Comedy for Christmas in Melbourne

By Lisa Clark

Comedy at Christmas time is the perfect choice for festive celebrations. Sometimes Very Christmassy, sometimes a look at the year gone by (& aren’t we just hanging out for 2016 to have gone bye bye?), sometimes a chance to drink, laugh and forget….  The Comedy Rooms in Melbourne are putting on some Fantastic line ups throughout December and brilliant comedians doing exciting Christmas shows. So organise your bookings, get together with your friends to laugh and forget about the past year and the coming Christmas family obligations.

3 Sat – A Very Judy Christmas – The Butterfly Club

Brendy Ford  as Judy Free

4  Sun – Political Asylum – The Brunswick Green

Mathew Kenneally
Toby Halligan
Jess Moir
Tom Ballard
Ben Pobjie
Nicholas J Johnson
& more!

7 Wed – The Wheeler Centre The Show of the Year 2016  – The Atheneum Theatre

Casey Bennetto  Geraldine Quinn , Deborah Conway, Tom Ballard, Geraldine Hickey, Cal Wilson, Danny McGinlay, Jennifer Byrne and more…

9 Fri –  Tripod Christmas Turkeys – Memo Music Hall in St Kilda

10 Sat –  Tripod Christmas Turkeys – Memo Music Hall in St Kilda

15 Thurs –  Sammy J & Randy Land – Xmas Tour – The Atheneum

16 Fri –  Sammy J & Randy Land – Xmas Tour – The Atheneum

17 Sat –  Sammy J & Randy Land – Xmas Tour – The Atheneum

19 Mon – Local Laughs Christmas show – Local Taphouse StKilda

MC Andrew McClelland
The Bedroom Philosopher
David Quirk
Michael Williams
Geraldine Hickey
& More!

21 Wed – Swingin’ Bella Christmas – Bella Union Bar

MCs Casey Bennetto and Geraldine Quinn will be joined by Tim Rogers

22 Thur – Swingin’ Bella Christmas – Bella Union Bar

MCs Casey Bennetto and Geraldine Quinn will be joined by Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier

23 Fri – Swingin’ Bella Christmas – Bella Union Bar

MCs Casey Bennetto and Geraldine Quinn will be joined by Scott Edgar, Steven Gates & Eddie Perfect

24 Sat – Little Dum Dum Club Orphan Christmas – European Bier Café

Tommy Dassalo and Karl Chandler and their mates.


Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award Winners for 2016

by Lisa Clark

It has been an amazing year at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. In a first for the Festival – The Winner of the Barry Award, Zoe Coombs-Marr, is also the Winner of the Golden Gibbo. So it’s a Barry Winner who is brave and independent and we couldn’t be happier for Zoe. Presented via Skype (also a first) by last year’s winner Sam Simmons, the award was for Zoe’s show Trigger Warning starring her gender bending alter ego called Dave. There was Big Buzz around all the Winners this year, with none being a huge surprise and all being lauded and promoted by word of mouth and on social media for weeks. All of the nominees were favourites with everyone and those of us who got out to see them are very happy about them all being held up for celebration. It’s also a rare year where all the winners are Australian, and rightly so. So congratulations to Everyone!!

If Anne Edmonds and Damien Power are a bit sad about missing out on a Barry, they can be cheered by their Directors Awards win as True Australian Patriots and know that their own shows were loved too. True Aussie Patriots – Live was some of the best political and social satire seen on an Australian stage performed by some our best comedians (2 of them having been nominated for Barrys – the other Greg, didn’t do a solo show this year to be nominated, but won the Golden Gibbo as part of Fancy Boys two years ago.) Rhys Nicholson, can take heart in the fact that his new wife Zoe won the Barry and that their big fat gay wedding at the Festival Club last night will go down in Festival history and Legend.

I think I saw co winners of The Directors Award, Zanzoop – Feeble Minds, before a lot of ‘official’ people managed to and have been singing it’s praises to everyone ever since. A truly insane, intelligent, incredible, late night chat show hosted by the wise cracking green alien Zanzoop (Sam Campbell) that surprises you by having sweetness at its heart, performed by some sincerely talented, charismatic people. It also contains Best Newcomer Tom Walker who shines in both Feeble Minds and his own gentle and delightful immersive clowning show Beep Boop.

The Pinder Prize (Named after the late John Pinder who was an original co-founder of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and opened some of the first comedy rooms in Melbourne in the 1970s – The Flying Trapese and The Last Laugh Theatre Restaurant) is a brand new award at the festival which sends recipient – Tom Ballard – to Edinburgh Fringe to perform as part of the Assembly Theatre Program.

Remember that there is still another day of Festival shows tomorrow and some shows cancelled due to illness will hopefully be rescheduled in Melbourne Soon.

Readers from other states:  You can look forward to seeing some of these shows or performers in your town soon.

