#KWANDA: A Play

By Lisa Clark 

As well as his normal political type stand up show that Tom Ballard is known for, this year Tom has written a satirical play. And it is not at all about The ABC TV show Q&A. No Not At All.

We are the audience in a TV studio on a Monday night, there is an applause sign and some audience members are given questions to ask by a roving man with a mic, so you or someone you know might end up being part of the show. Tom Ballard plays the host Tony Jones, and joining him on the panel are five guests; Michelle Brasier plays millennial, hipster singer Meridith, Ra Chapman is statistician Susan Minh , Geraldine Hickey plays ex extreme right wing party /current independent Leonie, Patrick Livesey the Liberal politician Michael Lawson and Emily Taheny played Labor politician Katie. (I’m not sure who the chap was with the mic – he later pulls out a guitar and supports Michelle Brasier with her hilarious singing. This is one of those group MICF shows that I wish had programmes for the audience).

Tom Ballard, once actually hosted Q&A, so he knows his subject and creates a very credible vibe, but his comedy voice does not always sound authentic coming out of the mouths of some of the performers. It is clear that the performers who get the most laughs have the most comedy experience. The stand out is Geraldine Hickey who is proving to be a brilliant comedic actress, her timing is just awesome and character pitch perfect. She plays it totally straight and yet is able to get huge laughs every time she interjects. I wish somebody would make a movie where Geraldine could be hilarious.

#KWANDA: A Play is, no doubt, a great Catharsis for people who yell at the TV each week while watching Q&A but continue to watch Q&A. I got sick of watching it years ago and this, unfortunately, reminds me of everything I dislike about it, it’s just a bit too close to reality, which admittedly is becoming almost too insane to satirise. Everything that happens in the play has pretty much happened in real life except that this time the host gets to have a tantrum as well. Maybe this play needs more comedy wigs and silliness & less shouting recriminations, to make it more pleasurable to watch than the real thing, a bit more removed from reality, like, dare I say, Mad As Hell.

I can’t help but feel that Tom has written this to let out all his frustrations of the past year and in some ways we can all relate to that! I’m always happy that the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has space for these sorts of bold experiments in comedy theatre. There were audience members around me having a fabulous time and I certainly laughed quite a lot, if mostly at Geraldine Hickey.

#KWANDA: A Play is playing at The Lower Melbourne Town Hall

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/kwanda

Recommended and Previously Reviewed shows at Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Here Comes Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2019! There are more shows than EVER before and we Squirrels are here to help.

We have a list of all the shows we’ve previously reviewed and also a few that we’re excited about or keen to recommend.

The Aspie Hour had a short run at 2018 The Melbourne Writers Festival. It was a fabulous musical comedy in two parts by two brilliantly talented performers who apparently are both on a spectrum. It’s top notch comedy cabaret for those who love Broadway with laughs.

The Fringe Wives Club has welcomed new members and has grown from 3 to 5 performers. Last year we all rushed out to see Glittery Clittery and adored the crowdpleasing feminist cabaret, but we didn’t manage a review, sorry but the simple review is: We all LOVED it. This year we’ll be rushing to see their new show Glittergrass and make sure we review it.

Tom Ballard is being very busy after having his ABC show Tonightly cancelled. He’s jumped into the festival with gusto. As well as his own show, Enough, which is having a full season run, Tom will be hosting one of the political Tuesday nights at the Festival Club and most intriguingly he’s written a satirical political play called KWANDA. It’s about a Monday night political panel show but it’s not about QandA at all. No. Of course not.

Demi Lardner and Tom Walker both have solo shows again this year, but they have also teamed up to perform We Mustn’t and it’s bound to be weird, wonderful and hilarious.

Don’t forget to check out the alternate guide to the Festival:
The Safety House Guide.
Says creator and stand up comedian Lisa-Skye:
The Safety House Guide is a free magazine featuring nearly 100 of the best acts of the fest. Safe, but never tame, it’s not about censorship, it’s about empowering audiences to make the right decisions about the shows for them. It gives more info about stuff like content, access and the level of audience participation. It also has fun stuff like letters from comedians to their potential audience, info on workshops and quizzes. Grab your free copy around town, or at the launch!

Sam Simmons is a late entry to MICF with his new show 26 Things You’ve Been Doing Wrong with Sam Simmons suddenly be added to the Festival program.

On the down side some performers have already cancelled….But NOT……Tom Cashman XYZ, we read that he had but he has NOT cancelled. Go see him!

Shows that have been Cancelled:

Ronny Chieng has had to bow out due to being cast in a sitcom in pilot season in the US. We wish him all the success, but worry he may be too successful to perform here again… He has rescheduled his Australian shows for July.

