By Elyce Phillips
If you keep up with your comedy news, you’ll know that there’s been a change to the Axis of Awesome (Jordan Raskopoulos, Lee Naimo, and Benny Davis) line-up recently. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that this trio is thoroughly talented. Won’t Never Not Stop Giving Up is musical comedy that’s fun and silly, but packs a punch.
The Axis of Awesome cleverly address any questions the audience may have about Raskopoulos’ gender transition in a hilarious opening song. Naimo also demonstrates how not to behave in a running gag where he is painfully over-supportive of his bandmate. Aside from that, things largely remain the same. There’s absurd songs, pitch-perfect parodies, and the sold-out crowd loved every minute of it.
Won’t Never Not Stop Giving Up delivers the laughs with new songs and a selection of old favourites like ‘Birdplane’, ‘4 Chords’ and ‘Ode to KFC’. Jackie Change, who some may remember from Naimo’s solo show Definitely Not A Trap, makes an appearance with the gloriously silly tune ‘Square of Ice’. The new material is strong – a collection of Will Smith raps were absolutely wonderful, and a bizarre song about an octopus left me still giggling about it the next day.
Raskopoulos, Naimo and Davis have an amazing comedic chemistry on stage, each bringing their own unique energy to the performance. You can see that they’re having a great time, and still have the ability to crack each other up after 10 years of performing together.
The Axis of Awesome may have more than 200,000,000 views on YouTube, but they truly are a band that needs to be experienced live. Get in quick – their MICF run is a short one and if opening night was anything to go by, tickets are going to disappear quickly.
The Axis of Awesome – Won’t Never Not Stop Giving Up is on at Max Watt’s until April 10
By Lisa Clark
You might know Lee Naimo better as the guy with the guitar in the widely and wildly popular rock comedy act Axis of Awesome, he is also well known in impro circles as a National Theatre Sports Champion and was involved in the festival show Scrabble Unscripted. Here he is alone in what appears to be his first solo show, but his many years of experience are evident in a stunning and hilarious show.
It was a little slow to get going with Lee explaining that he was not long off the plane from the UK which is fairly obvious in his exhausted looking eyes and the first couple of skits not going so well, but pay attention because they pay off as the show goes along.
Lee has created some delightful sketches around interesting characters that have had great names bestowed upon them. The third sketch in and I was nearly on the floor in tears about Mr Vampire Man who runs a very silly theatre restaurant. We could not explain what tickled us but clearly it was Lee’s comedic skills.
Further highlights included a sexy bassoonist, a nasty foam puppet and The Pied Piper of Hamlyn. There is some gentle fun poking at Live Role Playing and a special guest appearance by The Sorting Hat. He has a good running gag no doubt inspired by his recent travels and proves that he knows a bit about creating magic.
Be prepared to join in with the fun as Lee incorporates an almost dangerous level of audience participation and relies upon our good will for many of his sketches to work. Luckily his years of impro pay off in his ease with audience interaction and it’s all a lot of fun.
Lee proves a widely skilled performer, this show obviously allows him to show off what he is capable of away from his role in The Axis of Awesome. The sketches feel pretty random yet ultimately you realise it is expertly and beautifully constructed with an ending that made the audience gasp.
Finding Lee is on at The Imperial Hotel until Oct 5
Jason Chatfield- Stand Up Comic Strip Live.
1. You won’t see anything like this in any other pub. Ever.
2. If you like drawing, animation, cartoons or drawing animated cartoons, you’re going to LOVE this show.
3. I do funny stories and me little skits that I’ve been working on for the last 5 years.
4. Please. I need this.
5. This is my first solo show. Then I’m moving overseas. It’s something of a farewell show.
The Axis of Awesome- Cry Yourself a River
1. We didn’t start the fire
2. It was always burning Since the world’s been turning
3. We didn’t start the fire
4. We didn’t light it
5. We tried to fight it
1. Audience participation in a show titled “So You’ve Decided To Host An Orgy“
2. A five foot long rubber tentacle
3. Fabulous audience giveaways!
4. A lot of our sets are improvisational, so you will never see the exact same show twice
5. We’re actually presenting three different shows but are too cheap to pay for separate listings, so we will have a fantastic variety between stand up, theatrical and vaudeville, depending which week you come see us (or a three show pass is available)
By David Slattery.
Entering the Hi-Fi in Melbourne never fails to put one in the mood for a proper rock gig. And I am glad to say no one was disappointed with the rock gig we were treated to.
With the appropriate amount of imaginary pyrotechnics introducing the show, the three performers made their entrance onto the stage with an obligatory epic introduction song. With their title, one would expect nothing less. The humour from this show mostly comes from making fun of themselves, each other and pop culture in general. Some of their onstage griping at each other can become a little repetitive, mostly they just point out their peers’ most obvious imperfections in different ways (Benny is short, Lee is stupid, etc), but overall it did well to fill the gaps between each song to make a flowing, laugh-packed show.
Within their set you will find all of the different types of rock n roll songs you would expect from any other rock band. There’s the straightforward rock song “Floppy Guy”, the heartfelt love song “The Language of Love” and of course the hit single that you just KNOW they’re going to finish with, “Four Chords”. There was plenty of new material, new jackets and topical humour in the banter between songs.
While they definitely do well in keeping the laughs fresh throughout each song, there were one or two songs where the punchline would come thirty seconds in, and anything said or sung beyond that point just repeated the original joke. When the song itself went for up to four minutes, this left a lot of wasted time without any real humour. I was obviously not the only one thinking this, as the audience’s laughs were certainly fewer and less enthusiastic at these points. That being said, on the whole this was not a major flaw; the vast majority of the songs kept themselves fresh throughout.
A great show, definitely worthy of a sold-out status. If you can get there, do so.
The Axis of Awesome – World Tour 2006 is on at The Hi-Fi every night until April 22nd