2014 Gig Ninety Nine: Echuca

I found this picture on the back of my hotel door room:  

Combine the two and smash the day!

 

Janet McLeod had booked me for this gig and when she informed that Tom Gleeson and Tegan Higginbotham were both on the line up I couldn't say no.  Travelling a fair distance for a gig is something that comes very naturally to me.  Finding out that two close friends are on the bill is a great bonus.  I had heard that this gig was a good one and I was keen to check it out.  Comedians will often be brutally honest about whether a gig is any good or not.  Then if a comedian is someone who does a lot of hosting and you can ratchet up that honesty to another level.  For someone who oscillates back and forth between headlining and hosting I know I will never give any of my peers a bum steer on a gig.  It just wouldn't be right.  Dave O'Neil had hosted the previous show up at the Caledonian Hotel in Echuca and he told me that the audience was bang up for it from the word go.  Dave was 100% right.  Here's the set lists:

 

Set List One

 

Partying During the Week

Riffing with the audience

“I Don’t Give A Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

Turning 40

Car Accident in Adelaide

Invite To Parties

Hairy Baby

Tripping and Farting

Little Boy Joke

 

Set List Two

 

Gym Story

Watching Movies Out of Context

Glitter In Invitations

People Wearing Your Glasses

Spooning

 

Tegan scored big laughs as the support act for the night.

 

From the opening of the show the audience was attentive and quite clearly focussed on having a great night.  It made my job as the host extremely easy and fun.  I'm glad that I have been working on talking to the audience in the last few weeks.  It was definitely a skill that I had let slip by the wayside and the baby steps I've taken have lead to some funny moments onstage and a renewed confidence.  On Friday night the two tables I talked to at the front of the stage provided some nice moments.  In the second half I did a little more with two gentlemen celebrating birthdays.  They were the correct moves on the night and really gave the audience something extra to bite into.

It is good to see someone like Tegan coming out and performing at these types of gigs. Often younger comedians will not have an opportunity to play outside of the bigger cities. This is usually because the opportunities aren't there or some young acts will do their best to avoid them.  When you perform in a big city you can rely on so many different factors to get you through a gig especially when you have so many references up your sleeve.  When you hit the regional towns your references are reduced so you have to develop more comedy skills or find different ways to present your world view in your gags.  I can see definite improvement and a comfort in Tegan that maybe wasn't quite there a year ago.  It should be a part of her act that she embraces when moving forward. If I can see improvement now imagine what it could be like by the end of the year?

 

Tom destroyed the night as the headliner.

 

After seeing Tom last Wednesday in Dave O'Neil's room I was beginning to suspect that he might be in the upper echelon of working comics in the country.  This is the realm that we mere mortals see people like Judith Lucy, Dave Hughes, Wil Anderson, Denise Scott and Carl Barron traversing.  After seeing Tom on Friday perform a completely different set to the Wednesday night gig I have to say I think he's up there as well.  I hadn't seen some of the material that Tom performed in a while and when an act brings out some classic routines you can be reminded that they have such an impressive body of work that is easily forgotten.  In the world of stand up comedy we're constantly moving forward and rarely looking back.  I like that aspect of what we do but it is nice to remember that we have a lot of work that we simply move on from on a regular basis.  I for one would have forgotten more of my work than I can remember.

This ended up being a great show that was followed by a late night doing what comedians love to do after a gig:  talk shit until all hours of the morning.  A late night coupled by an early morning to return to Melbourne gave the whole experience a slightly unreal feel, like it was a gig that was partially dreamed about.  It ended up being a great night.  When the next comic is booked to host the show in Echuca hopefully he or she will contact me so I can pass on what Dave had told me:  you'll have a brilliant time.

 

Justin Hamilton

22nd of June, 2014

Fitzroy North