Hannah Gadsby – Donkey

By Elyce Phillips Hannah Gadsby - Donkey

Depression has been a mainstay of Hannah Gadsby’s career for some time now. It has provided her with a lot of brilliant stand-up material. But recently, Gadsby was informed that she did not in fact have depression, but a different, rather surprising disorder. Armed with this new diagnosis, she’s a little kinder to herself these days. It’s a new comedian up on the stage. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the quality of Gadsby’s work – her new show, ‘Donkey’, is hilarious.

In a slightly scattered, meandering way, Gadsby talks about taking her mental health seriously, and tells some brutally honest stories of times where she did not. While we may not experience these problems with the frequency and to the crippling degree that Gadsby has, her stories are intensely relatable. Who among us hasn’t been filled with rage on account of an uppity hipster barista, or eaten from a less-than-ideal receptacle in the absence of clean dishes? Gadsby’s comedy embraces the fact that all of our brains work a little bit differently and none of us are perfect.

Gadsby’s storytelling style is casual and endearing. At the start of the show she let us know that she had taken a holiday from her medication that day, and in doing so had completely forgotten to drink water all day. This led to her downing two bottles right before the show, adding a layer of tension as the hour progressed. Despite her success and the fact that she’s now playing bigger venues, Gadsby remains very down-to-earth. The pace of the show is quite slow and relaxed, but the jokes are quick-witted and sharp.

Donkey is an incredibly uplifting show. Although it deals with some dark material, it ultimately shows that we have the capacity to make ourselves and our lives better.

Hannah Gadsby – Donkey is on at Melbourne Town Hall until April 19

Hannah Gadsby : The Exhibitionist

By Alanta Colley

Barry Award nominee and author of the successful ABC art doco ‘Hannah Gadsby’s Oz’, Hannah Gadsby is back this Comedy Festival with a fresh batch of self-deprecation and tragi-comedy.

In this year’s show Hannah turns her trained art historian’s eye to the hilariously terrible world of the selfie. The theme is simple and effective. Hannah guides us through some of the internet’s most egregious examples of selfies which communicate much more than the composer intended. We learn of the failed cleavage shot; the tense selfie, the pet selfie and the selfie with unfortunate background composition. In a media-soaked world the demonstration of poorly executed self promotion through selfies is truly hilarious. Hannah then takes us on an adventure through the selfies of the ages (painted portraits, both of others and self-portraits) and we start to examine the symbolism of composition. So much has changed with the advent of the Iphone, and yet, in many ways, so little.

Hannah, of course, turns the critical eye on her own selfies, and even more unfortunately the portraits seized by others of Hannah while out and about, capturing many of Hannah’s less flattering sides. We take a tour of Gadsby’s awkward, traumatic and unglamorous childhood and adolescence through the through the artless photography conducted by her folks. Catharsis is achieved as Gadsby airs the skeletons of her youth.

Gadsby is a master of self-deprecation and holding up to the light those parts of her life that the rest of us would do our best to bury. In this show Hannah combines the style of her annual Art Lecture series through examination and analysis of the image, with her more direct stand-up, which usually focuses on exploration of herself. It’s a pleasing fusion.

The mistress of the anti-climax and over-lord of understatement; the furiously clever Hannah Gadsby is always a pleasure to spend an hour with. You’ll not be disappointed with this visual journey to the self.

The Exhibitionist is on at Melb Town Hall – Supper Room until April 20

Squirrels Top 5 Picks of the Festival

Well the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival is winding down this weekend.

We no longer hand out awards, because it is just too difficult for us to see everything, or even see the same shows as each other. Instead most of the Squirrels have picked their Top 5 shows. If they are still running we recommend that you might like to see some of them this weekend. It was really hard to narrow it down to only five.

Of course the festival isn’t over yet and we may see something that changes our list but we wanted to put this up before the festival was over so you could gain from our recommendations.

You’ll notice a few of the names crop up more than once. Some sold out shows are putting on extra performances in the final weekend like the play Choir Girl that had finished its run of three performances, but has added one on Sunday afternoon.

Check out the Melbourne International Comedy Festival website for details and keep festivalling ’til you drop!!

Lisa Clark 

Hannah Gadsby – Happiness is a Bedside Table

Dave Bloustien – The Grand Gignol

The Writers

Luke McGregor – My Soulmate is Out of My League

Sammy J – Potentially


Caitlin Crowley

Luke McGregor – My Soulmate is Out of My League

Hannah Gadsby – Happiness is a Bedside Table

Michael Workman – Ave Loretta

Best Comics Worst Gigs

Dave O’Neil – 33 Things I Should Have Said No To



Cathy Culliver 

Dayne Rathbone – It’s Me Dayne

Luke McGregor – My Soulmate is Out of My League

Simon Keck – Nob Happy Sock

Dr Professor Neal Portenza

Ryan Coffey – Late & Loud


Colin Flaherty 

Fabian Lapham & The Actual Musicans:God Fights the Dinosaurs & 9 Other Stories That Will Awesome You in the Face.

Simon Keck – Nob Happy Sock

Set List

Choir Girl – Sarah Collins

David Quirk – Shaking Hands with danger


Elyce Phillips 

Lessons with Luis – Famoucity!

Lords of Luxury

Sam Simmons – Shitty Trivia

Lawrence Leung’s Part-time Detective Agency

Mike Birbiglia – My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend


Luke Simmons 

Khaled Khalafalla – Devious

Brendon Walsh

Bev Killick – Goes “There”…Again

Daniel Connell – Mr Personality 1988

Trevor Noah – The Racist


2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival finishes on Sunday 21st of April

MICF Award Nominees Announced

There are seven Nomineed shows for The Barry Award this year.

