5 Good Reasons to See Angela Green: Media Madness

1. Supporting a strong female voice in comedy

2. The content is thought provoking and real

3. Because it’s a damn funny show and you will have a great time

4. The smug satisfaction of discovering a new talent before they get big

5. Because Melbourne is the cultural centre of Australia and supporting the arts is a good thing to do

Angela Green performs Media Madness at Campari House on April 13 & 14


ISLAMOFARCIST Putting the “Ha” in “Jihad” by Sami Shah

By Lisa Clark 1800 X 900

What a stunning show! Sami Shah is a born comedian, unfortunately he was born in a part of the world that’s not very conducive to a satirical comedy career. Lucky for us he’s moved to Australia. Islamofarcist – Putting the “Ha” in “Jihad” tells us how this came to be, via lessons about Islam, Pakistan and the importance of Baywatch.

Sami seems to have arrived on Melbourne stages a fully-fledged, world class, comedy star. Sami has actually had an amazing life thus far. He started in impro in Pakistan which is surprising enough, but that he’s only really been throwing himself into a comedy career in Australia since 2012 is hard to believe. Since then he has appeared on QI, created a BBC4 radio series and has had a book about his life published. These things are less surprising when he starts doing his comedy for you.

He begins by taking an everyday popular meme about religion and intricately dissects it with comedy and pretty quickly has the audience in the palm of his hand. The information he gives us about Pakistan, Islam and, for example, the difference between Sunni and Shiite turns out to be funnier than you’d think and should also probably be considered a bit of a public service. It’ll have you laughing your butt off, but you get to learn stuff too.

ISLAMOFARCIST is political without really going into politics, it’s about religion without being preachy, about ideals while remaining down to earth and it’s actually quite dangerous. Sami could be killed for this show in some parts of the world. Not surprising that he lives here then and lucky us.

If you have a hankering for intelligent, yet accessible, comedy from a warm, talented comedian who knows what the hell he’s talking about, go see Sami at Fringe, ISLAMOFARCIST is everything Fringe should be and more.

Sami Shah performs ISLAMOFARCIST Putting the “Ha” in “Jihad” at The Lithuanian Club til Oct 1st


Dave Callan – A Little Less Conversation 3

By Elyce Phillips Dave Callan less Conversation 2

Dave Callan has returned to Melbourne Fringe with the third and final instalment of his dance trilogy. It’s an uplifting hour of cheesy pop, unbridled enthusiasm and infectious energy. The festival might not be over yet, but seeing A Little Less Conversation 3 has got to be the most fun you can have at the Fringe.

In this new show, Callan once again takes the audience on a musical journey from the beginning of time through to today, performing dances to some classic hits that he missed in the first two rounds. The dance medleys are broken up with stand-up, some FAQs and some fantastically funny videos that Callan has put together. As a special preview show treat, Callan also performed Beyonce’s Single Ladies dance in its entirety as an extra finale, which was truly a sight to behold.

This may be the third instalment of Callan’s dance-themed shows, but there’s still tremendous comedic value in seeing this wizard-viking shake his booty to the likes of Britney Spears and T-Swift. Callan’s back-up dancers (Jess Quinn and Emma Russell) are wonderful performers in their own right, and act as a choreographic foil to Callan’s occasionally fumbled moves. There’s an array of dazzling and ill-fitting costumes and some gloriously ridiculous props.  The amount of work that has gone into this show is really impressive, and you can see that all three performers are giving it their all on the stage. By the end, Callan appears to be almost entirely composed of sweat and glitter.

A Little Less Conversation 3 is a show that leaves you with joy in your heart and a dance in your step as you walk out. It’s a whole-hearted celebration of pop culture, in all its weird and wonderful glory.

A Little Less Conversation 3 is on at the Fringe Hub – Ballroom until October 3


Rama Nicholas in Mary Weather’s Monsters

By Colin Flaherty

Rama Nicholas presented another gothic comedy tour de force, this time exploring the golden age of horror novels. It had lots of laughs, plentiful drama and many buckles to swash.

The script tended to focus on drama and action as opposed to out and out comedy. Things got a little sombre at times, enough to create the perfect mix of lightness and dark as our hero went on a physical journey as well as a personal one with a moral lesson to be learnt, just like all the best adventure tales. It wasn’t dour drama, there were enough witty asides to the audience, comic relief from the supporting characters, ribald quips from our lady monster hunter and interludes from an unhinged narrator to provide laughs when we weren’t on the edge of our seats.

It was interesting to see how many real life characters from that era’s horror literary scene were included in this fantastical tale. Their identities were clearly signposted from the outset so there were no great surprises with regards to a number of the jokes and plot points, particularly if you are well versed in these writers. Fear not, there were plenty of other twists and turns to keep us guessing and gasping as they were revealed.

There was a little bit of audience interaction with us collectively acting as Percy the Poet’s muse to compose a poem. This doesn’t really affect the show in any significant way but depending on the suggestions this could add humour to the show or simply be a lovely bit of verse.

