper. His standup comedy, since he landed on the mainland from his home in Tasmania has always been about his insecurities. He’s been so stressed about his looks, his OCD and his prowess with the ladies that there are times when his audience genuinely worries about him. This all came to a head last year when Luke decided to do something about these things and his show is about all of this and it’s repercussions.

The first half of the show is for all those Luke Warm Sex fans and may make any shy audience members who’ve come for the OCD stuff squirm a little. Yes for all those curious folks, Luke has got a girlfriend and he is learning how to cohabitate with her. This comes as a relief for fans who followed him on Luke Warm Sex who give him a round of applause. Luke has a lot of observances to share about getting used to his new living arrangement, but they are not your usual ones. The show has made Luke even more open about issues that most people would prefer to keep quiet. The stage is a safe place for Luke.

Luke has been the King of Self Depreciative comedy for some time, it’s great to see that despite him gaining in confidence as a performer, it is not impacting negatively on his comedy. The second half of the show deals more directly with how he’s been working on his ‘issues’ and garners another encouraging round of applause. He’s worried that if he fixes all his problems and tics that he might lose what has made him a successful comedian.

This is a warm, funny and fascinating show by Luke. The highlight though was about 2/3rds in when about six people arrived late to sit in the front row. Luke handled it so brilliantly that it showed his stagecraft, comic timing and ability to judge his audience. It proved that his comedy is not just a product of his personal issues, he is a born comedian who will be as great without them as he has been with them.

Almost Fixed It is on at Thhe Comedy Theatre until April 9
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2017/shows/luke-mcgregor

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

 

Interview with Karl Chandler about Comedy at Spleen and Portland Comedy Rooms

By Lisa Clark

Karl Chandler came into the comedy world in his late twenties and has since built a small comedy empire of sorts around him. Along with his contemporaries, he played a big part in rejuvenating the Melbourne Comedy scene of the past five or so years. Karl runs two of Melbourne’s top comedy rooms that have been crucial in the developing careers of a new generation of comedy stars such as Ronny Chieng and Luke McGregor. They have also provided fresh audiences for established comedians to try out material and for media stars to perform to live.

Karl grew up in Maryborough then lived and worked in Ballarat before moving to Melbourne. He didn’t really start getting into comedy til he was 29 or 30 and so was a bit more mature and ready to get serious about making a living out if it. As a stand up Karl became well known for his short-jokes. A form of comedy that had not been very fashionable in Melbourne, though the likes of Tim Vine and Milton Jones in the UK were making it popular. Karl’s take on it has a more relaxed, country-bloke laconic quality, a bit closer to Americans such as Steven Wright and (the late) Mitch Hedberg . With a reputation for helping others with their routines Karl has written for television shows such as Good News Week and Spicks and Specks. In 2011 Karl edited and published a book of jokes by local comedians called Funny buggers – (the Best Lines from Australian Stand Up Comedy). Karl was also quick to get in early on the Podcast scene in Australia and with mate Tommy Dassalo has created one of Australia’s most popular podcasts The Little Dum Dum Club

Live comedy scenes in towns are often as good as the venues available and the people willing to run them. Comedians need a variety of good places to perform, to develop their craft and preferably be valued and paid for their efforts. The Melbourne scene, like many has gone up and down over the years, rooms tend to come and go  and around 2007 was in a bit of a lull. Karl with his comedian friends Steele Saunders (who now also runs Public Bar Comedy) and Pete Sharkey started running existing free comedy venue Comedy at Spleen on Monday nights in Melbourne’s CBD in May 2008. It became known as a good quality try out night where no one was paid but newbies got to perform along side bigger names, gradually gaining a strong audience of regulars and a great reputation, spawning two sequels; running on Thursday nights, Karl’s first paid-gig venue Softbelly opened in July 2010, and the short lived but just as excellent Felix Bar opened in St Kilda on Wednesdays from 2011. Softbelly later moved and was re-named Five Boroughs. It has recently moved again and on December 16th 2014 Karl brought his room (and comedy nous) to the Portland Hotel to become Portland Comedy.

