By Jess Welch

If you like laid-back, laconic comedy, with honest to God jokes, you need to see Guy Montgomery. A Melbourne International Comedy Festival regular, Montgomery is back with another hour of out of the box hilarity.

The first three quarters of the show is wall to wall laughs. They’re the sort of jokes most people can enjoy. They’re a mix of absurd and observational. Some are the kind you want to memorise and tell everyone you meet for the next week. There’s just something about Montgomery’s delivery that elevates puns and word-play into something more, something impossible to imitate. Maybe it’s just that famous dry and sarcastic New Zealand sense of humour.

Even beyond that, he has a certain mischievous sparkle in his eyes and a lazy grin that makes him seem almost like a mischievous school boy, excited to make the assembly laugh, but playing it cool. And yet, some of the jokes are decidedly uncool – to the point that the crowd is laughing, while fighting the urge to groan, shaking their heads at the cheesiness, but having to give full credit to just how incredibly well written they are. They’re the type of jokes that can only be described as “Dad jokes”, but with a bit of a more adult tone. And to call them dad jokes is especially fitting, as the remainder of the show is dedicated to him talking about being a step- parent.

While still wildly funny, it’s far more real and, at parts, incredibly sweet. For how common step -parenting is, comedy about it seems incredibly rare. Thankfully Montgomery is willing to step up to the plate. But if you’re looking for advice on how to step-parent, I think you’ve come to the wrong place. Despite having step-parented for 5 years, he is more than willing to admit he hasn’t quite mastered it yet. In fact, he seems to approach it with the same fun and boyishness with which he seems to approach everything.

The show examines this Peter Pan-ishness, as he struggles to reconcile being in his mid-30’s, in charge of helping raise a child, while still feeling too young himself. It’s a feeling I think a lot of people in their 20’s and 30’s can empathise with. But he, like everyone else, is doing his best and having a laugh while he’s doing it. Best of all, he’s sharing the laughs with us.


Guy Montgomery: Guy Montgomery’s Guy Mont-Spelling Bee

Review By Lisa Clark

Looking for a bit of Late Night Fun that’s not as exhaustingly late as Festival Club? Are you a bit nerdy, fond of word games, possibly a fan of Celebrity Letters And Numbers or Taskmaster New Zealand (season 2)? Then Guy Montgomery’s Guy Mont-Spelling Bee might just be the show for you.

Guy is one of the best comedians to come out of New Zealand in recent times, why he isn’t hosting a TV Show of his own, is anyone’s guess. He’s charming, super funny, yet laid back and able to improvise goofy quips with his guests who are playing with varying levels of competitiveness.

Tonight’s guests were; Melanie Bracewell from New Zealand who has done one of Guy’s Spelling Bees over there and has her eye on the prize, Rhys Nicholson who made jokes about feeling out of place, but in the end was the people’s champion, Sam Campbell who’s main contribution was coming up with unexpected hilarious interjections and Phil Wang from the UK, Melanie’s serious main competitor. Of course a lot of the fun is the banter between the guests and Guy and also watching Phil Wang’s face drop as he realises this isn’t a traditional Bee, and he’s not the master he expected to be.

Guy has worked out some really funny ways to do a Spelling Bee competition live on stage, because just spelling words might be fun for spelling nerds but won’t make for a very exciting or hilarious comedy festival show. For the main rounds Guy has words on slips of paper kept in three receptacles. Contestants could choose from; the bucket which has the hard 3 point words, a bag holds the 2 point words, and the 1 point easy words are in a cup and if you choose the easy words you will find they are all insults.

The hardest round on our night was a new one made up by Guy where they had to spell the country of the flag he was holding up, so first they had to guess what country the flag belonged to. They were not very familiar flags. This game might not stay on, or maybe he has to make the flags a bit easier for a show that is not for flag enthusiasts. There was also a round of homophones that was hilarious, and reminiscent of the fake game show on 30 Rock called (erroneously) Homonym.

The best round of Spelling Bee was when he made them spell words the same way a 6 year old had spelt them to him. She had also put the words in very cute sentences. It was also hard, but super hilarious. Rhys said ‘I’m finally going to wipe the floor with the lot of you’ and he did! It brought the house down.

