Gigs 58 and 59: Vinyl Revival and The Comic's Lounge

Two gigs in one night is fun especially if they are extremely dissimilar to each other. I started off the night at Dave O'Neil's "Vinyl Revival" show at The Wheeler Centre where I was a guest with Lawrence Mooney, Nelly Thomas and Wil Anderson. Dave is a master of these types of shows, his knowledge of music with his sharp wit make him a natural and you can see why he was such a good guest on shows like Spicks and Specks.  While there is a very laid back approach to Dave, he has a keen intellect wrapped up in an every man quality and it was a lot of fun being on the show with him.

The guests were all friends too.  Long time readers know that Wil and I hang out quite a bit when we have the opportunity and he's been one of the best friends I've had over my 40 years of life.  Nelly and I became friends when she first appeared on the comedy scene and i had the pleasure of working on one of her stand up shows for the Melbourne Comedy Festival one year, a great show that yielded excellent results.  What can I say about the Moon Man?  He's a charismatic force of nature and I enjoy the confidence he brings to the stage, a confidence that is imbued with a self awareness that allows him to be vulnerable and in control all at the same time.  Some of the highlights of the night were the pot shots he took at me for my love of David Bowie (who else was I going to talk about at a music night?) and it is fun to spar with Lawrence because when he throws a comment your way he has a twinkle in his eye as he waits to see how you're going to respond.

 

 

Yes I talked about Bowie and took in the latest album "The Next Day" and the classic "Station to Station".  I ended up playing "I'll Take You There" off the new album and "Golden Years" off "S2S".  I told the story about seeing Bowie for the first time in 1983 in Adelaide and the time that I met him briefly in Sydney.  If you have been following me for a while you may have heard these stories before and I have to admit they bring me a certain amount of joy to retell them.

It was a perfect antidote for a frustrating day of work.  I haven't really gone into it that much but this Melbourne Comedy Festival Season has been slightly disappointing behind the scenes as I have been bypassed for a lot of work later in the year.  This happens in everyone's careers, you have ebbs and flows and at the moment I am definitely on the "outer" with some people.  This is particularly frustrating as my stand up has never been stronger and a lot of the people that are bypassing me are the same people who have been coming to me for help.  Yesterday when I discovered I had been yet again overlooked for a certain project I didn't even feel any real disappointment.  It was what I expected in the end.  This has definitely been a season of wanting to break out into a Moving Pictures' cover as my phone has constantly wrung from 8am every morning (I mean literally every morning for a month) with people wanting help in some way.  I try to be honest in this blog to give you a keen idea of what a year can be like for a comedian. I haven't really gone into some of this behind the scenes stuff because I am not certain it is that interesting and I'd hate for little setbacks to be misconstrued as a cry for help.  As a great philosopher once remarked, "Shit happens".  After yesterday though I know that I'm going to have to make a few decisions as to where I'll be in the next few months.  With that in mind I might finally cut back on live performances and work on some new ideas.  I might sell up and travel for a bit.  I might move house, cities, countries.  Who knows? The good thing about these situations is that you can reinvent yourself and move forward.  It can be frustrating at the time but if you harness that energy you can do something good with your life.

Don't get me wrong, I've had an excellent festival onstage.  The Shelf has been a massive success, so much so we've nearly sold out of our season passes for our next season in August!  (You can buy tickets here.) The gigs at The Comic's Lounge have been great and Fan Fiction Comedy was a blast.  The feedback from you has also been gratifying and I think my time as one of the people on the Moosehead committee has helped yield three excellent shows this year.  Yet it has been the behind scenes machinations that have frozen me out of work, work that I need to survive.  I don't make a living from anything but live work.  When those opportunities are taken away from you then you really have to make a decision on what happens next.  It is like anyone in any profession, ups and downs, how do you rise above it, where do you go next?  There are no guarantees in entertainment and I've survived these setbacks before, I'm sure I'll not only overcome them this time but be all the better for it.  Fingers crossed, right?

I arrived at The Comic's Lounge a little earlier to watch the whole show and I was glad that I did because the very funny Daniel Townes was on in the first bracket.  I'm a big fan of Daniel and along with Monty Franklin and Anthony Salame it made for a fun gig to watch.  I noticed the audience was a bit rowdy on one side of the room and a bit dead on the other. It was like listening to a stereo that only has one speaker working. Salame reinforced my thoughts backstage between our sets.  Since I was in a weird head space (disappointed about future work yet buzzing from having fun at Vinyl Revival) I ploughed into a set that had been doing the job all festival.

 

Partying during the week

Turning 40

Car Crash in Adelaide

Port Power Supporters in Adelaide

Hairy Baby

Invite Who You Want To Parties

Being An Arsehole

Little Boy Joke

Tripping and Farting

Laughing at a Funeral

Gym Conversation

Breaking Up Through History

Getting Angry as I Get Older

“You’re An Ugly Hooker!”

No Need to Share All Your Opinions

Glitter in Invitations

People wearing your glasses

Spooning

 

Since the audience was a bit rowdy I pulled out a trick at about the 23 minute mark where I told everyone I was about to finish up.  By telling the audience this I helped to refocus them for the rest of the show.  I still performed for another 12 minutes but I felt if I had kept going there were enough drunk people in the audience that they might have been lost before then.  By telling them I was nearly done earlier than normal and then continuing to perform for a bit, I felt that helped draw back their attention for the end of the show.

I have also been performing less routines and leaving more room for ad libs and improvisation.  The set looks like it hasn't changed much but there is much more going on within the minutiae of the routines that allow me to drop bits I feel aren't working as well or I'm just bored with.  After the gig I had an opportunity to catch up with two great young Adelaide comedians Amos Gill and Moataz Hamde.  They're excellent lads and will be names for you to look out for in the very near future.  It ended up being a night of fun gigs that helped take the sting out of the behind the scenes malarkey.  There is only one more gig to go at the Lounge followed by the Moosehead Gala on Sunday. I then have a week off before I head to Perth for their festival (You can purchase tickets here).  I'll take that time to have a think about what is going to happen next and once I know I'll make certain to give you a heads up.  You never know, you might like to continue this strange journey with me.

 

Justin Hamilton

20th of April, 2013

Fitzroy North