At the moment Karl is also getting ready to perform his solo show at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival called Karl Chandler – Worlds Greatest (and Best) Comedian. A brave title indeed. As you can imagine he is a very busy man and hard to pin down, but was kind enough to find a spare moment before a busy night at The Portland Hotel to talk to me about himself and the rooms he runs.

Who do you look up to or who inspired you in comedy?

My favourite, because I do shorter jokes, is Mitch Hedberg, absolute favourite by far, between the jokes and even the character and the charisma… I don’t listen to heaps of comedy but he’s a guy I’ll listen to over and over.

What got you into comedy?

When I grew up I always watched and I’ve always enjoyed watching sitcoms and every form of comedy but I never thought I’d do anything with it. I came quite late to actually doing standup.

I suppose growing up in a country town there wasn’t much opportunity

Well I’d never seen a gig. I had a mate who liked to watch Champagne Comedy on Channel 31. He used to love it because it was so bad. He used to get me round to his house and we would get drunk and watch it and laugh at how bad it was [as did I] and then once after they said at the end of it ‘Come down and watch it live’ we said “What if we went and saw a whole night of this – how bad would that be?” So then me and my mate started going down there and watching it live every week and getting drunk and saying ‘How bad is this?’ and this was the only stand up I’d seen live. Until one night I got that drunk I said to my friend “Right. That’s it. Give me two months and I’ll do it once.” It was just a drunken thing to say but he held me to it saying ‘Nah it’s happening!’ and then told all my friends so I couldn’t back down. So then I had two months to write a routine. Then my friends found out about RAW comedy, I’d never heard of it before and my mate said “Right, you’re booked!” So then I did RAW Comedy without knowing anything else.

Wow, I’m amazed that quite a few people have started out in RAW.

Well if you are not in comedy you wonder, ‘Where do you Start?” It’s pretty intimidating stuff.

But I would’ve have thought RAW Comedy would be… a weird place to start

Intimidating?

Yeah, it’s a comedy competition!

You’re right, but I didn’t know any better, I didn’t know what else there was. And it was of course the best way, I don’t know about now, but it used to be a great gig.

There are surprisingly quite a few comedian’s who’s first gig was RAW.

Well it’s advertised. I think that’s part of the reason. I think my mate saw it in the paper, whereas you don’t see other open mics advertised. You see, that was never in my… head, I certainly never had the idea to see comedy live or anything.

It’s a weird thing to jump into and suddenly go ‘Alright I’m doing this from now on’.

When did you, Steele Saunders & Pete Sharkey start running Spleen (a venue that already existed)?

I can only speak for myself. It was about eight years ago, and I was so sick of doing gigs that weren’t very good

I remember that time well and it was a bit of a low point in the rooms available to see comedy in Melbourne. It goes up and down and that was a bit of a bad time.

Yes and I remember people saying ‘You can’t do comedy in the city’. Maybe because I’m a bit of a control freak or a perfectionist – I was just sick of going to gigs and thinking ‘well this is shit, why are they running it like this? They should be doing it like this.’ I finally went I’m sick of this complaining about everything why don’t you do something yourself?

The owner of Spleen still says ‘Oh I made a good decision choosing you’ But it wasn’t like that at all. What happened was; Spleen was an existing gig, but it was not that great, the numbers weren’t there at all, about 10 people turning up each week. About four people ran it before us. They went through four different people. I went in there drinking with my mates one night and I really believe this, I think the owner thought ‘I’ll kick these current people out and I’ll get these guys to run it because they’ve got seven mates here and they’ll bring their mates every week and that’ll be it.’ So I think he thought ‘They’ll bring their mates every week and that’ll be a business’ and I thought ‘well it’s time to put up or shut up’. So it was me and Steele [Saunders] and [Pete] Sharkey and we were all in. We were all serious guys we all had common sense and wanted to do it properly.

The first week we honoured the line up that had been booked and it was the worst fucken line up. I mean honestly looking back at it, if you tried to fuck up a night – the start of a new room – this is how you would do it. It was literally the 10 worst comics in town at the time and we got there and they didn’t even turn up.  Because they’d been booked by the previous management. So I remember clear as day, 8.35pm having no audience members and being out the front of the gig and ringing people to say “Can you please come down and do this spot?” So it was quite bad.

