The Sydney comedy scene has undergone a renaissance in recent years that has pulled it out of the quagmire it had unfortunately slipped into. This happens with all scenes at some point where the energy of producers and comedians begins to wan for whatever reasons (some move on to bigger and better things, some lose the faith because their hard work hasn't been rewarded, ideas that were once fresh become tired etc) and it takes new people with an abundance of get up and go to make things work again. In Melbourne it was the rise of the smaller rooms that can be traced back to Spleen. Once Spleen began to work new comedians found a venue they could find their voice in and it also inspired other comedians to open new rooms. Now the Melbourne scene is back and incredibly strong, most rooms featuring kick arse comedians every night of the week. Here in Sydney it was the behind the scenes machinations that helped save The Comedy Store (in my opinion...feel free to disagree Sydney comics, I am an outsider looking in of course) from crashing and burning. Once the premiere room in the country, mismanagement brought The Store to its knees financially and spiritually. An out of date format and uninspired promotion brought a familiarity to the room that ruins what all comedy shows should aspire to: hilarity and spontaneity. Couple these two ideals together and you have a night of comedy that has the potential to inspire. Now the new management has come in and implemented their big shows where up to ten comedians will perform every night, a 20/20 cricket smorgasbord of comedic delights.
With the scene now pumping again comedians are once again flocking to our biggest city to ply their trade. This is the longest I've stayed in Sydney for a number of years and I'm enjoying the opportunity to perform with some of my friends and some exciting up and coming talent. Last night I was hosting the Enmore Comedy Club with a great line up that included Shane Mauss, Nick Cody, Becky Lucas, Corey White and Danny McGinlay. Here are the two set lists:
Set List One
Country Folk vs Inner City Living
Invite to Parties
Set List Two
Tripping and Farting
No Need To Give All Your Opinions
Glitter in Invitations
Watching Movies Out of Context
I'm enjoying the challenge of the smaller amount of time we're asked to perform. I was booked to host last night and was asked to do 7 minutes in each bracket. Normally as a host I would do at least 10-15 minutes up top of the first bracket and then a tight 10 minutes to begin the second. I'm enjoying the time constraints as a new challenge as this is a skill that can quickly erode over time especially when you hit headliner status. It has made me rethink how I approach my comedy for smaller sets (the longest I have performed so far has been a 15 minute spot) and I've enjoyed breaking down routines into their bare bones equation.
It has also made me rethink my approach up here as I was hoping to work on some new material during the gigs. With time at a premium though there is no opportunity to work a new piece in. It is all systems go and you only have time to get the job done. It has helped me appreciate the time I can find onstage throughout the scenes in Melbourne and Adelaide where I can have enough time to trial a new routine or idea with the freedom to make it work. I'm not certain where the rooms in Sydney are that you can find a good chunk of time to sort some ideas through. I'm certain they're out there but I don't know where they are. The Sydney style is more than ever a punchy, "get to the gag" style over the longer storytelling style that permeates the Melbourne scene. It is interesting to see how the different rooms can influence the comedians coming up through the ranks.
The Enmore Comedy Club was a great room though and I had a ball hosting it. Nicely spaced with the audience packed in closely, the producers run a slick room that had a night of comedy that hit hard and didn't outstay its welcome. Tonight I'm off to the Worker's Club in Balmain and I'm keen to see how this night compares, especially since I'm back to headlining with Mikey Robbins hosting.
23rd of October, 2013