2015 BLOG 14: MICF WEEK THREE: GIGS 91 – 100

On the 9th of April I had what is being referred to as the Codral Show.

I was given an over the counter super strong Codral to take before my show that would blow the rest of my cold out of my system.  What I didn’t know was just how strong it was and with a nice mix of adrenalin it really had me flying.  There were moments I was onstage convinced I was moving at a speed that resembled the old footage we have of Don Bradman:  just a bit too quick and with weird edits.  I let me audience know early on that this had gone down and they appeared to be delighted at this turn of events. Since the show ended up being one of the best for this run I have learned no lessons and I’m convinced this will be the beginning of the end of my career.  All it takes is on super strong Codral to show you how good you can be at stand up and ten years from now I’ll be borrowing money from strangers off the street for just one more hit.

Of course I could be totally wrong.  I was quite clearly out of head during the whole show and I might actually be the last person you should be asking about the gig.  Was the whole ad lib about Sting that funny?  Was the idea that if I’d been a fan of his for the last three decades the show would have contained more yoga and less ha ha a solid one?  On the night I was convinced it was a corker but the following day I wondered if I resembled Cameron Diaz in the first “Charlie’s Angels” movie.  I’ll stick with it being a corker thank you.  Hopefully any punters that were there would be so kind as to not correct me if in fact my entire interpretation was indeed wrong.

I kept it pretty low key on the Friday night as well.  I wanted to keep the focus on the show and once I felt like I was over the cold then I would begin to add more gigs back to the schedule.  Being sick had been a grind and I have felt tired ever since.  By the time the Saturday came about I was ready to test my toes with extra gigs.  First up was the Shelf podcast with Adam Richard and guests Anne Edmonds and Geraldine Hickey. That was a fun afternoon that required very little in the way of heavy lifting.

After the podcast I made an appearance at 5 on 5 at 5 for the Imperial Hotel.  I had been disappointed with my last few spots there but they had also been at the height of my cold so I was determined to make up for it.  The set list was:

 

20s, 30s, 40s

Car Accident

Invite to Parties

Hairy Baby

Bad Date

This was a much better spot and I walked away from the room feeling much happier. Then it was off for another performance of “Snacks!”  This night was another sold out show and it was another fun audience.  I’ve been very lucky that my audiences have been fantastic (especially through the sick shows) and this has allowed the show to continue evolving over the course of the run.

From there I returned to the Imperial Hotel for the Late Show.  I was feeling pretty good and my voice was holding up so here was another opportunity for me to make up for the previous weekend.  The set list was:

Tripping and Farting

Hurt My Back

Mum and Puss

“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

Sperm Bank Joke

 

A great fun late show that capped the night off nicely.  Then it was straight to bed before I became too cocky and figured I was 100% back to health.  I took it easy the following morning before travelling in for another Shelf podcast with Adam and another spot at 5 on 5 at 5.  The Sunday set list was:

NYE Woman

Abs or Interesting

Happiness!

Islamic Writing

Bjork Album

Scouts Gig

Another spot that was a lot of fun.  I was beginning to feel like I was almost there physically but it appears that the best I can hope for at this point is about 85% full health. From here it will only get right back on track once I have 24 hours of no performing and can fully rest.  That will be enough to get through the rest of the Melbourne Comedy Festival though.

My show “Snacks!” was another fun one on the Sunday night and without getting ahead of myself it has had a pretty good strike rate.  It has been a fun show and I think that has come across with the audiences.

On Monday the 13th it was time for the finale of season 11 of The Shelf.  I had entered this season thinking it might be time to move on and had approached every show as it was possibly going to be the last.  I thought this season has been the best yet and I like the idea of going out on a high.  It was a mammoth show too with this as our line up:

 

Justin Hamilton

Adam Richard

Wil Anderson

Cal Wilson

Dave Anthony

Aunty Donna

Puddles Pity Party

Tegan Higginbotham

Gareth Reynolds

Leigh Qurban

Will Sylvince

Damien Callinan

Josh Earl

Tessa Waters

Ray Badran

Geraldine Hickey

Rohan Desai

Ryan Good

Willie Caldwell
 

That turned out to be a four hour show.  And everyone on the bill killed.  Killed.  It was easily one of the best nights of comedy I’ve been a part of.  I was so proud and exhilarated by everyone who was on the bill just bringing their best to the stage and leaving nothing behind.  I had a very fun opening (for the frequent Shelvers I think we’ll always remember #HammoWins) and just rode the night from there.  In fact the set list for my opening was:

Bunta Boys 

#HammoWins

It was all brand new material locked into an opening that just seemed to connect with an audience that was on board from the word go.  The night ended up being so wonderful that I changed my mind about giving it away.  Life is short and who knows how long I’ll be in a position that I can make shows like The Shelf?  You never know in this industry so while I can keep making a show that is fun and connects with a lot of people I should maintain the course I am already on.  We’ll be back with The Shelf in August and that has appeared to be the best decision yet.

Justin Hamilton

15th of April, 2015

Fitzroy North

 

2015 BLOG 13: MICF WEEK TWO: GIGS 80 – 90

This cold continues to vex me.

I have woken every morning around 6.30am and no matter how much I attempt to return to sleep the coughing and spluttering dooms all attempts at returning to a peaceful slumber.  I managed to avoid catching a cold last year and when I began to feel the tickle of something in the back of my throat last Wednesday I knew it wasn’t good.  Since then I have hit the worst of it and now I’m hopefully dragging myself back to full health.  Yet every time I have a moment that feels like I’m just about there I have a morning like the one I endured today that reminds me I could easily slip back if I’m not careful.  I don’t want to get political but I’m not afraid to say having a cold sucks dog’s balls.

Last Friday the 3rd of April I had three gigs.  At this point I thought I could barrel through it as I downed vitamin tables washed down with peppermint tea, lemon and Manuka honey.  I also had a gargle and a cough syrup ready to go so why wouldn’t I be able to totally nail this?

I started the day at the Imperial Hotel where Adam Richard and I recorded a podcast for The Shelf with guest Josh Earl.  It was a fun start to the day and Josh is delightful and hilarious at the best of times but on this day he was dialled up to 100% Josh Earl. (Not to be confused with 100% Geraldine Hickey as “Can You Take This Photo Please?” fans might do.)  Then I hung around to perform a short spot at the 5 on 5 at 5 gig at the Imperial.  My set list was:

Kid at Wedding

20s, 30s, 40s

Breaking Up Through History

Invite to Parties

Hairy Baby

Before the Internet

 

 

While the gig was a good one I lost track of how long I had been onstage and ended up doing way too long.  This should have been a sign that I wasn’t completely up to scratch as I’m usually pretty good with this type of thing but I lost all sense of time with the spot.  By the time I arrived to do my show that night (Snacks!) I was feeling a little worst for wear and returned home straight after my show to try and bet this cold.