Hannah Gadsby who is doing two shows – her personal show about surviving her teen years and becoming an adult – Happiness is a Bedside Table and her art show which this year is called Nakedly Nudes and is becoming a bit of a tradition and sells out pretty quickly.

John Conway – The New John Conway Tonight Show. An anarchic crazy late night chat show.

Kitty Flanagan, for Hello Kitty Flanagan. A stunning performer who came back to Australia from the UK a couple of years ago for which are all immensely grateful.

Max & Ivan Are Con Artists –  British performers who’ve been getting some good reviews. (I’ve clearly not seen them)

Michael Workman with another magical lyrical story Ave Lorretta.

Rich Hall he’s so fabulous his show doesn’t need a name. He kicked ass at Political Asylum’s Late Night Riot too.

Trevor Noah The Racist. He’s South African and have heard fabulous things about him.


Now for this year’s Nominees for The Golden Gibbo! (Named in honour of the late Melbourne comedian Lynda Gibson it is awarded to “a local, independent show that bucks trends and pursues the artist’s idea more strongly than it pursues any commercial lure”.)

Kate McLennan & Wes Snelling for their Moosehead awarded, site specific work Standard Double. A character  based show set in a hotel room that can only hold a small audience.

Simon Keck – Nob Happy Sock – For his moving and amazing show about depression with the most heart stopping opening of the festival

Slutmonster and Friends (Jessie Ngaio, Lucas Heil & Wes Gardner) – a gorgeously designed, joyful celebration of sex, silliness and puppets.

Tommy Bradson – Sweet Sixteen or the Birthday Party Massacre. Rock Musical satire of suburbia.

The Writers (Bob Franklin, Stephen Curry and Stephen Stagg) – What goes on in the mind of Bob Franklin?


The Best Newcomer nominees were announced on Tuesday April 16th they are….

Damien Power – Monkey’s in Space

Dayne Rathbone – It’s Me Dayne and The New Conway Tonight Show.

Luke McGregor – My Soulmate is Out of My League

and Steen Raskopoulos – Bruce SpringSTEEN LIVE IN CONCERT!

Congrats to all the 2013 Nominees, Winners will be announced next Saturday April 20th (well… actually early Sunday morning)  at the Comedy Festival Club Hifi Bar

Hannah Gadsby – Happiness is a Bedside Table

By Lisa Clark

Well, that’s two years in a row that Hannah Gadsby’s impressed my pants off. I adored this show, it’s up there for my top show of the festival and we’re only half way through.

Hannah’s low key style and reserved demeanour belie a razor sharp and cheeky comic mind. The magic of this show creeps up on you as she gently and expertly takes you by the hand and leads you through a comedy journey about growing up and finding a sense of happiness.

As she points out, there is not a lot of comedy gold to be mined from contentment, so she shares with us some killer stories about embarrassment, losing her childhood innocence and losing her confidence which involve blind bunnies, the cruelty of children and bathing. The highlight that had the audience falling about, howling, was her description of a water slide adventure gone horribly wrong. She painted the sort of farcical scene you might see in a really good film comedy that makes you want to go out and see again.

There’s no wallowing in the low points of her stories, they’re as understated as her dry delivery. They are experiences she acknowledges are common to most people, but sets out so eloquently. That transition from the naïve fearless child through those horrible teen years that strip you of self-worth and if you are lucky bring you back to a more confident, happy but wiser adulthood. She chucks in the odd saucy innuendo along the way which delights the audience and seems to surprise herself.

I was thrilled to share this captivating journey with Hannah but was completely unprepared for the triumphant surprise ending that left me teary and joyful. This is exactly the kind of show I hope for when I go out to the festival. A superb comedian telling hilarious, poignant stories that will hang around long after the show is over.

Hannah Gadsby is performing up in the Supper Room at The Melbourne Town Hall.


Hannah Gadsby – Hannah Wants a Wife

By Cathy Culliver. 

If anyone ever tries to tell you that female comedians aren’t funny, just point them in the direction of Hannah Gadsby and then see what they have to say for themselves.

One of Australia’s brightest comedy stars, Gadsby is the kind of comedian who makes it all look so easy, like anyone could base a show around a 15th century painting and make it utterly hilarious. For the record, they couldn’t – but Gadbsy can.

In her new show, Hannah Wants a Wife, Gadsby talks about her two great loves: art and women. As you might guess from the title, the subject of gay marriage comes up, but as Gadsby says, she only wants to get married so as to make it “harder for someone to leave me”.

The focal point of the show is Gadsby’s favourite painting, Jan van Eyck’s famous Arnolfini Portrait. Gadsby clearly knows her stuff as she takes the audience through the symbols and meanings hidden within the painting, but this is no drab art history lesson. Gadsby’s enthusiasm is infectious, and her own personal interpretations of what the painting means are

Gadsby’s show has plenty to say on marriage, time-travelling lesbians, gender roles and why fat people aren’t built to survive the apocalypse. It’s a clever, thought-provoking show that has the audience frequently in fits of laughter. Just don’t expect a big finish, that’s not her style – Gadsby prefers lot of little peaks throughout the show. Wink wink.

Regularly seen on TV’s In Gordon Street Tonight with Adam Hills, Gadsby has been doing quite well for herself and it’s clear to see why. She’s warm, funny and sharp as a whip, and infinitely likeable. Hannah Wants a Wife is a great offering that’s definitely taking the time to see this festival.

Hannah Wants A Wife is on at the Banquet Room at the Victoria Hotel