2015 Blog 27: Essendon Debate and Works In Progress. Gigs 171 - 174

I had a couple of weeks away from performing and to be honest it was exactly what I needed. Anyone who read the previous entry would know that it had been a bit of a weird run of gigs and luckily I was in a position where I could walk away from everything for a short period of time. Sometimes when you're feeling burned out there is nothing you can do about it.  There have been periods during comedy and fringe festivals that you'd like to pack up your bags and hide in a cave somewhere for a solid few days but that just isn't going to happen in those circumstances. I thoroughly enjoyed being away from stand up over this little break.  

Over the course of three nights I had shows dubbed "Works In Progress" where I threw as many ideas as I could into an hour set to see where I was at.  I attempted to avoid any major structure to see if the material would naturally suggest one.  For this year's show "Snacks!" I approached the season completely differently to previous seasons by not writing one routine down.  I never sat at a desk and had a look at the material and attempt to re-write parts of the show.  I did all my work onstage and even though there were times that I thought, "I wouldn't mind sitting down and writing that piece out to see if I can squeeze some extra jokes in there", I'd made a deal that it all had to happen onstage or not at all.  It was a good exercise that I think produced a fun show.

With this new show (at this point named "Hoot!") I want to attempt to put into play what I learned from the last show but apply more writing across the board to see if I can find a happy medium.  In the past shows like "Three Colours Hammo" and "Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994" were very much a blend of written work and routines worked out onstage.  This time I'd like to get the blend somewhere around the 60-70% onstage and the rest written.  With that in mind I wanted to do three works in progress that may have had some cross over but also differed greatly night to night.  The last thing I wanted to do was find myself bogged down into a form that I felt I had to keep for the next six to eight months.  With that in mind here are the three set lists from the little run of shows:

 

September 30th:  Work In Progress 1

 

Water On Mars/Photos From Pluto

Interstellar Message

David Bowie Rant

Nostalgia:  The 80s Were Positive

Nostalgia:  Phil Collins On The River Torrens

Smooth and Smoother

Finally Listened To Cold Chisel

Bowie Rant Continued

Justin Bourne

Uber Stupor

80s Fashion and Feeding The World

Mum At 19

Frankie Called Me a Bastard

Catching and Distributing Mice

Gay Banana

Mum Is Stubborn

Bob and the Joker

Mum's Frustrations Are Now Mine

Male Role Models Come From TV

Look Out For Your Friends

Basketball Coach

Bowie Rant Finished

 

As you can see in this set list there is a lot of talk about David Bowie.  I had one note on my sheet of paper to mention his last album and instead the whole show pretty much revolved around the first time I saw Bowie, his work in the 80s and 90s, the time I met him and the last album he produced.  Parts of the Bowie story have found their way into bits of stand up and stories on podcasts but for the most part the gist of this story was new.  

As you can see as well there are lots of smaller routines.  What will happen is over time the routines that feel the strongest will continue to evolve and then match up with other routines. This will then mean that two smaller routines will become a bigger routine and possibly have a new name or the bigger routine will absorb the smaller routine.  I'm basically building universes here, right?  I think that is how the solar system came together if I remember my basic science lessons correctly.  

 

October 1st:  Work In Progress 2

 

"I'm Home!"

Puss, Floyd and the Fish

Interspecies Friendship

Water On Mars/Photos From Pluto

Interstellar Message

Just Like Shit!

My Friends Fight Nostalgia

Nostalgia:  Phil Collins On The River Torrens

Smooth and Smoother

Nostalgia:  The 80s Were Positive

Yacht Rock and Men Emoting

Male Role Models Come From TV

Look Out For Your Friends

Justin Bourne

Uber Stupor

Basketball Coach

Mum At 19

Frankie Called Me a Bastard

Catching and Distributing Mice

Gay Banana

Mum Is Stubborn

Bob and the Joker

Mum's Frustrations Are Now Mine

Smashing Stuff

Blender

Hollywood Is Mental

Australian Movie Universe

 

As you can see there is more of a blend between material from the previous night and material that has been tried a handful of times at gigs like "The Shelf".  Once again I wanted to change it up enough to see if there were any themes that were developing outside of any possible structure to the show.  Here's the final set list:

 

October 2nd:  Work In Progress 3

 

Water On Mars/Photos From Pluto

Interstellar Message

Just Like Shit!

"I'm Home!"

The Bunta Boys

Nostalgia:  Phil Collins On The River Torrens

Bad Host

Basketball Coach

Male Role Models Come From TV

Mum At 19

Frankie Called Me a Bastard

Catching and Distributing Mice

Gay Banana

Mum Is Stubborn

Bob and the Joker

Mum's Frustrations Are Now Mine

Smashing Stuff

Kenya West

Meeting Viv Richards

Adam Goodes

Bad Host Finish

Basketball Coach Finish

"Clear Eyes!"

