Gig 142: The Shelf

Well this was certainly an action packed show. This is our eighth season of The Shelf and the second successive season that I have started the show with a cold.  I spent the weekend in bed chock full of cold and flu tablets doing my best to kick it in the head before Monday.  I managed to probably get half way back to good health.  I was feeling a bit weary on the night but otherwise fine. One of my managers rested her hand on my arm to ask how I was and recoiled quickly when she discovered how clammy I was.  Nice to know I still have something nice for the ladies.

I felt myself coming down with something on the Thursday night when I performed a trial show with Frank Woodley.  Trial shows are where comedians walk onstage and throw ideas out to an audience to see what sticks and what fails.  An audience doesn't pay for the show and we like them to be as honest as possible because we'd hate for them to laugh at something and then have a false sense of security moving forward. They're also equal parts terrifying and exhilarating as the only safety net is the fact that nobody paid for what might amount to a load of drivel.  I didn't write about this as an official gig for the year because it felt a little bit like cheating on the overall tally. Suffice to say I felt like there were some good ideas that came from it and I even used some of them at The Shelf on Monday night.

As the host it is important for me to set a standard very early in the night.  The previous season opener lacked a bit of spark at the top and it was because I was quite clearly struggling a little.  This time I timed my pill popping perfectly and knocked back a few dishes doused in chilli and coriander to get me buzzed before the gig.  This worked a treat and I was glad because I didn't want to let this line up down:


Tom Gleeson

Dave Thornton

Claire Hooper


Adam Richard

Tegan Higginbotham

Kate McLennan

Wes Snelling

Damien Power

Adam Rozenbachs

Rod Quantock

Alice Fraser


That is a power packed show right there.  We had Rozie and Rod talking about being advertising superheroes and the pitfalls that come with it.  If you don't know what I'm talking about here are two photos for you:


I feel a gritty reboot coming on.


The original super captain of Australia.


We had Kate and Wes playing two lovers who have a fight at the front of the stage.  It was fun watching certain audience members take a while to twig that they were comedians as it was staged as a real fight.  These are some of my favourite moments onstage.  When the audience isn't quite certain of what is happening and then that moment where it all comes together is hilarious.  Hoops suggested merchandise for The Shelf and Tom Gleeson brought in a special surprise that we're not allowed to talk about.  Suffice to say if you were at The Shelf you know what I was talking about. If you weren't...well, I'm sorry. You just had to be there to get the one off joke.

I thought my opening was pretty solid all things considered.  I had that terrible thing going on when you're not well and your mouth is so dry that to you it feels like every word you speak is accompanied by a loud smack of the lips.  Having listened back to the recording I was pleasantly surprised to discover this was not the case but it made me mildly paranoid onstage.


Here's the set list:


Turning 41 Is A Bit Shitter

The Election and Star Wars

Young Male Comedians

Loving Tony Abbott

Nice To Minorities

40% Of Kyle

I'll Judge You Behind Your Back

Gravity Naysayers

Let Motherfuckers Love Shit


No Australian Super Heroes

Offending Somebody

Mozart and Mrs Hitler


I'm having a lot of fun with the Mrs Hitler routine and haven't had that moment where it has met with 100% disapproval yet.  It will happen.  If you disagree with the politics that surrounds it or you don't listen closely and miss the gist of the routine it is ripe for failure.  Yet that is what I enjoy about the routine.  It is about a topic that is close to my heart and is a definite statement that could easily offend someone who disagrees.  I'm fine with someone sitting in the audience being offended by it.  Sometimes comedy isn't for everybody and if you want to talk about topics that are important to you then you have to be willing to accept that not everyone in the audience will go along for the ride.  There is no doubt in my mind that it is going to have a night (at the very least) where it crashes and burns.  Yet that is what makes it even more exciting.  I love that it has this potential and the few times I have performed this piece it has left me buzzing at its conclusion.  I look forward to writing the blog the night it fails!

The show proceeded smoothly and then at the end of the night I discovered that somebody had stolen my phone.  How disappointing.  It isn't the end of the world but it did mean I lost some time having to replace it etc.  Swings and roundabouts my friends! Although I have to admit I did enjoy Tuesday quite a bit knowing nobody could contact me and I wasn't responsible for this situation.  I should also mention the beautiful and thoroughly delicious cupcakes Bec Pobjie made for the show that came with tiny TARDIS on top (or is that TARDI?).  That sugar rush managed to help stave off the anger of losing the phone.  It also proves that yet again there is no audience like the frequent shelvers we have at The Shelf.


Justin Hamilton

20th of November, 2013

Fitzroy North