On the Saturday the 4th of April it was another action packed day with four gigs. The Shelf podcast was just Adam and I holding court and while I think Adam was in fine form I was finding it difficult to maintain a level of concentration throughout the recording.  Then it was time for another spot at 5 on 5 at 5 with this being the following set list:

20s, 30s, 40s

Hurt My Back

Invite to Parties

Hairy Baby

“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

This was a much better performance from me time wise but my voice really began to give out.  It was a strain to get through the spot and I was relieved when it was over.  I had dinner with a good friend after that and then it was off to my show “Snacks!” which felt like hard work.  My audience was fantastic.  They were quite understanding of my situation and gave me a lot of good energy on the stage.  I am very lucky to have a loyal and supportive audience.  They might not be the biggest audience at the festivals but they’re invested and that is all I can ask.

After the show I was back at the Imperial where I performed at the Late Show.  By this time I knew it was a mistake and my spot was lacking the energy I need to perform. I found it difficult to concentrate throughout my spot and the set list ended up being:

“Grains!”

Mum and Cat

Mum and Mildura

Mum and Gay Porn

I was pretty disappointed with this spot and by this stage knew that I was going to have to shut it down a little over the next few days. I hate cancelling gigs as it feels like I am letting people down but once I know I can’t deliver the goods it is better to pull back.  Also the priority for the festival is the solo show and The Shelf so I had to be smart.  I pulled the plug on appearing at any extra shows and on the Sundaystayed in bed all day.  I left the house to perform “Snacks!” to another fantastic audience (Over the weekend I had three sold out shows and the energy they gave me really helped me get over the line) and then returned to bed within an hour of finishing up.

Monday was fairly traumatic day as I dealt physically and mentally with some horrible stuff. I felt anxious for most of the day and had trouble thinking straight.  I had The Shelf that night and was attempting to prepare some new material mixed in with some old for the opening.  I had conversations with people where I felt I could break down at any point and other conversations where I felt quite manic.  I tried to stay in bed for as long as I could and then it was time to go in and get the show on the road.

A packed audience at The Toff in Town heated up the room and there were times when I felt like I might pass out on stage.  My goal for the night was to keep things moving along and know when to take a backseat to the proceedings so I didn’t hold the show back.  My opening was not too bad all things considered.  I didn’t feel like I quite nailed it the way I wanted to but taking into consideration how I felt I thought it came together pretty well. The set list was:

 

Reclaim Australia Rally

Militant Kangaroos

Pauline Hanson and Eskimo Racism

Entitled to My Opinion

Indian Man in Marios

Bomb Chucker

Hispanic at the Disco

Aboriginal Lawyer

As you know in this blog the anything in bold in the set list is something that has been said for the very first time onstage.  The rest of the opening was made up of some stories I had told in the past with some updates and/or extra jokes.  The night was a belter and I really feel in the past three seasons The Shelf has become the show that I always hoped I would be a part of.  I’ve always loved it but it has really begun to hit a level that is what I would hope is of the highest standard.

Then Tuesday and Wednesday it was back to performing “Snacks!” and nothing else. Both nights have been the quietest nights of the festival for me.  This is not a slight on the audiences but more in contrast with the previous shows.  We’re in the middle of the festival though so it is exactly the time that this begins to happen.  Last night I explained to my audience the concept of “Suicide Wednesday” which is the dreaded middle Wednesday of the festival.  You no longer have the energy you have when you begin and the finishing line is so far away.  My crowd last night seemed to enjoy that as an idea especially when I told them it was all on them to help me through this.  They dug in and so did I.

I’m loving performing this show.  It has been a fun ride and it zooms along at a quick pace. That is why it is so frustrating to be ill while at the same time.  I’ll leave you with this photo below.  Some of us have been asked to take a photo for Pirate Day Friday. You can learn more about that here.  Claire Hooper went one better than taking a photo.  She had the whole audience at The Shelf on Monday take part in this.  I took the photo and I love the spirit that you can see in our wonderful audience joining in.

Justin Hamilton

9th of April, 2015

Fitzroy North

 

2015 Blog 12:  MICF Week One:  Gigs 62 - 79

As I write this I have to inform you I have the plague.

Well probably not the plague but for the first time in a long time I've caught some dreaded bug that is floating around and I'm struggling to get the motivation to stand up let alone perform stand up.  These things happen and I've been lucky enough to avoid being sick for a while let alone during a festival so you just have to suck it up and move forward.

There is the possibility that I'm sick because of my torrid start to the 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  We should just jump straight into it before I begin sneezing all over my keyboard and you're computer won't open this page because of some terrible virus.  So let us begin with the opening night on the 26th of March.  The shows that night were:

Snacks!

"Can You Take This Photo Please?" Live with Tony Martin

 The Imperial Late Show

 In Love With Our Phones

"Grains!"

My Grandmother Was Short

Girl On a Date At The Theatre

 I deliberately didn't refer to any notes before I started my show as I wanted to see how much I would remember after back to back seasons at the Adelaide Fringe and Perth's "Fringeworld".  I was quite prepared for there to be a few little mistakes especially if those mistakes lead to me finding some new jokes in the show.  I had found the show had become a little slick towards the end of the Adelaide Fringe run and I wanted to find new spaces and gaps in the routines to ad lib new ideas or approaches.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there weren't any real mistakes (Possibly my timing was mildly off on a few lines but nothing the audience would have noticed) and I did indeed find new ways into the routines that helped give the show a nice energy.

When Angela Thompson (who produces the excellent regular comedy night and festivals at the Imperial Hotel) offered me a 10.15pm time slot over three nights to do whatever I wanted with I thought it was an excellent opportunity to try a live version of my podcast "Can You Take This Photo Please?"  It was a tight turn around with the time slot only vacating itself at the last minute so I decided rather than promoting it properly I would only mention it on my podcast and leave it open to the true believers. I didn't charge for the show with only a jug at the door for any donations anyone felt like leaving. It turned out to be a fantastic idea as our room was packed with a great crowd and Tony gave us a brilliant hour of stories and ideas that only Tony can give you.  If you missed out on hearing that podcast you can find it here.

I then hung around and used the Imperial Hotel as an opportunity to work on some new ideas and also resurrect an old routine that doesn't get much of a whirl these days. In fact it was always a routine where the journey was better than the final line and I was chuffed to discover a new punchline that worked better than ever at the end of the story.  Not bad after it was debuted 10 years ago!  Just goes to show that a routine can always improve, always move forward and you are constantly learning.

Next up was Friday the 27th of March.  Here are the gigs and set lists from that night:

Snacks!

"Can You Take This Photo Please?" Live with Geraldine Hickey and Wil Anderson

The Imperial Late Show

Mum and cats

Mum and Mildura

Mum and Gay Porn

Another strong night for the solo show with a sold out crowd and a continued evolution with the show.  It is beginning to feel stronger in Melbourne than anywhere else and I think it is a combination of having twenty odd performances under my belt along with the fact I'm performing in a room that can focus and isn't dealing with noise bleed.  I loved my rooms in Adelaide and Perth but they were basically tents with carnival rides and loud burlesque shows nearby.  With total focus the shows have taken a step up.

Another fun podcast recording with Geraldine Hickey being 100% Geraldine and Wil joining us halfway through the show.  I would be remiss to point out that Adam Richard did all the recording and became a part of the show as the disembodied voice behind the curtain; a cross between the Wizard of Oz and John Blackman.  A very funny show. I'll release that one some time next week.

Then it was over to the Late Show where I played around with some old and new material. It is nice when you discover that a bunch of routines can come together to form a new "bit" and some of those routines harken back to the "Three Colours Hammo" series of 2007.

The 28th of March was a big day.  The set list and shows were as follows:

"The Shelf Podcast" starring the Little Dum Dum Club

5 on 5 at 5

Mum and Her Cat

20s-40s

2015 NYE Resolution

Abs or Interesting

Happiness

“I’m Entitled to My Opinion”

Islamic Writing

Bjork Album

Scouts

Snacks!

"Can You Take This Photo Please?" Live with Cal Wilson and Wil Anderson

The Imperial Late Show

Biker Gig

20s-40s

Car Crash in Adelaide

Invite to Parties

Hairy Baby

“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

Sperm Bank Joke

A long day that was fun until the end of the night.  We had our first live "Shelfcast" with guests Tommy Dassalo and Karl Chandler who make up the Little Dum Dum Club podcast. This was an idea that came from Adam Richard and it made for a fun and relaxed start to the day with all who were involved having a lot of fun.

Then I hung around to perform a set at 5 on 5 at 5 which is a showcase of established acts and newcomers performing at the Imperial Hotel.  I initially wanted to work on some new material but the show appeared to need some punchy material so I inserted a small section of my show and performed that instead.

My show was another sell out and a great audience to boot.  The live podcast recording was also another cracker with Cal Wilson a stand out and Wil, Adam and I being our usual idiot selves.  Then it was time for the Late Show where early on there were some boorish hecklers that derailed the beginning of the show.  These things happen now and again but it is no less irritating.  We don't really have the heckler environment out in Australia and I think when it does rear up most comedians just can't be arsed dealing with it.  It was definitely dealt with on the night but when you get to your fifth show of the night you really just want to nail your gig and then go home.  Still a good show in the end though.

Another long day on the 29th with the following:

"The Shelf Podcast" starring Tegan Higginbotham

5 on 5 at 5

Mum and Her Cat

20s-40s

2015 NYE Resolution

Abs or Interesting

Happiness

“I’m Entitled to My Opinion”

Islamic Writing

Bjork Album

Scouts

Snacks!

I felt like this was my first flat out gig of the Festival.  The Shelf podcast with Tegan was great and "Snacks!" continued it's winning form but my spot at the showcase was slightly down on energy and I have to admit I was distracted by a sense of fatigue. Admittedly the audience felt a bit "Sunday arvo" but I wasn't entirely happy with my choice of material or performance level.  These things happen and you can't do anything about it but your best on the day.  It was fine but not one I will reminisce about at the end of the festival.

That brings us to the Monday, the 30th of March.  It was time to put together the first show for The Shelf and it was a big one.  Our guest included Andy Zaltzman, Ray Badran, Alex Edelman, Tegan Higginbotham, Wil Anderson, Puddles Pity Party, Adam Rozenbachs,Claire Hooper, Dave Anthony, Rhys Nicholson, Gen Fricker, Aunty Donna, Adam Richard and this idiot.  My opening set list was:

"Grains!"

My Grandmother Was Short

Australia Wins the Cricket

Meeting Viv Richards

Mum and her cats

Playing Basketball in Mildura

My opening was combination of old and new material that came together quite nicely to make a solid opening to the show.  In fact I would say that night was one of the best shows we've put on at The Shelf with every act bringing something new and interesting to the night.  Every act was in fine form and even though it ran over (as if that is something new at The Shelf!) it never felt like it was stretching on too long. Our loyal audience was still close to full at the end of the night (I never begrudge anyone who after two hours says "Enough!" and makes a dash for it) and when Puddles Pity Party finished the show with a stirring rendition of "Dancing Queen" it capped the night perfectly.

Then from Tuesday to Thursday it was only one show a night which of course was:

Snacks!

It is now 9.10am on a Friday morning which means there is an Easter long weekend to deal with.  I'm feeling pretty bleaugh at the moment but I'm hoping that is more due to the lack of sleep and early morning start than the fact that I am sick.  It is really annoying. There is nothing worst than performing onstage wondering if you'll get to the punchline before your nose possibly runs but what are you going to do?  Hopefully the stacks of drugs and Manuka Honey I'm downing will make a difference as I ease into this second week of the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

 

Justin Hamilton

3rd of April, 2015

Fitzroy North

2015 Blog 11:  Gigs 60 - 61 Public Bar and Imperial Comedy

A small blog to keep you up to date before we hit the marathon that is the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

I had such a brilliant time in Adelaide at the Fringe Festival but toward the end of my run I was beginning to feel that the show was becoming "too locked in".  What I mean by that was it starting to lack the early improvisation that made the first part of the run so much fun.  I've approached this season unlike any other and have completely eschewed any script writing.  Normally I have a 50-50 regime of working material out onstage and writing at home but this show has been 100% worked out on the stage. By putting aside the writing of any scripts it has allowed the show to breathe and grow in ways that have felt totally organic.  In short it has been fun.

When I realised the show was beginning to fit together a little too seamlessly I decided when I returned to Melbourne I would ignore the show completely until opening night. I had also decided to avoid all gigs and was quite excited by the idea of hitting opening night with the show barely outlined in my memory.  I figured that if I went in with some gaps in my memory I might find some new ideas on the stage that would give the show a new energy.

I returned to Melbourne on the Monday and by the next Saturday I was enjoying my time away from the stage.  I received a request from my friend Steele Saunders letting me know that a spot had popped up at his excellent room at the Public Bar and would I be interested in filling it.  I love performing in that room a lot and it was a great line up so I said yes.  A packed room that was there to see such great acts like Fleety, Adam Richard, Claire Hooper, Daniel Connell and Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall and it was a great gig to blow out some cobwebs.  My set list was:

Mum's Cat

2015 NYE Resolution

Abs or Happiness?

Gym Work

Snacks Song

"Entitled to My Opinion"

Islamic Writing

Bjork CD

Scout Gig

On the Tuesday night I was hosting a mega line up at the Imperial Hotel.  It was full of local acts and overseas performers who were trying out material they would use in the Gala the following night.  This meant this show ended up being very much a mini Gala in itself but much more affordable and actually more fun.  Yes, I'm saying this mini Gala was better than any Gala you could see because it is a real gig and not something that is designed for people sitting at home.  Stand up is always better in person, right?  Right.

This is the line up for the show:  Sara Pascoe, Mike Wilmot, Tommy Dassalo, Catherine Ryan, Dane Baptiste, CJ Delling, Dil Jayasinha, Adam Hills, Adam Richard, Corey White, Greg Behrendt, Victoria Healy, Phil Wang, Wyatt Cenac, Katerina Vrana, Milton Jones and Alex Edelman.  Since it was such a long night I had to do my best to keep it tight so I went with the following:

First Bracket

Mum's Cat

2015 NYE Resolution

Abs or Happiness?

Gym Work

Snacks Song

"Entitled to My Opinion"

Islamic Writing

Bjork CD

Scout Gig

Second Bracket

I Can't Drink Anymore

Before the Internet

Guido

I also managed to throw in a very small new routine (possibly more of a joke at the moment than a routine) between two acts that is for the moment entitled "Grains!" It was a brilliant night at the Imperial Hotel that I predict after this festival will be known throughout Melbourneas one of the premier rooms for not only comedy but fantastic nights where you can see the new acts rubbing shoulders with the established comics. Personally the highlight of the night was seeing people like Dil, Corey, Tommy, CJ and Victoria not only sharing a stage with some great overseas acts but also doing more than holding their own.

Two great gigs to get slowly back into shape before the grind of the MICF really kicks in.

 

Justin Hamilton

29th of March, 2015

Fitzroy North

2015 Blog 10:  Gigs 48 - 59 Adelaide Fringe

On that Saturday night a bunch of comedians put aside a spare seat to honour Karen Hyland. Karen along with her husband David attended so many comedy shows over the past few decades that their knowledge of the Australian stand up scene would put many of us in the business to shame.  They attended the big shows and the little shows.  They checked out the well known comedians and the little known comedians. They enjoyed stand up, sketches, musical and absurdist comedy.  They never judged an act on anything other than whether the person was putting in a good effort.  It didn't matter if the jokes weren't really to their liking or the comedian had a bad gig. As long as they gave 100% effort they were happy to go along for the ride.

During the Fringe Karen died due to complications that arose from the cancer that invaded her body.  Most of us in the industry didn't know Karen was sick because as she said, "She didn't want to ruin anyone's Fringe experience."  This is a prime example of Karen.  Always thinking about other people.  One of the pleasures of returning to my hometown of Adelaide was the knowledge that at some point I would see Karen and David because you could guarantee they would attend at least one of the gigs.  In fact it is because of people like theHylands that every time I return to the Rhino Room on a Friday night I always try to put together a set list that is a unique one off.  I like to think of them as mini shows.  They're usually mixes of new and old material.  When I return home I want to impress everyone at theRhino Room to show them that they're faith in me won't go unrewarded.

I wanted to impress people like Karen and David.  I wanted to reward them with an attempt at something special every time they were in the audience.

With all the politics that surrounds our industry it is easy to forget why we do this.  I'll be honest with you:  I hate the politics.  Hate it.  It ruins the fun.  It ruins the special moments.  It ruins the triumphs.  That poison surges through the veins of most comedians even if they don't admit to it.  Maybe they're just unaware that it is even there?  The fundamental reason I got into this business is because it makes me happy to make people laugh.  I've felt that all my life, well before I even thought of setting foot onstage.  I like people laughing and I get a lot of happiness knowing it was because of me.  It doesn't have to always be me making people laugh but I like knowing it is my work some of the time. People like Karen and David represent the reason I do this.  It is important for me to remember that when all the bullshit bubbles up in the background.

Now that Karen is gone I feel the trips back to Adelaide will be diminished ever so slightly. At first it will be almost imperceptible.  I'm guessing my first gigs back in South Australia will go to plan like they normally do.  Yet I know it will be in a moment when I realise that an audience's laughter is missing a distinctive cackle.  I'll feel it when I look into the audience and there will be an empty chair.  I'll know it when I finally have an opportunity to see David again.  I also know that when I return to the Rhino Room for one of those Friday gigs, that I'll still be doing my best to impress the old friends.  I'll be trying to impress the new friends.  I'll want my audience to be having a great time.  And even when they're having a great time deep down I'll still be trying to give Karen a special one off performance on the night because she deserves it.

The final five days were hectic even if it started simply on the Wednesday night.  A simple set list that night as it was just the show:

Snacks

The Thursday night wasn't too crazy either.  I hosted the Bank SA free gig at the Bandstand at 5pm but there was no material to talk about for that gig.  All of the gigs I did for the Bandstand were straight hosting jobs.  So from March 12th - 15th you can literally say the set list was nothing more than:

Bandstand

So that Thursday night the set list was just the show:

Snacks

On the Friday I had a Bandstand gig at 5pm and then I was off to the Adelaide Oval for a corporate gig.  Normally corporate gigs can be a little on the tough side but this was a corker.  Great audience who were up for an idiot turning up and cranking out 20 mins of comedy.  The set list was:

Hen's Night

20s, 30s, 40s

Before the Internet

NYE 2015

Snack Song

Entitled To My Opinion

Speaks Islamic

Bjork CD

"I Don't Give a Hoot!"

Hushed Angry Conversation

Scouts

This is almost the same order of material from about the halfway mark of "Snacks!" with a couple of extra routines from previous shows slotted in around it.  After a great gig there it was off to perform my solo show which funnily enough was the hardest gig of the run.  For whatever reason they just weren't a very loud audience and it took a lot of cajoling for them to step up.  I don't think it was my performance.  Some times you can be so fired up from a previous gig that you can almost come in too hard at the start of your show for an audience who haven't warmed up yet.  I just think they were having fun but forgetting to let me know with their faces and lungs.  It wasn't a bad gig but it was definitely the least enjoyable.

From my gig it was off to the Late Show where I was hosting.  My set list was:

Country Spiders

Hen's Night

Mount Isa

Word In Scrabble

Invite to Parties

Hairy Baby

"I Don't Give a Hoot!"

Hushed Angry Conversation

Another fun late show and a great end to the night.  There was a 13-year-old lad in the audience who was sitting in the front row and I managed to take this photo of Peter Helliar meeting the young fella before he nailed it in his headline spot.

The following day it was a similar set up.  Bandstand at 5pm, Snacks at 9.30pm and then the Late Show at 11pm.  I was hosting again and the set list was:

Hen's Night

Mount Isa

Word In Scrabble

Invite to Parties

Hairy Baby

"I Don't Give a Hoot!"

Hushed Angry Conversation

Not much deviation from the previous night as it was getting to the end of the run in Adelaide and I was starting to feel tired.  At this point you just want to stick with what you know and do your best within that.  Heck, it was so close to being like the previous night that this time we had a 12-year-old girl in the front row.

From this Late Show it was off to the closing night of the Rhino Room.  I decided to tell a story that I knew Karen enjoyed and I hadn't told for a while.  My set list was:

The Acid Story

To be honest I didn't feel it at the Rhino Room that night.  It just wasn't for me and I don't know if it was because it was late, I was tired, I was a little drunk, I was thinking about Karen or all of the above.  I didn't enjoy my set that much and when I brought Wil onstage I wasn't feeling the buzz that I normally feel when I share a stage with a friend. One of the good things about getting older is having the experience to know you've done your job and there is no more that is required.  So at one point while Wil was talking I figured that was enough from me for the night and walked off the stage (I knew Wil would be fine and someone would jump up to fill my spot.  In fact I could see some of the comedians champing at the bit to get onstage), grabbed my bag, walked downstairs, jumped in a cab and was home before the show had finished.

Possibly my greatest exit.

The final night of the Fringe was for the last time Bandstand at 5pm and then my final show at 9.30pm.  Great final night audience and I'd say the whole run was a lot of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed my time back in Adelaide and enjoyed the new energy that pulsates through the streets of the city.  Tiny bars, cool cafes, a genuine sense of get up and go were all evident in my hometown and I found it all to be rather intoxicating.

