Last night's gig at The Corner Hotel was possibly my favourite for the year. With an all star line up that included Lehmo, Mick Molloy, Celia Pacquola and Dave Callan, it was one of the rare shows where; to borrow a basketball phrase; every comedian could play every position. Any of us could have hosted, opened, closed or kicked off the second half and the show wouldn't have suffered in anyway.
Lehmo was the host of the show and I think it is a job that he makes look easier than it actually is. When I first started performing stand up comedy I came from a background of five years in a comedy duo called The Bunta Boys. The transition was a difficult one as I had a fair bit of stage experience but little idea about the light and shade required in a solo performance. I was just about to embark on this new stage of my career when Lehmo returned from having performed for a few years in London. He taught me a lot of my basic skills, pointed out some mistakes I was making and really helped lay a solid foundation for me to find my way. To top that off he is a great guy. I still get a kick seeing him on TV and listening to him on radio as I remember our days in Adelaide running rooms together and the ups and downs of those early stages in our careers. Lehmo is also very good at being himself onstage. The guy you see up there is the guy who chats to you offstage and that can be the most difficult transition to make. He of course did a great job last night.
I was lucky enough to have the opening spot. On a night like this with nothing but great comedians on the bill I think you want to get on as early as possible. The audience is primed, the host has set the room up and you get the opportunity to set the pace for the show. I wanted to return to some of the material that I am certain will be part of my headline spot this year but I also wanted to shake things up a little. Before I walked onstage I decided at the last minute to add two older routines to the front of my set, two pieces I haven't performed in probably around six months. I'm glad I did because I'd forgotten how much fun they are to perform and it also gave me a different energy at the start of my set. Here's the setlist for you:
Breaking Up Through History
Car Crash in Adelaide
Invite Who You Want To Parties
Being An Arsehole
Little Boy Joke
Tripping and Farting
No Need To Share All Your Opinions
The first two routines were some of my favourites to perform in the last two years. They were originally written for my show "Circular" which was one of the funniest shows I've written yet my poorest selling Melbourne Comedy Festival show of the past 10 years. Go figure, right? As I said opening with those pieces helped put me in a slightly different frame of mine and gave me a good energy before launching into the material that is slowly becoming my main set for early 2013.
The great thing about being on early is you then get to hang out and watch the rest of the acts. It is still a thrill to perform on the same bill as Mick Molloy, you never really get over spending time with the people you admired before you were lucky enough to get into the industry. Mick, Richard Fidler, Paul McDermott, Tim Ferguson, Judith Lucy and Tony Martin are people I can call friends but I still find them all a bit shiny. I hope that I never become jaded and lose this feeling.
Celia Pacquola is one of my favourite comedians and it is always a delight to see her perform. I think she is really, really funny and I enjoy the way she's always playing around with her routines to make them better every time. Surreal, vulnerable, assured and clever, she's just an excellent comic. Dave Callan and I share a birthday date so he is in fact my "birthday brother". He has a new dance routine that he unveiled last night (well, I hadn't seen it before) and it was great. Dave makes me laugh with his tight choreography coupled with floppy movements and slightly far away stare. To have this at the end of an excellent set of routines just seems a little bit unfair to the rest of us.
The Comedy Spectacular at The Corner Hotel is a great show to be a part of and with a revolving line up is definitely worth keeping an eye on out for next time it comes around. Producer Ged Wood and gang have been putting together excellent shows for a long time and continue to produce a fun night for comics and punters alike.
8th of February, 2013