Dave Warneke Dates The Entire Audience

By Lisa Clark Dave Warneke Dates The Entire Audience

Having enjoyed Dave Warneke’s work in various group shows, most recently as host of the cute late night Facty Fact celebrity quiz show, I was curious to see Dave’s solo work. Well my curiosity is still not quite sated but I enjoyed Dave Warneke Dates The Entire Audience none the less.

Dave has a comedy side kick – Sam Jenkins who plays Warneke’s drunken manager cum emergency tech-hand and wingman who is the 2nd banana to Dave’s very Straight-Man. He steers the show wildly off course before it has properly begun and was in danger of dominating the show, particularly when Warneke’s main job in the beginning appears to be housekeeping. Though the housekeeping is fairly important in the rather elaborate concept.

This is a production with a very millennial sensibility, it’s got that audience participation thing happening that EVERYONE is doing this festival but is one of the best and clever incarnations I’ve seen and it is pleasingly very optional. It is a sort of Choose Your Own Adventure Show with a specially designed computer program (its surprisingly mature designer was in the audience with us) that takes the audience, via their smart phones, through a set of screens where they can tick boxes or write out suggestions that display on a large projector screen in the form of a pie chart or list. You can see the pie chart change before your eyes as everyone chooses to tick their preferred box which really adds a frisson of excitement to the room.

This adventure decides the show’s direction and reflects the conceit that we are all on a date with Dave.  First up, we must choose a name so that Dave can address us as something more intimate than Audience. The purpose of having Sam Jenkins on stage steering the laptop becomes apparent as he moderates the answers putting the best ones on screen and perhaps weeding out potential lawsuits. Some of them are pretty filthy but we settle on naming ourselves Audrey. The multiple-choice questions we answer include picking the movie we will see on our date (Titanic) the Restaurant (Thai-tanic a real restaurant with hilariously dreadful on-line reviews that are read out after we choose it) and a venue for a second date.

The beauty of this is that every show will be a little different, though occasionally we are given an illusion of choice or have it, sort-of, made for us. I can’t imagine an audience NOT choosing to play the game option ‘Is it Porn’ and Dave jokingly pretty much confirms this. In amongst all this game playing Dave does crack out some actual jokes, tell some conventionally funny tales, shares some very silly pre-recorded segments and he and Sam keep things rolling along nicely. The audience, sorry Audrey, also brings a lot of the laughs to the performance and overall whether you are playing along or not this date proves to be a whole heap of fun

Dates can be unpredictable and occasionally hazardous, you have to make yourself vulnerable and Dave has definitely given himself a risky enterprise with this production. Comedians often joke about how their work reflects a desperate need to be loved by their audience and here every night Dave is asking to be loved and risking rejection by letting us decide if we would date him again. Luckily Audrey was pretty into him and unsurprisingly enjoyed the date.

Dave Warneke clearly has ambitions as a funny host rather than standard solo stand up comedian and he certainly has great hosting skills but it would be good to see more work put into the comedic writing rather than funny stunts which are often a great way to fill a festival show hour and seem to be a feature of most of his work. Still this is an ambitious, audacious and entertaining hour that would be a great show to take your single friends to. You never know where things might lead.

Dave Warneke Dates The Entire Audience at The Tuxedo Cat until April 19th (Not Wednesdays)


Squirrel Comedy’s Recommended and Previously Reviewed Shows at Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2015

By Lisa Clark

Well the Squirrels are getting ruffled up and ready for autumn nut collecting. And comedy reviewing. There are soooo many shows on offer at the 2015 Melbourne International comedy Festival and it can be very difficult for us to see everything we want to see, let alone review everything we want to review. For those readers who are planning their Festival schedules and are in need of help, we have some good news: Squirrel Comedy has previously reviewed thirty of this year’s shows and we have laid out links to all those reviews below.


First Up here are some brilliant shows I previously saw & loved but Squirrel Comedy hasn’t reviewed.

I recommend you see:Claire Hooper School Camp

Claire Hooper’s School Camp

Claire takes us back to school days in a raw & truthful way where nostalgia takes some surprising and dark turns that make this show very special.


Celia Pacquola – Let Me Know How It All Works Out.