On a bare stage, save for an easel, Nicholas plays all the characters, flitting between each using nothing more than gestures and voices to distinguish each. She does a brilliant job, ensuring that you don’t get too confused when more than two characters are interacting. We even get a taste of her beautiful singing voice as part of a dream sequence. Perfect lighting and musical cues were the cherry on top.

Nicholas has once again produced a show that will have everyone raving and deservedly so. It was a wonderful performance by a consummate performer.

Mary Weather’s Monsters is on at the North Melbourne Town Hall until October 3rd


Melbourne Comedy Festival Launch

By Noel Kelso

I arrived at the Greek Centre ahead of time because I’m a Scientist and if you’re in Science and don’t come somewhere on the OCD spectrum, you’re in the wrong profession.Effie at the Greek

The new venue is spacious and modern and it’ll be interesting to see how shows perform there. The presentation itself was MC’ed by Effie who was interrupted almost immediately  by Puddles the Clown who sang a haunting tune and toyed with assembled throng before scarpering.

We were then entertained by Ongals from South Korea – a clowning troupe with a nice line in juvenile humour. They were followed by the serious people involved with MICF – Susan Provan, Mayor Robert Doyle and Minister for Creative Arts Martin Foley, all of whom thanked the contributors and attendees of the festival and talked-up the expanded nature this year. Martin Foley also managed to demonstrate that Politics is one of the oldest forms of comedy with a few amusing lines of his own.

To get us all through this there were drinks supplied and nibbles – including dolmades and fetta parcels.

As this will be my fifth and possibly last MICF, I have every intention of seeing as many of the 550 shows as my bank balance and stamina will allow.

Let the laughter begin!
The 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival runs from 25th March until 19th April. The full programme can be found at www.comedyfestival.com.au

Interview with Matthew Hardy about Yarraville Laughs comedy room.

By Lisa Clark 

A month ago I was lucky to be in the audience for the first birthday show of Yarraville Laughs. It was one of those really special nights in a club with a top notch, awesome line-up of standup from Glenn Robbins, Dave O’Neil and Tony Martin. Then to top it off Shaun Micalef dropped by to add to a finale that was a live version of radio panel show Now I’ll have to Kill You where comedians tell stories that they’ve kept secret from others. It went late into the night. Hosting it all was Matthew Hardy, comedian turned entrepreneur who returned to Australia just over a year ago and decided to open up a comedy club in his new neighbourhood of Yarraville, a gentrified, latte-fied village in the inner western suburbs of Melbourne. In only it’s first year, the venue can boast having had performers such as Tom Gleeson, Denise Scott, Hannah Gadsby, Dave Hughes, Cal Wilson, Peter Hellier and the list goes on.

The last time I saw Matt was in his show Willy Wonka Explained which he performed with the actress who played Veruca Salt in the original film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Julie Dawn Cole. The fact that he was able to talk her into coming all the way from England to Melbourne, to perform in a relatively small room for his comedy festival show, says something about Matt’s ability to talk people into things and make stuff happen.

Lisa: How long were you in the UK and what was that like?

Matt: For a total of twelve years. 8 in the 90’s and 4 sporadic individual years since. I arrived just before the comedy boom began, and just before the Britpop boom began too. Comedians became rockstars and rockstars became comedians. The Gallagher brothers from Oasis, Jarvis Cocker from Pulp, Damon Albarn from Blur, were all being as funny as the comedians in their media interviews and the comedians were conducting themselves like rockstars. Mighty Boosh, Ross Noble, Russell Brand. Somewhere among all that, at least attending the same parties anyway (!), fair dinkum, was me. My own comedy highlights were writing with or for Ricky Gervais and Kelsey Grammar, headlining the Mecca, which is the Comedy Store in Leicester Square, and stepping on stage at Glastonbury (again, fair dinkum!) just as the acid kicked in. Whoops! Ah, they were the days. There’s many more lowlights but you didn’t ask that question.

Lisa: Was it there that you learned about running a comedy room?

Matt: My biggest lessons in regard to our Yarraville Laughs club is why some comedy clubs work, and others don’t. or how a good club can become great. It’s never a mystery, or a case of good luck. Hard work and smart choices, and financial risks lead to the performers and the punters having an equally enjoyable night. Which leads to them wanting to return.

Lisa: When / How did you get the idea of running a room in Yarraville yourself?

Matt: I had my first kid (a beautiful daughter) which meant no more jet-setting back and forth to London. We settled in Yarraville and rather than wait to see if Spicks & Specks or whichever other shows would invite me back, I decided to be proactive and start a regular club, which ideally leads to a regular income.

Lisa: Tell us about Yarraville Laughs, what kind of room it is and how it is organised.

Matt: We’ve built a stage within the original stage, which creates the impression of an illustrious theatre environment.
I run it with the great man James Young, a Melbourne entertainment maestro (formerly RRR, now Cherry Bar), who’s also a great mate.
I wanted to create the best comedy club in the country and think we may have achieved that goal.