I've now had a week away from comedy and slowly preparing to do it all again for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  Here's hoping the MICF can live up to the high standard Adelaide and Perth have already set.

 

Justin Hamilton

Fitzroy North

23rd of March, 2015

2015 Blog Nine:  Gigs 38 - 47 Adelaide Fringe

A big five days at the Adelaide Fringe.

I've been not only performing my show from 9.30pm-10.30pm but have also been heading straight from my venue to the Factory to host the Garden of Unearthly Delight's "Late Show" that begins at 11pm.  I don't mind the quick turn around.  It means that I am still buzzing from my show and can ride that energy into the night. After the Late Show I'm pretty ruined but the energy does flow nicely from one show into the other.

So beginning with last Friday the 6th of March the set lists that night were:

Snacks!

Late Show

Biker Gig

Car Accident in Adelaide

Invite to Parties

Hairy Baby

"I Don't Give a Hoot!"

Hushed Angry Conversation

With a percentage of people coming from my show to the Late Show I think it is important to not repeat material that they have just heard.  I'm not too precious about doing different material on different nights but when people have seen you in such close proximity I think it is more than fair to give them a bunch of different routines. Since the Late Shows are chock full of great talent I don't try to do too much at the start.  Just get the show on track and then keep the momentum up from there.

The next day (the 7th of March) I had three shows that I was a part of starting in the afternoon with:

Steele Wars Podcast Live

Fun gig that spins out of Steele Saunders' Star Wars inspired podcast.  Then later that night it was the solo show/Late Show double.  The set lists were:

Snacks!

Late Show:

Hen's Night

Mount Isa

Word In Scrabble

Invite to Parties

Hairy Baby

Hushed Angry Conversation

More fun gigs although at the Late Show I had to tear a punter a new arsehole.  A pretty drunk guy sitting up the back of a room at any late show is not a shock and to begin with I just ignored him.  After a while though he was starting to wear on my nerves and by the end of the night I decided to let him have a serve before I brought on Wil Anderson.  I don't particularly enjoy telling someone to pull their head in but I'll be honest and say this one was actually quite fun.  Nice to know I still have those skills if I ever need to pull them out.

The Sunday March 8th, was the middle of a long weekend.  I had another three shows this day beginning at a day time gig at the Marion Hotel.  I was doing support for Wil and was on a line up that included Greg Fleet and Lindsay Webb.  My set list was:

Marion Hotel

Hen's Night

Mount Isa

Word In Scrabble

Getting Older is Bullshit

20s, 30s, 40s

NYE 2015

Snacks Song

Entitled To My Opinion

Speaks Islamic

Bjork Album

"I Don't Give A Hoot!"

Hushed Angry Conversations

Scouts

Fun gig and one that I played around with using some old material and some newer routines from my latest show.  Then it was time for:

Snacks!

And then it was off to the Late Show:

Hen's Night

Mount Isa

Word in Scrabble

Invite to Parties

Hairy Baby

Hushed Angry Conversation

The next two nights were just the show so the 9th and 10th of March were:

Snacks!

So far the show has been really firing on all cylinders.  It has been a fun show that often surprises me how quickly it appears to tick over each night.  Last night in particular I suddenly realised I only had two routines left in the show and couldn't for the life of me feeling like I'd performed long enough.  I worried I'd accidentally dropped a routine but when I left the stage my techie Tom told me I was bang on 58 minutes.  I guess that is a good sign that I am at the very least having fun.

I am feeling tired today though and am pretty rapt that I only have my show tonight. As of Thursday though it is going to be all systems go with 12 gigs in 4 days so I'll have to try to catch some quiet time while I can.  It has been a fun couple of Fringes back to back but after the travel of Perth and the non stop action in Adelaide I'm slowly starting to feel a little on the weary side.  The good thing is that there is a week between festivals in Adelaide and Melbourne so I can use that time to take it easy, rest up and then tackle the behemoth that is the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

 

Justin Hamilton

11th of March, 2015

Croydon

2015 Blog Eight:  Gigs 33 - 37:  Adelaide Fringe

Having been in Adelaide for a few days I was keen to get my show up and running. It has been fun watching a lot of my friends perform their new shows but it left me champing at the bit to get rolling too.  After the success and fun of the Perth Fringe I wanted to regain that momentum as quickly as possible.  My venue is up and in the corner at the Campanile tent and while I'm close to where the amusement rides take place the noise bleed is not too brutal.  I've definitely lucked out so far.

So far the shows have been on from the 2nd - 5th of March and the set list is an easy one:

Snacks

Breaking down the four shows is easy as the enjoyment factor has been the same but there were slight differences in all the shows.  The first show was pretty tight for a first night. The energy of getting back on stage with it was quite high and it was nice to feel myself get back into the cadence of the show very quickly.

The second night was fun but I was a little sloppy.  I don't think anyone would have noticed anything (I'm certain only I did because I'm the only person who has been at all of the shows!) but I left out a couple of things (including the "Snacks!" song!) and I mucked up a name for a character.  It happened early in the routine and I was able to talk my way through it without anyone knowing but as I stated above it was a little sloppy.  This can happen on the second or third night.  You don't have the buzz of the opening show but you also don't know the show back to front so this wasn't a huge surprise to me.

The third night was the best one so far.  It was tight and a little more playful.  I found some extra gags in the show that made me pretty happy.

The fourth night was good but I had a slightly sluggish beginning.  I know that it was the first night I had noticed the noise of the rides but after a few minutes I realised it wasn't going to get any louder so I can ease back a little.  I think over the next couple of nights I'll be aware of the noise even more as the weekend kicks in but hopefully I'm across it now so it won't be too annoying.

I also squeezed in an appearance at a fund raiser tribute of fellow comedian Deanne Smith. She's had to cancel her Adelaide season due to some personal reasons so a bunch of us did a show at the room she was meant to be performing in.  Everyone involved either told stories about Deanne or some of us even did a little of her material.  For my part in it I did a little of both so the set list was:

Deanne Smith Show - March 5th

Waxing

Touring Queensland

Bomb Chucker

It was really difficult memorising Deanne's material because her cadence and approach is so different to mine but it was a fun exercise.  I hope the audience enjoyed it and I hope when Deanne gets an opportunity to see the video she gets a kick out of it too.

Big weekend ahead with solo shows, late shows and day time gigs so plenty to report on next week.

Justin Hamilton

6th of March, 2015

Croydon

2015 BLOG SEVEN: GIGS 30 – 32: ADELAIDE FRINGE

I flew into Adelaide a few days before my Fringe season of “Snacks!” opens to not only jump up at some late night gigs but also take the opportunity to see a few of my friends’ shows.  In the first four days I managed to check out Tom GleesonTom BallardSam SimmonsPuddles Pity Party and Cal Wilson.  (All in that order as well.)  Everyone’s shows were top notch and it was inspiring to see all the acts producing polished works so early in the festival season.

One name up there might confuse you and that is Puddles Pity Party.  Puddles is a six foot eight silent clown.  He engages in a lot of audience participation and the only time he makes any noise is when he sings.  Puddles has a voice that reminds me of Scott Walker and his covers are fantastic.

