1. Every show is completely unique, like a snowflake! Because it’s all made up on the spot, you will never see a show like it ever again, like a snowflake! It’s also really cool, like a snowflake!

2. Improvisers are the happiest people you will ever see (on the outside). Even if they’re being crushed from the inside out by their own existential dread and will eventually become one with the universe like a dying star, their smiles and buffoonery are just for YOU.

3. Sorry, I can’t concentrate on this one because there is legit a rooster in my neighbourhood and it’s crowing, what is this, Of Mice and Men or something? JOKES: That was an improv! See? We can literally do anything!

4. The Big Hoo-HAA! ensemble contains some of Melbourne’s hardest working comics who can, outside of being seen in this show, can also be seen on TV and other cool things! Par example, Lliam Amor (The Micallef Show), Gillian Cosgriff (ABC2’s Written it Down), Lee Naimo (Axis of Awesome), Dan Debuf (The Loop) and Brianna Williams (The Bachelor Unpacked).

5. If you want to feel as though you have some control in this crazy world, as we hurtle toward irreversible climate change and animal extinction, improv will not only give you the chance to yell out suggestions and have a hand in creating the comedy, but you can also be distracted from these problems for an hour! Ha ha ha! Comedy truly is the world’s greatest medicine (also penicillin)

The Big Hoo Haa is performing at The Melbourne Town Hall throughout the Festival


The Axis of Awesome – Won’t Never Not Stop Giving Up

By Elyce Phillips Axis of Awesome pic

If you keep up with your comedy news, you’ll know that there’s been a change to the Axis of Awesome (Jordan Raskopoulos, Lee Naimo, and Benny Davis) line-up recently. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that this trio is thoroughly talented. Won’t Never Not Stop Giving Up is musical comedy that’s fun and silly, but packs a punch.

The Axis of Awesome cleverly address any questions the audience may have about Raskopoulos’ gender transition in a hilarious opening song. Naimo also demonstrates how not to behave in a running gag where he is painfully over-supportive of his bandmate. Aside from that, things largely remain the same. There’s absurd songs, pitch-perfect parodies, and the sold-out crowd loved every minute of it.

Won’t Never Not Stop Giving Up delivers the laughs with new songs and a selection of old favourites like ‘Birdplane’, ‘4 Chords’ and ‘Ode to KFC’. Jackie Change, who some may remember from Naimo’s solo show Definitely Not A Trap, makes an appearance with the gloriously silly tune ‘Square of Ice’. The new material is strong – a collection of Will Smith raps were absolutely wonderful, and a bizarre song about an octopus left me still giggling about it the next day.

Raskopoulos, Naimo and Davis have an amazing comedic chemistry on stage, each bringing their own unique energy to the performance. You can see that they’re having a great time, and still have the ability to crack each other up after 10 years of performing together.

The Axis of Awesome may have more than 200,000,000 views on YouTube, but they truly are a band that needs to be experienced live. Get in quick – their MICF run is a short one and if opening night was anything to go by, tickets are going to disappear quickly.

The Axis of Awesome – Won’t Never Not Stop Giving Up is on at Max Watt’s until April 10



Lee Naimo – Definitely Not A Trap!

By Elyce Phillips Lee-Naimo Not a Trap

Lee Naimo (Axis of Awesome) is a multi-faceted character. Between musical comedy, improv and sketch, he has many skills, all of which are brought together in Definitely Not A Trap – a truly joyous show, filled with unremitting silliness and infectious energy.

Definitely Not A Trap is Naimo’s second solo show, following the success of last year’s Finding Lee. Again, he presents a grab-bag of bits. The sketches are as diverse as they are hilarious, ranging from bush poetry to Italian bee farmers to questionable puppetry. Naimo’s musical talents are also on show, via his support act – a Johnny Cash impersonator. The quality of the sketches is consistent. It’s a tightly crafted show, but Naimo’s performance makes each moment feel spontaneous and full of life. His experience beyond his solo work is very apparent.

Naimo worked well with the crowd, though he admitted that he did know most of the audience in that night. There’s enough audience participation in the show that odds are you will be called on at some point – I got to experience some early birthday celebrations. The participation is all good-natured and a whole lot of fun. You leave the show feeling as though you know a little bit about everyone you’ve been sitting with for the past hour.

Definitely Not A Trap is a work of carefully-controlled chaos and a fantastic example of what can be achieved in a solo sketch show. Naimo is a seasoned performer, delivering non-stop laughs. Definitely Not A Trap is definitely worth checking out.

Definitely Not A Trap is on at the Fringe Hub – Son of Loft until September 25.

5 Good Reasons to See Lee Naimo in Definitely Not a Trap!

1.   Primo Content. Most shows have good content, but I’ve worked really hard to make the content in my show 100% primo. One of my friends saw the show the other day and he was like “Woah, that content is primo!” so I’m not making this up.

2. Soulful Beats. There’s so much great music in my show, but what really rises above the melodies and basslines is the beats. They’re infectious grooves that will have you grinding and bumping for days!

3. Warmth and Shelter. There’s no denying it, my venue has a roof and walls. Come in out of the cold, grab a seat and enjoy the comfort that I presume will be available.

4. Perfect Facial Symmetry. If you drew a dotted line down the exact middle of my face, you’d see that both sides are almost exactly alike. I mean, my nose is pretty crooked and one of my eyes doesn’t open as wide as the other one but it’s pretty close.

5. No Regrets. I won’t have any, and I’d highly recommend you don’t bring any into my show. Why would you? Live life without regrets. Make the first move. I stole a Qantas iPad the other day and I sure as heck don’t have any regrets about it. It’s great!

Lee Naimo in Definitely Not a Trap! will be on at The Lithuanian Club 18-25 Sept


Squirrel Comedy’s Recommended and Previously Reviewed Shows at Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2015

By Lisa Clark

Well the Squirrels are getting ruffled up and ready for autumn nut collecting. And comedy reviewing. There are soooo many shows on offer at the 2015 Melbourne International comedy Festival and it can be very difficult for us to see everything we want to see, let alone review everything we want to review. For those readers who are planning their Festival schedules and are in need of help, we have some good news: Squirrel Comedy has previously reviewed thirty of this year’s shows and we have laid out links to all those reviews below.


First Up here are some brilliant shows I previously saw & loved but Squirrel Comedy hasn’t reviewed.

I recommend you see:Claire Hooper School Camp

Claire Hooper’s School Camp

Claire takes us back to school days in a raw & truthful way where nostalgia takes some surprising and dark turns that make this show very special.


Celia Pacquola – Let Me Know How It All Works Out.

Celia’s show about fortune telling and her international lifestyle was another of Celia’s crowd-pleasing corkers.
Celia Pac Let me Know

Barry Nominated last year as word got around it was selling out like hotcakes, so if you weren’t lucky enough to see this gorgeous show better book now.


Denise Scott – Mother Bare

Denise deservedly won the Barry Award last year for her droll and often riotous reflections on motherhood and other aspects of her comedic life.Denise Scott Mother Bare pic

She’s only doing four shows this year at the fan friendly time of 4.30 Sundays, so get your tickets early.



And now for shows that we have previously reviewed.

Particular highlights this year that I can also recommend include:

Are You Afraid of the Dark by Watson Watson Afraid of the Dark

Watson’s funny and occasionally genuinely scary show is not for those with a nervous disposition or heart condition but my goodness it is a monstrous load of fun. It can only fit smallish audiences into the space at the Old Melbourne Gaol so book early, I hear the first week is booking out fast. Not surprising as this show won Best Comedy at the Melbourne Fringe Festival and considering it is site specific it is one you will have to come to Melbourne to see.


Bart Freebairn Ultra Power LordBart Freebairn pic

Bart is a comedian at the top of his game just waiting to be discovered by the mainstream. I get the joyful shivers when I see a stand up comedian reach a point where they can host a room and own it keeping everyone rolling with laughter non stop. Bart is there and I hope everyone loves Ultra Power Lord as much as I did at Fringe last year.


