Australian Media: Dullsville City Limits

Wow.  My pal Wil Anderson is really copping a pasting in the media and for what?  Writing some jokes about the Logies on Twitter.  Now whether you’re a fan of Wil’s or not I’m pretty certain the job of any comedian is to make some gags.  Comedy is subjective.  You will either laugh or you won’t.  Either way he’s doing his job and from the reaction of most people in this country he’s doing a pretty good at it.  Heck, he was even nominated for a Logie.  The Logies are a popularity contest so if you think Wil isn’t funny you’re allowed to think that but to claim he isn’t funny is just wrong.  The Logies and the “People’s Choice Award” at this year’s Melbourne Comedy Festival attests to that.

Some of the commentators to have a crack at Wil are the funniest.  Peter Timbs who you may remember was at the centre of the “Dancing Doona” scandal on Big Brother has said that Wil was out of line.  I guess copping a handjob on national TV would make Pete an expert in that regard.  Funnily enough the “celebrity” who probably should have had the biggest beef with Wil is Brian McFadden yet he’s come on out and said that Wil is a comedian and everyone should be able to laugh at him or herself.  I can’t believe that it took McFadden to come out and tell the truth to the country.

And that is what kills me most.  We used to have such a great sense of humour that we were known for it all over the world.  Now we’re so conservative and scared of offending we’re becoming boring.  We’re so desperate to be the big dogs that we can’t laugh at ourselves.  Whether it is our sportsmen who can’t take a joke (I’m looking squarely at you Australian Cricket team) or our comedians who dumb themselves down to be more accessible or our actors who settle for reality TV jobs, we’re all so desperate to score that TV Week cover we’ve lost the ability to be inventive, self deprecating or just plain funny.  When a food critic is winning the Graham Kennedy Award I despair for our comedic future.  When no one is talking about the winners a few days later but would rather talk about Karvan’s boob/f-bomb explosion and people’s tweets I get an ice cream headache.  When the few people I know who watched the Logies tell me Bert was “inoffensive” and nothing else I weep for any creativity or spark that we once had.

And I thank goodness for Twitter and Wil Anderson.  He has almost single handedly done something no one at the Logies has achieved since Kennedy himself.

He made the Logies interesting.

Justin Hamilton

Fitzroy North

4th May, 2010

The Incident: An Opinion

Taking place in the bowels of the Melbourne Town Hall is the funniest show I have experienced in the last few years.  “The Incident” starring Sam Simmons and David Quirk is a masterpiece and I am quite happy to say that if you don’t agree then we shouldn’t be friends.  I have dubbed this show “Aggressive Surrealism” but I fear planting a label over this show reduces it to a description that it doesn’t need.  Nothing this good should be easily explained and I have no issue declaring this a masterpiece.

I’ve always suspected that Sam Simmons is a genius.  You can tell in the way he approaches life.  He’s not always easy to talk to and he doesn’t always seem rational but when he steps on to the stage his work declares a subtle truth that most people seem to miss.  For all his garish neon pop art explosive comedic talent Sam is not afraid to shine a mirror on contemporary society that makes the weakest of us wince and the strongest gasp with delight.

David Quirk is much quieter and still in his comedic stance.  Underneath that furrowed brow is a passion and talent that reveals itself in his clever phrasing of words and interested take on the world he is mired in.  Quirk shrugs to one side the potential millstone of his name and plays with his thoughts in a way that can leave people doubled over with laughter and then left to wonder how he could point out the obvious that we all seemed to miss.

This show begins in violence.  No cardigan wearing “how good is jam?” comedy here, it is born in rage and loneliness as it spills forth onto the stage.  This is two men grappling with identity and honesty not only with themselves but also with each other.  This show is the best statement I’ve seen about what contemporary men are all about without ever resorting to blanket statements that can’t stand up in the harsh light of day.  And it is hilarious to boot!

Sam has claimed it makes no statement and that the show is just absurd.  I don’t necessarily believe him and think he is being quite disingenuous.  Why wouldn’t he?  Let knob jockeys like me read too much into it and expound my theories to the world.  A true genius doesn’t need to talk about his art and as I said, I suspect that Sam really is.  (And he’s the only man I know who can grow a moustache and not only look quite good with it but also younger!)  In Quirk he has found his Kiki Dee to his Elton John; his 1950’s Dick Grayson to his 1960’s Bruce Wayne; his Eliza Doolittle to his Henry Higgins.  The tender violence that tethers them to each other only gets funnier and funnier as their whirling dance spirals out of control to it’s fitting climax, in the dark, alongside each other yet always apart.

This show inspired me and made me feel irrelevant all at once.

Go and see this show before these mad hairless monkeys explode into a palette of colours as they fling their shit and humour on the Town Hall walls, marking it for future generations to look back and marvel upon.

And don’t forget:  it means nothing.  Maybe.

Justin Hamilton

Fitzroy North

April 8th, 2010

Screw You Misery, I'm the Karaoke Guy!

Back in 2000 I embarked on my first solo show.  I had been in a musical comedy duo known as The Bunta Boys for just over five years from 1994 to 1999.  At the end of 1999 I returned from travelling overseas and decided to start all over again as a stand up comedian.  At first I thought I would be as good at stand up as I was at being in a musical comedy duo but my naiveté knew no bounds as I struggled with my first few months.  It is like the game of cricket.  You can be good at 20/20 but that doesn’t mean you’re good at Tests regardless that it is the same sport.

I wrote and wrote and wrote.  I performed at gig after gig after gig.  I wanted to improve and do so quickly.  I started my first proper solo gigs in August of 1999 and without a moments hesitation decided I would put on my first solo show at the 2000 Adelaide Fringe.  Regardless of the trepidation they were exciting times.  “Screw You Misery, I’m the Karaoke Guy!” was a story about me in Amsterdam performing at a karaoke bar where memories and realisations clashed in a heady mix of hearty laughs, surreal encounters and brutal truths.  The show began with a song in the dark and finished with me leaving behind the bar and the past with my imaginary sister.  Looking back at the script recently I found alien thoughts and familiar themes.  I wanted to cringe and cry all at the same time.

I’m now performing my 12th solo show (not including all the shows written for The Bunta Boys or last year’s play “Goodbye Ruby Tuesday”) and feel equal parts old and inspired.  All these young kids that have burst onto the scene have so much energy and desire to speak about comedy and nothing else.  I look at these guys and gals and it reminds me of the good times I had writing and performing this show.  I had no idea if it would work but it received good reviews in an era where I deeply cared about what reviewers think.  Now I just appreciate a good review and ignore the rest.  There are good reviews here and here.

I wonder what the inspired Justin of “Screw You Misery…” fame would think of me now?  Maybe a bit disappointed?  Maybe a bit excited?  Definitely wondering why I never had a better photo shoot for a poster, I can tell you that much for free!  Check out the poster here.

Looking over the script I find hidden gems and best-forgotten gambles.  I wonder what it would be like to rewrite this show and maybe present it at the Melbourne Fringe.  A bit of spit and polish might give it a new shine that brings it fully kicking and screaming into the future.  Then again I just like to look forward, to move on never forgetting the past achievements but always aiming for something better just up ahead.  It might not be stand up, it might not be here in Australia but whatever it is I hope I never forget the ambition of that young boy who didn't know any better.

Justin Hamilton

Fitzroy North

April 1st, 2010

Movie Maniac

I get too caught up in the movies.

Not all movies, lets not get too crazy here.  I’m not one of those people who watch Avatar and upon leaving the cinema is crushed because I don’t live on Pandora.  If anything I felt nothing but relief I wasn’t trapped in that world which people claim looks amazing but to me looked more like panel van artwork.

No, I mean the movies that live on the edge of reality.  The movies that suggest you could be that person.  To an extent I find myself picking up habits of the characters I watch and relate to most.  George Clooney in “Up in the Air” is addicted to his frequent flyer miles.  Suddenly I’m agreeing to a new American Express card that allows me to gather more points at a better rate.  I see Matt Damon in “Green Zone” and see him running through the streets of Baghdad without breaking a sweat.  I now find myself at the gym running for miles and miles while lifting heavier weights.  Am I going to Iraq?  No.  So where am I going to use this new indestructible body?  I don’t know, maybe when I have to run to make the lights before they change?  Then I can make the other side and feel good about how I haven’t broken a sweat.  Yeah, that’s living.

I judge people on their tastes in movies as well.  Someone can have diametrically opposed beliefs in just about every aspect of life and I’ll be fine but if someone says to me they think the Dark Knight is over rated then I have no issue in dismissing their opinion forever.  Just recently I had someone that I quite like say that they thought “Michael Clayton” was shit house, that “Batman Begins” would have been better if he never became Batman until the very final scene and Brad Pitt did no acting in “Benjamin Button”. 

“You are just wrong!” I exclaimed pointing my finger with determination at the table.  I wanted to stick it through his eye to make my point but thought that may have been overreacting.  Everyone laughed.  Look at the way Justin is telling someone his or her opinion is wrong.  He is so funny.  I wasn’t laughing.  I have emotionally annexed this person into a part of my life that is covered in dust because it is no longer used.  I don’t feel bad about this because this person has revealed to me that their taste is quite clearly in their arse.  Later that night a mutual friend told me it is unfair to be a snob towards someone just because of his or her taste in movies.  I now no longer talk to that person either.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want everyone to have the same taste as me.  That would be dull.  One of my best friends is a guy called Tom and we sometimes agree on movies and sometimes don’t.  We can disagree with each other in a way that elicits respect from each other.  We’re the Pomeranz and Stratton of our neighbourhood.  And besides, if he did say something crazy like Nice Cage is the greatest actor of his generation, I’d just figured he’d gone mental and stop calling him.

Sometimes I find myself sitting at home, alone, wondering if I’ve gone too far.  Maybe I’ve been too hard.  Maybe I’ve been too uncompromising.  Then I catch my reflection in the mirror and realise I look like Al Pacino at the end of Godfather Two and I know everything is going to be just fine.

Justin Hamilton

Fitzroy North

23rd March, 2010

The Tasty Byte 6

YESTERDAYS NEWS TODAY WITH NO THOUGHT FOR TOMORROW BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT SOMETIMES!

NEWSFLASH!

Brendan Fevolva was accused of slaughtering 600-beached whales yesterday in a Footy Show prank gone wrong.  “He’s absolutely shattered,” Dermott Brereton revealed.  “He thought they were fat chicks.  If only he hadn’t recorded the prank while drunk.”  If only!

“I love whales,” Brendan moaned from behind the gate to his new Brisbane home.  “I think it is the best part of the UK and would love to go there one day with just the boys.”
“We’re standing by him,” Brisbane Lions coach and hot ranger Michael Voss stated.  “If he was just a normal bloke he’d be on death row but when you’re that talented you really deserve as many chances as possible.”

Nice one Vossy! 

GREEN ZONE INSPIRES ENROLMENT

New Matt Damon flick “Green Zone” has transformed the battle in Iraq to what we’ve always wanted it to be:  fun!

“I just felt bad about all those people dying that didn’t have an opportunity to see me kick arse for them in the movie,” said Matt Damon’s publicist, the Matt Damon marionette from Team America. 

“Enrolment is sky high after Green Zone,” said Senior Sergeant Frank Gillroy.  “Not only are we getting people enlisting to go over and kick some Commie butt but they’re already turning up juiced and ready to go.”

It turns out most of the new soldiers are ex bouncers and body builders who haven’t slept in sixteen years because of all their “weight training”.

“I saw Green Zone and thought, yeah, this is it,” said Jimmy Pill.  “All these years I’ve had one arm for the juice, one for the junk and had to manage my anger issues.  Now I can go to Iraq and kick Hitler’s arse.”

Fair call Jimmy and good luck!

ALL CHRISTMASES COME AT ONCE ON CHRISTMAS ISLAND!

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has risen from his coffin to make this statement:

“Christmas Island is set to become a transit lounge for asylum seekers hoping to make it to the Australian mainland,” Abbott claimed before being warded off with garlic.  “We’ve had almost 1200 people arrive since the beginning of the year and that would be fine if they were good at sport but since they aren’t then they should go back to whatever countries they came from.”

“No they haven’t,” replied Rudd before smiling just a bit too long.  “I’m sure there were more under Howard, he ruled for much longer than me so it is pure mathematics.”

