5 good reasons to see Des Bishop’s Grey Matters

1. The last 15 minutes of my shell is like the best sex therapy you will ever experience. Many previously difficult moments in the bedroom will no longer be a problem after you see the show.

2. If you are like me and you don’t have kids you will love my observations on what it’s like watching your friends all have them. If you are like my friends and you have kids you will absolutely love listening to what you look like to the single side of the world.

3. If you have a thing for Irish people then my show will be one of the best places to meet an Irish person in the whole of Melbourne. If you Snapchat me @desbuffer in advance of the show I might even announce on stage that a lovely Australian has a thing for Irish people man or a woman I am happy to be the matchmaker.

4. I have recently learned how to dance and there is no Way to guarantee the show won’t turn into a disco party at the end.

5. For the lads I have some great suit choices that might inspire some fashion ideas and for the ladies I look great in a suit!

Des Bishop’s Grey Matters is on at The Greek Centre

For Information and tickets go to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival website

Des Bishop : Made in China

By Lisa Clark

Des Bishop is a convivial comedian with an enthusiastic style who was born in Queens, New York and immigrated with his family to Ireland when he was sixteen. His comedy has always tended to be observational humour about being the outsider. He’s obviously run out of things to observe in Ireland and spent time living in China to see what he can observe there.

Actually the real reason he went to China was a new idea for an Irish reality TV show. Des has made a string of them; living on minimum wage (The Des Bishop Experience), mentoring would-be comedians living in poverty (Joy in the Hood), learning enough Irish to do a comedy routine in the Irish language (In The Name of the Fada). This one was spending a year in China to learn enough Chinese for a fifteen minute comedy routine in Mandarin. He ended up loving China and says he’d like to show us a different more positive side of China to the one usually portrayed in the media.

He used lots of pictures and some video that are obviously destined for the TV show. It made for interesting watching while we were being seated and waited for the show to start. He opened with some Chinese hip hop that set the scene for a high energy show. One of the main highlights was teaching us the four tones of the Chinese language and how they can completely change the meaning of a word spelt exactly the same way. It made his name into a rude word.

A lot of Des’ humour stemmed from cultural differences he discovered. I noticed he described the Chinese people he met as direct and blunt which made me think that it was less surprising that a New Yorker from Queens would fit in. His style is pretty direct too and often crude and he found he had curtail his profanities while in China. The high point of the show was a video of some musicians as enthusiastic and exuberant about their work as Des.

It was a straight forward, skilfully presented show and tell with laughs by an experienced entertainer. Comedians are always looking for new ideas and ways of creating comedy material. Made in China may have been part of his preparation for writing his television show or another way of mining work from it, it was hard to tell, but it was an entertaining hour for the audience nonetheless.

Made in China is on at Victoria Hotel until April 20


Des Bishop Made in China

1) it’s one of those funny but also really interesting shows!

2) you can find out how many people have ridiculous Chinese characters as tattoos.

3) I talk really fast so you get great value for money in an hour. Plus I will even include a free lesson on basic mandarin if you apply now.

4) we can all dance to Jump Around in Chinese.

5) if you are a single lady I intend to be married by the end of the festival so if that’s your thing lets discuss our future. (My adopted Chinese family are giving me a lot of pressure) “No more stand one night for you!”

Des Bishop Made in China is on at The Victoria Hotel


The Horne Section

By Lisa Clark.

Having enjoyed The Horne Section last year, I looked forward to this must see event of the festival with great anticipation. Alex Horn has gathered some great mates around him who happen to be very talented jazz musicians for a late night, big old fashioned, British musical comedy knees up. It is very much of the old music hall tradition and every performance is a bit of a surprise because it depends on the guests appearing and what games come up on the big spinning Wheel of Wonder.

This year Alex and his band have found a much better venue, the bright and sparkly Spiegeltent which is perfect for a musical variety hour, rather than the dark & sticky carpeted Hifi Bar that seemed to dampen the merry atmosphere in 2011. The audience is a middle aged crowd who are revved up and ready for fun, which is just as well, because they take a big part in the evening’s entertainment.

Popping in each night are the special guests who are usually headlining comedians from the festival and they are given the chance to do pretty much what they like with the band. This has seen some truly magical moments in the past as some comedians live out rock star fantasies or turn their comedy into musical jazz poetry. Tonight we had one of those magical experiences when Des Bishop asked for a back-up singer from the audience who happened to be very talented and then performed a searing satirical hip hop rap in the style of Eminem while the band kept up.

Unfortunately there are always those guest comedians who don’t (or can’t?) join in on the musical comedy fun and just manage to do their usual stand-up with a bit of musical accompaniment. Wil Anderson seemed a bit worse for wear when he wandered up the aisle and onto the stage. There was some excitement in the audience around me with the appearance of this superstar of comedy. His routine was excellent, but it was a pity that he was not up to working with the band, which he had to eventually ask to stop because it was taking him out of his rhythm comfort zone.

In between the guest acts, the entertainment is chosen by spinning the Wheel of Wonder. On our night we played Connect 4 using the audience, Alex performed some stunning mimed beatboxing, as well as a disappointing magic trick and the band performed an impressively funny tribute to Australian music.

All the while Alex is the consummate Ring Master, conducting the band, supervising the audience and maintaining the jazzy vibe. He and the band have been working closely for so long now that they bounce off each other effortlessly and have a working shorthand that belies their seeming dictator / minion relationship.

It’s such a pity that this is on so late in the evening because it is a show I would recommend to anyone. Still the late hour adds to the bohemian, anything can happen atmosphere. If you are not keen on audience participation you might want a seat up the back, but I recommend you go with a sense of fun and ready to join in with the party, and you will have a ball.

The Horne Section is on at The Famous Spiegeltent in front of The Arts Centre

Keep an eye on the website for upcoming guests