By Will Erskine
Ben Vernel, Adam Knox, Rosie Vernel and Timothy Clark are Melbourne based sketch troupe Chimp Cop. Over the past 4 years they have established themselves at the festival through their spoof cop movie franchise of the same name. The Death of Chimp Cop is the 4th installment in the series and to tackle the obvious question first, no you don’t need to have seen the first 3 for this one to make sense. This is a marvelously slick production that engages and delivers laughs throughout, from the quirky opening credits to the ridiculous conclusion.
It is a spoof cop action movie, presented in cinematic form complete with soundtrack and opening credits. The pace is of the show is incredible, making the 50-minute performance feel like half that. Each scene is so packed with puns, gags and prop comedy that it feels like for every joke that you notice there were 3 more hidden behind the surface. The plot progresses over a series of sketches blending between a current day courthouse and flashbacks to scenes of central protagonist Chimp Cop’s battle against one of his toughest adversaries.
The shows strength comes from its overall narrative and the combination of its parts. While each sketch could stand-alone in isolation the show is so much more than a series of unrelated sketches, delivering genuine story progression and character development often missing from sketch comedy.
On paper spoofing cop shows doesn’t seem like the strongest idea for a comedy festival show – and particularly not 4 comedy festival shows. The show is carried by the creativity and talent of every member of the group. This is very much an ensemble cast with each member getting equal measure of the laughs and funny moments.
The gags in The Death of Chimp Cop range from the bizarre, to the intelligent all the way to the wilfully awful – it is the combination of the three that leaves the audience begging for more by the end of the performance.
It will be fascinating to see if this really is the death of the Chimp Cop character. Whether, in the spirit of movie franchises, the troupe return to the well once more, or they decide to create new characters it will without doubt be another a must see show.
The Death of Chimp Cop is on at Trades Hall until 22nd April details on the website:
By Elyce Phillips
Sketch group Chimp Cop (Timothy Clark, Adam Knox, Ben Vernel and Rosie Vernel) have earnt themselves a reputation as cult favourites at MICF. At the last couple of festivals, word quickly spread around about how hilarious they were, and their late-night shows became must-see viewing for comedy fans. Chimp Cop Forever, the third installment of the Chimp Cop saga, keeps the old-school gags coming in a thrilling tale about a man who is part chimp, all cop.
Chimp Cop Forever starts out strong with one of the most inventive opening sequences I’ve seen in a comedy show. The crew don’t have a screen this year so there are no pre-recorded sketches, and with the regular audio-visual element out, they’ve come up with clever workarounds. It’s a great introduction, and it sets up the story neatly. Chimp Cop must head to his hometown, working undercover to expose a drug ring, and it gets personal.
In the past, Chimp Cop’s humour has been compared to Police Squad! and Naked Gun, and not without reason. The group is clearly influenced by these sight-gag-heavy pun-fests and it’s absolutely delightful to see that tradition continue on. Chimp Cop Forever hits on all the great tropes of the crime genre, playing with them in an affectionate, utterly silly way.
The cast of Chimp Cop work together brilliantly. There’s clear chemistry between them all and their performances are slicker than they’ve been in the past. Clark is brilliantly funny as the titular Chimp Cop, and Knox, Vernel and Vernel are absolutely terrific as a rotating cast of characters – from Chimp Cop’s dad, Criminal Cop, to a series of bumbling henchmen and stooges.
Chimp Cop Forever is the best kind of late-night festival fun. It had the audience doubled over with laughter, and continues Chimp Cop’s record of producing fabulous comedy.
Chimp Cop Forever’s run at MICF has finished, but the sketch group will be premiering a new show later this year.
By Elyce Phillips
When a business mogul goes missing and a man shows up dead, Detectives Chimp Cop and Tijuana Goldberg are on the case. Adam Knox, Ben Vernel, Timothy Clark and Rosie Vernel ham it up as a cast of good cops, bad cops, rogues and dames. It’s everything you love about a good detective drama, done on about 1/100th of the budget.
Chimp Cop is a loving parody of detective noir. It feels heavily influenced by Naked Gun, with a dose of Raymond Chandler in there for good measure. There are a lot of cheesy puns, plenty of stupid sight gags, and enough accents to cover every single cop show stereotype. The Chimp Cop team throw themselves into their performance wholeheartedly – to the point that there were probably a few prop-based injuries on stage. There aren’t a whole heap of bells and whistles in this show, but they work well with what they’ve got. A video screen is used to good effect to set the tone at the start. The character transitions could be clunky in the small space, but a few ad-libbed lines smooth things over.
Chimp Cop is a little rough around the edges, but there is some absolute gold in this hour of sketch. A graphic visual stand-in for a sex scene was…memorable, and an extended video montage about friendship was hands-down the funniest thing I’ve seen at the Festival so far. It sent me into one of those slightly terrifying hysterical laughs where you momentarily fear that you may never stop laughing. It’s the kind of unhinged madness that you want in late-night comedy.
Chimp Cop is incredibly silly and a whole lot of fun. If you’re a fan of cop dramas, there’s plenty of laughs to be had, and if you’re not, you’ll probably still get a chuckle out of the nonsense of it all.
Chimp Cop is on at the Imperial Hotel until April 18