The second week was more or less the same and I remember the owner saying to me “This can’t keep going on” and me saying “You’ve only given us two weeks so far, you’ve gotta give us more than two weeks”. After that I remember the third week wasn’t so bad and then it sort of took off. Within six months we were full every week.

And you know, that’s not a big deal now I reckon.. It sounds a bit like ‘Old Man Chandler telling a story’, ’cause there’s a lot of rooms around, but I fully believe that Spleen gave birth to a lot of rooms. I’ve given a lot of people advice on how to run rooms, so they’ve all come from that. I think Spleen is sort of like the heart of the comedy rooms that we’ve had in the last five years.

At first we were too scared to get big names to come down. We didn’t want to go ‘Come down Tom Gleeson, come down Lehmo and play in front of 10 people.’ So we made sure we were consistently really good before we started saying ‘Hey, if you want to come down…’ and it sort of built & built from there.

We’d been on for six and a half years and someone said ‘Oh aren’t you sick of it?’ and I’ve never been sick of Spleen. Even though we’re running it as a sort of open mic room I love it, you hang out with your mates and it’s such a good gig and I hop on every two weeks and do material. I feel at home, that’s my home ground. I feel so comfortable there. I actually feel a bit scared and sad that one day I won’t be there. Like someday… if you have to pass it on. If I got successful enough that I didn’t have to do that gig anymore, I think I’d still be trying to find a way of still doing it.

Has Pete moved interstate?

He’s moved away, he’s got married and had a kid and he’s in Perth now. He left eighteen months ago. So it’s just me and Steele running Spleen now.

What is the concept behind Spleen?

The whole idea of it is ten acts about five minutes each and we want a nice range of acts. This is the sort of gig we wanted when we first started. We started running Spleen about 2 years into doing comedy and we tried to build it as the sort of gig that we would’ve been able to get on or would’ve been a great gig to get on at.

So even though you’d been doing gigs for a couple of years, in the comedy world you would be still considered newcomers. It’s pretty amazing for newcomers to be running such a successful room.

Sure but Steele and I are around the same age, we’d had jobs and had run things before. We weren’t like the typical open mic-er; a 21 year old who’s never held down a mainstream job, may never get one. We had business savvy about us.

We designed it so it was ten acts, with a good Emcee, there was always going to be space for new people to hop up. That’s how it’s always been, but it does get over booked now. Which means it’s always a bit of a shame when people think I don’t book new people. We do, but the thing is there’s that rule where you’ve gotta come down and sign up. You’ve got to come down and support the gig.

It’s always been my advice to young comedians that if you want to get up in any room you’ve got to go down to the venue first and hang out there for a while. Get to know the audience, the other performers and the people who run the room and how they run it.

Well we never got given that advice when we started and anyway there was mostly bad rooms and the bigger places where we couldn’t get on. So we always try to make that space for new people to get on because we see ourselves through those eyes.

I don’t think I did a gig with anyone remotely famous inside my first eighteen months. At Spleen we’ve had people doing their first gig with Tom Gleeson or their second gig with Dave Hughes. We find that a really cool thing to be able to pass on to people.

None of the performers at Spleen are paid but then you opened up another gig where you can pay the comedians with more experience.

So once we were running Spleen on Mondays for eighteen months to two years we were killing it and it was great but I noticed there was that market and because I’d learnt a lot of lessons and been successful I thought, you know what? I could do another room. Also I had quit my job and thought, what do I do well? I run a room well, maybe I can run another one. So I started running a Thursday night room which was Softbelly which became 5 Boroughs and has now become Portland Comedy. The model for this one is big names and an Emcee with acts being paid.

Again there was not a room quite like it running in Melbourne at the time. After Spleen a few similar free rooms popped up. I thought it was time for a good paid room with big names in and it sort of became the Best of Spleen. I turned Spleen in my head into a bit of an audition room for the good gig. It was new and a bit of a struggle at first.

