Gig 126: The Public Bar

This blog has taken a while to write because things have been pretty hectic behind the scenes.  I've recently interviewed a bunch of comedians that have never been on my podcast before and I must say it has been a thrill to talk to these people.  You will see more of them over the next month but if you haven't checked out the podcast before head over to to have a listen. I was also up at the Graphic Festival in Sydney where I hosted a panel that consisted of comic book legends Len Wein, Dave McKean and Grant Morrison.  Morrison in particular has been a huge influence on my work and I put him up at the top with David Bowie and Woody Allen as creators that continue to astound me even when I know their work back to front.  It was one of the highlights of the year hosting the panel at the Sydney Opera House.  The night before the panel I stood on the Opera House's balcony next to Morrison while warships fired fireworks into the night sky.  As Morrison and I exchanged quips I was overwhelmed by the surreal sensation of standing next to someone I greatly admired as colours and flashing lights exploded overhead.  If this had been a scene in a movie you would have thought it was quite over the top.  The fact that it was real life gave it that sense of pop art in the real world. If you head over to the website mentioned above you can hear my little interview with Morrison that took place backstage before the panel began.

It has been time to think about next year in regards to the festivals and I will indeed be returning to Adelaide to perform a solo show for the first time in four years.  No details for you yet but I will give you the title to whet your imaginations:  "Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994".  There will be more details over the next coming months including where you can buy tickets, dates, venues etc.  In the meantime feel free to speculate on what that title means.

I had booked in Wednesday night at The Public Bar to record a small set for the Just For Laughs co-ordinators (I'm performing for JFL on Friday night in Sydney) but at the last minute they just needed a script from me without any footage being necessary. Since I wasn't filming my spot I didn't want to just perform old material as it would be a waste of stage time so I decided to work on some new ideas.  I took some newer material that I hadn't performed before and used that as bookends for my spot with the brand new material jammed in the middle.

The set list was as follows:


Fix Your Flaws

Gravity Naysayers

End Of TV Shows

Being Brave On Social Media

Let Motherfuckers Love Shit

Destroying Right On Guy

Paul and Basic Instinct

Inspiring Women By Calling the PM Names



The view from inside the club looking out onto the street.



The way I approached this gig was I went in with a game plan and ad-libbed my way from the material I knew at the beginning to the routine I was familiar with at the end. This allowed me to know that I at least had two solid routines I could rely on while I worked out the new ideas onstage.  As you can see the material in between the opening and closing pieces are broken down into different stories but they were all a part of one thought process.  Basically the thrust of the set is avoiding negativity on social media and what should we be more upset about:  perceived sexism in pop songs or every day sexism that appears to be the norm.  I'm feeling quite militant of late and have a desire to craft some new material that is tackling subjects that are close to my heart.  I have avoided this type of material for a few years now but it has been slowly crawling back in to my sets and I plan to embrace it in the lead up to the new show for next year.

Apart from an over abundance of swearing I thought the new material had some legs and now it just needs some crafting to make the ideas tighter and less wordy.  It probably needs less expletives too.  After listening back to the set I quite clearly use f-bombs as "ums" when I need to think about what I am going to say next.  Considering the last routine in that set has a very concise rhythm and also a necessary amount of swearing to make a point, it is important to keep it cooler in the lead up or you can wipe out the impact at the end.

I was pretty happy with the set and think The Public Bar is the type of venue that lends itself to trying out new material.  I've performed there twice now and it is quickly becoming one of my favourite rooms.  As to why was this blog so late in coming out? I'll explain more about that next weekend.


Justin Hamilton

13th of October, 2013

Fitzroy North