Gig 61: Moosehead Gala

I finished off the Melbourne Comedy Festival by hosting the Moosehead Gala. To prepare for the Gala I was in at the Town Hall at lunch time to go through tech requirements, help work through with the band what would be required and a few run throughs of routines for the show.  I had talked to my manager about things we could do to spice up the Gala as it can feel like hard work at the end of a festival.  The fatigue you feel is often more mental than physical and the main room in the Town Hall is not the easiest of rooms to play.  To help inject some extra energy into the room I had suggested we book in a live band to help start off the show.  A friend of mine had suggested Melbourne's "All The Colours" and they ended up being perfect for the show.  You can check out two of their original songs here and here.  They were great because they have excellent original songs and also did great covers for the show as well.  That versatility really helped spark the night off.



Photo taken by Regina Karon


After we had worked out all the tech I returned home, prepared for the gig and made my way back into the city.  Knowing how tricky the room can be I took the material I was going to use, broke it down into smaller pieces so it would be even punchier and took it from there.  I knew that the first couple of minutes would be slow as the audience settled into the show so I used that opportunity to get some information across while using asides as a means to warm them up.  Once they felt good to go I launched into my material.


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Photo by Regina Karon


The material was tighter than normal with me pretty much keeping to the bigger set pieces within the routines.  There were over 1100 people at the gig so you want to be as big as possible to be able to play to the back of the room especially since the audience is going to have you hosting for the next two and a half hours.

Not only did we have a lot of acts to bring on stage we also had some ongoing jokes for the show.  I brought some of the stuff we do at The Shelf to the Gala like the idea that best newcomer Luke McGregor thinking he was going to perform on the night.  I didn't tell anyone before the show began but I was mildly paranoid about bringing some ideas from The Shelf to such a big room remembering how poorly received people like David Letterman have been hosting The Oscars when he brought some of his late show ideas to the bigger arena.  Yes, I am comparing myself to Letterman.  Only in the fact that the way I host The Shelf is done so with a late night host in mind: on going jokes, monologues at the beginning of the night, the shifting of lower status to higher status throughout the show etc.  Luckily all the ideas with Luke went down a treat and helped infuse the night with a sense that this was quite different from the way galas have been produced in recent times.

These are the acts we had on in the first half and in order:  Adam Hills, Peter Helliar, Hannah Gadsby, Kitty Flanagan, Wil Anderson, Cal Wilson (as Adele...once again another highlight!), Ronny Chieng, David O'Doherty and Dave Hughes.  Pretty good first half, right?

For the beginning of the second half I kept it really tight as we were already running over time.  We began the second half with Luke McGregor impersonating me (a direct gag we'd brought from The Shelf) and then I performed a small piece, one of my most childish and most fun pieces of the season:


Tripping and Farting


Photo by Regina Karon


It was a fun beginning to the second half of the show where we had the following acts: Charlie Pickering, Josie Long, Trevor Noah, Wes Snelling, Kate McLennan, Stephen K Amos, Joel Creasy and Tom Gleeson.  In the end the show felt like a fun night and the feedback I have been receiving seems to point to the fact that the little ongoing jokes we threw in for the show hit their mark.

It was a fun way to finish off the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  I celebrated by sneaking away at the end of the night and returning home to watch Doctor Who.  Yep, I really know how to celebrate these days.


Photo by Regina Karon


Justin Hamilton

21st of April, 2013

Fitzroy North