The Late Night Board Game Slumber Party

By Lisa Clark

Mike Brown has created a great little digestif to your comedy evening with The Late Night Board Game Slumber Party. The Board game thing is a bit of a misnomer, there is no actual board, it’s basically comedians playing several party games late at night for your entertainment as well as their own.

Neil Sinclair wearing his pyjamas and comedy Tassie Devil slippers is our genial host and does a great job keeping things ticking and the comedians in check if they start getting out of hand. Guest comedians competing in the games the night we were there were Bart Freebairn, Tommy Dassalo and Callaghan. Although the audience is not broken into teams as such, each one comedian has a corresponding audience member who will win a prize if they win which raises the stakes a little and gives them someone barracking for them. Rules are pretty flexible, Neil gives and takes points, often on a whim, or for laughs and they are displayed on a screen for all to see.

The first game is ‘Crappy Birthday’ it seems a bit complicated in explanation but all becomes quickly clear as it is played. It’s a card game where the objects written on the cards such as ‘A bus trip’, ‘ A pet eagle’ or ‘comedy lessons’ are birthday presents awarded to fellow team members anonymously, who then award points for the best and worst picks. The comments and picks were very funny and had Tommy Dassalo shouting ‘This is the Worst Birthday Ever!’ at one point.

‘Who’z Dat?’ was a live version of ‘Guess Who’. Unbeknownst to the guests an audience member had their photo taken when we arrived and that photo is flashed on the screen behind them so all the audience can see who they are guessing. The audience stands and they take turns asking questions like ‘Is the person female?’ and they get their answer when all the men sit down, ’til everyone is sitting apart from the one in the photo. It was simple audience participation and great fun for everyone.

My favourite game of the night was a live version of ‘Jenga’ called ‘Midnight Stax’ with a great big tower of cardboard box sticks to stack. There were other games and there might even be different games on different nights. There will definitely be different guests each night and of course part of the fun will depend on their late night energy and willingness to put as much fun in as possible. We were lucky and had a team of performers who did just that.

I saw this show at Melbourne Fringe Festival last year but Mike has put a lot of work into making it much better and slicker. The only thing I’d add is more things on the screen such as graphics, pictures of the games being played or showing the cards on the screen (but I might be asking too much technologically) and more music cues. Still the dagginess is part of the fun and fun it was. If you are a gamer, there are prizes of games to be won and the venue is at Games Laboratory which is open for game playing (and buying) before and after the show. There are also snacks for sale and that’s always a good thing.

The Late Night Board Game Slumber Party is on at the Games Laboratory until April 12

The Little Dum Dum Club

By Elyce Phillips

One of the great things about the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is that you get the chance to see shows like ‘The Little Dum Dum Club’, where comedians from around the globe are brought together in a more informal way and you get to see them mucking around and enjoying each other’s comedic stylings.

‘The Little Dum Dum Club’ is a live recording of the popular podcast. The setup is much like a talk show. Tommy Dassalo and Karl Chandler do their thing as hosts and then three guests are brought out one at a time – by no means do you have to be a regular listener to the podcast to enjoy the live show.

The boys have had some great guests on in the past and opening night of this year’s live show was no exception. Dave O’Neil was first out. As always, he appeared to be effortlessly funny, telling a story about how he dropped Rove home from a gig when he was just starting out.

US guests Pete Holmes and Eddie Pepitone were great additions. Holmes near took over the proceedings, but it was certainly fine by the audience – the man is hilarious. Indeed, Holmes and O’Neil made for a great pairing – O’Neil’s laidback style was the perfect foil to Holmes’ manic energy.  Pepitone was a little more restrained, having just flown into the country. He did impress, however, with his non-existent improvisation skills, letting the entire audience in on what floor he and Holmes were staying on at the Medina.

Dassalo and Chandler work together brilliantly as hosts, Dassalo asking the questions and Chandler chiming in with perfectly-timed barbs. Of course, the show will be different every week, but if the quality of guests continues to be as good as opening night, ‘The Little Dum Dum Club’ is well worth checking out.

‘The Little Dum Dum Club’ is on in The Powder Room at Melbourne Town Hall, Mondays until April 15. The recording of the April 1 show will be available on Libsyn

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

Tommy Dassalo- Pipsqueak

By Jayden Edwards

Since coming runner up in Triple J’s Raw Comedy competition and debuting at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2006, Tommy Dassalo has pushed himself: dabbling in theatrics, illustrations, voice-overs and complex story telling. But its in his new show that he takes on his biggest challenge yet.

He’s a young, baby faced, squeaky voiced, self proclaimed “Little Buddy” to all and believe it or not, Cancer survivor. Yep, as a young child, Tommy was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and spent much of his childhood in hospital, and it’s this that Tommy ambitiously chose to source material for his new comedy festival show “Pipsqueak”.

Performing to a small Wednesday night crowd at Brisbane’s Powerhouse Theatre minus his desired backing artwork that Officeworks fucked up, Tommy jumps onto stage and dives into some casual stand up and banter, then drops the C bomb… (Cancer, not that other word). The audience is taken aback at first and things are a little uncomfortable but, like ripping off a band-aid, the worst part is over and the show comes into it’s own.