Bucket’s List by Sarah Collins starring Justin Kennedybuckets list

Buckets List is a whimsical, beautiful and of course very funny tale with a star turn by the amazing Justin Kennedy (who we just don’t see enough of on the circuit any more – I miss him, but if this is the sort of work he’s producing then I’ll forgive his absence). Justin is blessed with the ability to make an audience laugh without saying a word and when I see independent theatre this good I think our major theatre companies should have a good hard look at themselves.


Damian Callinan – The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy CallinanPaddy Callinan

A perfect show for this anniversary of ANZAC it’s another comedy character tour de force by Damian where truth and tall tales blur with loads of laughs and a streak of darkness. The true spirit of the ANZAC is thoroughly celebrated.


We can’t wait to discover new exciting comedy at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival  but meanwhile

Here’s the full list with links of those we reviewed earlier:

The 13–Storey Treehouse


Anthony Jeannot is Unaccept-a-bubble


Bart Freebairn: Ultra Power Lord


Clem Bastow – Escape From LA


Damian Callinan – The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy Callinan


Dr Brown – Befrdfgth


Dylan Cole – The Moon in Me


Fancy Boy Variety Show


Faulty Towers – The Dining Experience


Geraldine Hickey – Listen Out For The Castanets


I Love Green Guide Letters Live


Justin Kennedy – Bucket’s List


Late Night Letters and Numbers


Lee Naimo – Finding Lee


Lisa-Skye’s Lovely Tea Party


The Little Dum Dum Club Live


Luke McGregor – I Worry That I Worry Too Much


Mark Butler – Grammar don’t matter on a first date


Political Asylum – Late Night Riot


Sam Rankin – Wake Up, Sheeple! (2.0)


The Sexy Detectives – Mono Logs


The Sound of Nazis


The Umbilical Brothers – KiDSHoW – Not Suitable for Children


Stuart Daulman is an Absolute Credit


Stew Walker – A Hard Day’s Night of Beatles Parodies


Gary Portenza: Apologies in Advance


Set List


Watson – Who’s Afraid of the Dark


World Record Show with Andy Matthews, Adam Knox and Dave Warneke


Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave



Lee Naimo in Finding Lee

By Lisa Clark 

You might know Lee Naimo better as the guy with the guitar in the widely and wildly popular rock comedy act Axis of Awesome, he is also well known in impro circles as a National Theatre Sports Champion and was involved in the festival show Scrabble Unscripted. Here he is alone in what appears to be his first solo show, but his many years of experience are evident in a stunning and hilarious show.

It was a little slow to get going with Lee explaining that he was not long off the plane from the UK which is fairly obvious in his exhausted looking eyes and the first couple of skits not going so well, but pay attention because they pay off as the show goes along.

Lee has created some delightful sketches around interesting characters that have had great names bestowed upon them. The third sketch in and I was nearly on the floor in tears about Mr Vampire Man who runs a very silly theatre restaurant. We could not explain what tickled us but clearly it was Lee’s comedic skills.

Further highlights included a sexy bassoonist, a nasty foam puppet and The Pied Piper of Hamlyn. There is some gentle fun poking at Live Role Playing and a special guest appearance by The Sorting Hat. He has a good running gag no doubt inspired by his recent travels and proves that he knows a bit about creating magic.

Be prepared to join in with the fun as Lee incorporates an almost dangerous level of audience participation and relies upon our good will for many of his sketches to work. Luckily his years of impro pay off in his ease with audience interaction and it’s all a lot of fun.

Lee proves a widely skilled performer, this show obviously allows him to show off what he is capable of away from his role in The Axis of Awesome. The sketches feel pretty random yet ultimately you realise it is expertly and beautifully constructed with an ending that made the audience gasp.

Finding Lee is on at The Imperial Hotel until Oct 5