This is a one of those shows where two newcomers pair up to put on a Festival show together and do half the show each. Jay Morrissey and Danielle Walker have both been finalists at RAW and are pleasant company but still have a way to go before standing out in the huge and unwieldy Festival the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has become.
Needless to say there is no Karate in this show, sorry Karate fans, it’s just a very cute title and nothing to do with the comedy on offer. Danielle and Jay have worked out a nice structure of one set each with a short pre-recorded video before each staring both of them. The videos link the two performers in a rom-com plot, they are well made and pretty funny.
I’ve seen Danielle Walker doing standup around town over the past twelve months and have been very impressed by her individual style. There is a hilariously psycho edge to her cheerful country charm that pops out every now and then. Not too often, which is great, she’s learning where to let the psycho out and when to rein her in. It’s great to be part of the experience of Danielle developing her fabulous unique comedy voice. She also has delightful material about her nutty family and being from Townsville. She describes her family Christmas ritual of butchering a pig and other ways that her family might be a bit different to other people she meets in the city and has the audience laughing pretty much throughout.
I’ve not seen Jay Morrissey before, but other Squirrels have enjoyed previous outings by him and he comes across as pretty affable. Like Danielle he tells stories about his dad, family and friends. Unfortunately he stops to explain an early routine, and not in an ironic way. A bit about a facebook experiment where he tweets word for word the same as a pretty girl online to see if he gets the same amount of likes, is not an original idea but has a lot of potential, if he does more work on it and possibly creates the screen shots to go with it. Most of his material (singing replies to an old Shania Twain song, designing a bizarre funeral that has nothing to do with his life and a bunch of stiffy jokes) doesn’t feel very fresh or unique to Jay. He has a lot more work to do in small comedy rooms to really find his own strong comedy voice and material that works better for him and hopefully will help him stand out in a sea of similar comedians.
It’s not surprising that young performers talk about their families, they have not had a lot of life experience to talk about much else, it’s finding the laughs that’s the main thing. This show is unsurprisingly uneven, but both comedians show potential. If they put a lot more work in, these performers will grow and develop and it will be interesting to see where they go.
Jay Morrissey and Danielle Walker: Illuminate Karate Party is on at The Imperial Hotel
for more info go to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Website: