1 It’s on late so you don’t have to worry about getting home early and being all like “man I hate being home so early”.

2 Every night features a different line up of some of the best storytellers the festival has to offer, so you can come every night and it will always be different. Please come every night.

3 All of the stories are completely true so you can totally judge the performers on all the crazy stuff they’ve done.

4 It’s hosted by Jon Bennett, one of Australia’s best storytellers. His past solo storytelling shows “Pretending Things Are a Cock”, “My Dad’s Deaths” and “Fire in the Meth Lab” have all been really good. Like, really good. He’s pretty a good host too. And he likes hugs.

5 It’s a show all about telling stories. And everyone likes stories. Who doesn’t like stories? No one. That’s who.

Sinful Stories is on at the Portland Hotel, 11pm Thursday to Saturday all throughout the festival. For more information and tickets visit:

Lisa-Skye’s Lovely Tea Party

By Alanta Colley

Lisa Skye presents a multitude of contrasts. Fierce yet friendly. Loud yet lovely. Dangerous yet disarming. Crude yet charming. Equipped with a dry wit and a serious expression yet constantly armed with pockets full of sparkles.

In this show Lisa invites you to tea along with several guests from the Comedy Festival. The format includes in part Lisa Skye’s life reflections from her life less ordinary. Lisa Skye’s guests share short performances with us, then Lisa Skye chats with guests and asks them quiz questions from a range themes from a board of erratic to whimsical themes.

On this particular night Lisa’s guests included the exceptional story teller Jon Bennett, whose MICF show is Story Whore. Bennet shared a dark and gripping tale from his life growing up on a farm in South Australia with his method Minister father. We also were graced with the performance of Isabel Angus and Rachel Davis, the comedy duo in Edge; an opportunity to look into the mind of a precocious 11 year old.

Discussions were casual and inviting, and a nice opportunity to get to know these performers outside of their scripted material. Occasionally discussion veered a little into alienating the audience when it focussed a little heavily on talking about comedians and their experiences; though was understandable given the commonality of those onstage.

Skye challenges her audiences’ delicate sensibilities chatting frankly about a litany of sexual encounters, which vary from your typical fare of monogamous relations. She’s unapologetic about it and it’s great that there’s a space in the Comedy Festival for weirder and wackier shows. Skye has a very specific style, something akin to Muppet meets Madame, which, frankly, is fascinating. If that’s not your cup of tea than this is not the tea party for you. A fine night of entertainment, worthy of more than one visit for the revolving and evolving material.

Lisa-Skye’s Lovely Tea Party is on at The Tuxedo Cat until April 20

Jon Bennett’s Pretending Things are a Cock – Review from 2/4/2010

This show was originally reviewed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival on 2/4/2010 on the Groggy Squirrel website, we are republishing it here because Jon is taking this show to Edinburgh Fringe 2012. We don’t know if the show will be exactly as this one was 2 years ago, but this review should give you an idea.


By Colin Flaherty.

This could possibly be the most ambitious project of the festival. For the better part of the last couple of years, Jon Bennett has travelled the world, posing for photographs that utilised all manner of phallic objects. This has resulted in a website, a facebook page where fans submit their own ‘cocks’, an exhibition, a coffee table book (available for sale from Jon) and this art/standup hybrid. It has become a worldwide phenomenon!

The first ten or fifteen minutes was time for the punters to enter the gallery and peruse the art at their leisure. The works were exactly as you would expect; Jon with all manner of objects projecting from his groinal region and an intense expression on his face. Each photo was accompanied by a title describing the object being used, my personal favorite being ‘Paper, Scissors, Cock’. It was all rather puerile and silly but a cellist playing in the background gave the event a tongue in cheek classy tone. After being handed an instructional pamphlet we were encouraged to make use of the various objects provided to create our own ‘cocks’.

Jon conducted a gallery tour of sorts by pointing out various photos and giving us some background to their creation, reciting some hilarious travel tales. Despite not being prepared enough to point out where exactly they were located in the room, this presentation was delightful and enthralling.

Moving into the theatre area of the venue, the performance became a type of storytelling show with Jon seated in a small armchair on the stage. He used individual photos from the collection as a launching point for various tales. He didn’t go into technical details about the photos but more their importance to his life and experiences. In this instance, he told us a fair bit about his family and upbringing; pondering how he became obsessed with penises. There were also tales involving a couple of people he met and befriended on his travels. These tended to veer into drug stories but were very well told so as to appeal to all. Jon promised he would have different tales each time so multiple visits may be worthwhile.

On the surface this show appeared to be merely reliant on the most base of concepts, but Jon had successfully used this silly obsession as a basis for some much deeper comedy. His brilliant tales of relationships and male sexuality revealed plenty of warmth and insight into Jon as a person. This was a unique event that is worth checking out.

For booking details at Edinburgh Fringe http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/pretending-things-are-a-c-ck

Jon Bennett – My Dad’s Deaths

By Cathy Culliver. 

If My Dad’s Deaths is anything to go by, Jon Bennett’s father has an uncanny knack for staying alive, and making his loved ones think he’s dead.

Bennett’s latest show is a funny and at times genuinely touching look at his relationship with his conservative, no-nonsense father and the times he had sincerely thought he’d lost him for good. And considering the man has apparently had a heart attack, fallen off a ladder five times and started three bushfires, it’s suffice to say Bennett has plenty of material to go with.

Bennett’s style is more storytelling than traditional stand up, and it’s an art form he’s mastered well. Best known for his tongue-in-cheek, internationally acclaimed show Pretending Things are a Cock, Bennett’s newest offering is a natural step into more mature and thoughtful comedy, and is a great platform to show off what he does best.

The show takes the audience through Bennett’s childhood growing up on a pig farm in rural South Australia, where his father was a hard man to avoid – he was Bennett’s school teacher, his football coach, his school’s bus driver and the local minister. Apparently also a deeply serious man, Bennett’s dad never swears – unless of course his son has just shot him in the chest, but you’ll have to see the show to hear the rest of that story.

Bennett also intersperses his show with hilarious poetry, brought on by the fact his dad wanted him to be like Banjo Patterson. Don’t expect any rhyming couplets or sweeping metaphors though – Bennett’s poetry style is more about graphic descriptions of birth and quoting status updates from one of the more culturally-challenged of his 1200+ Facebook friends. The result is very funny and makes for a good break between stories of his dad, well, dying.

Bennett is warm, engaging and very likeable. He is a master storyteller, and has the audience hanging on his every word. At times it’s easy to feel like you’re just hanging with a friend who happens to be telling you particularly entertaining stories about his life, such is Bennett’s natural charisma.

My Dad’s Deaths is an unaffectedly honest and entertaining show from a gifted local talent and one of the best storytellers you’re ever likely to see.

Jon Bennett – My Dad’s Deaths is showing at LOOP Project Space and Bar on Sunday 8 April, then at Tuxedo Cat from Thursday 12 April onwards.