Celia’s show about fortune telling and her international lifestyle was another of Celia’s crowd-pleasing corkers.
Celia Pac Let me Know

Barry Nominated last year as word got around it was selling out like hotcakes, so if you weren’t lucky enough to see this gorgeous show better book now.


Denise Scott – Mother Bare

Denise deservedly won the Barry Award last year for her droll and often riotous reflections on motherhood and other aspects of her comedic life.Denise Scott Mother Bare pic

She’s only doing four shows this year at the fan friendly time of 4.30 Sundays, so get your tickets early.



And now for shows that we have previously reviewed.

Particular highlights this year that I can also recommend include:

Are You Afraid of the Dark by Watson Watson Afraid of the Dark

Watson’s funny and occasionally genuinely scary show is not for those with a nervous disposition or heart condition but my goodness it is a monstrous load of fun. It can only fit smallish audiences into the space at the Old Melbourne Gaol so book early, I hear the first week is booking out fast. Not surprising as this show won Best Comedy at the Melbourne Fringe Festival and considering it is site specific it is one you will have to come to Melbourne to see.


Bart Freebairn Ultra Power LordBart Freebairn pic

Bart is a comedian at the top of his game just waiting to be discovered by the mainstream. I get the joyful shivers when I see a stand up comedian reach a point where they can host a room and own it keeping everyone rolling with laughter non stop. Bart is there and I hope everyone loves Ultra Power Lord as much as I did at Fringe last year.


Bucket’s List by Sarah Collins starring Justin Kennedybuckets list

Buckets List is a whimsical, beautiful and of course very funny tale with a star turn by the amazing Justin Kennedy (who we just don’t see enough of on the circuit any more – I miss him, but if this is the sort of work he’s producing then I’ll forgive his absence). Justin is blessed with the ability to make an audience laugh without saying a word and when I see independent theatre this good I think our major theatre companies should have a good hard look at themselves.


Damian Callinan – The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy CallinanPaddy Callinan

A perfect show for this anniversary of ANZAC it’s another comedy character tour de force by Damian where truth and tall tales blur with loads of laughs and a streak of darkness. The true spirit of the ANZAC is thoroughly celebrated.


We can’t wait to discover new exciting comedy at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival  but meanwhile

Here’s the full list with links of those we reviewed earlier:

The 13–Storey Treehouse


Anthony Jeannot is Unaccept-a-bubble


Bart Freebairn: Ultra Power Lord


Clem Bastow – Escape From LA


Damian Callinan – The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy Callinan


Dr Brown – Befrdfgth


Dylan Cole – The Moon in Me


Fancy Boy Variety Show


Faulty Towers – The Dining Experience


Geraldine Hickey – Listen Out For The Castanets


I Love Green Guide Letters Live


Justin Kennedy – Bucket’s List


Late Night Letters and Numbers


Lee Naimo – Finding Lee


Lisa-Skye’s Lovely Tea Party


The Little Dum Dum Club Live


Luke McGregor – I Worry That I Worry Too Much


Mark Butler – Grammar don’t matter on a first date


Political Asylum – Late Night Riot


Sam Rankin – Wake Up, Sheeple! (2.0)


The Sexy Detectives – Mono Logs


The Sound of Nazis


The Umbilical Brothers – KiDSHoW – Not Suitable for Children


Stuart Daulman is an Absolute Credit


Stew Walker – A Hard Day’s Night of Beatles Parodies


Gary Portenza: Apologies in Advance


Set List


Watson – Who’s Afraid of the Dark


World Record Show with Andy Matthews, Adam Knox and Dave Warneke


Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave



Andy & Nellie’s Secret Second Family Variety Show

By Colin Flaherty

A Biscuit Heiress and a Quoits Champion find their marriage on the rocks. Rather than attending counselling, they slug it out at The Concerned Billionaire’s Club AGM where the Champs’ bastard children perform in an attempt to change his wifes’ mind not to leave him. The result is the most unlikely and creative framework for a variety show imaginable.