Benny Darsow Ad Lib

Charlie Pickering Us & Them

The Elvis Dead by Rob Kemp,

Let’s Get Wild

One Man Breaking Bad by Miles Allen

Thomas McMahon and Nick Quon Total Business Solution

Blanc (That weird fashion circussy thing at Chadstone)

And NOW, Finally…..

Previously Reviewed shows – and links to our reviews:

Annie Louey – Before I Forget

Melbourne Fringe 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13164

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/annie-louey-before-i-forget

Barnie Juancan – Tap Head

Melbourne Fringe 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13221

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/tap-head

Bunk Puppets – Stark and Dormy

Melbourne Fringe 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13151

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/stark-and-dormy

Clare Cavanagh – Literally

Melbourne Fringe: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13192

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/clare-cavanagh-literally

Chloe Black – Transistor Sister

Melbourne Fringe 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13202

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/transistor-sister

Felicity Ward – Busting a Nut

Edinburgh Fringe 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=12927

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/busting-a-nut

Faulty Towers The Dining Experience

Edinburgh Fringe 2008: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=1633

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/faulty-towers-the-dining-experience

The Breast of The Fest

MICF 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=12624

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/the-breast-of-the-fest

The Dizzy Biz – The 2007 Wonthaggi Blue Light Disco

Melbourne Fringe 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13180

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/the-2007-wonthaggi-blue-light-disco

Wool! A History of Australia’s Wool Industry: The Musical by Kit Richards

Melbourne Fringe 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13145

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/wool-a-history-of-australia-s-wool-industry-the-musical

Festive Season Comedy in Melbourne

Comedy for Christmas! Or Festivus! Or celebrating surviving 2018!

What a great idea for a festive get together with your comedy loving buddies.

Every year the comedy venues of Melbourne put on their Christmas shows and there are also quite a few one-off Christmas themed special shows happening. If you are not in Melbourne, check out the gig guides, some of these performers are touring and there should be similar nights happening in comedy clubs near you.

Here is the Squirrel Comedy annual End of Year – Christmas Gig list in roughly date order – of the local ones we could find out about… 

MON 26 Nov – SUN 2 Dec
A Very Kransky Christmas 

At Alex Theatre –  135 Fitzroy St, St Kilda at 7.30 pm

The Kransky Sisters are on a Christmas Tour of Australia and will grace Melbourne with their hilarious Gothic musical-comedy delights for three nights. (They are also touring Sydney and Perth)

Prices – Adult: $49.90 Conc: $44.90

Bookings: https://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=KRANSKY18

Sat 1 Dec
The Wheeler Centre Presents: Show of the Year

At The Athenaeum Theatre at 7pm

Host Casey ‘Tasty’ Bennetto And A Cast Of Writers, Comedians And Musicians, Including Mama Alto, Steph Tisdell, Shaun Micallef, Jan Fran, Michele Lee, Candy Bowers, WāNi Le Frère, Rebecca Shaw, Laura Jean Mckay And Alan Duffy.

https://www.wheelercentre.com/events/the-show-of-the-year-2018

Sat Dec 1 – 9.30pm
Jackie Lime’s Year End Rear End  

At The Improv Conspiracy Theatre

L1 / 19 Meyers Place, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3000

The one and only Jackie Lime is back for his final appearance of 2018. Join Jackie, Indiana, Bitch Boy and a whole slew of special guests to celebrate a massive year with the Talkie Time family in an improvised kind of way.

Price $5 at the Door or $5.50 online to guarantee a seat.

Booking: https://www.improvconspiracy.com/shows/unit/2768/buy-tickets

Dec 6 – 7 – 9.30pm
The Chaser & The Shovel Presents: The War On 2018

At The Village Roadshow Theatrette – 179 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, Vic 3000

Join Charles Firth (The Chaser), James Schloeffel (The Shovel), Mark Humphries (Channel 10’s Pointless) And Special Guests To Be Announced As They Dissect Everything From The Leadership Crisis To The Banking Royal Commission.  (Also touring Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane)

Price: $34 – $104.04

Bookings: https://events.ticketbooth.com.au/event/the-war-on-2018-melbourneHzchcPM

Thurs 8 Dec at 7pm
Merry Salt-Mas! One Hour Of Improvised Christmas

At the Improve Conspiracy Theatre at 7pm

Help them ease into the silly season by suggesting something Christmassy to spring them into an hour of improvised comedy. The Heralayan Salt Lamps’ signature show involves creating a completely improvised show with 8 people on stage at once.