 

Once again another show with a mash up of previous routines from not only the last two nights but also some of the newer material I'd been working on over the last couple of months.  All in all it was a good run that allowed me to get an idea of where this new show might be headed and even though I was resisting the thought of any structure rearing up by the end of the final night it appeared that there might just be one hiding in plain sight.

Amongst these three gigs I was one of the debaters at the Essendon Football Club's show at Crown Melbourne.  The topic was "AFL players are role models not male models" and I was on the negative team.  I closed our side's argument and I thought you might like to check out the debate below.  It was a fun day and any gig that gives me the opportunity to mention Dermott Brereton's tiny teeth will always make me happy.  Enjoy!

 

October 1st:  Essendon Debate

 

The AFL has never been more popular and it is no surprise it has coincided with players looking hunkier than ever.  Watching men in tight shorts bouncing around used to be the domain of Pet Shop Boys film clips but now women can bundle the family together under the pretence they’re off to support their team.  Luckily the cheering at games often drowns out the noise of women’s ovaries exploding as they see their favourite player grab another man and throw him to the ground in a way that is rough but hopefully won’t get you suspended.

But are AFL players role models?  I’m here to say that they’re not and that is okay because we don’t need them to be role models.  People aren’t thinking, “I wonder what Nat Fyfe thinks about the war in the Middle East?” as he plays the game.  What they’re actually thinking is, “What a shame he plays for Fremantle.”  When Sharrod Wellingham takes a mark nobody is thinking, “I wonder if he’s worried about the falling dollar?”  They’re thinking, “What happened to his hair since he left Collingwood?”  When Travis Cloke kicks a goal nobody thinks, “I wonder if Trav is perturbed by Malcolm Turnball ousting Tony Abbott before Labor could?” and instead they’re thinking, “Holy shit, Travis Cloke kicked a goal.”

It is better for football that the game is chock full of hunky men.  Have you seen other sports?  Rugby League is full of guys who can’t wear a tie because they forgot to pack a neck.  Basketball is full of men who can lean up and eat food from the top of a tree.  Golf is full of men who play golf.  AFL is a good looking sport and that is how we like it.

It didn’t use to be that way.  Remember back in the 80s how unattractive footballers were.  This was a time when Dermott Brereton was considered handsome with his curly blonde hair, his pigeon chest and his tiny teeth.  This is how attractive Brereton was in his time:  In 1988 Dermie kissed Billy Duckworth in the middle of a game and Duckworth was quoted as saying, “Thank god it wasn’t Buckenara”.  Look at that Hawthorn team.  Champions through and through but Jason Dunstall always looked like a man who was eventually going to lose a fight with a doughnut factory, Robert DiPierdomenico looked like the type of guy you hoped didn’t turn out to be your father-in-law and Gary Ayers was more mullet than man.  Back then “Tiny Teeth” Dermie was the guy you wanted kissing you on the field.

Compare that to the Hawthorn team of today.  Jack Gunston is so handsome opposition players don’t know whether to tackle or spoon him.  Josh Gibson is so cut you wonder what else he could do from behind in a back pocket and Luke Hodge is such a spunk he even looks good in Hawthorn’s poo brown and wee yellow colours.

I think it is beyond AFL players to be role models these days because the 24/7 news cycle has these young men trained within an inch of their lives on how to answer questions and in the process it has made them as interesting as a vanilla wafer in a manila folder pressed up against a beige wall.  Rather than answer questions honestly they tow the party line but it would be so much more interesting if they were just honest.  Instead of saying, “We’re just taking it one game at a time.” I’d love to see a player respond, “To be honest we just didn’t want any injuries against Carlton so we’re ready for West Coast next week.”

Instead of, “We’ve just got to go out and play four quarters of footy.” How about, “If we build up a big score against Melbourne we can coast until the final siren.”

When a player says, “We’ll have to look at that as a playing group.” I’d prefer to hear, “Don’t tell Stevie J but we’re getting Dangerfield and can no longer afford him.”

I love the AFL but all I need from the players I admire is the ability to kick, mark, tackle, smother and not throw stones at me when I yell out, “I love you Rory Sloane, please don’t leave Adelaide.”  Would I ever get in touch with a player for help?  Sure.  If I needed to know which Nivea moisturiser for men is best to use after a game I’ll call Scott Pendlebury.  If I need to know which Ralph Lauren Slim Fit cargo pant will go well with my Gingham poplin dress shirt then go ahead, ring Jimmy Bartel.  If I need to know the difference between a waltz and a cha cha then I’ll be on the phone to Jude Bolton but if I want a role model I’ll be looking elsewhere thank you.  I want my footy quick, hard and winning but keep your thoughts to yourselves guys, there’s a chance you’ll ruin my colourful view of you by saying something bland.

 

Justin Hamilton

8th of October, 2015

Fitzroy North