Great show, really worth checking out.  If you want to hear him sing click on this.

My first gig in town was at Adelaide Uni for O-Week with a bill that included:  Lori BellLuke McGregor, GleesonSimmons and Dave Hughes.  I haven’t performed at Adelaide Uni in such a long time.  When I first started out in the duo the Bunta Boys it was a regular gig so it was an interesting experience heading back there for this show.  It was a fun gig that started off my Adelaide Fringe nicely.  Here’s the set list:

26th of February – Adelaide Uni Gig

-Kid at Captain America

-20s, 30s, 40s

-Car Accident in Adelaide

-Invite to Parties

-Hairy Baby

-Tripping and Farting

-Glitter in Invitations

-People Wearing Your Glasses

-Islamic Writing

What I attempted to do was pick a set list that would appeal to young adults and in the process was quite punchy.  I didn’t want to talk about some of the stuff I’ve got from my show too much because I don’t think in a short spot it would be the type of stuff young uni students could relate to.  What I did discover though was that I could take one of my jokes (Islamic Writing) and add it to a couple of older jokes for a new context.  That was a nice surprise and one that just happened on stage.  It is interesting what the brain can do on the fly.

Over the next two nights (the Friday and Saturday) I squeezed in spots at the Rhino Room Late Show.  Both nights I tried to do different sets to not only entertain any potential repeat customers but also to use that stage time to blow out the cobwebs for material from my show.  The two set lists were:

27th of February:  Rhino Room – Late Show

-Can’t Drink Anymore

-Before the Internet

28th of February:  Rhino Room – Late Show

-Getting older is bullshit

-20s, 30s, 40s

-NYE 2015

-Snacks Song

-If I wanted to be rude

-Entitled To My Opinion

-Speaks Islamic

-Bjork Album

-Scouts

Both gigs were fun and a good opportunity to get back into the rhythm of material from the new show.  As of tonight (March 2nd) I start a run of 14 days straight of shows so I’m itching to get into the swing of things.  After the improvement I could feel in PerthI’m hoping that by the end of this week the show will have found a new gear and will be able to take the routines to another level.  Also it is just fun to know that we’re finally kicking off here in Adelaide.

Justin Hamilton

2nd of March, 2015

Croydon

2015 BLOG SIX: GIGS 24 – 29: PERTH FRINGE

Well the rumour that the Perth Fringe was awesome was more than on the money. In fact “Fringe World” may have been so good to me that the next few festivals might struggle to match up to it.  Time to pull up your socks Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne Comedy Festival, there’s a new, younger festival in town and it is nipping at your heels.

I flew over the morning of the 20th of Feb and was back home the night of the 22ndhaving just performed four sold out shows and two late night gigs.  I had that moment of sitting on my bed wondering if it had all been a fevered dream it all happened so quickly. My venue was a 160 seater and originally we only had two shows at 7.30pmbooked. These sold out so quickly we added a 10.45pm show on the Friday and a 4.15pm show on Saturday.  For the debut of “Snacks!” this was a great way to get it up and running.

I was more than pumped for a lot of gigs in a short amount of time but what I hadn’t taken into account was the three hour difference.  By the time my first show kicked off at 7.30pm it was already feeling like 10.30pm.  Luckily adrenalin is the greatest pick me up in the world and the opportunity to open the new show to a sold crowd was too exciting to even consider being tired.

I thought the first show went down really well and over the course of the four performances it was exponentially better by the end.  I like to start a season off around the 52-55 minute mark because the more you perform your routines the bigger they become. You find new jokes and new approaches.  You grow so comfortable with the material you ad lib more and by the end you’re blowing out to around the 60-65 minute mark.  On my opening show I came in at 63.  Yikes!  Way too long.  I did a bit of editing and dropped a couple of routines to help it come in at a tighter time.

In fact by the end of the season I had dropped two routines that I was convinced were going to be big parts of the show.  That is a nice situation to be in.  Another idea I had only just thought of recently went down even better than I hoped and that is now going to be a big part of the show.  If you see the show it is the routine about how Mumdeals with stray cats in her backyard.

After greeting audiences at the door for the Edinburgh Fringe I decided I would continue that practice with this new show.  I want this show to be loose and relaxed so meeting everyone at the door before and after the show adds to that feeling.  I also don’t have any big opening so hopefully we’re into the show before anyone realises.  I thought it worked really well in Perth and hope it continues to work like that for the remaining festivals.

So the set list for the four shows over the two days was simply:

Snacks!

I’ve also had a totally different approach to this show.  I haven’t written anything down, I haven’t written any scripts.  I haven’t worked out a theme and I haven’t worked on the material with anything in mind.  I want this to be totally different to anything I’ve produced in recent years and I have to say it has been rewarding.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this approach and feel with the hard work that went into the development of the material back in Oct/Nov/Dec that this is the most relaxed I’ve felt leading into festival season.

I knocked off a couple of late shows on the Friday and Saturday night too.  On the Friday night I was a guest on the “Lords Of Luxury” show.  It turned out there were a few people in the audience who had just seen my show so I pulled out a story I hadn’t told in ages. It felt like a good story to rip out for a late show:

The Lords of Luxury

The Acid Story

On the following night I was a guest on “Comic Strip” that is produced and booked by Asher Treleaven and Gypsy Wood.  I thoroughly enjoy working with these guys and this was no exception.  It was my final gig in Perth and I hit the stage close to midnight. It was a fun way to see out the festival for me.

Comic Strip

-Partying During the Week

-Getting older is bullshit

-20s, 30s, 40s

-Before The Internet

-“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

-Hushed Angry Conversation

-Fix Your Flaws

It was a fantastic weekend.  The time difference may have kicked my arse but I wouldn’t have changed any of the experience.  It was great to get the show up and running and if the rest of the festivals are half as good I’ll be up for a fun couple of months.  Fingers crossed this good vibe follows me over to Adelaide.

Justin Hamilton

24th of February, 2015

Fitzroy North

2015 BLOG FIVE: GIG 23 “THE COMIC’S LOUNGE”

This was a slightly different gig to the usual night at The Comic’s Lounge.

Over the past couple of months they’ve been hosting a night where established comedians worked on new material and new comedians worked on establishing themselves.  Not only that but the host of these nights would come in earlier and work with the new acts on everything from writing, technique and approach to their careers.

My intention in the workshop was to show the new comedians how they can expand their material.  A lot of the time what separates the open mic comedian from the headliner is that both acts will look at a situation and come up with the same first joke. The difference with the headliner is that he or she will then expand on the first joke and turn it into a longer routine.  When we all start out we’re fine at finding the first joke but the next two, three, four jokes are where we struggle.

I enjoy these workshops because it is not only fun to pass on whatever knowledge you have but it is also a good way to remember and refine the skills you have.  For the first half an hour I showed the acts how they can expand their material.  I talked about what it is like to run rooms.  I explained the best way to find more opportunities and how to approach the different rooms around town.  It was a fun workshop and after just under two hours I felt like I’d only managed to get through half of what I was keen to talk about.  If they continue to run any extra workshops later in the year I’ll have to see if I can get another opportunity to work with the new comics.

