2014 Gig Eighty Two: Penola

Time for a road trip with this motley band of comedic talent:  

Leigh Qurban, Michael Bowley, old man Hammo, Tegan Higginbotham and the dude Craig Egan.


We took off around lunch time and arrived in Penola just after 5.30pm.  Sometimes after a long ride what you really feel like doing is the exact opposite of what you have to do.  I would have been quite happy with a long nap followed by dinner and then off to watch the footy on TV before calling it an early night.  This option is off the table and I knew from years of regional shows that a power nap and some snacks are your best bet to get on track.

Craig Egan has been booking this gig for Wynns Coonawarra winery for seven years now and it has that feel of a show that everybody who is involved knows exactly what to expect.  It also felt like the type of gigs you can sometimes encounter on the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Road Show and so I felt in my element.

Tegan Higginbotham was our host and I can see a new ease with her hosting style that has developed over the four shows here in South Australia.  I think this is a skill Tegan should develop especially talking to the audience.  Once she has that skill set sorted she'll be ready to host rooms all over Australia.  Leigh Qurban brought some excellent energy and jokes to his set at the beginning of the set and Michael Bowley received some excellent laughs from his at times laconic delivery.  All the acts were great and they also dealt very well with the lighting situation.

When it comes to comedy the best lights that can be used onstage are white.  That is all they need to be.  Just plain lights that do their job.  Unfortunately (and through no fault of anyone) we had a lights that were changing colours every few seconds.  That is not an exaggeration.  It was testament to the comedians and the audience for overcoming this distraction because in a lesser gig that could have been the end of any chance of success. When I say the lights were changing every few seconds I mean like the following:


Thinking about hulking up.


Thinking about Prince.


Thinking about fury.


Thinking about melancholy blues.


It really was like performing under the natural light of a rainbow.  A big thumbs up to everyone involved for not allowing this little hiccup to detract from the show.  Here is the set list for the night:


Partying During the Week

Hen's Night

Mount Isa

Turning 40

Invite To Parties

Hairy Baby

Fix Your Flaws

Little Boy Joke

Gym Story

Tripping and Farting

Laughing at a Funeral

Watching Movies Out of Context

Glitter In Invitations

People Wearing Your Glasses



It was a more traditional set list from me for this gig.  I didn't think that some of the new routines I had been working on would be quite ready for this type of audience so I left them in the book for another gig.  It isn't a comment on the audience though.  I think some of the newer routines I have need to go through a few tests with audiences that see a lot of regular comedy first before I start working them out to regional audiences. When you're travelling for a while to a place that doesn't have a regular comedy gig I feel it is better to go with what you know.  When you return to the rooms you frequently play then you can begin to work on your new material.

Not to say that there wasn't room to play at this gig.  In fact I found new pieces of comedy in my older routines that were never apparent before.  I think that might be due to the lead up of gigs in Adelaide where I had enough room to not only work on new material but also find some extra gears on the performance side of things too.  I feel like I am rounding into good form and I want to continue to work on my set so I am firing on all cylinders for when I head overseas.  There are bound to be speed bumps and mistakes made when I'm in Edinburgh and the best way to be able to deal with these types of situations is to make certain you're as on top of your game as you can be.  Hopefully the lessons learned now will pay off in a few months.

This was a fun show with a great audience and it was nice to get out of the city for a night. We were treated beautifully at the venue and by the time I returned to my hotel I was ready for a deep sleep.  I think the trick now is to make certain I am not overcome with any complacency and take this opportunity to continue to develop new material and also new skills.  If I could return to Melbourne with energy and new ideas then I would consider this trip back home to be a success.


From the outside looking in as Tegan hosts by pale green light.



Justin Hamilton

27th of May, 2014

Croydon, Adelaide