Some beautifully insane characters were created to inhabit this elaborate world that was so much more than just linking material for some guest performers. You often found yourself patiently sitting through an act just to get back to the main story. Nellie White portrayed the unemotional, power crazed Heiress with wonderful detached pomposity while Andy Matthews played the neutered patriarch who relayed the majority of the plot exposition through lengthy monologue. A particular stand out was Dave Warneke as the slightly backwards son of the couple. He threw himself into the role wholeheartedly and nothing was too demeaning for a joke, no matter how minor the pay off, which had everyone waiting to see what he would do the next time he stepped on stage.

Through all the silliness, bad puns and exaggerated melodrama there was some thinly veiled social satire at work here but nothing too heavy to take away from the lightness of the show. The staging of the show was brilliantly done in a slightly homemade yet elaborate fashion. We saw some wonderfully oversized props, a stoic feathered friend and a feat of stage engineering to wrap up a seemingly minor plot point. We were fully immersed in this strange yet familiar world from the get go.

The line up of Illegitimate Children (ie. Guest performers) changes every night. On the night I attended the ‘Children’ were Stuart Daulman, Gillian Cosgriff and Oliver Clark. If there was one niggling shortfall it was that these guests weren’t fully integrated into the universe created by the core cast. They made a passing reference to being Andy’s offspring but essentially just did their usual act. This was probably the only brief given to them about being on this variety show but an act tailored to the overall show would have been a nice touch.

As a variety show this is a great hour of entertainment. Add in these crazy characters and their story arc and this show is elevated to a must see event.

Andy & Nellie’s Secret Second Family Variety Show is on at The Tuxedo Cat at 7:15pm until September 28.


World Record Show

By Noel Kelso

If you were one of those kids who always looked forward to getting the newest Guinness Book of World Records, ignoring the feats of strength or athleticism and just poring over the records for most boiled eggs fit in the mouth or most drawings of a cock and balls drawn on one forehead, then this really is the show for you.

Full of silly, stupid and downright ridiculous stunts World Record Show at the Melbourne Town Hall is an hour of awesome hilarity and shambolic daring from start to finish.

Hosts Andy Matthews, Adam Knox and Dave Warneke guide the thronging audience through a series of mad, bad and dangerous to know challenges which rope in some of their fellow comedians from other show.

First off the rank are Adam and Dave whose bitter rivalry is legend and are challenged to find the Most Adorable Baby Photo of themselves. Adam cheats and is disqualified.

The next challenge involves the evening’s first guests – Jared Jekyll and Cameron James – who disappear backstage to see who can place the most temporary tattoos on their body. They will return later.

The second guest is Jon Conway whose challenge – Most People Broken-up With In One Minute – involves members of the audience throwing tiny glasses of water in his face as he tells each one separately that he no longer loves them.

There are five more ludicrous challenges – including a race to the door wearing packets of two-minute noodles as shoes – before the next guest, Rose Callaghan, is brought on to attempt to create the World’s Best Hand Shield From Cheese Slices In One Minute. Adam Knox wins this round, but precisely what a hand shield is and why it needs to be made from cheese slices is still a mystery.

Incidentally – cheese slices make excellent Frisbee alternatives.

This is a silly, hilarious show with originality and brimming with ideas performed by three fabulous comedians and their mates. If you fancy some comedy which will most definitely not tax the mind and is utterly hilarious, then this is the show for you.

World Record Show is on at Melb Town Hall – Backstage Room until April 14

5 Good Reasons to see 10:45pm World Record Show.


Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall and Pat Burtscher will compete to see who can snorkel in a fish tank the longest, whilst completing puzzle challenges.

Greg Larsen will try and set the record for the ‘fastest time to get an erection and play Baker Street on saxophone.’

We’re going to break records with the audience:
– Most people eating a single Le Snak biscuit.
– Most people pretending to fate at once.
– Most people saying ‘Beat Cancer’ in Chinese (all real records).

We’re going to lock comedian and local lover Jonathan Schuster in a sound proof booth with a stranger for an hour and get to them to complete a series of scientific experiments to see if we can break the record for ‘Fastest time for Jonathan Schuster to fall in love.’

Hosts Adam Knox and Dave Warneke will compete to break ‘The world’s most terrifying message left on their own mother’s voice mail…’

(We’re also going to try a bunch of real records including the LONGEST EVER VARIETY SHOW on Saturday October 5th from 10am at Tuxedo Cat).