Lisa: Do audiences tend to be local?

Matt: I’d say it’s 30% local and 70% from everywhere else. We have the data (a very unfunny word I know!) showing where people come from, and there’s people from as far as Brighton, South Morang and Glen Waverley who are attending. And often.

Lisa: Have you had any feedback from the community?

Matt: Definitely. One lengthy hate letter and hundreds of pats on the back, fortunately. Pretty good ratio.

Lisa: Considering that it is in the less fashionable western suburbs of Melbourne, were you worried about getting audiences to come to Yarraville for comedy?

Matt: I thought, like Kevin Costner in Field Of Dreams, that ‘If we build it, they will come’. As long as we build it to withstand all sorts of weather. Luckily, it’s been mainly sunny.

Lisa: Were you worried about getting bigger named comedians to come to Yarraville?

Matt: Not really because again, being a comedian, I know what comedians want, and how to create an environment where they’re totally comfortable and confident. I’m not personally rich or famous or mega talented, but I’ve worked with and am friends with most of the comics who are.

Lisa: Was it quiet at the start and easier as things went on?

Matt: I’m beginning to wonder how up myself I may be sounding here, but from our very first show we’ve sold out. Mick Molloy, Bob Franklin and the Nelson Twins is a fair bill up front, and it’s maintained itself since then. But this fact has arisen only because of how much relentless hard work everybody involved puts in. The Yarraville Club’s General Manager has been incredibly supportive, his staff are passionate, plus the restaurant provides great meals and friendly service so it’s all part of the package. I am obsessed with checking ticket sales (too much so) and if they slow down, our work rate speeds up. As does our ad spend, unfortunately! 

Lisa: Have you had any ‘challenging’ experiences from patrons – or performers?

Matt: Not once from a performer and only once from a patron. Who was a woman, surprisingly, who we had no choice but to evict because she was spoiling the show for everyone else. We knew this because everyone else was telling us. That said, her hate letter arrived shortly afterwards. Even though we’d given her money back and two free tickets for another show as she departed. Hey, we all have bad days.

Lisa: There are quite a few comedians running successful rooms around Melbourne at the moment do you think a performers own experience helps them be good at it?

Matt: I think there’s just three other comedians running successful rooms. If there were a couple more I’d not have bothered starting my own with James Young. I gauge a successful comedy club to be one which is paying respectful, guaranteed fees to the performers, charging the patrons a respectful fee to get in, and attracting a large number of patrons to most shows. Being a comic should make it easier to run a club but that’s not always the case. Anyway, my way isn’t the only way, and others gauge success differently. And we’re still minnows compared to the promoters who bring out, say, Dave Chappelle.

Lisa: Does the percentage of people Dining / viewing a show change a lot from week to week and does this change the configuration of the room?

Matt: Not really. For massive acts (like the upcoming Michael Winslow from Police Academy shows) we do rowed seating to fit more in, otherwise it’s table seating but either way works for us.

Lisa: Name some of your favourite experiences in running the room so far.

Matt: MC-ing our first ever show to a full house, headlined by the brilliant Mick Molloy. Having James Young hold up the phone when I rang Yarraville Laughs from a Thailand family holiday, so I could hear the deafening laughter Dave Hughes was creating. Booking a diversity of comedians, rather than just four white men every week. Even if white men make up the majority of comedians. Our first birthday show with Glenn Robbins, Dave O’Neil, Tony Martin and a surprise appearance by Sean Micallef. Who are, umm, four, white, men. Hey, I invited Julia Zemiro and Magda but they were both unavailable.

Lisa: Tell us about your up coming MICF shows.

Matt: We have EFFIE the Gold Logie winning Greek Goddess of comedy, who’ll be speaking about her new baby girl, Aphie (short for Aphrodite). Effie & Aphie. Simple but fucking funny I reckon.

And we have Michael Winslow from not just Police Academy, but also Gremlins, Spaceballs and regular voice-work (including as himself) on both The Simpsons and Family Guy. Both have been with us before and both are truly superb performers.

Lisa: I’m guessing running a room has meant you don’t get out to do stand-up as much.

Matt: Yes and no but I am the MC of all of our shows (if I don’t employ myself, who else will) so I’m not missing out.

Lisa: What advice would you give to other performers thinking of starting up a room.

Matt: Go for it, do it thoroughly and don’t cut corners, have a partner to bounce ideas off, and then when it works, enjoy the camaraderi

e with your fellow comedians and feeling like you’re overdosing on adrenaline after each great show. And every room ends so have fun while it lasts!


Find out about upcoming shows at Yarraville Laughs on their website http://www.yarravillelaughs.com/

You can book dinner with the show too.


Find out about their Festival shows on the MICF website


Effie A Date With Effie: Looking For Love… And Child Support!

– http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/a-date-with-effie-looking-for-love-and-child-support-effie

Michael Winslow Police Academy Sound FX Show

– http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/police-academy-sound-fx-show-michael-winslow