Tommy cleverly structures the show around a few letters he wrote and received during his childhood. It’s these letters that produce some of the more sobering moments of the show, and some great comedic opportunities to riff off little Tommy’s apparent naivety during the whole ordeal (like totally screwing up his Make-a-wish!). Tommy masterfully uses light and shade throughout the show, brilliantly using the darker moments to surprise attack the audience with punchlines.

The heavy subject matter of the show was risky, and to revisit and retell this story mustn’t have been easy for Tommy, let alone to an audience night after night. But with comic timing and story telling skills well above his years, the underlying trauma just adds a whole lot of heart and soul to an hilarious story based show.

Tommy’s style of stand up and mannerisms are not dissimilar to that of Micheal Chamberlin. On stage he’s quick, witty, confident and just so bloody likeable. He really is ‘the little buddy that could’, sure to be a highlight of this years festival, and in years to come.

Reviewed at Brisbane Comedy Festival

Performing at Melbourne International Comedy Festival
at Victoria Hotel – Acacia Room
215 Lt Collins St, Melbourne
29 March – 22 April
Click here for tickets and more infomation

The Little Dum Dum Club – Tommy Dassalo & Karl Chandler

By Jayden Edwards.

The Little Dum Dum Club has risen above a sea of local podcasts to become one of the most downloaded shows out there. It’s nothing fancy, just two blokes having a yarn, plus a special guest. It’s the shows simplicity and gosh darn likeable and self deprecating hosts Tommy Dassalo and Karl Chandler that keeps the listeners and guests coming.

With big success over in the U.S with the Will Ferrell backed “Earwolf Challenge” and the boys about to embark on a run of shows recorded live from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the show just keeps going from strength to strength. Karl was kind enough to let me pick his brains to find out a bit more about the show.

How did this beautiful partnership begin, how did you guys meet?
We met whilst working on Channel 31’s Studio A. We didn’t really know each other through standup, and it didn’t take long until Tommy fell for my irresistible charm, Hollywood looks and pleasant odor.

So, the podcast, how did the whole Sha-bang start?
Well, we seemed to enjoy mucking around backstage at Studio A more than actually doing the on-air stuff. We’d make each other laugh a lot before and after gigs, and thought that it was sometimes a lot funnier than what was happening on stage. And we thought a podcast would finally legitimise all the time wasted, hanging out and acting as stupidly as we possibly could.

So what’s the routine? How do you guys prepare every week? Straight into it?
We have a guest every week, so we’ll think about what we want to talk about with them, whether it’s questions about what they’re up to, or subject matter about our own lives that we think they’ll be able to riff on. We do feel the radio host grind a little.. we’re constantly looking around during the week for things to do that we can talk about on the podcast. Real life chews up a lot of content. I find myself praying that my girlfriend does something stupid.

Has your show changed/Evolved away from your original vision of it?
I don’t think the initial idea of the show has changed much. We always wanted a guest in every week, and to simply be as funny as we possibly can. I didn’t forsee us talking as much about our personal life as we have, and getting so many listeners, to be honest. It is that weird thing where you meet people who listen and they know everything about you. That’s when I remember that I’m not just in a little room, talking to a mate. I’m spewing the minutae of my stupid little life onto the internet for thousands of people to listen to instead of doing something productive.

You’ve managed to grab some pretty high profile guests, like Weird Al Yankoic and Marc Maron, how do you go about getting them.
Sometimes we know people, sometimes we know people who know people. Marc Maron was very kind to come and talk to us, and given that’s really how he’s made his name, maybe he felt like he should come and help out another podcast. Or maybe it was because we told him we were Hamish and Andy.

Last year you guys came 2nd in a reality podcast competition ran by U.S digital comedy site “Earwolf” . That must of been exciting?
It was! Tommy organised our entry to start with, and we really didn’t know what was going on.. but it quickly exposed us to thousands more American listeners, and ended up with us in Los Angeles and New York, performing on bills with Azis Ansari and Sarah Silverman.

So you’ve been going for a bit over a year now, who have been some of your favourite guests?
We loved having Shaun Micallef on the show, given than we love him and we were just really keen to try to get a laugh out of him. And we loved having American comedian Paul F. Tompkins on twice. He’s just a lovely, giving man and extremely funny. I think his episodes might be our best ones.

How about shockers? Any guests that just haven’t been into it?
Not really. Everyone who’s done the show has done us a big favour, and even if someone isn’t that into it, we feel it’s our job to cover for that, and be extra funny to make up for it. Having said that, Bob Hope will never be on the show again.

Do you have a dream guest?
We’ve been trying to get Tony Martin since we started, but we think someone must have told him that Mick Molloy is a Dum Dum Club cast member. Either that, or he has a life.

The live shows! Every Monday night during the festival, what have you got in store?
We have three special guests every show, and we’re currently booking big name, surprise guests now. We’re definitely having famous people that we’ve never had on before, and we’re working on some surprises that aren’t usually part of the normal podcast. We really love performing to a live audience, and we’re looking forward to meeting people that come to the show, even if it’s only out the front after the show, giving refunds.

Click here to grab the show from Itunes
Or Non itunes:
Grab tickets for Little Dum Dum Club: Live Podcast with Karl Chandler and Tommy Dassalo, every Monday night of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival here: