Lisa’s Live Comedy Big Year 2017

Come with me as I do A Big Year.  Not birds but comedian spotting.

I will attend a lot of comedy performances in 2017 and write about all of them.



Burnt Sausages, Madeleine Tucker lead singer.
Burnt Sausages, Madeleine Tucker lead singer.

Disco Christmas at Northcote Social Club, Northcote

Headliner Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine, with Tony Martin, supported by Josh Earl and the Burnt Sausages.

My final Gig of 2017

Is it a comedy gig or a music gig? Well when is this choc full of social satire and hilarious antics, then it’s comedy. All of the acts were top musical comedy acts. Josh was on first and impressed the crowd no end, then Burnt Sausages burst out of their meat tray (an actual giant meat tray on stage) and wowed everyone with their catchy punk BBQ themed songs, costumed back up dancers and audience participation. The lead singer is Melbourne comedian Madeleine Tucker (Most recently also seen on Catcam Ch 31) and she’s an awesome punk performer. The guitarist plays a spork shaped guitar and the electric piano is decorated to look like a barbecue.¬†Then headliner Damien Cowell (previously of TISM) & his disco Machine, with Tony Martin becoming even more comfortably part of the band’s brilliant line up. What an awesome way to celebrate the start of the silly season.


Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

MC David Quirk, Sarah Bennetto, James Nokise (Nz), Simon Hall, Kirsty Webeck, Ivan Aristeguieta

The Christmas show. Sarah Bennetto made a welcome homecoming, Simon Hall (Yoni of Tripod) did some really quirky cerebral solo stand up comedy. He really has a unique standup voice, he should do it more often. James Nokise did a welcome return before heading back home to New Zealand and headliner Ivan & MC Quirky were as wonderful as ever.


Anne Edmonds, Tom Gleeson, Celia Pacquola. DYKWIA XMAS
Anne Edmonds, Tom Gleeson, Celia Pacquola. DYKWIA XMAS

Don’t You Know Who I Am Podcast Recording at European Bier Cafe, Melbourne CBD

Host: Josh Earl, with guests Celia Pacquola, Tom Gleeson, Anne Edmonds, Karl Chandler, Geraldine Hickey, Cameron James

End of Year Christmas Special. Karl Chandler (who does Saturday Comedy later that night) jumped in when Josh had a cancellation. This podcast is always hilarious live because you can see the comedians having a great time together.


Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

MC: Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall, Demi Lardner, Laura Davis, Anya Anastasia , Josh Perring, Jeff Green


Cinema Fiasco at Nova Theatre, Carlton

Janet A McLeod and Geoff Wallis perform commentary on the film Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973)

  • Tonights repetative motif that goes *bing!* was: Brown things


Tripod Manger Danger at The Thornbury Theatre, Thornbury 

Tripod = Scod (Scott Edgar), Yon (Simon Hall) and Gatesy (Steven Gates) with guests Randy, Casey Benetto, Bob Franklin,  Xani Kolac and Ladychoir

Another legendary Christmas show for friends and family.


Cinema Fiasco at The Astor Theatre, Windsor

Janet A McLeod and Geoff Wallis perform commentary on the film ORCA (1977)

  • Tonights repetative motif that goes *bing!* was: ocean scenes that were actually shot in a pool


Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

MC: Kel Balnaves, Rose Callaghan, Tor Snyder, Geraldine Quinn, Josh Glanc, Celia Pacquola


Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

MC: Tegan Higginbotham, Joe Shaffer, Daniel Connell, The Fake McCoys, Rhys Nicholson


Frocking Hilarious at The Comedy Theatre. Melbourne CBD

Denise Scott Frocking Hilarious Laura Tessa
Cal Wilson
Fiona O’Loughlin
Anne Edmonds
Celia Pacquoa
Demi Ladner
Tessa Waters
Laura Davis
Kelly Fastuca
Geraldine Quinn
Double Denim

Everyone brought their A Grade Headliner gear and this was a stunning night. One of the best of the year.


Crab Lab at House of Maximon Corrs lane Melbourne CBD

MC Ben Night, Bart Freebairn, Adam Knox, Dave Quirk, Tegan Higginbotham, Tom Gleeson, Dave Thornton, Sam Campbell, Celia Pacquola, Stuart Daulman, Anne Edmonds, Larry Dean

So many comedians doing short spots. Tom Gleeson’s spot was quite long and brilliant of course, what a treat. Sam Campbell created frisson in the room with his giggle inducing weirdness. The audience didn’t know who he was & they loved him. There were not many dull spots and it wouldn’t matter if there was, because there were so many short brilliant sets to make up for it. The audience are all pretty young and packed tightly¬†into a fairly small space. Great vibe and enthusiasm in the room.


Lisa-Skye & Frank
Lisa-Skye & Frank

Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

MC Kelly Fastuca, Lisa Skye, Steven Gates, Dave Hughes, Kerean Bala Devan, Lulu lamarr, Michael Williams

Halloween show – all the gorgeous decorations and comedians bringing spoooky stories.


Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

MC: Kel Balnaves, Ivan Aristeguieta, Matt Stewart,  Brett Blake, Laura Dunemann, Gabe Hogan


Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

Mc: Bart Freebairn- Laura Davis, Dilruk Jayasinha, Ben Russell, Jeff Green


Anarchists guild
Mysterious Blue friend, Ben McKenzie, Celia Pacquola, Andy McCleland, Nick Caddaye and Kelly Fastuka

Anarchists Guild Collective – Farewell to the Bella Union at The Bella Union Bar

Nick Caddaye, Kelly Fastuca, Tegan Higginbotham, Andrew McClelland, Richard McKenzie, Ben McKenzie and Celia Pacquola

A reunion of one of the best comedy sketch groups to somehow not get a TV show. Such a joy to experience this group doing their fabulous thing again. Still so tight and very funny. sigh.


Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

Mc: Claire Hooper, James Nokise (NZ), David Rose, Tony Martin and Denise Scott.

Since returning from Edinburgh, I’ve been ill or working on the Melbourne Fringe Festival and so forth. Tonight it was fantastic to be back at my comedy home Local Laughs. We booked in advance because of the killer almost all headliner line up. It did not let us down. Claire is calm but confident in her abilities to handle a room and got the night off to a lovely warm start. James Nokise is visiting from New Zealand where he has no doubt become an experienced and popular comedian, he arrives here fully formed and is a delight. David Rose is a young newcomer who held his own amongst legends. Tony Martin is meticulous with his material and has me in tears, despite having heard most of his material before. Denise is working up new material with us and is always a joy.


Demi Lardner: Look What you Made me Do at Club Voltaire

This was being filmed for TV and was a stunning show that had everyone raving this year. Now I know why.

THURSDAY  SEPTEMBER 28 РMelbourne Fringe

Yada Yada Yada: A 90s Sitcom Special by Jude Perl & Lauren Edwards at The Lithuanian Club North Melbourne

My Review:


MONDAY SEPTEMBER 25 – Melbourne Fringe

Wander & Mel by Amanda Buckley & Kaliya Arumugam at the Butterfly Club, Melbourne CBD.

My Review:

Geraldine Hickey ‚Äď Its my show at the Imperial Hotel Melbourne CBD

Host: Geraldine Hickey and DJ/sidekick Kelly fastuka with guests: Kate McLennan & Kate McCartney, Celia Pacquola, Daisy Berry, Laura Dunemann

My Review:

SUNDAY  SEPTEMBER 24 РMelbourne Fringe

The Yonder by Elizabeth Davie, Ezel Doruk, Shannan Lim.

Funny, lo-fi, space comedy play.

SATURDAY  SEPTEMBER 23 РMelbourne Fringe

Ben Volchok Presents…at The Butterfly Club Melbourne CBD

My Review:

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 22 РMelbourne FringeChildproof reading

Childproof the Podcast Recording at The Bella Union Bar, Carlton

Episodes 5 & 6

Performed by Tony Martin, Geraldine Quinn, Serina Rowell, Roz Hammond, Andrew McClelland, Damian Cowell, Lachy Hulme, Djovan Caro, Simon Rogers, Casey Bennetto, Cristinal Laria, Sam Petersen and Jay Mueller as the Narrator.

It was lovely to see the actors enjoying creating all the interesting characters, Andy McClelland was having a ball and Djovan impressed with his character acting chops.

 THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 21 РMelbourne Fringe

Childproof the Podcast Recording at The Bella Union Bar, Carlton

Episodes 3 & 4

Performed by Tony Martin, Geraldine Quinn, Serina Rowell, Roz Hammond, Andrew McClelland, Damian Cowell, Lachy Hulme, Djovan Caro, Simon Rogers, Casey Bennetto, Cristinal Laria, Sam Petersen and Jay Mueller as the Narrator.

Episode 3 had the big laugh that brought the house down. Literally stopped the show as everyone was guffawing.

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 20 РMelbourne Fringe Childproof

Childproof the Podcast Recording at The Bella Union Bar, Carlton

Episodes 1 & 2

Performed by Tony Martin, Geraldine Quinn, Serina Rowell, Roz Hammond, Andrew McClelland, Damian Cowell, Lachy Hulme, Djovan Caro, Simon Rogers, Casey Bennetto, Cristinal Laria, Sam Petersen and Jay Mueller as the Narrator.

A hilarious sitcom in 6 episodes about a couple who chooses to be childless while they navigate the changing diminishing modern workplace in radio and book publishing and their changing diminishing friendships as their friends succumb to parenthood and all that entails.

It was refused by television but you can now listen to the podcast of all the episodes available online at

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 19 РMelbourne Fringe

Super Woman Money Program By Elizabeth Davie at Lithuanian Club North Melbourne

My Review: (loved it!) 

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 17 РMelbourne Fringe

Don’t You Know Who I Am live video recording at the Stupid Old Studios

Host Josh Earl, Dave Thornton, Demi Lardner, Nath Valvo and Broden Kelly (Aunty Donna)

 This was being video recorded, am hoping this will eventually lead to this show being televised. It is so much fun for everyone involved.

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 16 – Melbourne Fringe

I Love Green Guide Letters podcast recorded live at  Club Voltaire, North Melbourne

Host Steele Saunders with Demi Lardner, Tom Ballard & Geraldine Hickey

Steele could not go wrong with this lineup and it was one of those lovely podcast recordings where all the guests are having as much fun as the audience.

Travelling Sisters Noo Sho at the Lithuanian Club North Melbourne

Lucy Fox, Laura Trenerry and Ell Sachs

My Squirrel Review:


THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 14 – Melbourne Fringe Festival

I’m Here by Hit By A Blimp (Caitlyn Staples, Jayden Masciulli and Tiana Hogben)

at  The Courthouse, North Melbourne

I did not enjoy it.

SATURDAY¬†AUGUST 12¬†–¬†Edinburgh¬†

Simon Munnery: Renegade Plumber at The Stand 3&4

Alun Cochrane: Alunish Cochranish at The Stand 1

FRIDAY¬†AUGUST 11¬†–¬†Edinburgh¬†

Adam Vincent: How Not to Kill Yourself When Living in the Suburbs at Laughing Horse @ Espionage

Dave Johns: I Fillum Star at The Pleasance Dome

Wifi Wars hosted by Steve McNeil  at The Pleasance Dome

THURSDAY¬†AUGUST 10¬†¬†–¬†Edinburgh¬†

Jayde Adams is Jayded at The Pleasance Courtyard

WEDNESDAY¬†AUGUST 9¬†–¬†Edinburgh¬†

#Jollyboat: Pirates of the Karaoke at  Liquid Room Annexe/Warehouse

Stuart Goldsmith: Like I mean it at  Liquid Room Annexe/Warehouse

Andrew O’Neill’s Black Magick Fun Hour¬†at¬†¬†Liquid Room Annexe/Warehouse

Tom Allen: Absolutely at The Pleasance Courtyard

TUESDAY¬†AUGUST 8¬†–¬†Edinburgh¬†

Yianni Agisilaou: Pockets of Equality at Banshee Labyrinth

Chris Coltrane: Make Love & Smash Fascism  at Banshee Labyrinth

Big Howard & Little Howard Man and Boy  at Banshee Labyrinth 

Sarah Bennetto: All My Life’s Mistakes, Catalogued (Volume One) at¬†¬†Laughing Horse @ Espionage

MONDAY¬†AUGUST 7¬†–¬†Edinburgh¬†

The Great Comedy Cooking Challenge by Jay Sodagar and Andrew Roper at Laughing Horse @ Free Sisters

Bec Hill РOut of Order at  Gilded Balloon TeviotCraig Ferguson radio

Andrew O’Neill – The History of Heavy Metal at La Belle Angele

The Craig Ferguson Show at Gilded Balloon @ Rose Theatre

SUNDAY¬†AUGUST 6¬†¬†–¬†Edinburgh¬†

Shappi Khorsandi: Mistress and Misfit at Assembly @George Square

Boris & Sergey’s One Man Extravaganza at Assembly @George Square

SATURDAY¬†AUGUST 5¬†–¬†Edinburgh¬†

Pleasance Media Launch

Scott Gibson – Like Father Like Son at Gilded Balloon Teviot

Imaginary Radio by Drennon Davis & friends at  Just the Tonic at The Mash House

Richard Herring – Oh¬†Frig I’m 50! at The Pleasance Courtyard


Pottervision by Lukas Kirkby & Tom Lawrinson at Laughing Horse @ Espionage

Jenny Collier: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Jen at Laughing Horse @ Espionage


Rik Carranza Presents: Star Trek vs Star Wars at Heroes @ Monkey Barrel

Gilded Balloon Press Launch

WEDNESDAY¬†AUGUST 2 –¬†Edinburgh¬†

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Alexi Sayle at Underbelly Med Quad

Doug Anthony Allstars РNear Death Experience at The Pleasance Courtyard


Daniel Kitson: Something Other Than Everything at The Roundhouse, London

Roundhouse Theatre, London.
Roundhouse Theatre, London.

The Roundhouse is a gorgeous theatre and Kitson used it brilliantly. He performed in the round and used amazing sound and lighting to great effect. It was an incredibly intense, dense, long show on very late at night. Probably not the best thing to see when you are deeply jet-lagged (It was 4am Melbourne time). I sadly slept through some bits of it and, of course, Daniel noticed. I woke at one point to find him performing straight at me. I felt awful but I could not help it. When I saw him trying out some of this show¬†in Melbourne he upset me when he harassed members of the audience for little things, such as rustling a lolly wrapper and was way too harsh on them, followed by trying to win the audience back with self depreciating apologies and kind words. He also had a story about how someone from Adelaide emailed him to tell him off for making them feel so self conscious and stressed. This basically happened again in this show but he only picked lightly on one couple in the audience early on. I now think this scenario was a planned part of the show rather than Daniel being eccentric Daniel. If he didn’t pick on someone early in the show, his story about¬†the complaint email¬†later wouldn’t¬†engage with the audience as well. I had originally assumed he was getting this show up for Edinburgh, but Daniel is not performing this at the Fringe, it was created for a long run in London. Otherwise, he was the master story teller as usual. Funny, charming and engaging. The show was beautifully structured and written, about enjoying living alone and gradually realising that he is not an island and has deep connections with many people as several¬†story strands came together at the end.


Josh Earl, Karl Chandler, Mike Goldstein, Adam Rozenbachs, Dave O'Neil
Josh Earl, Karl Chandler, Mike Goldstein, Adam Rozenbachs, Dave O’Neil

Don’t You Know Who I Am? at Some Velvet Morning, Clifton Hill 

Lineup: Host Josh Earl with¬†Dave O’Neil, Karl Chandler, Adam Rozenbachs and Mike Goldstein


Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

Lineup: MC РLaura Davis, Ben Knight, Hap Hayward, Matt Storer, Geraldine Quinn


Don’t You Know Who I Am? at Some Velvet Morning, Clifton Hill

Josh Earl, Tommy Dassalo, Jo Stanley, David Quirk and Dilruk Jayasinha
Josh Earl, Tommy Dassalo, Jo Stanley, David Quirk and Dilruk Jayasinha

Lineup: Host Josh Earl with Tommy Dassalo, Jo Stanley, David Quirk and Dilruk Jayasinha

If you can manage to see a good comedy podcast live you should give it a go and Who do You Think I Am is really hilarious live. Part of the joy is seeing all the comedians fall apart themselves as they learn about one another. Today’s pod¬†had a bit of an edge to it, brought no doubt by Tommy Dassalo and Dil who are used to the more combative arena style of Little Dum Dum Club rather than the more convivial parry, riposte and occasional skewer that is usually the stuff of DYKWIA?¬†Things occasionally threatened to get out of hand, but David Quirk and Jo Stanley managed to hold their own. Jo having experienced many frustrating years of male radio hosts talking over her. She mentioned this as she fought her comedy ground. It was great to see Jo Stanley on stage having been a fan of her comedy when she started out performing with Jodie J Hill. Women with talent and potential really stood out back then. Josh has many talents and one of them is gathering excellent comedians together for a really strong show.


Janet A McLeod and Geoff Wallis
Janet A McLeod and Geoff Wallis

Cinema Fiasco at The Astor Threatre, Windsor

Lineup: Janet A McLeod and Geoff Wallis perform commentary on the film The Omen (1976)

Not often that Cinema Fiasco shows an Oscar winner with such a celebrated cast of “A”¬†list actors.¬†In the end though, The Omen is a poor person‚Äôs mix of Rosemary‚Äôs Baby and The Excorsist, without the good writing or direction. Despite some protest, (an Omen fan rang the box office to complain that it was too good to be sent up!) this was definitely worth the Cinema Fiasco treatment. The bonus of having Cinema Fiasco at The Astor is that I got to pat The Duke, The Astor cat. Lovely to see lots of grinning faces as we left the theatre. Always a fun night, no matter how crap the film and¬†we’ve enjoyed some crappy films.


Thursday Jimeoin13717

Thursday Comedy Club at The European Bier Cafe, Melbourne CBD 

Lineup: MC Anne Edmonds, Fiona O’Loughlin, Heath Franklin as Chopper, Tim Hewett, Joel Creasey, Karl Chandler Headliner: Jimeoin.

Great line up (mostly surprises) for the Thursday Comedy Club’s¬†7th birthday show the venue was packed to the rafters. Tim Hewett did a great job of housekeeping for Karl who was out collecting our headliner. The Birthday show was in the safe hands of MC Anne Edmonds who had the audience in fits and wrangled some chatty folks up the front who were moved further back by their friends at interval. Fiona O‚ÄôLoughlin has been through the wars and come close to death. Fantastic to see her on stage doing what she does best and not dying at all. Also a pleasure to experience a performance by Heath Franklin as Chopper, without his usual audience who can be a bit scary. I swear some of them think he‚Äôs the real Chopper. He‚Äôs so good at this and just quietly subversive, coming from a fairly left wing stance and not at all grotesque. Tim Hewett gets more relaxed on stage each time I see him and Joel entertained with the eye opening routine about his neighbours. Chandler made the mistake of doing crowd work and getting too excited by some Google employees down from Sydney (but originally from various countries around the world). We found out that Karl doesn‚Äôt quite understand how Social Media works and how it is destroying mainstream media. Jimeoin is in a comedy strata all this own. Gentle, quiet and with a charisma that radiates from his cheeky eyes he easily captures the audience in the palm of his hand. Many of them were probably too young to remember his brilliant TV show. It‚Äôs been a long time since I‚Äôve seen him live too and am glad I was there tonight. Top night.



Demi Lardner

Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

Lineup: Mc:¬†Kelly Fastuca, Angus Gordon, Laura Dunemann,¬†Alice Fraser, Joe Shaffer,¬†Sakdiyah Ma’ruf, Headliner:¬†Demi Lardner

Another fabulous night of silliness and surprises at Local Laughs on a Monday. Best Newcomer from MICF 2017 Angus Gordon was as weird and interesting as ever. But more importantly he was insanely hilarious. Laura Dunemann had one of the best spots I’ve seen her do, really nailing highschool horrors and working through them as an adult. Alice Fraser brought her blazing personality to the room wowing everyone who’d not experienced her comedy before. Joe Shaffer was a surprise performer who popped up to fill some time for a late performer and easily won the crowd into his delirious world. Sakdiya Ma’ruf dropped in on her one day in Melbourne from her home in Indonesia, doing some surprisingly political gear and despite the odd translation glitch, had a surprising grasp on how to entertain an Australian audience. Demi Lardner has really developed into a delightful headline act, from the out-there ridiculous to the darkly personal, not only is her material spot on but she has really found her comedy voice and is reveling in her stage persona, being playful with it in the¬†way that Hannah Gadsby was¬†when she got into her stride. It makes me wildly happy when I see a comedian develop to this point; owning the stage and the audience.


Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine with Tony Martin

Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine at Northcote Social Club, Northcote

Lineup: The Rebelles, Pinky Beecroft and Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine with Tony Martin.

Probably more of a music gig. But Damian’s lyrics are so densely satirical and funny and he’s smartly put the lyrics on a screen behind him, so that you can catch them. Tony Martin is having a great time as the band’s rapper/back up dancer It ended with everyone on stage (The Rebelles are a choir of about 20 women) for a wild jam.


Tessa Waters, Janet A Mcleod & Nath Valvo

Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda 

Lineup: Mc: Nath Valvo, Geraldine Hickey, Tessa Waters, Tom Ballard, Double Denim, Headliner: Oliver Clark

Not just any night, but the 14th Birthday night for Local Laughs at The Taphouse StKilda. Geraldine Hickey was the first person to ever perform at Local Laughs and traditionally is the 1st performer at all the birthday shows. A reliable crowdpleaser, she was wonderfully funny as always. She also skulled a beer as is tradition. Nath was a suitably bubbly party host and headliner Oliver Clark the consummate crooning showman. Tessa charms the audience into joining in with her fun and the plucky Double Denim are relatively young and new Рall bright eyed and being silly. Tom Ballard is one of the foremost political comedians in the country and was a roaring fire of inspiration. A brilliant birthday show.


Peter and Bambi Heaven – The Magic Inside at the Melba Spiegeltent, Collingwood

by Asher Treleaven and Gypsy WoodP1050823

To say this show was not for the Faint hearted would be an understatement but it is also Simply Sensational and tears down the face hilarious. Asher Treleavan and Gypsy Wood play “all-round entertainers” Peter & Bambi Heaven direct from the Sunshine Coast, possibly from sometime in the 1980s. Gypsy looks like Kylie Minogue and talks like Kylie Mole. Asher Treleavan looks spookily like an 80s Darryl Somers. They showcase their talents and all manner of mayhem ensues. Only people as seriously talented as Gypsy & Asher could pull off this deluded dubious duo. There are belly laughs, cringes, gasps and copious nudity.


Kel Balnaves

Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

Lineup: Mc: Bart Freebairn, Gillian English, MJ Wong, Sami Shah, Kel Balnaves and Headliner: Ben Knight

Bart is one of the best comedians in Melbourne without a TV gig. Someone get him on TV, he’s hilarious. Another great night at Local Laughs with a variety of performers. Gillian English is warming up for a season at The Butterfly Club and anyone who saw her at Comedy Festival will be interested to see her perform in her wedding gown and how that all went down. She’s a very engaging performer. MJ Wong was new to me, it was his Local Laughs debut and he did a set with a crowd pleasing closer that reminded me of the style I saw in the US in 2015. ¬†Leave them with something to remember you by. Sami Shah has had some life changes, a new love and work at the ABC and was working up some promising material about that. He read out some of a 4 page hand written letter from¬†a listener who is sadly not a fan, that is on its way to comedy gold for next year’s festivals. It has to be said that Kel Balnaves was the standout performer of the evening. We first saw him as the serial killer in Wolf Creek The Musical which was the toast of¬†Melbourne Fringe. He was funny and somewhat terrifying. I’ve been meaning to catch up with his work, but things have stupidly got in the way and I won’t let it happen again. Kel is a charismatic and brilliant comedian. Ben Knight also oozes charisma and did some of the best work I’ve seen him do, seeing us all off into the night with a punny song about maths.


Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

Lineup: Mc: Toby Halligan, Sonia Di Iorio, Jess Perkins, Danielle Walker, Laura Davis, Danielle Walker Headliner: DeAnne Smith

DeAnne Smith
DeAnne Smith

Weird but very enjoyable evening. Every now and then but not often, you get the odd weirdo or little group of arseholes in the audience. This night had multiple cunts. The comedy was exemplary and the cunts¬†learned quickly that while it might be fun to make people feel uncomfortable on a tram (this was what one of them said she enjoyed doing), but don’t try that shit on experienced comedians. It was especially awe inspiring to joyfully witness the full avalanche of Laura Davis hurling herself at their arrogant cuntiness with her powerfully, proficient, wit. This is what the movie Wonder Woman is going to have to live up to. All the performers were on their best game tonight and genuinely hilarious. Host Toby Halligan reading the weird room well, Sonia was sharp, Jess excellent, Danielle at her absolute bubbly best –¬†all of them delighting the room no end (despite a certain row determined to have a crap time and to bring others down with them into the pit). Then after interval, Laura was a sledgehammer of comedy and DeAnne a silver scalpel. Always a wonderful experience for the rest of the room, who are there to enjoy the comedy, when the comedian calls out and shuts down the disruptive elements. Great to be back.


Wild Bore at The Malthouse Melbourne Southbank

by Zoe Coombs Marr, Ursula Martinez & Adrienne Truscott

A play made up from quotes by theatre/comedy reviewers by Australian Zoe, British Ursula and American Adrienne who also performed it, with a surprise guest.


Zach & Viggo
Zach & Viggo

Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

Lineup: Mc: Daniel Connell, Dilruk Jayasinha, Vincent Mayrick, Paco Erhard, Paige Hally, Surem Jayemanne and  Headliner: Zach & Viggo


The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Club, Max Watts Bar, Melbourne CBD

MC: Same Taunton, Geraldine Hickey, Urzila Carlson, DeAnne Smith, Romesh Ranganathan, Sapan Virma, Yummy

Then the Festival Awards happened and some dancing.


Bart Freebairn – Maximum Delicious

Fringe Wives Club – Glittery Clittery: A ConSENSUAL Party


Phill Jupitus: Juplicity


Frehd the Clown aka Clownie: Stripped Bare
РMy review:


The Shelf at The Toff in Town, Curtain House Melbourne CBD
Hosts: Justin Hamilton and Adam Richard,
Wil Anderson, Rhys Nicholson, Claire Hooper, Josh Earl, Cal Wilson, Celia Pacqola, Tessa Waters, Rose Matafeo, Adele, Lehmo, Guy Montgomery, Daniel Townes, TomWalker, Ciaran Lyons, Fringe Wives Club (Tessa Waters, Rowena Hutson, Victoria Falconer-Pritchard) , and Alice Fraser.

A huge night with 19 performers on stage and nearly half of them were women. Fantastic to have Adele (Cal Wilson) back telling us all about Easter and the bible because yet again she had only one tweet for her Ask Aunty Adele segment from Sam. Again the chat segments were often as entertaining as the acts. Alice Fraser was not scheduled to be on but she turned up when they needed someone for the special one of gameshow “How Much did Lehmo Pay for his new Baby’s pram?” in the style of Wheel of Fortune. The answer was a LOT. Peter who I got to know because he sees even more comedy in Melbourne than I do also takes lots of

The shelf cast photograph the audience snapper
The shelf cast photograph the audience snapper

photos of comedians and puts them on twitter and instagram. Tonight at The Shelf Peter was dragged on stage to have the comedians all kneeling down to take unflattering picks of him from below as a playful bit of revenge and loving tribute of thanks. This helped give The Shelf back its feel of a fun club for regular audience members. Finally The Fringe Wives Club blew the roof off the joint with joyful, anthemic songs about women deserving pockets and how abuse against women by men has been normalised in society.


Andy Zaltzman: Plan Z!

One of my highlights of MICF 2017

The Bugle Alice Fraser, Tom Ballard & Andy Zaltzman
The Bugle Alice Fraser, Tom Ballard & Andy Zaltzman

Andy Zaltzman: The Bugle Podcast live recording.

Brilliant, dense comedic look at current world politics.

Guests: Alice Fraser, Tom Ballard


Matt Kilpa: Songs in the Key of Awesomesauce

Tom Gleeson: Cheer Up


Liam Ryan: Well That’s Disappointing


Alex Ward: Quiet
РMy Review:

Thursday Comedy Club at The European Bier Cafe, Melbourne CBD
Line up: MC Tom Ballard, Iain Stirling, Larry Dean, Guy Montgomery, Daniel Sloss, DeAnne Smith, Danny McGinlay, with a quick appearance by room runner Karl Chandler.
– Great night to see performers I’ve not seen so far at the Festival and always lovely to see DeAnne again. 3 Scottish comedians and Danny McGinlay talking about his Scottish dad & Northern Irish Mum. Danny asked the room if they were interested in footy and most of the room said no, so he did not do gear from his current show and headlined like a pro definitely in Festival top condition. Meanwhile Tom Ballard was on freaking fire. Not sure if the sound in the room was up too loud or Tom was just having fun shouting into the mic. He was magnificent.


Andrew Kelso: A Virtual Tour of Melbourne

Gillian English is a Bitter Shrew
РMy review:


DeAnne Smith: Post Joke Era

Daniel Kitson: Not Yet But Soon РA Work in Progress Standup Show 
– It was more rambling and less written than I expected. I’m sure he’d hoped it was further along too. This is clearly his way of forcing himself to write (the show is actually going to be an Edinburgh Fringe Festival Show and must be done by mid July) and it’s quite a stressful process. There were some pretty big laughs but not enough for 2 full hours. The really annoying thing was that a friend told me she would not see him again because he harangued her about the way she laughed. Tonight he did it again. Yes the couple were some of the most extremely weird/loud laughers I’ve ever heard but he embarrassed them saying ‘You’re affecting the whole room, making those around you quiet and putting my timing off’ (this was actually true & I’d been thinking the same thing, but still no excuse) and despite apologising and claiming to feel guilty – he got what he wanted, they ¬†were quiet and self conscious. They didn’t relax and laugh normally again throughout the long show despite his trying to charm and win them back. I haven’t felt this grumpy with him in a long time. He made us feel like the teddy bears in his apartment,¬†props he doesn’t like to admit he needs. He also picked on people opening a lolly wrapper and someone spinning a water bottle in their hands. He actually admitted audience members have emailed him ¬†saying that being in his audience is very stressful. Maybe he needs a larger room than this where people can lose themselves, or a less fancy, formal one (like The Tuxedo Cat he’s used in the past) for this sort of show. Personally, as a comedy fan and follower of Kitson’s work for many years, I think this sort of process is fascinating, but being part of his work in this way is not for everyone. I’ll be interested to see the finished show in Edinburgh in a few months.

Don’t go to a Work in Progress thinking you are seeing a proper normal festival show like his Gorgeous, densely written and well rehearsed story show¬†Stories for the Starlit Sky.


The Shelf at The Toff in Town, Curtain House Melbourne CBD
Hosts: Justin Hamilton and Adam Richard,
Wil Anderson, Dilruk Jayasinha, Rhys Nicholson, Claire Hooper, Josh Earl, Tessa Waters, Lehmo, Guy Montgomery, Jared Jeckell, Daniel Townes, Alice Fraser, TomWalker, Nikki Britton
– The Shelf is always debauched fun but feeling more boys club-like than ever this year, despite the ladies present, and a Sydney club at that. The regular audience members always felt part of the fun, but not as much this year. Still generally enjoyed the night but not as much as last week.


Daniel Kitson & Gavin Osborn: Stories for the Starlit Sky
– 4 hours, 3 Stories, 2 intervals. A saga with stories within stories, songs that support or tell the other half of a story and characters who all turn out to be intertwined. It was a bit of a slog at times, can’t help feeling sleepy half way through the Festival. But they were beautiful stories and well told. Kitson and Osborn worked well together and laughed and joked between the stories. Gavin’s songs were all stories too and some of them told parts¬†of the stories that Daniel was telling and some shared themes.


Stuart Goldsmith: The Comedian’s Comedian Podcast with Hannah Gadsby
– The Interview answered all those questions you have after seeing Hannah’s show. Stuart worked brilliantly without a clipboard and dealt well with Hannah being occasionally testy. She told me off for always sitting up the front (I can’t help it I’m short) and asked how I felt she had changed as a performer . So of course¬†I nearly collapsed into a puddle of nerves and floundered, being visual on a podcast. Hopefully it’ll be edited out.


Rama Nicholas The Lucky Ones

Josh Earl’s Festival starring Josh Earl and¬†Daniel Tobias


Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
РMy Review:

Richard Gadd: Monkey See Monkey Do
РMy Review:


Michael Williams: Escape from a 90s Educational CD-ROM!  at ACMI

Frank Woodley: I Woodley at The Victorian Arts Centre, Fairfax Studio
РMy Review:


The Ballad of Frank Allen By Shane Adamczak and St John Cowcher at The Butterfly Club

Sarah Kendall – Shaken
РMy Review:


The Shelf at The Toff in Town, Curtain House Melbourne CBD
Hosts: Justin Hamilton and Adam Richard,
Wil Anderson, Rhys Nicholson, Frehd Starr (Clownie), Claire Hooper, Josh Earl, Tessa Waters, Alex Jae, Ivan Aristeguieta, Guy Montgomery, Paige Hally, Daniel Townes, Luke Heggie

РWil introduced us to his son Rhys Nicholson, Claire Hooper Danced with Adam Richard, Tessa wriggled with some audience members. We finally met legend of many a Hammo story Frehd Clownie Starr, Josh Earl did a brilliant conversation with an invisible audience member and then did some weird stuff with patries, Ivan Aristeguieta destroyed the room. Most of it, of course, cannot leave the room.


Sammy J: Hero Complex – The Vic Hotel
– My second viewing and it is even better. Amazing to see it again with the knowledge of what is to come and be reminded of bits I’ve forgotten and scream with laughter again. A couple of new songs (I think), and I got a showbag.

Headliners – Melbourne Town Hall
Ryan Hamilton, Emily Heller, Liza Treyger and Jak Knight
-My review:


Steele Saunders: I Love Green Guide Letters Podcast recording – The Joint
Guests: Guy Montgomery, Chris Wainhouse and Bart Freebairn

Justin Hamilton: Bunta Boy –¬†Melbourne Town Hall

Stuart Goldsmith: Compared to What – Greek Centre

Laura Davis: Cake in the Rain – Fort Delta
РMy Review:

FRIDAY March 31

Luke McGregor: Almost Fixed It – Comedy Theatre
РMy Review:

Watson: Go To Hell – The Malthouse
– My Review:


Sarah Jones: Creepy Dummy – Butterfly Club

Kieran Hodgson: Maestro РMelbourne Town Hall Comedy
– For classical music lovers. Brilliantly written, funny, romantic, gay love story in the sort of Kitsonesque style. My cup of tea.


3 Little Gigs РThe Imperial Hotel
РMy Review:

Geraldine Hickey: Smithereens – The Imperial Hotel
– Geraldine has a delightfully dry delivery and always does a quality show. This year it’s about Hilarious Holidays hijinx.

TUESDAY March 28

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Melbourne CBD

Jacqueline Mifsud Sink Full of Forks РTasma Terrace
РMy Review:

The Lioness Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock РTasma Terrace

SATURDAY March 25 

Kitty Flanagan

Basement Comedy at The European Bier Cafe, Melbourne CBD  

Lineup: Mc: Karl Chandler, Stuart Goldsmith, Nazeem Hussain, Kitty Flanagan Headliner: Tony Martin

This is a new night started up by Karl Chandler and it’s a great thing for Melbourne to have comedy happening on a Saturday Night in the CBD. There are now a few options and that has been rare in Melbourne in the past. Karl has astutely put this on at 8pm and kept it shortish (about two hours), so that people can have dinner before the show and go dancing or hang out upstairs afterwards and socialise. The room has a bar and pizza oven in it, so drinks and snacks can be easily purchased.

Drawn in by the lure of Tony Martin (though, actually, we were intending to visit anyway), it was thrilling to be in the audience for what turned out to be an A grade line-up. Karl warmed the audience up well, despite insulting 95% of them. Luckily everyone was in a great mood and he was forgiven. The fact that he gave us such a stunning night of comedy made up for everything.

We are fans of the podcast Comedian’s Comedian and went to our 1st ever live podcast recording in Edinburgh in 2012. So it’s lovely having Stuart in Melbourne and he was testing his show references on us and getting us to tell him whether they translated from UK English. From Biker to Bikee for example. He’s a great storyteller and was very present, making references to the room and recent local experiences, as well as the stories from his show. Next Nazeem Hussain who is just out of the jungle and is ready to unload his experiences from Africa. He is always impressive. It was super exiting to see Kitty Flanagan, as she resides in Sydney and I don’t think I’ve experienced her in a small venue before (or not for so long that I’ve forgotten). She was preparing for the MICF Opening Night Comedy Allstars Supershow (Bit of a mouthful) and she was seriously brilliant. Finally Tony Martin, who had his best stories for us. Yes I’ve heard them before, but he too was in serious top form and had the audience in fits.  What a gorgeous evening.

This was the 3rd comedy night this week at three different venues and there has been surprisingly little crossover of acts. That is the joy of the week before Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

During the Festival I’ll probably only be posting links to reviews of shows or brief lists. I just won’t have time to keep this blog up to this standard. I barely do now!

TUESDAY March 21 

Anne Edmonds
Anne Edmonds

Catfish Comedy at The Catfish, Fitzroy  

Lineup: Mc: Tim Hewitt, Peter Jones, Loyiso Gola, Mae Martin, DeAnne Smith, Dave Hughes, Anne Edmonds, Daniel Connell, Stuart Goldsmith, Wil Anderson, Joel Creasey Headliner: Dilruk Jayasinha

Tommy Dassalo said it was going to be A Massive Gala Show and he was not kidding. All the performers¬†other than Tim Hewitt the¬†Emcee had a coveted spot at tomorrow night‚Äôs MICF Gala and they were trying out their spots on us, which meant all the acts were short and sharp. I don’t have time to cover them all, but I must say that two performers I saw Monday night at The Local¬†have sharpened their act in 24 hours¬†and I was very ¬†impressed by¬†Loyiso Gola & Dave Hughes. Though I’ve learned that Hughesy had come directly from his trial show, so its not so surprising he was firing. It’s been a couple of years since Canadian DeAnne Smith has been in the country & I’ve missed her, so it was great to see her being so powerfully hilarious as she taught the men in the room how to treat a lady. She owned the room. Wil Anderson, who will be Hosting the Gala knew that his anti Jan 26 Australia Day rants¬†would go down a treat with the inner city Fitzroy crowd at The Catfish, but was a bit worried about whether¬†the huge, more mixed Gala audience would go with him. How could they resist?

With a few of the¬†performers I’d heard their stories¬†before, but this is material that is going to burn bright on TV and it’s important that they show themselves at their best with true and tested gear. EVERYone tonight was honed and tight, ready for the Big Event tomorrow night, including lesser known Peter Jones and laid back Daniel Connell and the audience was equally pumped and excited. It was a joy & privilege to share this special Gala Eve with the performers.

Tommy D sadly couldn’t be there, but co room runner Ben Vernel and ¬†Timothy Clark held the fort for him and Emcee Tim Hewitt held his own, showing he was equal to being on stage with all those comedy stars. Oh and the ¬†philly cheese steaks at The Catfish were superb as ever.

MONDAY March 20

Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

Lineup: Mc: Xavier Michelides, Sarah Jones, Ivan Aristeguieta, Loyiso Gola, Hap Hayward, Dave Hughes,  Headliner: Watson P1050106

The Audience was back on track this week to have a great time and the performers brought the stuff for us. Emcee Xavier Michelides warmed into the night and in the wake of Justin Bieber‚Äôs recent tour explained where the saying ‚ÄúLock up your Daughters‚ÄĚ may come from. The stage was set up with a weird contraption for the first act – Sarah Jones, comedy ventriloquist, who surprised us with some silly shadow puppetry. Ivan treated us all too briefly with a tight 3 minutes about Post Offices (Preparing for a Gala spot perhaps?) Next was Loyiso Gola from South Africa and known to Australian audiences from his appearances on Charlie Pickering‚Äôs The Weekly on the ABC. He was a little jet lagged but he soon got into his relaxed stride with some sharp gags that delighted¬†the audience and received big cheers as he left. Hap Hayward followed by revealing his jetlag from his drive down from Ballarat.

The second half was all headliner with Dave Hughes having fun by playing it loose, trying new gags and giving us some very local St Kilda material. He was the best I’ve seen him in person in ages and very funny. Finally Watson, (Adam McKenzie, Tegan Higginbotham & Liam Ryan) giving us a variety of hilarious sketches from their new show and the sense of horror was quite creepy at times. They were brilliant despite no props, costumes or context. Bring on the Comedy Festival!

MONDAY March 13 

Adam McKenzie

Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

Lineup: Mc: Laura Davis, Lehmo, Adam McKenzie, The Mighty Little Puppet Show, Jeff Green, Daniel Connell,  Headliner: Adam Richard

Another big night of variety, it’s always an interestingly curated night at Local Laughs thanks to Janet A McLeod. A packed full audience, but a bit on the strange side tonight. From the outset they were hard to get motivated to make with the noise and join in the fun, but then most of the performers were pre Festival stressed & trying out new gear on them. So it goes a little of both ways, I guess. I’ve been to nights like this before. It made for a bit of a weird one despite a really great line up and puppets. Lehmo has clearly worked on his material since we last saw him and has a great set happening. The problem with his new-dad stuff is that a pub audience isn’t going to be full of parents with kids. The Festival audience should have more fun with it but I can see he’s done some work making the material more non-parent friendly.

The real surprise guest of the night was Adam McKenzie, we haven’t seen him do a solo set for a long time and we found out why. He’s had a touch of bowel cancer last year and had the audience in fits with his medical related experiences. He warmed the room with a joyful glow and gales of laughter and was certainly the heart and highlight of the night.

The Mighty Little Puppets are a mix of muppets and impro and we were given a taste of the show tonight. Its hard to do impro in such a short spot but fun to watch never the less. Adam Richard had tales from Sydney and performing at the Daylesford festival that day.

The main thing we all took away from the evening was to remember to get our bums checked.

MONDAY March 6

Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

The Fake McCoys
The Fake McCoys

Lineup: Mc: Michael Goldstein, Geraldine Hickey, Laura Dunemann, The Fake McCoys, Matt Stewart, Headliner: Michael Williams

Michael Goldstein, is so effortlessly affable and gives off that sort of American style charm that makes hosting a comedy night look easy. Geraldine Hickey‚Äôs fun park material, that had the audience gasping, is strangely topical considering another Theme Park ride had trapped some people in the air the day before. Laura Dunemann shared her passion for several TV shows and for talking about said TV shows. I can certainly relate to going through periods of being obsessed with TV shows. The Fake McCoys (musical comedy act made up of Patrick Stokes¬†and¬†Christian Price) reminded us of how much they‚Äôve been missed from the comedy world over the past decade or so with some ripper songs about current affairs and Tai Chi. During the break friends & I¬†discussed the musical fad of guys & a guitar doing silly songs (as opposed to solo musical comedy / cabaret acts) and how it seems to have sadly waned. Will we ever see the likes of DAAS, Tripod, Scared Weird Little Guys, The Found Objects, The Fake McCoys, Renegades of Folk and so on, amongst newcomers again? After the break we had two acts; the warm charm of Matt Stewart and then the broad silliness of Michael Williams and his animated chickens. Michael’s animations from his new Moosehead awarded show are¬†looking hilarious. I go home with Michael’s ‚ÄúGraph jokes‚ÄĚ to the tune of Footloose in my head. This hangs around for a few days. There it is again‚Ķ.


Rod Quantock in the mirror
Rod Quantock

Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda 

Lineup: Mc: Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall, Jack Druce, Sonia di Iorio, Kelly Fastuca, Headliner: Rod Quantock

Alasdair won me with his opening Duck Impersonator bit, which can still have me in fits. He’s a gentle comedian which can fool audiences into thinking he’s going to be a safe standup but Alasdair can surprise audiences into the weirdest and darkest of places. Jack didn’t want to talk about being a young poor comedian, but can’t help writing about what he knows and it suits him. I’ve not seen much of Sonia Di Iorio and seeing her tonight makes me want to rectify that. Kelly Fastuca had lots of new stuff to talk about that was surprising and in her chatty way could not help mentioning the Oscars debacle, though didn’t quite give the full spoiler. I always enjoy it when comedians doing rooms occasionally break from their planned material and are up with any interesting newsworthy events. Speaking of which, up comes Headliner Rod Quantock, another comedian who is deceptively gentle and can surprise with a vicious aside. I’ve been enjoying his work for many, many years and have watched his act evolve with current political events. It was time for him to add the American president to his list of political villains on his Big Notepad. It was hard to tell if he is becoming genuinely more forgetful or if it’s part of his rambling, slapdash schtick. Anyway it was all endearingly entertaining, while ever unfailingly seditious and his fans were especially and vocally rapt.


Shaun Micallef Yarraville
Shaun Micallef

Yarraville Laughs 4th Birthday at The Yarraville Club, Yarraville 

Lineup: Mc: Matthew Hardy, 1st Bracket: Lehmo, Danielle Walker, Bob Franklin, 2nd Bracket: Shaun Micallef, Sue-Anne Post, Rusty Berther, 3rd Bracket: Troy Kinne, Fiona O’Loughlin, Tony Martin.

Matthew Hardy and James Young always put on a smashing birthday show with what can only be described as a shitload of headline acts. It’s like a mini comedy festival. This year proved so popular that it needed two nights get everyone in what is a pretty huge room. The Room has big tables at the front for those paying a premium for dinner and show, then the price of the seats gets less as you get further away from the stage. Its one of the most expensive rooms in Melbourne, but generally delivers great night out to a packed audience and, no doubt, the performers are being well paid which is always a good thing.

Matthew has got Emceeing the room down to a fine art and the guy next to me (who kept asking me ‚Äėwho‚Äôs this?‚Äô and giggled with delight throughout the evening) said ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs funny!‚ÄĚ The room was certainly warm and ready for Lehmo to get the show off to a flying start. He‚Äôs mostly doing ‚Äėnew dad‚Äô gear unsurprisingly at the moment. Soon to lose her RAW crown Danielle was a bit of a risky act in my mind with what I would describe as a fairly mainstream audience, and her material certainly seems to be edging further into the dark which I must admit disappoints me a little. Her new Loch Ness Monster gear was so great (though her butcher paper drawings were a bit small in the huge space, she needs to make use of the big screen). She‚Äôs still developing, long way to go and she has a wonderfully individual outlook and voice I would not wish to curb. Bob Franklin came out and wowed those around me with some fabulous new gear.

Shaun Micallef brought a brilliant mix of old fashioned and out there weird by reading a poem from Jimmy Stewart, while doing his voice. I’ve heard Shaun do this before, at the Willy Lit Festival I think. Delightfully dotty. Sue-Anne brought her down to earth personal stories to the room and won everyone over with her big furry ball bag. Rusty rocked the room with some Scared Weird Little classics, which I love singing along to.

Troy Kinne fit the room like a glove with his charming ocker humour. Fiona has been through the wars, including a life threatening coma, but was vibrant and looking better than I’ve seen her in some time. It was heartening for me to see her make the room her own. Finally Tony Martin, a last minute replacement for Lawrence Mooney and brought the perfect material to bring it all home and send everyone off happily if a little exhausted from laughing.


Joel Creasey

Catfish Comedy at The Catfish, Fitzroy

Lineup: Mc: Dave O’Neil, Kirsty Webeck, Joel Creasey, Natalie Harris, Celia Pacquola, Tommy Dassalo, Anthony Morgan, Ben Knight Headliner: Tom Ballard

Yes it‚Äôs Valentine‚Äôs Day and what better way for us to spend Valentine‚Äôs Day evening than watching comedy together. The traffic was appalling and there was no time for us to have dinner in a fancy restaurant beforehand, we were lucky to even make it in time for the comedy. Luckily The Catfish has a kitchen and the American chef does Philly Cheese steaks which turn out to be heaven in a bun. Cocktail of the night was also a winner. So, great food, drink and, as it turns out, a Big line-up of excellent comedians in a room that’s a comfortable size for the audience.