Guy Montgomery’s Guy Mont-Spelling Bee sold out one of the biggest rooms in the Town Hall last week. The audience were spelling along with the performers and clapping before Guy announced that they were right. There are a lot of spelling fans out there. I think this show has legs and might make even make a great TV show, so get tickets now before it sells out, becomes a TV show, or possibly even, a cult.

Guy Montgomery performs Guy Montgomery’s Guy Mont-Spelling Bee with different guests each week at The Town Hall in The Supper Room on Friday nights at 10.45pm Throughout the Festival.

Guy Montgomery I Was Part Of The Problem Before We Were Talking About It

By Jessica Welch

Guy Montgomery will admit that he was part of the problem before we were talking about it. In I Was Part Of The Problem Before We Were Talking About It, Montgomery brilliantly navigates the problems of today’s society and tackles the idea of shame, owning up and growing up. Huge topics cleverly and expertly covered from the perspective of the self-admitted privileged. Montgomery may be a white, straight, middle-class man, but he has some things to say and they are most definitely worth hearing.

Montgomery nimbly leaps from idea to idea, elegantly vacillating between serious and humourous in a heartbeat. Any time the mood drops, he brings it back up with a well-timed joke. He takes on the biggest and most fraught issues and gets away with it because he does it breathtakingly well and is incredibly likable. His genuine vulnerability and the fact the show comes from personal experience prevents it from becoming a self-aggrandizing rant. It feels honest and is so perfectly written. Montgomery is quick, clever and absurdly funny. He appears to go off on tangents, but it always returns to the heart of the show. It’s a tangled, layered maze of jokes and truth, or the combination of both.

By being vulnerable, Montgomery inspires us to be too and I was shocked by how honest the audience was. At the end, he stands at the door and hands out bits of paper, written on by other members of the audience at the beginning (whoever wrote the one I got, I want to hug you). It’s a chance for self-reflection. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of, and Montgomery tells us some of his, honestly and bluntly.

This show could be dark or heavy, but somehow isn’t at all. The audience walked out smiling and laughing. It feels like a show of absolution, where we can all acknowledge our past misdeeds, then grow from them. While that might not sound like a barrel of laughs, it is liberating and peppered with more than enough laughs not to turn the hour into an over-extended TED talk.

It’s a rare gift to be able to write a show so serious and yet so uplifting. But Montgomery is talented and pulls it off without a hitch. It would be a shame to miss it.

I Was Part Of The Problem Before We Were Talking About It is on at Mantra on Russell.

Guy Montgomery Doesn’t Check His Phone for an Hour

By Peter Newling

A sold out Saturday night crowd converged on the Melbourne Town Hall’s magnificent Portico Room for an hour with New Zealand comic Guy Montgomery. A mid seventies version of The Hustle greeted the audience pre-show, and set the tempo for what would be a fast paced hour of stand-up.

Guy Montgomery has all the necessary skills for his chosen profession. He is affable, has a delightful turn of phrase, and great energy. He moves his show along at a cracking pace, making sure he’s bringing his audience along with him for the ride.

He’s also a man of his word. At the risk of needing a spoiler alert, the title of the show turns out to be entirely correct. He starts by reverently placing his phone to one side, and manages not to refer to it for the next hour. He helps the audience to match his heroics via the use of a large analogue clock, which he brings on to allay any need to reach for one’s phone.  And this leads him neatly into a discussion on technological addiction, then into the rest of his set.

I was a little disappointed by his choice of material. After some initial stuff on fridge contents and grocery shopping, the show shifted to reflections on his career in comedy thus far. His experiences on the MICF Comedy Road Show, and in trying his luck in the New York comedy scene provided him with a rich source of material – but I found that the particular anecdotes he chose to share from those situations were a bit passé. Smile-worthy, yes. Chortle-worthy, sometimes. But I felt the routine lacked the big laugh lines which should have resulted from his impressive story telling capacities. Fortunately, his genial demeanour kept the audience well and truly on his side.

There are some powerful messages underpinning this routine about loneliness, and the need for connection in times of failure. Montgomery explores these with a charming self deprecation and candour.

