Randy’s Anti-Crisis

By Lisa Clark

Sammy J and Randy have put on some amazing Festival shows both together and apart. Their solo shows really are different beasts. Randy’s shows are still hilarious and full of surprises, but they tend to be more soulful and philosophising about life with the odd whimsical touch.

Anti-Crisis was a show born out of illness from last year. Some of you may remember that the majority of the run of Sammy J & RandyLand had to be cancelled. Randy had a bit of a rough year and plenty of time to lay in bed wondering what it is all about. He’s discovered the religion of Berylism and is high up on a huge pulpit sharing his revelations using the Big Book of Beryl, the text of an intergalactic missionary.

A show that quiety explores faith is appropriate through the Easter season but it’s about much more. Beryl’s theory of creation happens to mostly coincide with modern scientists, except that it is also pretty silly and depicted through stunning back projection and shadow puppetry. Randy always loves to surprise and awe his audiences with big prop change revelations and there is a good one here.

Here is the spot where I must say that Randy, the comedian is a puppet. You will be a little hard pressed to find out the name of the puppeteer. I know because I’ve been a fan from the beginning. His name is never on any of the Festival advertising and it was nowhere to be found in the Ricketts Lane credits or on the ABC site (though a bit of further research helps). Randy truly has attained fame as a standup comedian in his own right. Anti-Crisis plays with this somewhat and has fun teasing us with possible peaks behind the curtain.

If there is one thing that you can count on, it’s that Randy will always put on a fabulous show, with shrewd and witty insights, hilarious jokes and magical surprises. He will never stop being that foul mouthed puppet we love, but his solo shows have more depth and warmth than you might be expecting. Highly recommended, as always.

Randy’s Anti-Crisis is on at Melbourne Town Hall – Supper Room until April 14
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/anti-crisis

Randy Writes A Novel

By Ron Bingham
Randy

Our favourite foul mouthed purple puppet is back. He’s dumped his partner Sammy J and is at the festival with a late night show, reading us excerpts from his new novel, ‘Walking to Skye’.

Well, that was the plan. Randy is a bit nervous about exposing his work to the unflinching gaze of a hostile audience, so we instead get an hour of distractions, musings, stories and philosophy from Randy. There are tales of alcohol and the police, a story about the people you meet when trying to buy a bookcase on Gumtree, unusual deaths, the lives and literary work of Ernest Hemingway and Harper Lee, a little Buddhism and the path to enlightenment and meat versus vegan.

Randy is an excellent visual performer despite his limitations (being anchored to a box doesn’t make use of the entire stage and it’s hard to make eye contact with punters when your eyes aren’t real!). His storytelling skills and joke craft are excellent, but I could feel the audience were a little confused by some of the more philosophical sections of the show (especially the meat industry facts/figures). I do feel that Randy is being a bit sneaky here, as these thoughtful sections of the show will probably have more long term resonance in the minds of the audience than the hilarious comedy routines. At the end, the laughter and rapturous applause showed how much they enjoyed the show.

So if you’re up to a late night hour of stand-up philosophy with filthy jokes or you just want to see a very funny show about books and writing, I can definitely recommend Randy.

Randy Writes A Novel is on at Underbelly Potterrow until August 29
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on#q=%22Randy%20Writes%20a%20Novel%22

Interview with Randy

By Daniel Paproth

It has been a great year for Randy, the beloved, foul-mouthed, purple-hued comedian and singer. The musical sitcom that he filmed with good mate Sammy J, the brilliant Rickett’s Lane, is doing good numbers on ABC iView and is soon to be premiered on television and he is enjoying performing his latest solo show, Randy Writes a Novel, to big crowds at Fringe festivals around the country.

Still, the ennui of regular life remains.

What are you doing today? I ask him down the phone.

Just about to put out the washing, comes a deceitfully enthusiastic reply.

His novel is written, but in his show, he can never quite work up the courage to read it aloud. Instead he procrastinates and distracts himself for an hour with several impressive, well-researched and hilarious rants and raves.

I love this show. It basically is just me saying what I want to say for an hour. I wrote this show as a catharsis, which sounds a bit wanky, but Sammy and I had just finished shooting Rickett’s Lane and this was a way of cutting loose, not being confined by a certain style of scripting.

Randy Writes a Novel is wonderfully self-indulgent, and thankfully, the rants – whether they be about McDonalds, relationships, drinking, not drinking, veganism, fist-fucking, religion, art – have the audience in stitches (apologies to Randy for this very poor pun).

