A miscommunication in stage time ended up teaching me a good lesson and made my new material the stronger for it.
The final four shows of the year cover all of season 10 of The Shelf, a one off gig at the Hotel Barkly and a few of the potential pitfalls of performing when you are receiving terrible news.
The day started with the industrial sound of progress and ended with me adopting a member of Aunty Donna as my son.
An extremely fun gig at Crown headquarters helps me regain a little onstage swagger and a proper unleashing of my Jon Hamm like beard.
The final show for The Shelf Season 9 took an hour longer than expected and that seemed just about right on the night.
Did you miss The Shelf last night? If so you missed this line up:
Lessons With Luis
Fan Fiction Comedy featuring Joseph Moore
With this show I hit the half way point of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. My first show was on the 24th of March when we held a special preview of "Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994" for all of our season ticket holders. Since then it has been work every day and gigs every night without a break. The Shelf is the hardest night of the week because so much goes into every show including the wrangling of comics and the energy it requires on the night. As I stated last week I haven't had time to write some new material so I went way back into the vaults for a story I haven't told in years. The set list for my opening was:
Fire Trap Gives Me The Barry
Journalists Ask About Terrible Gigs
"I Heard Gravity"
Biker Corporate Gig
We had a packed out audience and I riffed off the top about how if there was a fire I would not only survive but it would inspire me to write a show that would win me The Barry for best show at next year's M.I.C.F. It is a dark way to begin a gig but our audience is so fantastic they not only went with it but understood it was more a take down of the semi serious comedy shows you might see at the festival. Yes, I was having a crack at me and the type of show I'm performing just in case you weren't certain that I had missed the irony.
Journalists are mad for asking us about terrible gigs and that gave me a jumping off point to get into some old material. I'm not certain whether I have performed the "I Heard Gravity" story onstage before. I think I have but I don't have the time to go through all my previous entries to find out if I did. Anyway it popped into my head and I figured I'd throw it out there and it fitted in nicely with the theme.
I also ad libbed a comment that I had made on Wil Anderson's podcast "FOFOP" about never having a bad gig and was surprised at the genuine and spontaneous applause of acknowledgement from the audience. I thought it might be a nice throw away but the response was one of recognition and it took my completely by surprise. I wasn't certain if I was going to mention it or nor in this blog but I had my suspicions confirmed by Shelf super fan Ethan Lesh on Facebook who wrote to me about that exact moment. I'm glad I wasn't lost up my own arse with that moment and a bit thanks to Ethan for confirming it for me.
The story about performing a corporate gig for bikers with fellow comedian Mickey D occurred somewhere around the turn of the century and is a story that I haven't performed for a long time. Between last week's "What's a bit of wrinkle..." routine and last night's story I had forgotten how much I enjoyed them in their day. I don't know if I could find the same energy performing them on a regular basis now but they might be good to keep in my back pocket for gigs further down the track.
I was rapt not only with the audience last night but also the acts. I had a bunch of comedians who hadn't performed at The Shelf before (Wizard Sandwiches, Corey White, Tracey Cosgrove and UK comedian James Acaster) who fitted in like they've always been a part of the line up. Getting the balance correct between new and established comedians is part of the joy of putting the show together. Introducing new acts to our audience is incredibly exciting not only for the crowd but also the comedian. We have such a loyal and smart following that a lot of these acts can be assured to score some ticket sales out of their appearance.
The highlight of the night for me was sown at the end of the first bracket. Somehow for the first time ever The Shelf was running to time. I made the mistake of mentioning this onstage and out bounded co-host Adam Richard and floating Wil. We proceeded to ad lib enough that the show was now 20 minutes behind schedule. As the night continued we became more and more behind time and ended up finishing an hour after what I had planned for. Brilliantly the majority of the audience (and when I say majority I mean 90% of the audience) stayed around for the end. Only one person I knew had to leave and that was one of the main instigators of getting the show behind time: Wil. He was out of there with about two acts to go. Hilarious. As we have pointed out before The Shelf isn't about a tidy night out. Every show aims for the fence and I feel if it wasn't bloated, unwieldy and full of moments where we say things we sort of wish we hadn't then it actually wouldn't be the show we love to be a part of.
Next week's show is the final show for The Shelf for the next six months. I'm guessing at this point the earliest it will return will be mid November so if you're keen to check it out you should head here to book your tickets. This is well on the way to selling out and I'm guessing will be a cracking way to finish the season.
8th of April, 2014
The first night of The Shelf for the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival was a corker, possibly one of the best!
With Lehmo knocked out of the game with the dreaded gastro I was elevated from host to headliner and changed my game plan accordingly.
The final Shelf for 2013 ends up being one of the all time best.
I can be hard work sometimes behind the scenes but I like shows and comedians to reach for perfection especially when it is time for The Shelf
Cupcakes! Superheroes! Stolen phones! Things we can't talk about! Just another night at The Shelf really.
A great gig in Karratha with good friends Claire Hooper and Peter Helliar makes for an oddly nostalgic trip.
The final night of season 7 of The Shelf clocks in at 4 hours! Yikes!
Another great night at The Shelf with season 7 looking like our best yet.
The opening night of Season 7 of The Shelf was a success and inspires me for the next two shows.
I'm back at The Rhino Room on a night that harkens back to the halcyon days of my time producing the original comedy night.
The finale of The Shelf had a fake Justin, video footage, a teddy bear microphone, legends of comedy and an Oscar speech. Just a typical show really...
Another really fun night at The Shelf which included American comedians, sketches and giant men carrying me yet again to the stage.
We head down in wild weather to St Kilda to headline Commedia Dell´Parte and play around with some of the new material.
A new gig at Spleen Comedy night in which my set goes well but deep down I think I could have been a little better.