2015 Blog 12:  MICF Week One:  Gigs 62 - 79

As I write this I have to inform you I have the plague.

Well probably not the plague but for the first time in a long time I've caught some dreaded bug that is floating around and I'm struggling to get the motivation to stand up let alone perform stand up.  These things happen and I've been lucky enough to avoid being sick for a while let alone during a festival so you just have to suck it up and move forward.

There is the possibility that I'm sick because of my torrid start to the 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  We should just jump straight into it before I begin sneezing all over my keyboard and you're computer won't open this page because of some terrible virus.  So let us begin with the opening night on the 26th of March.  The shows that night were:

Snacks!

"Can You Take This Photo Please?" Live with Tony Martin

 The Imperial Late Show

 In Love With Our Phones

"Grains!"

My Grandmother Was Short

Girl On a Date At The Theatre

 I deliberately didn't refer to any notes before I started my show as I wanted to see how much I would remember after back to back seasons at the Adelaide Fringe and Perth's "Fringeworld".  I was quite prepared for there to be a few little mistakes especially if those mistakes lead to me finding some new jokes in the show.  I had found the show had become a little slick towards the end of the Adelaide Fringe run and I wanted to find new spaces and gaps in the routines to ad lib new ideas or approaches.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there weren't any real mistakes (Possibly my timing was mildly off on a few lines but nothing the audience would have noticed) and I did indeed find new ways into the routines that helped give the show a nice energy.

When Angela Thompson (who produces the excellent regular comedy night and festivals at the Imperial Hotel) offered me a 10.15pm time slot over three nights to do whatever I wanted with I thought it was an excellent opportunity to try a live version of my podcast "Can You Take This Photo Please?"  It was a tight turn around with the time slot only vacating itself at the last minute so I decided rather than promoting it properly I would only mention it on my podcast and leave it open to the true believers. I didn't charge for the show with only a jug at the door for any donations anyone felt like leaving. It turned out to be a fantastic idea as our room was packed with a great crowd and Tony gave us a brilliant hour of stories and ideas that only Tony can give you.  If you missed out on hearing that podcast you can find it here.

I then hung around and used the Imperial Hotel as an opportunity to work on some new ideas and also resurrect an old routine that doesn't get much of a whirl these days. In fact it was always a routine where the journey was better than the final line and I was chuffed to discover a new punchline that worked better than ever at the end of the story.  Not bad after it was debuted 10 years ago!  Just goes to show that a routine can always improve, always move forward and you are constantly learning.

Next up was Friday the 27th of March.  Here are the gigs and set lists from that night:

Snacks!

"Can You Take This Photo Please?" Live with Geraldine Hickey and Wil Anderson

The Imperial Late Show

Mum and cats

Mum and Mildura

Mum and Gay Porn

Another strong night for the solo show with a sold out crowd and a continued evolution with the show.  It is beginning to feel stronger in Melbourne than anywhere else and I think it is a combination of having twenty odd performances under my belt along with the fact I'm performing in a room that can focus and isn't dealing with noise bleed.  I loved my rooms in Adelaide and Perth but they were basically tents with carnival rides and loud burlesque shows nearby.  With total focus the shows have taken a step up.

Another fun podcast recording with Geraldine Hickey being 100% Geraldine and Wil joining us halfway through the show.  I would be remiss to point out that Adam Richard did all the recording and became a part of the show as the disembodied voice behind the curtain; a cross between the Wizard of Oz and John Blackman.  A very funny show. I'll release that one some time next week.

Then it was over to the Late Show where I played around with some old and new material. It is nice when you discover that a bunch of routines can come together to form a new "bit" and some of those routines harken back to the "Three Colours Hammo" series of 2007.

The 28th of March was a big day.  The set list and shows were as follows:

"The Shelf Podcast" starring the Little Dum Dum Club

5 on 5 at 5

Mum and Her Cat

20s-40s

2015 NYE Resolution

Abs or Interesting

Happiness

“I’m Entitled to My Opinion”

Islamic Writing

Bjork Album

Scouts

Snacks!

