The Comedy Store

2015 Blog 24: The Comedy Store, Free Wil and more. Gigs 147 - 154

Well that might have been the biggest week of gigs I've had this year.

It started off small and relaxed at the Enmore Comedy Club on the Tuesday night.  This was the same room that I performed in during the Sydney Comedy Festival so I felt very comfortable getting back onstage there.  It was a solid line up and I used that gig to play around with an order that I thought I might use as the support act for Wil Anderson on the Friday and Saturday night.  

At the beginning of the set I bounced off some subjects that earlier acts had been talking about. Host Daniel Townes had engaged with an American couple in the front row and since I had some thoughts on what they had talked about I used that as a springboard for my set.

 

4th of August:  Enmore Comedy Club

 

Denver Legalises Pot

Justin Bourne

New Year’s Resolution

Abs or Interesting

Happiness

Gym

“I’m Entitled To My Opinion”

Islamic Writing

Adam Goodes

Bjork CD

Scout Gig

 

I thought the gig was relatively solid but could have been a little better.  I thought the story revolving around Justin Bourne showed some promise and felt like it had developed from the first outing at the Imperial Hotel a few weeks before.  Otherwise it was good to get a handle on how long that set could go in preparation for the big event in the main room at the Enmore Theatre on Friday and Saturday.

The following night consisted of two gigs.  First up I was back at the Comedy Store headlining a fundraising night.  These can be tricky shows as the main reason the majority of the audience has turned up is to support the cause while the show is a bonus.  That means it can be easier to lose the audience or even put some people offside with your language.  It feels more like a corporate gig except they've come to your place of work instead of the other way around.  

This gig was fine though and I kept the set list simple:

 

5th of August:  The Comedy Store

 

Kid at Wedding

20s, 30s, 40s

Hairy Baby

“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

Glitter in Invitations

Watching Movies Out of Context

People Wearing Your Glasses

Islamic Writing

Spooning

 

When you know a set list comes in on time it is nice to be able to stick to that especially for gigs like this.  I'm happy that the Islamic Writing piece has found a place in this more mainstream set list though.  I did hear someone gasp when I said the punchline though thus justifying my thoughts on how easy it is to offend people at these gigs.  There is nothing offensive about this routine and I know the person was reacting to a word but not the context.  To be honest the word in question isn't offensive by itself so old Gaspy in the audience can get a grip.

From the Comedy Store fellow comic Anne Edmonds and I raced to The Roxbury Hotel where Ray Badran and friends were putting on their first night at the revamped venue.  It was a packed audience and they were 100% focused.  I'm glad we got to perform at these gigs in this order because these were definitely more my people.  I used this as another opportunity to play around with the set list that I thought I might use as support for Wil.

 

The Roxbury Hotel

 

Biker Heckle

Justin Bourne

New Year’s Resolution

Abs or Interesting

Happiness

Gym

Snacks

“I’m Entitled To My Opinion”

Islamic Writing

Adam Goodes

Bjork CD

Scout Gig

 

 

This was a great gig and a fantastic way to finish the night.  In fact I'd say it was this gig that solidified exactly what I was going to do for Wil's support. I took a lot of confidence away from this gig and it allowed me to spend the next two days just refining it in my head.   often find the gigs that I struggle at are the ones where I don't have much of a game plan.  If I know that I'm working towards something or trying a new approach etc for the most part I walk away pretty happy with those gigs.  When I go in and just perform without knowing what I want to achieve (apart from doing my job of course) they're the shows that can get away from me.  The Roxbury definitely worked on the night and then helped me push towards the weekend.

The following night it was back to the Comedy Store and a very straight forward gig.  Another packed audience helped make this a fun night and I decided to let this gig be as loose as possible since the next two nights I was going to go the opposite way with my set lists.  