I’m sure this set will appeal to many, and many will relate to his keen observations. I will certainly look forward to seeing what he brings to future festivals.

Guy Montgomery Doesn’t Check His Phone for an Hour is playing at the Portico Room at the Melbourne Town Hall until 22 April

Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2018 – Previously reviewed shows

The 32nd Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been officially

Lano & Woodley

Launched for 2018. Hosted by comedy legends Lano & Woodley, their reunion this year, after 12 years apart, in their new show Fly is one of the big thrills causing quite a buzz in a gigantic, exciting programme. There are more than 620 shows in this years festival. Some of the shows are encore performances and others that we Squirrels managed to catch and review at other festivals.

Feel free to click on the links below and read what we thought of these earlier iterations, keeping in mind that festival shows are ever evolving beasts that change and develop over time, so the new version may be quite different to one we saw.

See a favourite off the telly, See someone you’ve never heard of. Most of all have a wonderful time and keep an eye on Squirrel Comedy as the new reviews roll in and we keep you up to date on what’s happening via our Social Media.

Previously Reviewed Shows:

The Bear Pack
Phoebe O’Brien’s review from Edinburgh Fringe 2017 :
Booking details:

Ben Volchok Presents…
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Chris Lassig Dr Chris’s Theory of Everything
Conor Merrigan-Turner’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Elizabeth Davie – Super Woman Money Program
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Geraldine Hickey – It’s My Show
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Hit By A Blimp – I’m Here
Colin Flaherty’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Elyce Phillips’review from Melbourne Fringe 2013:
Booking details:

Laura Davis – Ghost Machine
Elyce Phillips’review from MICF 2013:
Booking details:

Lauren Bok – Between a Bok and a Hard Place (Originally performed as A Bok In Progress)
Colin Flaherty’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Luke McGregor – Almost Fixed it
Lisa Clark’s review from MICF 2017:
Booking details:

Matt Harvey – War of the words
Conor Merrigan-Turner’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Phil Wang – Kinabalu
Colin Flaherty’s review from Edinburgh Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Political Asylum Comedy – Late Night Riot!
Angela East’s review from MICF 2017:
Booking details:

Rob Hunter – Late O’Clock
Andrew Holmes’review from MICF 2012:
Booking details:

Sean Bedlam – Death to America
Colin Flaherty’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Soothplayers -Completely Improvised Shakespeare
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2015:
Booking details:

Snort With Friends
Elyce Phillips’review from MICF 2017:
Booking details:

Wanda and Mel
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Guy Montgomery – Let’s All Get In A Room Together

By Elyce Phillips
Guy Montgomery

After being nominated for Best Newcomer at last year’s MICF, Guy Montgomery is back with his likeable, boisterous style of stand-up in Let’s All Get In A Room Together. It’s a delightfully silly, crowd-pleasing hour from a confident performer.

Montgomery is at his best when he’s riffing in between his longer chunks of storytelling. His patter up top about the room, his fancy water and the joys of the Yarra River was hilarious and grabbed the attention of the audience early. There’s no particular theme to Let’s All Get In A Room Together. Montgomery discusses a whole range of topics, from his accommodation situation here in Melbourne to his sexual awakening as a young boy in New Zealand. It’s all delivered with a level of enthusiasm and energy that’s utterly contagious. Montgomery had the sold-out room chuckling the whole way through.

There were a few minor bumps in what was otherwise a very strong show. Some of the stories in Let’s All Get In A Room Together strike an odd tone – they’ve got enough weird details to be unbelievable but don’t push that weirdness hard enough to be completely surreal. Another discordant note came about three quarters of the way through the show, when Montgomery told a joke that neatly tied up all the threads he had discussed so far. It felt like a natural ending point, so when the show continued on it felt overly long, despite the material in the final minutes being of quite a high quality.

Let’s All Get In A Room Together
is thoroughly entertaining and Guy Montgomery is a stand-up with a lot of promise. Pacing quibbles aside, Montgomery has got buckets of charisma and will no doubt get bigger and better in coming years.

Let’s All Get In A Room Together is on at The Forum Ladies Lounge until April 23