And now some highlights.  Dave O’Neil is, as always, the lovable Host. I was amused that he was doing anti Hipster material to an audience of young people in Gertrude St Fitzroy. Now that’s brave, edgy stuff!! Immaculately dressed Joel Creasey straight from his appearance on The Project was the surprise opener act. The story he’d just done on The Project was much filthier on stage. Morgs in Melbourne from his farm in Tassie to work on Ronny Chieng’s new ABC comedy, wanted to get nostalgic for his youth, as he’d realised he probably performed in this very venue as an 18 year old comedian but he kept being distracted by the bulldog clip holding the curtains together on the wall behind him. Celia brought some new material with a killer punchline. Tommy Dassalo who co-runs the night got on stage and showed that he too is Festival Ready and why this is a great time of year to get out into the live comedy nights. Tom Ballard we had seen last night do a longer headline spot and his bang on political material is so dense that a second sitting actually pays off, as you pick up on stuff you missed while you were laughing the first time. It’s also still all just as funny, which is a sign of top notch gags. Tonight I picked up that he’s living in Melbourne now, so we’ll see more of him and that’s fantastic.


Rose Callahan
Rose Callaghan

Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

Lineup: Mc: Tegan Higginbotham, Judith Lucy, Nick Capper, Sam Taunton, Angus Gordon, Rose Callaghan, Headliner: Tom Ballard

Feeling unwell but was so glad I dragged my butt out to the Local for some Valentines Eve laughs. The show was bookended by two amazing surprise performers; last minute drop in Judith Lucy opened the show and Tom Ballard closed it up. MC Tegan Higginbotham is always worth seeing, she was not only in top shape and festival ready, but getting us all in the mood for love by regaling us with some astonishing, badly written, weird porn. Meanwhile Judith seduced us with an uncanny impression of a Movie star and led us on a journey through some hilariously shit 80s music. A joy and a privilege as ever to experience someone of Judith‚Äôs calibre in such a small but packed room who are all loving every minute of her performance. Nick Capper took us into some delightfully weird places and sex positions and when we thought it couldn‚Äôt get any weirder along came Angus Gordon who reminded me a little of a young Dave Quirk with a gentle measured pace and a dark edge. One of his ‚Äėthings‚Äô is to get audience members to punch him, then insult them for not being strong enough to really hurt him, but not in a witty way, just in a really strange way. In hindsight, it was a bit of a shame he neglected to ask our Emcee, and trained boxer, Tegan‚Ķ. Then to round off the first bracket Sam Taunton brought us back into the light with some breezy topical observations, about the weather, touring and sheets to take into the break. It was received by the audience like a cool change after a heatwave.

The second bracket was led by our Valentine‚Äôs single Rose‚ĶCallaghan who was all like ‚ÄėOh you think you guys are a bit dark and edgy? Right‚Äô and had the audience hiding behind their hands with her hilarious but terrifying Valentines Horror Story. Finishing the night our headline act Tom Ballard was pure, passionate politics. Tom held the audience spellbound for half an hour, breaking down his feelings about his political views and the shit currently going down in the world. What struck me is how his stage presence has matured since I last saw him perform live a couple of years ago. Missing his 2016 award winning show The World Keeps Happening was my biggest regret of the year. After winning the Inaugural John Pinder Award last year at MICF, he took his show to Edinburgh and was nominated for Best Comedy Show in the biggest arts festival in the world. He lives in Sydney, so I don‚Äôt get to see him do spots very often and it always gives me a special joy to see a comedian hit their stride and own the room they are in. Tom Ballard is definitely right there at the top of his game. So glad I hauled my less than bushy tail off the couch and to the Local tonight.

SUNDAY Feb 12 

Splendid Chaps
Splendid Chaps

Splendid Chaps at Bella Union Bar, Carlton 

Lineup: Ben McKenzie, John Richards and Petra Elliot with guests, Djoymi Baker and George Ivanoff РTopic : Dr Who Spinoffs.

Splendid Chaps was a monthly podcast celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr Who¬†in 2013. Each month they discussed and celebrated a different actor’s Doctor and a specific Dr Who related theme and along the way there were extra and mini episodes about special topics. This show was like one of those side episodes and the topic was Dr Who¬†Spinoff series. There were many comedian guests during 2013 including Adam Richard, Tegan Higginbotham (named after a Dr Who¬†character), Dave Callan, Josie Long, Justin Hamilton, Cal Wilson, Rob Lloyd and Stella Young¬†who performed live along side host Ben who is one of the doyens of Melbourne Nerd comedy, which is why I decided that the podcast was worth covering by Squirrel Comedy. Also I‚Äôm a big Dr Who¬†fan and attended most of the recordings that year.

Splendid Chaps is a bit like a club with injokes, catchphrases, prize giveaways and dressups and this afternoon was like a club reunion. One of the audience members had flown from Sydney to attend. The performers were a little rusty and took a little time to warm into it, but show did not let us down. The main Dr Who¬†Spinoff series that were discussed in depth were The Sarah Jane Chronicles, Torchwood and the new one Class. Part of the fun was seeing Ben and John passionately disagree about Class. The Guests were not comedians, they were both writers and Djoymi Baker teaches cinema at Melbourne Uni, but there were many laughs throughout and as usual a fabulous musical performance to end the show. Petra Elliot sang the Class Theme song, ‚ÄúUp All Night‚ÄĚ which is probably better than the show itself (in my opinion). I hope there are more Splendid Chap reunions to come but best of all you can hear the podcast of this performance (& all the ones from 2013) from their website.


Cinema Fiasco at Cinema Nova, Carlton 

Geoff Wallis & Janet A McLeod
Geoff Wallis & Janet A McLeod

Lineup: Janet A McLeod and Geoff Wallis perform commentary on the film Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)

So we come to the last of ¬†this Summer’s season of Cinema Fiasco, back again at Cinema Nova. The film was Kingdom of the Spiders and the spiders were rather cute furry¬†tarantulas. I think quite a lot of tarantulas died in this film being the 70s, but you can see the actors carefully stepping around them through most of the film as the¬†spiders are no doubt expensive and they only have so many for the film. In the town you can see where they’ve been painted on the road and the obvious straight line where the painted spiders stop and the rest of the road is clear. All very funny. Best of all it starred William Shatner who got some great competition in cheesey acting from the ladies in the film. Janet and Geoff in outfits covered in furry fake spiders had enormous fun pointing out all the silliness in this film and the audience had a hoot joining in. Kingdom of the Spiders was actually surprisingly entertaining and not too dull, a bit slow to get started but Shatner is always entertaining and it suddenly picked up at the end. Great choice of film for Cinema Fiasco and my favourite of the season. These bad film appreciation nights are so much fun, I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next one.

  • Tonights repetative motif that goes *bing!* was 70s curtains.


Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda20170130_204939

Lineup: Mc: Ivan Aristeguieta, Josh Earl, Daniel Tobias, Laura Dunneman, Michael Shafer, Hap Hayward Headliner: Bart Freebairn

Well the tennis is over and The Local is back to full capacity once more. It’s always great when you see a performer who has worked on, extended and generally improved on their routines since you’ve last seen them and it was a joy to laugh heartily at MC Ivan Aristeguieta’s work for this reason. The opening act was a visitation from some extremely talented Robots who may or may not have been Daft Punk but were probably Josh Earl and Daniel Tobias (of Die Roten Punkte). How exciting is it when a couple of wildly talented performers get together on a performance and it pays off? Josh is going to have some great guests in his Festival show this year and if this is any gauge, it’s going to be Fabulous! Josh also did a surprise set of his own and broke a thong but soldiered on and was great as usual. Laura probably used the word fingering more than anyone else to appear on The Local stage. Interesting fresh tales but a bit flat tonight. Michael Shafer has been impressing me every time I’ve seen him over the past year and his stuff about lawyers really had the room going, esp some people up the back who were really going off. Hap Hayward, a country teacher who’s gaining experience, was enjoyable last time and has improved in confidence and ability which again is always great to see and the audience loved him. Bart Freebairn never fails to bring me to tears of laughter, so I’m always excited when he’s on the bill. He proves that you don’t have to shout to own the room and get the punters roaring. I keep wondering why he isn’t a household name already.


Sarah Jones with Dummy
Sarah Jones & friend

Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda 

Lineup: Mc: Dilruk Jayasinha, Michael Chamberlain, Laura Davis, Gillian English, Sarah Jones, Headliner: Sami Shah

Host Dilruk has been working hard and is clearly game ready for Festival season. Had the smallish audience feeling like a much bigger crowd and did his job well. Chambo has a serious beef with the Dalai Llama, so maybe Tibetan Budhists should steer clear of his Festival show this year. Laura Davis is really making a space for herself as a comedy maverick who takes the audience into unexpected jawdropping places that has the audience laughing and gasping at the same time. Then we have Gillian English from the Great White North smashing the Patriarchy, comedy and the room in general. Sarah Jones has some new puppets; a head on stick to terrify and¬†a tribute to The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever, when people all over the world (inc yours truly in a huge crowd in Melbourne) dressed as Kate Bush and performed the choreography from Kate‚Äôs Wuthering Heights video. Headliner Sami Shah, has done quite well since moving to Melbourne, getting to do a radio show on the ABC and proved again tonight that he is a brilliant storyteller, if you’ve not seen him as yet, his will be a show to catch at MICF 2017.


Wil Anderson Fire at Wil at The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. Wil Anderson 1 night Stan

Lineup: Wil Anderson, Supported by Justin Hamilton

It feels weird to admit that I’ve not seen a full length Wil Anderson Show since 2010, at The New Zealand International Comedy Festival. Everyone had been raving about his 2010 show in Melbourne & I’d missed it, so looked forward to catching up with it in New Zealand. Unfortunately when I finally saw it he didn’t do the new show. Same title, old material that was still great but I’d seen many times.

Tonight opened with a bit of pre-show banter where he explained that this show was not going to be the complete Fire at Wil but a mix of that and a previous show because this was going to be recorded and I must say, I was a bit worried. But luckily I had only heard one routine before and it was a corker about finding himself semi-nude and locked out of his room.

Well as I said, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen one of his full length shows. There are several reasons for this. It used to be because he did his pre-festival warm up shows in Melbourne and I’d see one or two of those instead. That was awesome, seeing him create a new show in a tiny space Рand now lucky Sydney gets to experience these. Then as I began writing reviews we would rarely get media passes for the big names such as Wil; the sort of shows that are likely to sell out don’t need reviews. Then if we did get review tickets I would give them to the younger reviewers with stars still in their eyes, knowing that

Justin Hamilton Wil Anderson at The Shelf
Justin Hamilton Wil Anderson at The Shelf

Wil Anderson is not going to do a dud show, and from what I hear, he hasn’t in all this time. There are so many acts to cover during the festival and I get to see Wil hanging out with his mates on stage at The Shelf, but I know, it‚Äôs not the same. So when I heard he was reprising his 2016 MICF show in Melbourne, on a Sunday evening in January, when I was sure to be free, I jumped on the tickets.

Wil did not let me down. He is exceptionally good at this comedy festival show thing. Who would’ve thought? For a lot of people this Rock Star Comedian experience is their normal comedy experience, for me it’s a small percentage of my comedy outings and it really was thrilling to be in that atmosphere of a big excited room of fans all having a ball with one of the best standups in the country.

His opening banter non-show part of the evening was pretty brilliant too. He was able to cover some current politics that he’s clearly dying to share with us but unable to put in the show because it will date and he was also able to give his condolences for a major tragedy that had occurred in Melbourne on Friday.

Icing on the cake was getting to hear new material from warm up act Justin Hamilton who also had the room roaring with laughter. Wonderful to also see him in a huge theatre killing it with people who are not necessarily there to see him. Though I’m sure he had many fans, like me in the theatre.


Ethan Cavanagh
Ethan Cavanagh

Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

Lineup: Mc: Xavier Michelides, Lehmo, Daniel Connell, Ethan Cavanagh, Headliner: Cal Wilson

It was hot outside and a bit quieter this week, but the comedians soon heated up the joint. Emcee Xavier Michelides was in top form and says he’s¬†working blue – though interestingly this was less rude than the last time I saw him¬†& remember saying to a friend ‘gee he’s not always that full on’. ¬†Lehmo working on material that is mostly about his new family. It sounds like he’s jetlagged and still in shock mode a few months in. It was interesting to get Cal’s contrasting years of experience at the other end of the show. She’s found out ways of getting joy from childrearing, namely lying to them. Daniel Connell had¬†the audience in his hand and is clearly ready for his upcoming festival show. Ethan Cavanagh was a Class Clowns finalist in 2016, he’s just a kid, but this was not his 1st time at Local Laughs and it won’t be his last. He’s brimming with potential,¬†high energy, he had the audience laughing throughout, clearly a great young talent to keep an eye on. Matt Smith is very low energy, dry, gentle comedy with a Rod Quantock vibe but not so political, a lovely contrast of styles between the zappy Ethan and the¬†sassy Cal Wilson. Cal clearly has a humdinger of a Festival show in the works. I was in tears.

FRIDAY THE 13TH JAN20170113_220849[2]


Cinema Fiasco at The Astor Theatre, Windsor

Lineup: Janet A McLeod and Geoff Wallis perform commentary on the film Friday The 13th (1980)

Wow 2 Cinema Fiascos in one month! This time we were¬†back at home base and the audience is chockers. The gorgeous Astor Theatre; a¬†rare old fashioned single screen cinema with a cinema cat called Duke, who we got to say Hello to (he was too grumpy & sleepy to pat. Also he’s had a Summer haircut). Only Cinema Fiasco could get me out to watch Friday the 13th. Am not a slasher fan and this film pretty much justified my aversion to them. It is pretty awful. Though I must say, for slasher fans, the killings do start surprisingly early and come pretty regularly, but the intermanable bits in between are so dull and badly acted! As Janet and Geoff helpfully point out; we actually sat watching a person make an instant cup of coffee in real time from lighting the kettle, sadly she doesn’t get to drink it, as the action finally kicks¬†in and she’s too busy fighting off the crazed killer. Janet and Geoff outdid themselves with outfits (Janet as a dead teen & Geoff as the surprising killer Mom) and had us laughing throughout by pointed out all the dumb things in the film, riffing¬†jokes and making us groan with puns. They really do help the audience get through some terrible films.

  • Tonights repetative motif that goes *bing!* was Checkered shirts.



Luke Joseph Ryan
Luke Joseph Ryan

Local Laughs at The Local Taphouse, StKilda

Lineup: Mc: Ivan Aristeguieta, Luke Joseph Ryan, Jess Perkins Laura Davis, David Rose, Headliner: Josh Earl

The roof of The Local Taphouse fell in after a storm and flooding during the Festive¬†break, but with a bit of sticky tape and fairy lights the roof was repaired, and, crisis averted Local Laughs was back tonight with a fairly packed audience and a solid line up of regular favorites and fresh faces. The Local Taphouse is a pub specialising in a vast aray of brews and ciders that has a lot of comfy couches and a great special menu of food for comedy goers. The chips are divine. You can also have a special sit down meal upstairs. Host Ivan is jumping at the bit to sell out shows again at MICF and Josh Earl is working up what clearly promises to be an exciting show about music festivals. Laura Davis also had the audience whooping and losing control with some new jawdropping work. Luke reminded me of a more laid back Bart Freebairn. A bit loopy and windy taking the audience down scary and unexpected paths, that usually end up being worth the trip. When things don’t seem to work he can get extra laughs from that. There was a noisy patron at one put that threatened to put Jess off, but she ignored it and kept her ground winning the audience back. Generally there was an air that everyone was happy to be back at Local Laughs enjoying live comedy.



Cinema Fiasco at Cinema Nova, Carlton 20170106_2052481

Lineup: Janet A McLeod and Geoff Wallis perform commentary on the film Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

So happy to have Cinema Fiasco back for 2017 and Janet and Geoff have not let us down in the costume dept. Both dressed as pretty scary Killer Klowns. Janet’s outfit is made from 3 tutus. The film is about, you guessed it, clowns from outer space who are killing everyone off in a small town in the 1980s. It¬†was a film¬†with its tongue firmly in cheek which made it a little less funny for me than the unintentionally funny films shown at Cinema Fiasco. My fave thing about it was the genuine 80s hair and fashion that only a really low budget film can capture. There were still a lot of laughs to be had from¬†what is still a very bad film made entertaining by the research and the funny comments interjected by Janet and Geoff (and the odd audience member shout out). There¬†is a club feel to Cinema Fiasco because a lot of us have been regulars for 10 years, and we are¬†are¬†keen to join in on the fun. It was a pretty packed audience tonight having a great time.

  • Tonights repetative motif that goes *bing!* was Big Tops.