Here are the Award Winners for 2016Zoe as Dave


Winner: Zoe Coombs-Marr – Trigger Warning

Damien Power – Sell Mum into Slavery
Luisa Omielan (UK) – Am I Right Ladies?!
Tom Ballard – The World Keeps Happening
Anne Edmonds That’s Eddotainment
David O’Doherty (IRE) – We Are All In The Gutter, But Some Of Us Are Looking At David O’Doherty
Rhys Nicholson – Bone FideTom Walker


Winner: Tom Walker – Beep Boop

Demi Lardner – Life Mechanic
Guy Montgomery (NZ) – Guy Montcomedy
Rose Matafeo (NZ) – Finally Dead

GOLDEN GIBBO AWARD (Independant & Creative show)

Winner: Zoe Coombs-Marr – Trigger WarningTom Ballard pic

Asher Treleaven & Gypsy Wood – Peter & Bambi Heaven – The Magic Inside
Luis Brown – Lessons With Luis
Tommy Dassallo – Little Golden Dassallo

THE PINDER PRIZE (including a trip to the Edinburgh Festival):

Winner: Tom Ballard – The World Keeps Happening

PIECE OF WOOD (Peer Voted – Comedian’s Choice):

Winner: Chris Wainhouse – The AntichrisTrue Australian Patriots


Winners: (Anne Edmonds, Damian Power and Greg Larsen) True Australian Patriots – Live


Winners: (Sam Campbell, Cam Campbell, Tom Walker and Aaron Chen) Zanzoop – Feeble Minds

Peoples choice: Carl Barron Drinking with a Fork

Funny Tonne (Audience Member seeing the most [over 100] shows): Jeremy McPherson


Deadly Funny National Champion – Jalen Sutcliffe

Class Clowns National Champion – Lauren Duong from the ACT

RAW Comedy Award (Including a trip to the Edinburgh Festival)- Danielle Walker from Victoria

Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award Nominees

On Monday morning at the Spiegeltent the Nominees for the 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards were Announced with the aid of Guest Barry Humphries. You may have heard of him, The Barry Award is named after him.

Congratulations to all the phenomenal Nominees!

The Golden Gibbo 

Asher Treleaven & Gypsy Wood – Peter & Bambi Heaven – The Magic Inside

Luis Brown – Lessons With Luis

Tommy Dassallo – Little Golden Dassallo

Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave Trigger Warning

Best Newcomer Barry Announcing the Barry's

Demi Lardner – Life Mechanic

Guy Montgomery (NZ) – Guy Montcomedy

Tom Walker – Beep Boop

Rose Matafeo (NZ) – Finally Dead

The Barry Award

Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave Trigger Warning

Damien Power – Sell Mum into Slavery

Luisa Omielan (UK) – Am I Right Ladies?!

Tom Ballard – The World Keeps Happening

Anne Edmonds That’s Eddotainment

David O’Doherty (IRE) – We Are All In The Gutter, But Some Of Us Are Looking At David O’Doherty

Rhys Nicholson – Bone Fide

There are more Awards that will be announced next weekend.

Also RAW Comedy Award for 2016 was won by Danielle Walker from Victoria


Tom Ballard : UnAustralian(ish)

By Lisa Clark

There’s been an avalanche lately of comedians leaving mainstream media jobs to get back into their standup careers; starting with Wil Anderson, and more recently Dave Hughes, Charlie Pickering and Tom Ballard. This is particularly weird when you consider that conventionally standup is usually considered a path to mainstream media and that the living made from standup in Australia can be adequate to appalling. They had what most budding comedians dream of, why give that up? A clue may be found in this show where Tom Ballard has the freedom to talk about what it means to him to be Australian and the time to develop a considered and accomplished show about it.

In the main Tom is giving us a loving portrait of his childhood trip around Australia in 1995 with his rather fussy family. His family have regular meetings, with an Agenda and during the trip his parents set up a space for he and his brother to do homework that had been set for them. Part of this homework was for he and his brother to keep a diary of the trip. These diaries have proved to be comedy gold for this show. Not only does he read from them but also shows us slides of the writing and of the adorable pictures they drew of their trip. These most often involved the celebration of getting to eat or drink junk food. The highlight for me was running gag of the dramatic tension of the kids going through the rough pilgrimage of the trip with the sole aim to reach their own holy grail. Will the boys get to experience the delights of the theme parks on the Gold Coast?

The real meat of the piece though was Tom ruminating on how he feels to live in a country that denies him and new immigrants basic human rights. About how it treats it’s indigenous population. These routines pop up throughout the story, for example a diary excerpt that explains how they climb Uluru despite being told that the local aboriginal community aren’t happy about it and Tom shows us that in spite of it being banned now, people are still doing it to get themselves notoriety on youtube. The family visits Woomera and Tom gives us it’s eye opening and alarming history involving; nuclear bomb testing, a shut-down immigration detention centre and uranium mining. A lot of the political stuff sit’s beautifully within the tale though there is the odd point that feels a little didactic as the laughs die down. Still these are pretty minor really and can’t diminish and excellent show.

