And so it ends. A tour of duty with the Melbourne Comedy Festival Road Show that began in Rockhampton and took in venues from Mount Isa to Alice Springs to Kununurra finally finished in Yamba with an interesting yet mild whimper. The gig itself was fine but the smallest attendance of any show yielded not much in the way of a grand finale as you always hope. This is usually the way. Your best gig is usually the second to last gig and the final show is usually, “Yep, that was the final show”. Although I did get to shake the hand of a man missing his middle three fingers. He tested me by rubbing the stumps against my palm. I didn’t flinch and the man seemed to respect this but I was thinking the whole time, “I hope this shit isn’t contagious.”
I guess the disappointment usually stems from the fact that you just want to spend time with your friends before you go. I don’t know if comedians appreciate the irony in how stroppy we can get sometimes knowing the show is getting in the way of us hanging out but it does make me chuckle on a regular basis.
Looking back on the tour it is difficult to sum up all the emotions and experiences you had without an over explanation of everything that occurred. Bonds are made stronger by insular affairs and only the people involved will truly understand why they were significant and more importantly what it could all mean. This was summed up on the flight from Coffs Harbour to Sydney when I leant over to Deanne Smith and said, “Now I don’t mean to be…” and before I could even finish the sentence she was laughing and nodding her head knowing exactly what I was about to say.
I’ve had the perfect Road Show experience this time that encompasses all of these emotions: joy, anger, despair, frustration, melancholy, contentment, wistfulness and laughs. Definitely plenty of laughs. I’ve enjoyed everyone’s company on the trip ranging from Mike Wilmot’s tales about everything to Bob Franklin somehow still maintaining his cool in a Qantas outfit.
This has ended up being a special tour. It has felt to me like the final summer before you enter your last year of high school, when nothing will be the same after this, as everyone will be going their own ways into the world. Doors feel like they’re closing and it is time to make plans for what comes next. While this could be the end of an era it would be a good way to go.
I have to say that it is unfair to pick your favourite people on the tour but I’m going to do so anyway. Our tour manager Bridget Bantick, Deanne Smith and I have had a long time together beginning with a flight from Melbourne to Broome via Perth that ended with us parting ways in Coffs Harbour. We experienced lost luggage, open air gigs under a full moon, Thai in Darwin, blabbing our way into Qantas Club after our flight was delayed, “Q Tags are bullshit!” a night drive to Noosa, Luke: our peaceful surfer, wine smuggler, possible serial killer, moon lover pal, glorious shows in Cairns, listening to the Kiss album “Music from the Elder” while driving at night from Innesfail, food ordering shenanigans, "Karl Marx!" Disco women stamping their authority all over the radio, moments where we were “just chewin” and laughing fits that hopefully balanced out my insatiable cravings for snacks to a final drive to the airport with Australian music the soundtrack of our lives ranging from “Asleep in Perfection” to “Out Here In The Cold”. If some of this doesn’t make sense then that is the joy and curse of the people who spent too much time together and sometimes, well sometimes shit just has to stay “in”. Either way my affection for the girls knows no bounds and I hope no matter what paths our lives take we can spend time together in the future.
So many golden moments and hopefully I can remember as many of them as possible but already some of the experiences are beginning to dim and lose their clarity. With little adherence to linear story telling these are the images that come to mind with ease:
As the sun set in Capella I realised our hotel was the perfect place for a murder.
Waiting around for luggage that sometimes appeared.
Alice Springs surprising me with its Australian suburban beauty as I walked back to the hotel alone.
The constant view out of the window of the many planes we caught where only Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings singing, “This Land Is Your Land” makes sense.
The beautiful rainbow of chairs before the doors opened to the first ever Comedy Festival Road Show in Innesfail.
An early morning flight where the cold nipped at our necks and the sky was a pretty pink and purple bruise.
A bowling alley where comedians drank appletinis, did the splits and discovered an appreciation for Lady Ga Ga at 1am.
Nimbin living up to its reputation with deep graffiti.
Sound checks: a moment of clarity before the show begins.
Each of these memories and many others are fading with every new experience in the day and leaving behind only a general sense of adventure and fun and laughter.
In the end I think that is all you can really hope for.
6th of June, 2011