 

6th of August:  The Comedy Store

 

Biker Heckle

Hurt My Back

Can't Drink Anymore (first half)

Before The Internet

Kravitz Monster

Glitter in Invitations

Spooning

 

This was a lot of fun and I played around with tangents and also a bit of talk regarding the Lenny Kravitz split pants moment that was heard around the world.  If you don't know what I'm talking about click on this link here.

For Friday the 7th and 8th of August I had two gigs each night.  The early shows were support for Wil and his 2015 show "Free Wil".  Since we had performed together in January at the Sydney Opera House I thought there was a definite chance we'd have a large percentage of return punters in the crowd.  What I wanted to do was make certain that I didn't repeat any material from that gig but also use it as an opportunity to build on what I'd achieved that night.  With the confidence from the gig at the Roxbury Hotel this was my set list for the two support spots.

 

7th and 8th of August:  Free Wil

 

 

Biker Heckle

New Year’s Resolution

Abs or Interesting

Happiness

Gym

Snacks

“I’m Entitled To My Opinion”

Islamic Writing

Adam Goodes

Bjork CD

Scout Gig

 

 

The Biker Heckle story is a nice succinct story to help get me started and from there I used a section of material from my 2015 show "Snacks!"  It was incredibly heartening to have the material about Adam Goodes go down so well both nights but as I stated onstage I felt pretty confident that those jokes would go down very well with a Wil Anderson audience.  I'm sure there will be some gigs where people will take offence that I'm on Goodes' side and we'll deal with that when it happens.  On both nights it went down a treat.  

I was lucky enough to see Judith Lucy perform in the same venue the previous week and I made certain that I learned how to use that stage from watching the way Judith used it.  I had a basic idea of the sight lines and the way the lights looked from the audience.  In the Adam Goodes material I point out the hypocrisy of the AFL commentators and as I worked my way from Eddie to Sam I worked my way from left to right of the stage before returning to the middle to deliver the punchline.  I enjoyed Judith's show immensely but I also learned enough to help make my gig more polished.  I think they may have been the best gigs I've had as support for Wil.  His audience has always been generous and I think the gigs at the Opera House and the online support gave me a lot of encouragement to have the sets that I had over those two nights.

Usually when you do two gigs or more in a night you can often finish on a bit of a dud.  You'd think after performing to 1,600 people that going to a sold out 300 seater would be a let down emotionally but luckily for me I was back at the Store.  It might be one of the rare times in my career where you go from one great gig to another great gig within hours of each other. My main concern on both nights was to remember to "introduce" myself to the Store audience. Sometimes when you have a great early gig you can carry that energy onto your next spot but it can be wrong for that audience.  I've found sometimes I've been too comfortable and in the process forgotten to let me second audience know what I'm all about before launching into my set.  I made certain to stomp on the energy of the support spots and start from scratch.  For both nights the set lists were:

 

7th and 8th of August: The Comedy Store

 

20s, 30s, 40s

Hairy Baby

“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

Glitter in Invitations

People Wearing Your Glasses

Islamic Writing

Spooning

 

Both nights were excellent and the line ups had done excellent work before I arrived.  I hate not being there at the start but there was nothing I could do in this case.  Luckily for me it was a great line up of comics who had done such great work earlier all I had to do was not fuck it up at the end of the night.

I think this might have been the best week of gigs or possibly the most fun week of gigs I've had in Australia all year.  Between this week and the tour of New Zealand I've had a good trot.  Now it is time to launch into season 12 of The Shelf and some extra gigs around town before I turn my attention to working on mainly new material for the rest of the year in preparation for the festival season in 2016.  

 

Justin Hamilton

16th of August, 2015

Fitzroy North

 

 

 

2015 Blog 23: The Comedy Store Gigs 143 - 146

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

Happiness

Gym

“I’m Entitled To My Opinion”

Islamic Writing

Kenya West

Bjork CD

Scout Gig

 

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

Hairy Baby

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

Hairy Baby

“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

Glitter in Invitations

Watching Movies Out of Context

People Wearing Your Glasses

Spooning

 

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.

 

Justin Hamilton

4th of August, 2015

Newtown