These blogs are always the hardest to write because so much happens at The Shelf. I am also usually pretty tired because every night of The Shelf is opening night. No two shows are the same and so you can't get into a groove with how things are going to work. You have to plan and co-ordinate a bunch of disparate acts and have it all sorted so everything runs smoothly but still leaves the night open to improvisation. Yesterday was a particularly long day before I even arrived at The Toff in Town. If you're keen to know how my day began head over to shelvers.com.au to listen to the podcast that Adam Richard and I recorded that morning. This is how the show looked:
7.00pm: Doors Open
7.30pm: Justin Hamilton
7.40pm: Justin and Adam Richard
7.50pm: Girls Uninterrupted
8.00pm: Xavier Michelides
8.10pm: Greg Fleet
8.20pm: Lessons with Luis
8.40pm: Justin, Adam and Tony Martin
9.05pm: Claire Hooper
9.15pm: Asher Treleaven
9.35pm: Justin, Adam and Charlie Pickering
9.50pm: Elbow Skin
10.00pm: End of Show
With all that in play the show finished at 10.30pm but that was due to the ad libbing that was shooting about the room especially from Fleety who appeared in pretty much every act in the first two brackets. It is very funny to be in the middle of performing and hearing Fleety chime in from somewhere in the audience. It is even funnier when you return the compliment and talk to him throughout his allotted time, especially when you're reminding him to wrap it up as he's gone well over.
I started the show with the following material:
Life Is Good When You're Caucasian
Maguire and The Ape
Can't Call An Aussie a Racist
Maguire Relates To The Aborigines
"It Was Just a Joke Mate"
Country Folk vs Inner City Living
"Are You Aboriginal?"
Aboriginal Man at Party
This was a fairly dicey way to begin the show as it was dealing with some important subjects that are serious in tone but I not at the expense of doing your job which is making people laugh. You'd be surprised at the amount of comedians that forget this when they're working with an important topic. When you're hosting a show and attempting to get it off to a strong start you want to score with enough gags that people are warmed up and will also trust you for the rest of the night. You need the audience to trust you because you're the one introducing acts and selling them to the crowd so if they don't find you funny at the top of the night they're probably not going to believe you when you say, "Our next act is very funny..." I enjoyed the danger in beginning the show with some gags on a weighty topic. The balancing act of getting your message across without skimping on jokes is always a roll of the dice but it was exhilarating as well.
Of course the audience that attends The Shelf is one of the best in the country and they embraced the obvious use of satire and irony and gave me enough confidence that I found enough time to find even more jokes in the material. This opening salvo also helped to set up with Adam our first piece of video for the night where we outed one of our friends as Captain Coles and the subsequent "media storm" that came from that. When I say media storm I mean the one that we manufactured for the theatre of the show. All the gags hit the mark and I felt we were really on a roll.
All the acts delivered excellent sets and it was a personal thrill to share the stage with Tony Martin as he showed us pictures of his time in the UK with Ross Noble. Being able to bounce off his work with him in front of an audience was definitely a highlight and one that I know my childhood friends back home will enjoy. Having watched so much of his work while growing up I was also able to throw in some "Warren Perso" respect. Click on the link here to see what I'm talking about.
We also had some footage of Charlie Pickering talking to the Prime Minister on The Project that was very funny. Pickers was up to our challenge and not only met it but exceeded our expectations. I thought every act had a great set last night and I spent a bit of time in the audience watching the show, something I don't get to do that often. Riding the mic from the sound desk and talking to Adam and other acts onstage was a fun way to interact with the show.
One last show to go with guests Dave Hughes, Cal Wilson, Colin Lane and The Stevenson Experience all set to finish season 7 with a bang. For tickets to our final show click on this link here.
13th of August, 2013