Price: $10

https://www.facebook.com/events/291125438188379/

Tues 11 Dec at 8pm
Catfish Comedy Christmas

At The Catfish upstairs, Fitzroy

Standup Comedy with Daniel Connell, Danielle Walker and Brett Blake  and more great acts To Be Confirmed

Doors open 7:30, $12 entry and don’t forget to try the Philly Cheesesteaks

Sat 15 Dec at 3pm
Don’t You Know Who I Am? 2018 XMAS SHOW

At The Catfish upstairs, Fitzroy

30 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy VIC 3056

Live podcast recording. The last live show of the year. An all-star cast raising money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation all hosted by Josh Earl from 3:00 PM

Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=446103

Mon 17 Dec at 8.30pm
Local Laughs XMAS SHOW

At The Local Taphouse 184 Carlisle St. St Kilda East

– MC Andrew McClelland, Cal Wilson, Tom Ballard, Sami Shah, Ethan Cavanagh, plus a host of special Christmassy guests.

Price: $25/20

Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=175052&

17, 19, 20, 21, 22 Dec at 7pm
A Christmas Tale a Girls Act Good Production 

At The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne

The all female Verbatim Theatre play that takes a comedic and heartfelt look at the Aussie festivities and celebrates how we can come together to remember the magic of Christmas. Yes! Verbatim Theatre! That is Funny! And about Christmas!

Bookings: https://thebutterflyclub.com/show/a-christmas-tale-2018

10, 12, 13, 14 & 15th Dec at 7pm
’Tis the Season…

At The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne a\

Winner of the prestigious Julie Michael Cabaret Award, ’Tis the Season is performed by Maverick Newman and Stacey Thomsett. It’s a comedy about divorce, dysfunction, love and Christmas!

Cost: $25-34

Bookings : https://thebutterflyclub.com/show/tis-the-season

Dec 20, 21, 22 at 8pm
A Swingin’ Bella Christmas!

At The Melba Spiegeltent this year, the legendary palace of festivity and frivolity adjoining Circus Oz /Melbourne Polytechnic / Collingwood TAFE / Collingwood Tech (depending on your era)!

– a finger-snappin’, toe-tappin’ romp through traditional carols, modern favourites and specially-written original songs of the season, executed with airy panache by a horn-laden bevy of brilliant performers known throughout the civilised world as The Bella All-Stars!

Out front, MCs Casey Bennetto and Geraldine Quinn will be joined by special guests:
Selina Jenkins – Thur 20th December
Nina Ferro & Tripod – Fri 21st December
Mike McLeish – Sat 22nd December

Limited tickets remaining
Bookings: https://www.bellaunion.com.au/

Sat 22 Dec at 8pm
Basement Comedy Club – Special Xmas Show!

European Bier Café, 120 Exhibition St Melbourne

There will be fantastic Comedians on the bill as ever….TBA

Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=263827&

Sun 23 Dec at 8pm
The Little Dum Dum Club Orphans Christmas Live Podcast

Downstairs at Basement Comedy Club,

European Bier Cafe, 120 Exhibition St, Melbourne CBD

Come and hang out with The Dum Dums: Karl Chandler and Tommy Dassalo and heaps of their comedian friends. + a little bonus Christmas gift with every ticket sold!

Bookings: http://littledumdumclub.com/?events=orphans-christmas-december-23-8pm

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

https://thebutterflyclub.com/show/a-very-judy-christmas

4  Sun – Political Asylum – The Brunswick Green

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

http://blog.politicalasylum.com.au/2016/11/first-show-of-new-trump-tatorship.html

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…

http://www.wheelercentre.com/events/the-show-of-the-year-2016

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

http://3pod.com.au/site/christmas-turkeys/

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

http://3pod.com.au/site/christmas-turkeys/

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

http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=SAMMRAND16&v=ATT

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

http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=SAMMRAND16&v=ATT

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

http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=SAMMRAND16&v=ATT

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

https://www.bellaunion.com.au/event/1114/

22 Thur – Swingin’ Bella Christmas – Bella Union Bar

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

https://www.bellaunion.com.au/event/1114/

23 Fri – Swingin’ Bella Christmas – Bella Union Bar

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

https://www.bellaunion.com.au/event/1114/

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

Tommy Dassalo and Karl Chandler and their mates.

https://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=241442&hs=littledumdumclub.com

 

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

BARRY AWARD

Winner: Zoe Coombs-Marr – Trigger Warning

Nominees:
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

BEST NEWCOMER

Winner: Tom Walker – Beep Boop

Nominees:
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

Nominees:
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

DIRECTOR’S CHOICE :

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

and

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

PREVIOUSLY WON MICF AWARDS Zanzoop pic

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