So what is going on up here in Sydney? There is this yellow orb in the sky that appears to not only light up the city but also provide warmth. I remember the legend of another orb like this appearing in Melbourne but that feels like such a long time ago...
One of the great perks of this job is the ability to travel away from Melbourne during winter and going somewhere warm to perform. While Sydney residents might be thinking it is cold I have found it to be on the verge of a tropical paradise compared to the last few weeks of weather in Fitzroy. I saw yesterday that it snowed in Tasmania and I thoroughly enjoyed looking at pictures of it while wearing a t-shirt in my place in Newtown.
After a month of working on new material and ideas I came up to Sydney with a couple of goals in mind. One was to touch base with a bunch of friends I haven't seen in a while. It is good to talk to people you haven't spoken to in recent times just to have new conversations and ideas bouncing back and forth. You can spend a lot of time with the same people during the winter months of Melbourne because the cold cancels out the desire to make too much effort other than find new ways to stay warm in your place.
My other goal is that I am supporting Wil Anderson this Friday and Saturday at the Enmore Theatre and I wanted to make certain I had a new tight 15 minutes that didn't cross over with the material I performed as the support at the Sydney Opera House gigs. I'm guessing we'll have some return customers and you don't want to let them down.
With three gigs this week at the Comedy Store I took the opportunity to change the set lists and see what flowed the best. On the Thursday the set list was:
30th of July: The Comedy Store
20s, 30s, 40s
New Year’s Resolution
Abs or Interesting
“I’m Entitled To My Opinion”
This is a fairly tight set that takes material from the middle of this year's show "Snacks!" with a new routine that I only started working on while I was in Adelaide a couple of months ago. None of this material was worked at the Opera House so I'm guessing this might be the set list I use at the Enmore Theatre. I think the Kenya West material still needs some work which would make sense considering it is the newest routine. Still I have four gigs this week before Friday night so it gives me time to work on it a little more.
On the Friday night show at the Store I threw in a routine that my friend Josh (who runs the show from behind the sound desk) likes and basically worked it out from there:
30th of July: The Comedy Store
20s, 30s, 40s
Can’t Drink Anymore
Before the Internet
The routine "Can't Drink Anymore" is a longer routine and could work pretty well on the night. I'd have to play around with this one though as it is a weird sized routine for a support spot. All the material around it has been used in the past as support for Wil so I'd be reluctant to bring that out this time. With the previous night I know that set list has a natural rhythm that I can rely on and it is practically ready to go. Having said that there are some strong jokes in the drinking material and it is also fun to perform so I'll have a think about that one.
On the Saturday night the audience was pretty feisty. They were definitely up for it but they also felt like you could lose them at any point. As the night wore on I kept changing the routines that I thought would work best and right up until I walked out onstage I was chopping and changing my set list. In the end it was a familiar looking set that you may have seen in the past but it was definitely the right one for the night.
1st of August: The Comedy Store
20s, 30s, 40s
“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”
Hushed Angry Conversation
Glitter in Invitations
Watching Movies Out of Context
People Wearing Your Glasses
This was an audience that had already enjoyed ten comedians and had been drinking consistently throughout the night. It was a gig where I had to keep it sharp and tidy. Having not performed some of that material for a few weeks it was fun to come back to it.
Apart from the three shows at the Store I also managed to see Steen Raskopoulos perform his show "Character Assassin" and it was a real treat. I'm not a big fan of audience participation (I'm sure Steen hears this a lot when some people in the industry are about to rave about his work) but what I loved about Steen's show was that he empowered the people that he brought onstage with him. They were in on the joke and never the punch line. Steen's gentle performance also masterfully keeps the audience enthralled and the ending to the show was just great.
I also saw Judith Lucy at the Enmore Theatre and as Adam Richard said to me as the lights came up in the theatre, "That was a masterclass". With her body of work I feel she is the Meryl Streep of comedy in this country. I know we can all get run over by the hyperbole bus at points in our life but hear me out. As with Streep there might have been acts that came along and shone brighter for a certain amount of time but when you take into account the body of work Lucy is head and shoulders above everyone. Just as Streep has over time continued to produce amazing work ahead of her peers (Hoffman, Pacino, DeNiro, Walken etc) so has Judith achieved the same result over her peers. At the end I didn't know whether to be inspired or quit.
So I've seen two great shows and been a part of three excellent nights. All of this with the sun out. I'm up here for another week and a half so listen up Melbourne: I don't mind winter but get your shit together or Sydney might be my new girlfriend with her sunny disposition and vitamin D rich approach to life.
4th of August, 2015