That’s when I’m having my most amount of fun. When I started comedy I did a lot of political, hardcore, opinionated stuff and I was very angry and never quite got the balance right. But now I’ve mellowed quite a lot, to the point where I can strike a balance.

But part of the appeal of Randy’s shows is that strong-willed attitude, one that leaves you in no doubt where he stands.

There’s a bit of grit, The ultimate is being able to talk about stuff and share things and have an opinion on it without it going downhill.

It’s dependant on the audience. If they’re not up for it then it goes a bit skewed, if they think I’m being a dick. But then I acknowledge it! And then we can all fucking move on together. I fucking love it.

Randy, as something of an archetypal “struggling artist”, took inspiration from Ernest Hemingway, in particular his quote “the first draft of everything is shit”. Randy devotes a breathless three-minute portion of the show to the whims and wonders of Hemingway’s life, a sort of pseudo-google search but with more laughs and less data collection.

It’s not hard to uncover his life, but he’s an interesting case study of a tortured artist. He was a bit fucked up. And it was that quote that made me look into him more.

What about delivering the spiel live to audiences?

I had to learn the speech and that took fucking ages. I have out-of-body experiences reeling that off.

So even though he isn’t yet ready to read out his novel –

I don’t know if I’ll release it, I might not make it that far, I might only live a few more years!

Randy is finding plenty of joy “in the immediate”.

I’m doing whatever is giving me joy now. That’s this show and the TV show, which I love. It’s just so fucking stupid. When I grew up I was a huge Young Ones fan and Sammy loved Lano & Woodley so it’s great to have a show with so much silliness.

Randy then realises that ours has been something of a serious interview and so asks what I am doing today. I tell him I’m about to go to Ivanhoe, seeking elderly people to photograph for a column I write for another publication.

Maybe that could be my next thing. I’ll write your autobiography, he tells me. It might not be a funny book, just a chilling expose of your lifestyle choices.

I’d definitely read it. Randy is funny as all hell.

Randy Writes a Novel has finished its run at Melbourne Fringe but check out Randy’s Sitcom with his partner in comedy Sammy J – Ricketts Lane which is currently available on Iview and will be appearing on ABCTV from October 14 2015.

Randy Writes A Novel

By Daniel Paproth Randy-Writes-a-Novel

Most everyone who has even a passing interest in comedy knows Randy – the purple, foul-mouthed, philosophic puppet that has long accompanied Sammy J on his adventures and misadventures – most brilliantly in their new ABC TV show Rickett’s Lane. But few might be aware at how well Randy holds the attention of a room flying solo.

At a packed Lithuanian Club Ballroom on Sunday night Randy held sway over the audience, making us laugh, squirm, applaud and even sit on the edge of our seats, waiting to see which direction this 60+ minute show would turn next. The loose premise is that Randy, something of a struggling artist, has written a novel, and here, in front of this crowd, he will read it aloud to us. Except, he just can’t quite get going. Writing can be quite personal, and it appears Randy isn’t yet ready to spill his heart out in front of people. So what, then, becomes of the show?

Luckily, all the rants and raves smashing around in that purple head of Randy’s that he uses to procrastinate from reading his novel are brilliant – hilarious, whip-smart, quick-witted and impressively well-researched. After swiftly dealing with some would-be hecklers – including one fellow Fringe artist in the front row (“Did you pay to see this show or did you use your artist pass?” “My artist pass” “Ohh get fucked”) Randy delves into the maddening complaints of the bourgeoisie; from buying up land in inner-city suburbs (“Docklands can suck a fuck”) to meat-eaters who condescendingly provide “some fun facts” for vegetarians and vegans as to why their dietary choices must suck. Other hilarious detours include the benefits of being pulled over for drink-driving as a tee-totaller, McDonald’s home delivery, the tenets of Buddhism packed into about two minutes and the life of Ernest Hemingway into about three minutes (Hemingway’s “the first draft of everything is shit” being one of the show’s inspiration points).

It is a strange experience watching only a puppet for an hour. I have seen plenty of comedy over the years but nothing quite like this – and it is a testament to Randy that after about two or three minutes you forget that it is a puppet, such is the skill. Robust facial and body expressions abound and at many points you just feel like you’re in a conversation with your overly-enthusiastic, curse-happy friend. Swearing in comedy shows is of course hit-and-miss, but it’s all hit here. There is something inherently funny about an alien-looking purple puppet casually, effortlessly dropping f- and c-bombs around.

