My final gig for this run in Adelaide ended up being a great way to finish. It was one of those nights where you get to the end of the night and you're not not only feeling suddenly wistful but you also start to plan when you can return. I have such an affinity with the room that performing there feels like slipping into your favourite weekend clothes. One of the proudest moments I can have is when comedians explain to me why they love performing at the Rhino Room without realising my relationship with the venue. It is great to hear people raving about the shows they have there because it also causes me to reflect on my time at the beginning of the Rhino Room. When I was first asked to overhaul their comedy night I was a little reluctant at first. I was quite busy at the time running comedy at P.J. O'briens with Lehmo but I took on the job because I love the owners Mick and Charlie. I also thought the room had a ton of potential. At our first gig we had 15 people turn up and with me hosting and a bunch of local acts we put on a show. Over the next few months I introduced acts like Wil Anderson and Greg Fleet to the venue and when I had the big acts on we'd bring in nearly forty to fifty people. Crazy! The bar staff would be run off their feet with the influx of people. At that point that was a lot of people.
Now I look around at sold out shows like last night and I feel a sense of nostalgia and pride. I always knew that the Rhino Room was something special and it inspires you to be at your best. I've had two weeks of excellent shows in Adelaide and feel the scene is the best I've seen it in a while. There is a lot of potential popping up and acts like Georgie Carroll, Duncan Turner, Leigh Qurban, Nick O'Connell, Bridget Fahey and Fabien Clark (There are even more but they're the first names that spring to mind on this slightly hungover Sunday morning) had me laughing a lot at their sets. Maybe I could move back here and be a part of this whole new wave of comics? Hmmmm....
Last night the audience was jammed in and up for a good night right from the get go. I had three brackets to host and this is the set list:
Set List One
Riffing On Adelaide
Corporate Biker Gig
Set List Two
Invite To Parties
Little Boy Joke
Set List Three
Watching Movies Out of Context
Glitter In Invitations
People Wearing Your Glasses
From the beginning of the show the audience was warm and switched on. It felt like a different type of audience from the previous night so I kept the audience interaction for a little later in the show. It also felt like a new audience so I was more traditional with my material selection and thoroughly enjoyed it. The great thing about sticking with older jokes in a space you know back to front is that you find new jokes and ideas in your performance. If you have great comfort with a room you can take your time and explore pieces that you once upon a time may have just belted through. This has been a great week for working on new material, reinvigorating older material and working on particular skill sets like talking to the audience.
I was having so much fun that I ended up with the mania and found myself sharing tequila shots with punters and drinks with the comedians. I'm not really one for much drinking anymore (too much to do and hangovers are depressing in your forties) but there was so much fun going on that it would have felt churlish to suppress the urge to have some old school fun. I am feeling remarkably well today so I'm guessing there are no lessons learned!
It was a cracking show with a great audience and all the comedians really nailed it last night. I think Fabien Clark is a massive talent and one of the most naturally funny people I've met. I hope that you get to see him perform one day to see what I mean. I've encouraged him to return to Melbourne for gigs and you should keep an eye out for him performing at some of your favourite venues around town. It was also a treat to spend the week working with a real Australian comedy legend in George Kapiniaris who would have to be one of the most delightful acts on the scene.
That brings this trip to Adelaide to a close. I have Mum's birthday today (happy 61st birthday Mum!) and then it is back to Melbourne tomorrow before starting my next run at The Comic's Lounge. I'll go into those gigs with a lot of confidence that has been built over the past two weeks here in my old home town. Could I move back here? Nah...not any time soon but it has definitely been a delight to return to the old stomping grounds.
1st of June, 2014