2015 Blog 28: Free Wil and The Local. Gigs 175 - 177

My latest trip to Perth ended up being quite an emotional couple of days.

I flew in to the west knowing that Mix94.5’s Shane McFarlane had died due to health complications.  I can’t pretend to tell you that I knew Shane well but the few times we had met he was always friendly, effusive in his praise and just a top guy.  A few years ago I was in Las Vegas with a few friends and had bumped into him in a bar where we shared a few drinks and had some laughs.  I’ve been reviewing movies and TV for Mix94.5 for eight years now beginning with “The Bunch” and transitioning with Lisa Shaw to drive on the “Lisa and Pete Show” and while I have lived in Melbourne during that time I still consider them family. I was going to slip into the station that day to say hi but found myself in a no man’s land as I knew people were dealing with their grief in many different ways and the last thing I wanted to do was be in the way.

That night I was supporting Wil Anderson at the Exhibition Centre and we talked long and hard about what had happened to Shane.  We caught up with radio guru Fred Botica and shared more stories about Shane.  At the show Wil talked to the audience about Shane and helped explain the effect he’d had not only in Perth but abroad.  The applause and cheer that Shane received was heartening and I hope it brought some solace to the people in the audience who held him in high regard.

It is weird to perform comedy when you’re feeling down but your job is to entertain and make people laugh.  At that point it isn’t about you.  You have to put your feelings aside and do the right thing by the audience.  It is a dangerous place to live sometimes because you can be so removed from your true feelings you can over time not deal with the repercussions of those darker thoughts but on this night I felt we collectively discovered the correct balance and I think the show was a top shelf affair.

 

9th of October:  Free Wil

 

Biker Gig

Word In Scrabble

New Year’s Resolution

Abs or Interesting

Happiness

Gym

“I’m Entitled To My Opinion”

Islamic Writing

Adam Goodes

Bjork CD

Scout Gig

 

The following night we were back for night two of the Perth shows and I had the strangest moment I’ve experienced onstage in a long time.  We were only a few seconds into the gig when I looked down at the front row and there was a person sitting there that; from where I was standing, looked exactly like Stella Young.  For those of you who didn’t know Stella she was a cracking comedian who tragically died at the end of 2014.  The lady in the front row was partially lit by the glow of the onstage lights and with the wisps of the smoke machine drifting over her face she looked so much like Stella that while the audience was laughing at my opening joke I nearly said, “Hey Stella!”  For the rest of the gig while I was performing I kept looking at this lady and was ever so slightly distracted for the rest of my time onstage.  It is weird and exciting and funny the things that might be going through your head while you’re performing for 2,000 plus people but this took up most of my thoughts for the rest of the time I was onstage.

I introduced Wil and as the lights swirled about us and the AC/DC track blared I quickly told him not to freak out when he looked down to his right because there was someone who looked exactly like Stella.  I left the stage and watched the show.  Wil was great.  Of course.  75 minutes later Wil finished the show, walked into the green room and exclaimed (while hitting the wall with an open hand to emphasise what he was saying…a very Wil thing to do), “OH.  MY.  GOD!”  He had thought the same thing throughout his gig but for him it was much longer than what I had to cope with.  I have never performed a gig where someone in the audience reminds me of a deceased friend and it is a feeling I can do without.  I once sat on a tram in Melbourne and had a girl sit next to me who out the corner of my eye reminded me of a long departed friend and that was bad enough.  This was a very bizarre experience.

After the gig we retired to the bar to have a drink and lo and behold this lady was there!  She called us over and offered to buy us a drink and when we sat down with her she in fact didn’t look that much like Stella at all.  She reminded us of Stella but up close under proper light without a spooky smoke machine obscuring her face she actually looked like someone else.  She looked like herself.  Her name was Prue and we had a drink to only discover that not only was she a blast but a friend of Stella

I was worried when you walked out,” Prue said.  “That you’d look down and think I was Stella.”

Without looking at each other Wil and exclaimed, “No.  What?  Did you think that?  We didn’t think that.

In hindsight I wish we’d been honest.  I think we didn’t want to offend but the fact is Prue was funny and smart enough to deal with two idiot comedians who had been thinking exactly that.  If you’re reading this Prue, you were right and the next drinks are on us.  Prue provided us with a fun end to the night and after a few more drinks with some friends it was time to hit the sack. 

 

 

10th of October:  Free Wil

 

 

Biker Gig

Word In Scrabble

New Year’s Resolution

Abs or Interesting

Happiness

Gym

“I’m Entitled To My Opinion”

Water On Mars/Photos from Pluto

Islamic Writing

Adam Goodes

Bjork CD

Scout Gig

 

 

Back in Melbourne I headlined the Local for Janet McLeodJanet has been a stalwart of the Melbourne Comedy scene for a long time now and for a while there was the only quality outlet for subversive and alternative comedy.  A lot of great comedians received important stage time through Janet and when she asked if I could headline her room I jumped at the chance.  The last gig I had there I had a bit of a meltdown with what I considered a shitty audience and an unresponsive group of comedians on the bill who did nothing to provide a sense of camaraderie through a tough night.  It is disappointing because even the best rooms have dud audiences and it is helpful when your fellow comics are all in it together.   I took this as an opportunity to spiritually redeem myself in the room (which sounds like a terrible euphemism) and with an excellent and varied line up had the type of gig I’ve enjoyed regularly in the past.

 

19th of October:  The Local

 

Ringing Talk Back Radio

Uber Stupor

Justin Bourne

Mum at 19

Frankie Called Me a Bastard

Catching and Distributing Mice

Gay Banana

Bob and the Joker

Mum’s Frustrations Are Now Mine

The Bunta Boys and the Bad Host

 

This ended up being an eventful run of gigs.  I was looking forward to taking a bit of a rest before I had to fly to Brisbane and Darwin over the next two weeks but little did I know there was something just around the corner that was about to change everything.

What was it? 

You’ll have to tune in to the next blog.

Same bat time.

Same bat station.

 

Justin Hamilton

23rd of October, 2015

Paddington, Queensland