After the workshop I had about a half hour to get myself into show mode.  After you’ve pontificated for nearly two hours on how to approach stand up you really need to then nail the gig.  Everybody has a bad day at work but I really couldn’t afford for this to be the day or it would have unravelled all the work I’d just done!  Luckily for me there were a couple of hundred people at the gig and it was a really strong night.

17th of February – The Comic’s Lounge

1st Half:

-Getting older is bullshit

-20s, 30s, 40s

-NYE 2015

-Snacks Song

-If I wanted to be rude

-Entitled To My Opinion

-Speaks Islamic

-Opinions are like arseholes

-Bjork Album

-Scouts

2nd Half

-Can’t Drink Anymore

-Before the Internet

All the acts did a great job and I used this as an opportunity to hone my material before heading to the Perth Fringe.  I enjoyed this night a lot and hope the Loungecontinues to work their Tuesday nights in a similar fashion.  It might be more difficult after the Festivals since not as many established comedians will be working on new material but hopefully it will be a night the returns sooner rather than later.  If you’re in the North Melbourne area I think there will be shows like this until mid March so if you’re a fan of comedy and the process then this is a great night to go down.  You not only get to see new comics learning the ropes but headliners working on their new material.  A fun night.

Justin Hamilton

24th of February, 2015

Fitzroy North

BLOG FOUR: GIGS 14 -22 SYDNEY EDITION

I’ve just completed a cracking run up in Sydney at the Comedy Store.  Every gig was a sold out extravaganza and it was not only great to perform in the venue but I also had the opportunity to spend time with some comedians I don’t get to see too often.  I had initially baulked at the idea of shows where the headliner only has the opportunity to knock off a 15 minute set at the end of the night but having been a part of these line up shows a few times now I have to say I’m sold.  I think it is even better than it used to be because now you not get the opportunity to see more acts but I also got to meet a lot of the younger comedians coming up through the ranks.

Since it was only 15 minutes a night I made a deal with myself that I would change up the material as often as possible.  This was for a couple of reasons.  First up I have a new show that is about to begin in Perth this weekend (you can find tickets for the extra show here) so I wanted to make certain as much of the material was getting a run as possible.  I also like to keep the techie (Joshie!) and the rest of the staff (Jack and the waiters) as engaged as possible so if I changed up the material enough it would save them from feeling like they were trapped in a time loop while dealing with the punters.  Finally it would stop me from entering each gig on auto pilot so by changing the material for each gig I would have to be in the moment.

The first three gigs had the following set lists:

5th of February – The Comedy Store

-Little Boy at Cap

-Getting older is bullshit

-20s, 30s, 40s

-Before The Internet

-“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

-Hushed Angry Conversation

6th of February – The Comedy Store

-Getting older is bullshit

-20s, 30s, 40s

-Can’t Drink Anymore

-Fix Your Flaws

7th of February – The Comedy Store

 -Getting older is bullshit

-20s, 30s, 40s

-NYE 2015

-Snacks Song

-If I wanted to be rude

-Entitled To My Opinion

-Speaks Islamic

-Opinions are like arseholes

-Bjork Album

-Hushed Angry Conversations

-Scouts

My basic aim was to keep a similar opening that would get me into my sets as quickly as possible and then take it from there.  The first gig I kept to a similar set list that I used for support for Wil Anderson at the Opera House.  I wanted to remind myself what 15 minutes felt like so I wouldn’t over plan for the following gigs.  The second I wanted to run in a longer set and the third gig was an opportunity to work on the latest new material. I’ve also re-worked a couple of older routines (or jokes really as they’re possibly a bit small to be declared a routine) that haven’t appeared in a show in Australia before.  Sometimes club material stays in the clubs but I’ve enjoyed reworking these pieces for the new show.

The line up that week included RayRhys NicholsonJames SmithGen FrickerSam CampbellDan Rath and Gearard McGowen.  It was an excellent show and I really enjoyed the breadth of acts the Store had booked.

I had the Sunday off before two gigs on the Monday.  The first one was a trial show for “Snacks!” which gave me an opportunity to see how all the material felt in a one hour show. After the heavy narrative of “Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994” I wanted this show to be thematically linked but at the same time not be tied to an over arching story. That way I can chop and change each night if I feel like doing so.  If anything this feels like it will be more in the spirit of “Idiot Man Child” from 2010.

After my trial show I headed to my friend Nick Skeer’s new comedy night “Comedy@616“. Nick is a friend of mine from Adelaide who lives in Sydney now and has opened this show that combines comedy and jazz.  I’ve seen this attempted in the past with varying results but for the opening night I thought Nick did a great job. The mix was solid, the acts were excellent and the audience was up for it.  Here’s hoping that it sticks around and continues to build on what was already an excellent opening night.

Here are the set lists for the night:

9th of February – Trial Show

Snacks!

Comedy@616

 -Little Boy at Cap

-Getting older is bullshit

-20s, 30s, 40s

-NYE 2015

-Snacks Song

-If I wanted to be rude

-Entitled To My Opinion

-Speaks Islamic

-Bjork Album

-Fix Your Flaws

-Scouts

I had the Tuesday off and took that opportunity to record a new podcast with one of my favourite comedians and friends Ben Ellwood for “Can You Take This Photo Please?”  That will be released in a few weeks.  I managed while I was in town to score some people who haven’t been on the show before including Cam KnightGen Fricker and Becky Lucas with a cameo from Susie Youssef.

From Wednesday to Saturday it was back to the Comedy Store and a variation on the previous week.  With a new line up that included Rhys hosting, SusieJamesDanPaige HallyBev KillickCameron DugganNikki Britton and Marty Bright it was another week of great shows. I hadn’t seen some of the younger comics from this week and it was great to see them four nights in a row.

The set lists were:

11th of February – The Comedy Store

 -Little Boy at Cap

-Getting older is bullshit

-20s, 30s, 40s

-Before The Internet

-“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

-Hushed Angry Conversation

12th of February – The Comedy Store

-Getting older is bullshit

-20s, 30s, 40s

-NYE 2015

-Snacks Song

-If I wanted to be rude

-Entitled To My Opinion

-Speaks Islamic

-Bjork Album

-Hushed Angry Conversations

-Fix Your Flaws

-Scouts

 13th of February – The Comedy Store

-Getting older is bullshit

-20s, 30s, 40s

-Can’t Drink Anymore (Truncated)

-Before The Internet

-Hushed Angry Conversation

14th of February – The Comedy Store

-Getting older is bullshit

-20s, 30s, 40s

-NYE 2015

-Snacks Song

-If I wanted to be rude

-Entitled To My Opinion

-Speaks Islamic

-Opinions are like arseholes

-Bjork Album

-“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

-Hushed Angry Conversations

-Scouts

A few variations there but as you can see a similar working of the set lists to the previous week.  It was a stack of excellent shows that made me feel like I was in a good place leading into the festival season.  A big thanks to everyone at the Comedy Store for looking after me and placing me in the context of a great gig.  