I’m loving the way that comedians are putting so much care into their shows that they even think carefully about their house music to warm up their audiences for what’s to come. I’ve really been noticing it this year. For UnAustralian(ish) it was Paul Kelly’s From St Kilda to Kings Cross. No doubt extra significant for Tom himself who’s moved from Melbourne to live in Sydney. I saw a very rough preview show of UnAustralian(ish) in Sydney in January and it’s lovely to see all the bells and whistles and tweaks that have turned it into an impressive polished performance. These included; a map of his family’s campervan trip, a pile of eskies to hold his water bottle and the diaries by he and his brother, and an old fashioned slide projector with slides of his family trip. He tells us the slides cost him $5.50 a pop and they do add to the retro feel of the stage set, but it’s a pity the position of the projector blocks the screen for a large percentage of the audience.

It was also fantastic to see UnAustralian(ish) outside of a media night with an audience come specifically to see Tom and have a laugh and a great time. Tom’s radio experience came to the fore as he seemed pretty relaxed and had a lot of fun with a group of boisterous Americans in the audience who were in the middle of their own Australian odyssey.

I highly recommend Tom Ballard’s comedy of nostalgia and modern issues. This was also a beautiful portrait about what it means to grow up and go from looking at the small pleasures to the bigger picture of life.

UnAustralian(ish) is on at Melb Town Hall – Council Chambers until April 20

I Love Green Guide Letters Live.

Last Saturday, Steele Saunders kicked off his run of Live “I Love Green Guide Letter” podcasts at the Melbourne Town Hall.
Special guests Tony Martin, Sam Pang and Tom Ballard helped Steele discuss letters about Digital TV, netball, Josh Thomas’ Please Like Me, Formula 1 advertising, Peter Mitchell’s Melbourne and The Biggest Looser.

Check out the shorter sizzle video below for a taste of what went down, and grab the entire episode from iTunes or direct from here.

The Green Guide Letters live show will continue throughout the comedy festival with more special surprise guests.
Grab your tickets here


5 Good Reasons to see TOM BALLARD, Tommy Little and Tommy Dassalo

Here is Tom Ballard’s Top 5 Good Reasons to see TOM BALLARD – My Ego Is Better Than Your Ego

1. It’s a profoundly self-indulgent exploration of my ego and self-esteem issues. It’s literally me talking for an hour about me needing you to like me, so it’s got this kind of “charmingly narcissistic” vibe going on.

2. My mum likes to see me being successful.

3. I’m not going to talk to you and humiliate you as an audience member. (Well..except for one person. Just at the start. But it’s not really about them. Or you, if it’s you. Honestly – it’s a good bit.)

4. It’s 100% fair trade and means tested.

5. I am not Ricky Nixon.

Tom Ballard – My Ego Is Better Than Your Ego is on at The Swiss Club throughout the Festival


5 Good Reasons to see Tommy Little – Sex, Drugs & Herbal Tea

5. No animals were harmed in the making of it.

4. You’ll learn about new words like foodie, shelving and lolocaust.

3. I’m not Ricky Nixon.

2. You’ll have a much needed laugh with me, at me or a combination of both.

1. It’s better than sitting alone and surfing the web, yes I’m talking to you, it’s time put down the keyboard and come to the party

TOMMY LITTLE – Sex, Drugs & Herbal Tea is on in the Cloak Room, Melbourne Town Hall throughout the Festival


Tommy Dassalo’s 5 Good Reasons to see Spread. 

1. It’s the true story about how my great-grandpa invented Vegemite.

I can guarantee that mine is the only show in the Festival that can claim that… Unless one of my cousins has decided to do a show… Shit… I really should have asked around at the family Christmas party.

2. My drawings are in the show.

I’ve been up until three in the morning every night finishing off drawings for a segment of the show. If you don’t laugh at the drawings, I would ask that you at least chuckle politely at the effort that’s gone into the drawings.

3. I play characters in the show.

Well, just one of them, but still! I’ve never done characters before! Maybe after this I never will again! Come and see me do some ‘acting’ and then be not at all surprised when I tell you that I never got a good role in any of my high school plays.

4. I will be wearing a very nice suit.

Not to brag, but it’s from Arthur Galan. I bought it for a fancy ball last year. Then I realised how dumb it was to spend so much money on something that I only wore for one night. Then I realised if I wear it onstage I can claim it on tax. So you should see my show if you a) like looking at well dressed men or b) are my accountant.

5. My show is at the beautiful Forum theatre.

Obviously in a small room within the Forum theatre, but my dad thinks that I’m in the MAIN, ACTUAL FORUM THEATRE. Hopefully heaps of people come to my show and I get moved into the main theatre and I won’t have to tell my dad that I’ve been lying to him for the last four months. Everybody wins!

[And I am definitely not Ricky Nixon]

Tommy Dassalo’s Spread is on at The Forum Theatre – Ladies’ Lounge