Well-played Rudd.

An Aboriginal Spokesman declined to give an official statement but did suggest that boat people had been a problem for a while, since around 1606 and the first boat people were Dutch.  I don’t know who’s been smoking the wacky tobaccy with that comment but I can tell you, I’m definitely going to look for some of that good shit!

JESSICA SIMPSON RISES FROM THE DEAD!

In unsubstantiated reports from Hollywood the rotting corpse of Jessica Simpson has risen from the grave and been seen shopping in Beverly Hills.

“She like just came in and like totally demanded that I get her a McFlurry,” said an out of date cliché.  “But I was like, totally, this is a clothes shop, we don’t serve ice cream here and then she just screamed and ate one of our customers.  Like totally gross!”

When called at her home Jessica Simpson responded with surprise.

“I didn’t even know I was dead,” she exclaimed.

Have you not smelt your career lately lady?  Pee-yew!

THERE WILL BE LESS NEWS IN OUR 11.37AM UPDATE…

The Tasty Byte 5

TOMORROW’S HEADLINES YESTERDAY FOR GENERATION TODAY!

NEWSFLASH!

Channel Ten to debut new reality based panel game show.  “Fingered” stars some of Australia’s greatest personalities and comedians in a show that is being dubbed “part news stories, part comedic outlook, part actual shit happening but definitely all fun most of the time”.  The new show pits thirteen teams made up of three team members as they must guess which news story is actually real.  Reports from initial filming have come in that Isabel Lucas, star of Transformers 2 and whale snogging, while viewing a scene of an Iraqi bomb exploding in the desert buzzed in a little too quick.  “Is it a scene from the new Bond movie?  I love Matt Damon.”  Boy was she wrong!  If the show sounds as funny as this then sign me up for more. 

NEVER GIVE A DOG A BONO!

Bono confirmed as new Australian president.  “Yes, I am proud to call myself Austrian” Bono stated at a packed news conference while addressing a mirror.  “I think he’ll be marvellous,” Kevin Rudd gushed.  We think he may have been Prime Minister at some point but he was unwilling to clarify whether this was a truth or a sinister smear campaign.  “Lets just let sleeping fish lie,” the Ruddster said in his best attempt to sound like an Aussie battler or sending out a sly message to the heads of the Family about the final fate of Luca Brazi.

CHANNEL 9 STRIKES BACK!

This just in:  Eddie Maguire to host new game show, “I’m Still Standing”.  In this new reality based comedy game show contestants and comedians must guess the next lyric in the song while having medicine balls aimed at their heads.  “This will finally bring people together so we can be y’know, like, united and stuff,” says some actor that once appeared on “Neighbours”.  No reports on whether Eddie Everywhere will be hosting, producing or eating those who bow out early.  “I’ll do whatever I want!” screamed Eddie at a blind woman who just happened to stand near him while she patted her Seeing Eye dog.  Nice one Eddie!

ISABEL LUCAS GETS JOKE

Intellectual filibuster Isabel Lucas releases press release after gaffe on new game show.
“I would like to apologise to all my fans in Iraq about my recent comments.  They were totally without merit and to prove my sincerity I am going to ride a whale to your land and make everyone like each other again.”
Not only was the press release delivered in person but it was written with the brightest crayons and had the most beautiful glitter and stars glues to its borders.  How can you not love her!

NEW DOCTOR WHO!

After Matt Smith was attacked and brutally beaten by a grandma with a walking stick for failing to be David Tennant, a new Doctor Who had to be written into the series.  Well, aren’t we all surprised by this news?
“The new Doctor will be played by Meryl Streep.”
Hold the iphones!  Isn’t the Doctor like, y’know, a bloke?
“I will be playing him in the style of Jon Pertwee so all the fans out there don’t need to worry,” Merryl said from the set of her new movie “Ooops!” where she will play the doomed space shuttle Challenger.  With a soundtrack by Billy Paul this looks to be the feel good comedy of the summer!

THIS JUST IN!

Channel 7 have decided to unveil it’s new show “Cop That In The Footballs”, a variety show about footy starring ex footy players in drag…