The most chaotic and unpredictable comedy show of the Fringe is on at Tuxedo Cat on Friday and Saturday nights at 10:45pm from September 20 – October 5.


White Coat Comedy

By Colin Flaherty

Kicking off last month, White Coat Comedy is a monthly room that encourages comedians to stretch their wings and try something new – experimentation  being the order of the day. Dave Warneke, the booker and a comic only too happy to fiddle with the stand up form, answers some questions about this new venture:

What prompted you to start the room? Do you have any accomplices?

I’d wanted to set up something for a while and then I did some gigs at Club Voltaire in North Melbourne and thought it was the perfect little space.

I must give some credit to the Tuxedo Cat for inspiring me to set up this kind of night though. The Tuxedo Cat is a venue hub that sets up and hosts multiple shows (many of them alternative) for things like Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne Comedy Festivals. I was lucky enough to perform my comedy festival show with them in April. On a Saturday nights during the Comedy Festival they run a late night show and invite performers from The Cat and across the festival to come and perform something new, or something that they’ve always wanted to do. I found it to be such an exciting unpredictable thing that I thought ‘Melbourne needs a room like this!’

I run the room with fellow up and coming comedian Kieran Bullock. He does the tech stuff on the night and designs the rather flashy posters, and I book most of the acts.

What do you think it is about other Melbourne rooms that discourage performers from taking risks?

Don’t get me wrong the Melbourne comedy scene is awesome! There’s stacks of comedians and heaps of rooms running right now and it’s great. There’s different kinds of rooms where some things will go down well and others not so much.

I wanted to set up a risk free room where both the audience and performers know that they’re in for an unpredictable night, but also they might see something you can’t see else where. There’s places some performers feel if they don’t smash it they’ll never get a gig there again. But if we all did our ‘5 minutes of gold’ every time then we’d never get new material. New ideas, new styles and new material have got to come from somewhere. I hope White Coat is a perfect place for that.

I imagine that this room is popular with comedians and hardcore comedy nerds. Did you have particular audience in mind?

The first night a lot of comedians came down and checked it all out and gave me some great feedback about what was going on. I just wanted an audience that loves comedy and is ready to go on a journey with the performer and see what whacky or new stuff they come up with.

Do performers come to you with their ideas before getting a spot? Or do you simply give them free rein?

I trust the performers and let them do whatever they want to do. I just ask if they need any props or the projector and screen.

Simon Keck who’s on Sunday night told me he was coming up with ‘something special’ as he winked at me and climbed into a taxi a couple of weeks ago. I like to be as unprepared as the audience as to what’s gonna happen.

What is your policy with newbie performers?

Newbie performers are very welcome, I mean there’s nothing more unpredictable and newer than that. However because we only run once a month the spots do fill up quickly.

My suggestion to Newbies would be to check out Sunday Shorts which is the comedy heavy variety night that runs at Club Voltaire every Sunday the White Coat Comedy isn’t on. It often has spots available for newbies and is great for new performers. My White Coat partner in crime Kieran Bullock is in charge of booking that.

Did opening night unearth many inspired moments?

Opening night was great fun. I invited some of my favourite comedians to come down and launch it and they did not disappoint.
Adam Knox opened the night by asking the audience to yell out punch lines to jokes that throughout the night he wrote the preceding joke to and performed at the end.
Simon Taylor improvised a story as prompted by the audience.
Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall read out a hilarious list of things that he is thankful for.
And I demo’d a live comedy game called ‘Is It Porn?’ a video of which can be seen here. On September the 12th I am launching a live comedy game show called ‘The Facty Fact Gameshow’ with several comedic guests at The Workers Club in Fitzroy and White Coat was a great place to unveil such a game.

White Coat Comedy happens on the last Sunday of every month at Club Voltaire (fourteen Raglan Street North Melbourne) with doors opening at 7pm.

The big second show is this Sunday (29th July) featuring Jonathan Schuster, Ryan Coffey, Pete Sharkey, Simon Keck, Beau Stegmann, Dave Warneke, Kieran Bullock, David Fairclough, Katie Castles and Alan Driscoll.

This is the Facebook page for the night http://www.facebook.com/WhiteCoatComedy/timeline