It seems easy now ‘cause you’ve got so many rooms happening but back then in was in a bit of a lull. I think it might be that people didn’t know about it but now you’ve got the Internet…social media has really helped with that sort of stuff. Back then you put an ad in the street press and few posters around and that’s about it. I would always flier to start with for my rooms and comedy people would remark “Oh that’s for Comedy festival” but I would say “No that’s for business!” You can’t sit on your arse and think ‘I hope people find this place’ plenty of people have tried that concept!

So flyering did help?

Yes, definitely and I still do it…. because you get a lot of tourists going through. Not so much for Spleen anymore because we couldn’t fit more people in but for here I do. [Karl has recently moved his Thursday night gig to The Portland Hotel and changed it’s name but both nights I’ve been there it’s been pretty packed out.] It’s effective in Comedy Festival, why wouldn’t you do it here? It’s only because no-one likes to be rejected, I mean I’m the same but it’s business.

It’s not personal.

No

You’ve named all your comedy rooms after the venue they are in. Have you thought of not doing that, so you don’t have to change the name every time you move?

Yes I know. It’s a very valid point. The plan was at the start that we wouldn’t move around. The other thing is that I want to give value to the venue. So if I call it ‘HaHa Comedy’ you have to explain it. It has to be HaHa Comedy at The Portland Hotel – it becomes a bit complicated. But the gratifying thing is that each time I’ve moved people seem to follow. Definitely if I had my time back I would probably do that, but it seems to have worked out anyway, so it’s fine.

How Long did the Felix Bar run for in St Kilda.

It began about nine months after Softbelly started and ran for two and a half years. It was an up and down gig that was never bad but I think it was just harder, it may have been being in downtown StKilda.

Because it was mainly Backpackers?

I don’t think so, because it was a different model room – it wasn’t a free room. It was a $12 room and backpackers don’t really want to spend $12. The lowest crowd we ever had was 25 people but at it’s peak we had 130 in there and people would say to me that that was the best room of all of them. When it was good it was amazing, but it was just too much work and it never got that flow on.  Whereas Spleen and this gig at The Portland had flow on; where they hit their mark and people said ‘well we’re coming here every week’. Whereas Felix never flowed. One week we’d have 130 people in for a big name then we’d have another pretty big name in the following week and only get 30 people and I’d think, ‘Well what do we have to do?’

So as well as running two major rooms a week, you have a podcast with Tommy Dassalo, [The Little Dum Dum Club which includes regular live recordings], you’re doing a Festival show – [The Worlds Greatest (and best) Comedian]. You sound pretty busy!

Well I do all that and I also do TV writing. I’ve been really busy the past three years because of the TV writing. Well you just try to take on as much as you can.

Because you never know when the work is going to dry up

Yes I think to do full time comedy, unless you are a big name, you’ve got to have a lot of strings to your bow.

Karl certainly has a lot of strings to his bow.

Comedy at Spleen is on at 8.30 on Monday nights

http://www.comedyatspleen.com/

Portland Comedy is on at 8.30 on Thursday nights

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Portland-Hotel-Comedy/106643309424356?sk=timeline

The Little Dum Dum Club can be downloaded here

http://littledumdumclub.com/

Karl Chandler and Tommy Dassalo Live Podcast Little Dum Dum Club at MICF

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/live-the-little-dum-dum-club-with-tommy-dassalo-and-karl-chandler

Karl Chandler – Worlds Greatest (and Best) Comedian 

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/world-s-greatest-and-best-comedian-karl-chandler

Thanks to Peter for the Photo

Class Clowns 2014

By Noel Kelso

Everybody remembers the class clown in their year at school. The one person who was always messing about and making people laugh.

Now in its 19th year, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s own Class Clowns education programme takes those kids from the back of the class, gives them some workshops with professional comedians such as Kate McLennan, Danny McGinley (himself a former winner) and Aunty Donna, and places them front and centre on stage before a packed audience at the Capitol theatre in Melbourne.