Justin Hamilton

16th of February, 2015

Fitzroy North

2015 Blog Two: Gigs 6 - 11

From Launceston to the Opera House I had a run of great gigs with the exception of one routine that I just could not quite stick the landing on. Yes, it was frustrating!

2015 Blog One: Gigs 1 - 5

We have five gigs to talk about that start with the Scouts in Adelaide and then back to Melbourne for Spleen Comedy, The Imperial Hotel, Death Star Canteen and the brand spanking new Portland Hotel.

2014 December Gigs 185 - 188: The Shelf and the Hotel Barkly

The final four shows of the year cover all of season 10 of The Shelf, a one off gig at the Hotel Barkly and a few of the potential pitfalls of performing when you are receiving terrible news.

2014 November Gigs 179 - 184: Death Star Canteen to The Comic's Lounge

I finally get around to writing about a run of gigs that might have been the best run of the year: from Death Star Canteen to The Comic's Lounge to a little show at 1000 Pound Bend.

2014 November Gigs 172 - 178: Imperial Hotel to Wil Anderson Support

November is turning out to be a busy time of the year.  I'm always quite surprised at how my self esteem improves with the amount of gigs that I'm performing.  Even when I'm taking a break that I know is necessary there is a mild funk when I'm away from the stage. I don't believe it has that much to do with a desire to perform but more a sense that you're working and therefore earning a living.  It always makes me laugh when people tell me that I work too hard and should just take a month off.  I will gladly do this when someone offers to pay me holiday pay.  Heck, I've been doing this for twenty years, I'm owed two loads of long service leave, right? My first gig for the week was helping to fill in a gap at Imperial Comedy.  I've been performing there quite a bit lately and it is beginning to feel like a second home. With a rock solid audience who are locked into every show it has provided me with an opportunity to really play around with my material.  By changing the sequence in some of the routines I've been able to reveal more jokes and interesting asides that have helped flesh out the new material.  Here's the set list for the gig:

 

18th of November:  Imperial Hotel

 

Biker Gig

Milne and His Fine

Manson Getting Married

Abbott Shot In The Face

Liberal Government

Legal Pot

 

For those of you who haven't seen the material just enjoy the heading of "Abbott Shot In The Face" and extrapolate from there where that material might go.  It was another fun night at the Imperial Hotel but I had to leave early as the next day I had a flight to Darwin to support Wil Anderson on his tour.

My tour manager Claire and I managed to upgrade to business class for our flight and I'll be honest, it is brutal when you have to return to economy.  Big seats, real cutlery and staff that just want to keep serving you booze are just some of the joys of sitting up the front of the plane.  I love drinking on flights as I find the air pressure in the cabin combined with the booze ends up making me a little teary.  I'm made for a weepy flight moment and anything can set me off.  As an example I watched the trailer for "True Detective" (a series I have watched stacks of heaps of times already) and found myself getting a bit weepy watching that.  Hang in there Rust, everything is going to be ok!

 

Between shows hoping I don't have a bald patch showing up in any mirrors.

 

Our first show as part of this tour was at the Darwin Entertainment Centre where a thousand Ando fans came along to see the big man in action.  As a support act I feel you have to go out, warm up the audience, get them in the mood and don't outstay your welcome.  They're not there to see you, at best you're a bonus.  Do you job and hit it hard. This was the set list:

 

19th of November:  Darwin support for Wil

 

Kid At Cap

Turning 40

Before The Internet

Fix Your Flaws

“I Don’t Give A Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

 

This was a great start to the tour except we had some major sound issues.  With a cordless mic that was feeding back throughout the first five minutes it made it difficult to land punchlines.  Also for some reason the smoke machine had a mind of its own and was spewing out the type of smoke that even the makers of "I Dream Of Jeannie" would find excessive.  At one point with me dressed all in black surrounded by smoke and a mic that was making lightsaber noises I must have looked like a "Be Kind Rewind" version of Darth Vader.

Funnily enough I was so relaxed with this happening about me that I was actually finding it quite funny.  When I was younger I think I would have had a mild nervous breakdown but knowing there was nothing I could do until the techie fixed the problem was in a way quite liberating.  Also I feel as the support act this is the type of thing I'm there to help solve.  It is better for the sound to be a mess while I'm onstage so when Wil comes out for his show everything is sorted.  In a weird way this is part of my job. Still the audience was great and the gig was a fun one despite the tech problems.

The next day we flew to Perth (back in economy...no upgrade for Claire and I this time...booooo!) and had a day off before getting back into the swing of things.  Over the next four shows (including our show in Kalgoorlie) my set list remained the same. When you know it is not only working but coming in on time you don't want to mess around too much in case you throw everything out of order.  So the set list was:

 

21st – 23rd of November:  Perth and Kalgoorlie support for Wil

 

Kid At Cap

Turning 40

Before The Internet

Fix Your Flaws

What A Woman Likes About Me Now

“I Don’t Give A Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

 

In fact I tell a mild lie.  I dropped the "What A Woman Likes About Me Now" after the opening show in Perth.  I just thought it messed with the flow of the set ever so slightly. Not that anyone would have noticed but I wasn't 100% happy with it.  The audiences were incredible and very giving.  Considering I was the support act I felt very much like they were rapt to have me there.  This is also helped by the generous introductions that Wil gives at the start of the show that lets them know in no uncertain terms that I'm there because of him.  I thoroughly enjoyed these gigs and it is a massive buzz to perform to roughly 6,000 people over such a small amount of time.  If you'd told me when I first started out that one day I would have that opportunity I would have been rapt as I am now.

 

Wil in action in Kalgoorlie.

 

There was one other gig tucked in amongst these shows.  On the Saturday night Wil had two shows at the Perth Exhibition Centre and after the first gig I was booked for a corporate gig that was in the same venue at exactly the perfect time.  What are the odds? I can't remember having that type of luck before and have been very thankful that it turned out the way that it did.  It was for a company of three hundred and I was booked to knock out 20 minutes at their end of year Christmas party.  I didn't perform any material at this gig but instead did audience work instead.  It was that type of gig where they enjoyed seeing someone from their company feel awkward more than they wanted jokes and I was happy to provide!

 

Adam Richard and I turned up to see Rove's secret gig at the Imperial Hotel.

 

Monday it was time to fly from Kalgoorlie to Perth to Melbourne.  What a great way to wipe out a day but after a fun run of gigs and a fair amount of travel it was nice to not think for a while.  I'm relatively happy with the new material as it is getting to that comfortable stage where it feels like the material I've been performing all along, a natural part of my regular set lists.  That is a good sign heading into some down time before the new year begins.

The following day Rove was headlining the Imperial Hotel and I went down with Adam Richard to just watch the show.  It is important to go to gigs and just sit back and enjoy the night.  It was a perfect way to relax before the next run of gigs here in Melbourne.

 

Justin Hamilton

28th of November, 2014

Fitzroy North

2014 November Gigs: 166 - 171 From The Imperial To The Final Comedy At Crown

A great week of gigs with the highlight being a moment where I found a way to improve a new routine.

2014 October Gigs: 158 - 162 From Comedy at Crown to Society

From back pain to Interstellar, it was an interesting week for my new routines as they entered their awkward teenage years.