Gigs 8 and 9: The Portland Hotel and Checkpoint Charlie

Two gigs in one night is absolute bliss. The opportunity to work on new material in successive gigs is a godsend and is one of the few things I envy when I think of fellow comedians who work in bigger cities around the world.

First up was the Portland Hotel in the heart of Melbourne.  I was headlining this gig with Joel Creasy once again hosting and Karl Woodberry, Daniel Moore and Nath Valvo performing in the first half.  I have to say that Creasy did a great job as host as this was a crowd who took a little while to warm up.  I've spoken before about the potential difficulties in hosting and this was definitely one of those gigs where Joel really didn't receive the reaction he deserved at the beginning of the night.  The great thing is that he kept his nerve, played around just enough to let the audience know they weren't denting his confidence and by the time the second half opened the audience was in full swing.  It was the kind of job where Joel possibly didn't enjoy himself but he did his job very well and made it much easier for me.

Before the gig I had a play around with some of the new material from the night before, adding a few tweaks here and there to see if I could make some of the material pop a little more.  A similar setlist again as I try to work up my new headline act for the first half of the year.

 

Turning 40

Car Crash in Adelaide

Invite Who You Want To Parties

Being An Arsehole

Little Boy Joke

Not Tall Enough To Be 40

Fix Your Flaws:  I Over Think

Gastro

Bad Dates

Tripping and Farting

Twitter and Felix

No Need To Share All Your Opinions

I dropped the "German Village" material as I wasn't certain what the angle is there just yet.  I'll continue to give this a little more thought over the next couple of days.  There are some enjoyable moments of ad libbing in the "Invite Who You Want To Parties" and "Little Boy Joke" routines.  They will be routines that I will perform slightly differently every night.  Comedians often have parts that they keep loose so they can play around with them.  The master of this is UK comedian Stewart Lee.  He's the comedian I have learned the most diverse skills from.  If you ever wanted to read what it is like to construct a stand up comedy show I can't recommend enough his book "How I Escaped My Certain Fate".  You will also enjoy the mentions of Australian comedians that pop up in his tales.

I found new ways to perform some of the material and that was exciting. The new material about "Bad Dates" felt solid but formless.  It does have potential though.  The "Tripping and Farting" story also has begun to take shape from the previous night.  Yes that material is juvenile but I have never said I am above childish humour.  Never trust a person who can't enjoy an accidental fart, which also happens to be the point of that new routine.

 

 

So after a 30 minute headline spot I put on the skates to pop over to Checkpoint Charlie which is about a five minute walk from the Portland Hotel.  It was a very different clientele at Checkpoint, a much younger audience so that was a good opportunity for me to work the new and see how it fared.  By the time I had arrived Tommy Dassalo was having a great gig with his new material and Xavier Michelides had complete control as host.  I ended up performing a 17 minute set to bring the night to a close.

 

Turning 40

Not Tall Enough To Be 40

Fix Your Flaws:  I Over Think

Gastro

Bad Dates

Tripping and Farting

Invite Who You Want To Parties

Being An Arsehole

Little Boy Joke

This was an excellent gig to finish on and a very different energy which really gave me a good read on the new gear.  In fact I found some better angles for the "Bad Dates" material, each section appearing to have a clearer form and solid end points.  I wouldn't say the material is totally there but the path ahead suddenly looked much clearer.  It was also heartening to see material that worked for the Portland Hotel (which consisted mainly of men well into their thirties and beyond) also worked for Checkpoint Charlie (good looking guys and gals in their twenties) with both audiences laughing at the same jokes.  That is an interesting lesson right there considering both audiences, if asked, would have sworn they had nothing in common.  Turns out everyone loves a "Tripping and Farting" tale.

An excellent night of gigs for me especially getting to back up what I had learned in one gig and put it into practice less than 30 minutes later.  This night was easily the most enjoyable night I've had so far and it pretty much comes down to the fact that I felt real progress in the new gear.

Justin Hamilton

31st of January, 2013

Fitzroy North