The afternoon commences with our hosts Ronny Cheung and Luke McGregor – the unlikeliest double-act in comedy – arriving on stage and warming-up the audience with their very different performance styles. This got the audience laughing and opened them up for the young acts to follow.

Thirteen acts from all across Australia stepped on stage to entertain and delight those in the room. The audience laughed along to gags about school trips, teacher’s foibles, solutions to Melboune’s traffic problems and teenage surliness. It was two hours of joy from start to finish.

As the judges deliberated their decision the room was kept laughing by special guests Demi Lardner, RAW comedy winner 2013, and British sketch duo Max and Ivan. Their bizarre take on a botched bank robbery was effortlessly funny and their air guitar contest, which recruited an audience member to help out, was inspired lunacy which had the room roaring with laughter.

It was then time for the big moment and McGregor and Cheung led all of the young performers back onto the stage as they announced the winner and three runners-up as decided by the judging panel which included comedians Sara Pascoe, Dave Callan, Sammy J and Melbourne International Comedy Festival Director, Susan Provan.

The three runners-up were Mabita Makwaza from Sacred Heart College in South Australia whose material was both funny and socially aware; Jack Keenan from St Leonards College in Victoria whose routine was energetic and surprisingly mature for someone of fourteen, and Grace Bruxner from Darwin High School in Northern Territory, whose lampooning of the stereotypical surly Goth teen was sharply observed and laugh-out-loud funny.

The winner of the competition was 14 year old Gregor Tarrant from Wodonga Middle Years’ College in Victoria, whose elastic-limbed routine combined physical comedy and great gags to fine effect and had the audience rolling about with laughter.

Hopefully we will see more of these young comics in the future and they will continue their comedic endeavours further.

Heats will begin for 2015 later in the year.

Luke McGregor : I Worry That I Worry Too Much

By Sofia Monkiewicz

Luke McGregor worries a lot. He worries about burglars and murderers, about being alone in the dark, and about talking to girls and breaking into a sweat. He worries that he is the only person who worries about these things, and he wants to worry less about all of these unnecessary worries.

I Worry That I Worry Too Much is McGregor’s second Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, following on from the success of his 2013 debut, My Soulmate Is Out of My League, which won him Best Newcomer. This year’s production looks like it’s going to be just as popular, with McGregor moving across the road to the Hi-Fi for the final two weeks of the festival, to accommodate an impressive number of ticket sales.

And with very good reason. This show is superb.

McGregor spends just under an hour awkwardly talking about his excessive amount of thoughts, fears and concerns, and we are oddly engaged with every single one of his issues, whether we find them relatable or not. His quirkiness is what makes him such a delight to watch; his exaggerated facial expressions (intentional or otherwise), his nervous noises, and his almost childlike excitement over everything he talks about creates this lovable character that you can’t help but adore. While he definitely uses his oddities to his advantage and plays them up for some guaranteed audience laughter, Mcgregor is honest and self-deprecating, and his self-conscious personality wins over every single person in the room. His idea of ‘banter’ is to ask those seated in the front row how they are, and they quickly warm up to the comedian, with some audience members gladly answering his questions without the usual fear of being humiliated in front of the rest of the crowd.

The most popular part of the show by far was when McGregor discussed his inability to meet girls and his experiences with the dating app Tinder. His theories about the app appealed to quite a few twenty-something-year-old girls in the audience, who seemed to relate a little too well to the Tinder techniques he confessed to using. McGregor knows how to work a crowd. His jokes about his unknown prowess in the bedroom are expertly delivered and absolutely hilarious, and he concludes his show with an original ‘gift’ to each audience member that perfectly sums up how his worrisome attitude affects his talents in the bedroom.

I don’t need to encourage you to see this show. Luke McGregor clearly does not need any help convincing people to see him flurry about nervously on stage. But if you want to see a production this comedy festival that is genuine, modest, and just simply fantastic, then make sure you purchase a ticket now before they all sell out.

Now that would be something to worry about.

I Worry That I Worry Too Much is on at Melb Town Hall – Portico Room until April 20
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/i-worry-that-i-worry-too-much-luke-mcgregor