"Can You Take This Photo Please?" Live with Cal Wilson and Wil Anderson

The Imperial Late Show

Biker Gig

20s-40s

Car Crash in Adelaide

Invite to Parties

Hairy Baby

“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

Sperm Bank Joke

A long day that was fun until the end of the night.  We had our first live "Shelfcast" with guests Tommy Dassalo and Karl Chandler who make up the Little Dum Dum Club podcast. This was an idea that came from Adam Richard and it made for a fun and relaxed start to the day with all who were involved having a lot of fun.

Then I hung around to perform a set at 5 on 5 at 5 which is a showcase of established acts and newcomers performing at the Imperial Hotel.  I initially wanted to work on some new material but the show appeared to need some punchy material so I inserted a small section of my show and performed that instead.

My show was another sell out and a great audience to boot.  The live podcast recording was also another cracker with Cal Wilson a stand out and Wil, Adam and I being our usual idiot selves.  Then it was time for the Late Show where early on there were some boorish hecklers that derailed the beginning of the show.  These things happen now and again but it is no less irritating.  We don't really have the heckler environment out in Australia and I think when it does rear up most comedians just can't be arsed dealing with it.  It was definitely dealt with on the night but when you get to your fifth show of the night you really just want to nail your gig and then go home.  Still a good show in the end though.

Another long day on the 29th with the following:

"The Shelf Podcast" starring Tegan Higginbotham

5 on 5 at 5

Mum and Her Cat

20s-40s

2015 NYE Resolution

Abs or Interesting

Happiness

“I’m Entitled to My Opinion”

Islamic Writing

Bjork Album

Scouts

Snacks!

I felt like this was my first flat out gig of the Festival.  The Shelf podcast with Tegan was great and "Snacks!" continued it's winning form but my spot at the showcase was slightly down on energy and I have to admit I was distracted by a sense of fatigue. Admittedly the audience felt a bit "Sunday arvo" but I wasn't entirely happy with my choice of material or performance level.  These things happen and you can't do anything about it but your best on the day.  It was fine but not one I will reminisce about at the end of the festival.

That brings us to the Monday, the 30th of March.  It was time to put together the first show for The Shelf and it was a big one.  Our guest included Andy Zaltzman, Ray Badran, Alex Edelman, Tegan Higginbotham, Wil Anderson, Puddles Pity Party, Adam Rozenbachs,Claire Hooper, Dave Anthony, Rhys Nicholson, Gen Fricker, Aunty Donna, Adam Richard and this idiot.  My opening set list was:

"Grains!"

My Grandmother Was Short

Australia Wins the Cricket

Meeting Viv Richards

Mum and her cats

Playing Basketball in Mildura

My opening was combination of old and new material that came together quite nicely to make a solid opening to the show.  In fact I would say that night was one of the best shows we've put on at The Shelf with every act bringing something new and interesting to the night.  Every act was in fine form and even though it ran over (as if that is something new at The Shelf!) it never felt like it was stretching on too long. Our loyal audience was still close to full at the end of the night (I never begrudge anyone who after two hours says "Enough!" and makes a dash for it) and when Puddles Pity Party finished the show with a stirring rendition of "Dancing Queen" it capped the night perfectly.

Then from Tuesday to Thursday it was only one show a night which of course was:

Snacks!

It is now 9.10am on a Friday morning which means there is an Easter long weekend to deal with.  I'm feeling pretty bleaugh at the moment but I'm hoping that is more due to the lack of sleep and early morning start than the fact that I am sick.  It is really annoying. There is nothing worst than performing onstage wondering if you'll get to the punchline before your nose possibly runs but what are you going to do?  Hopefully the stacks of drugs and Manuka Honey I'm downing will make a difference as I ease into this second week of the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

 

Justin Hamilton

3rd of April, 2015

Fitzroy North