The show could use tightening. The rants – while well-researched and well-delivered – threaten to go on to long and put the show into something of a lull, and the search for a resonant emotional ending doesn’t quite hit the mark, but it matters little with a very strong penultimate scene about Randy picking up a bookcase through Gumtree. Highly Recommended.

Randy Writes A Novel is on til Sept 25 so get in quick!

For tickets & Info

https://www.melbournefringe.com.au/program/event/view/d1560223-482a-4a54-9fb0-7d3cde5724ff

 

Shows at Adelaide Fringe Festival previously reviewed by Squirrel Comedy.

The Adelaide Fringe is soon upon us, it’s a fabulously varied festival with a big comedy contingent that gives punters a chance to catch up with shows from last year’s festivals as well as discovering exciting brand new work, some of which will make it’s way to other capital cities throughout the year.

This year we hope to bring you some reviews in the early part of the Festival. Meanwhile here are some reviews we prepared earlier.

Eurodad – Adam Rozenbachs 
Palace Nova – Cinema 9

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3597

Luke McGregor – My Soulmate is Out of My League
Garden of Unearthly Delights – The Spare Room

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3389

NOB HAPPY SOCK – Simon Keck
The Producers Bar

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3550

Radio Variety Hour
The Producers Bar

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5089

Rom Com Con – Mace & Burton
Bakehouse Theatre – Main Stage

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=1871

Simon Taylor – Funny
Garden of Unearthly Delights – The Spare Room

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5024

The Last Temptation of Randy
Garden of Unearthly Delights – Le Cascadeur

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5071

Wolf Creek The Musical
The Producers Bar

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5049

Wizard Sandwiches: The Last Lunch
Tuxedo Cat @ Raj House – Room 2

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5004

The above shows were all very popular and are highly recommended by us, some are even award winners.

The Adelaide Fringe Festival is on from the 14th of February til the 16th of March. All  information can be found at their website

http://www.adelaidefringe.com.au/

The Last Temptation of Randy

By Lisa Clark

The couch looms large in this production, the heart of most homes it has also become iconic as being the manky centrepiece of most share houses and a symbol for Randy of his single state and stunted adult life. Beside it, in case we are in any doubt is a milk crate with a cushion on it. We walk into the theatre to find Randy sitting on the back of the couch humming while his housemate Jimmy (Stewart of the band The Miserable Little Bastards) described as the pirate-convict-musician, lies on the couch and strums his guitar. It is clear that this is not going to be a straight, one puppet standup show.

We’re used to Randy as the foul mouthed cunning purple puppet who speaks his mind and takes no prisoners. This shows us another side of Randy in a delicate sweet love story as told to his housemate. We know about Randy’s past struggle with alcoholism and this show is partly suggesting that love can be a similar kind of addiction. The story is fine tuned and the melancholy is outweighed by Randy’s insuppressibly left field humour and constantly peppered with wit, rib tickling similes and amusing asides.

So much impressive work has been put into this polished theatrical experience. There is a transformation at the centre of it all that is breathtakingly magnificent and has everyone talking on the way out, but I’ll not spoil it for you. As the poster suggests Randy cleverly employs the medieval device of Good Angel/Bad Angel to express his thoughts and conscience. Simon the housemate is there throughout providing moody music interludes with some beautiful songs and a little conversation. There are also some surprising side-splitting segues involving sharks and pigeons and a gentle interlude of gorgeous shadow puppetry.

Puppeteer Heath McIvor seems to be disappearing into Randy with no mention of Heath in any of the publicity or on Randy’s website and no bow from Heath at the end of The Last Temptation of Randy. You can’t help but wonder how much of Randy’s persona is Heath or completely made up. Randy certainly has a life of his own as a successful comedian, you can often forget that Randy is a puppet. I don’t know if this is the case with McIvor, but a puppet is a great mask for a shy person who wants to do comedy but doesn’t want the fame that goes with it. Heath deserves all the accolades that Randy and this show will bring him.

It’s always a joy to go to a show by performer who can be relied upon for a full hour of fun and non-stop entertainment and multi an award winning Randy has done it again. It is beautiful, funny and has a squirrel called Denis. What more do you want?

The Last Temptation of Randy is on at the Lithuanian Club until October 5
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/the-last-temptation-of-randy/