2014 Gig Twenty Five: Adelaide Fringe and Gig Twenty Six: The Gov

It was a warm Saturday night with a sold out show down at the Garden of Unearthly Delights.  I've been rapt with the turn out for the show.  I haven't performed a solo show in Adelaide since "Idiot Man Child" back in 2010 and was a little nervous returning to Adelaide because I wasn't certain how many people would be interested in coming along. Normally it is paramount to continue performing at the festivals year after year to keep your numbers up.  I have returned regularly to Adelaide for the club gigs but I wasn't certain that it would translate into good numbers.  I have been pretty thrilled with the numbers so far. I had my big boss manager and ex girlfriend in the show last night and I'll be honest with and say I really wanted this show to go well.  For starters you want the B.B.M. to enjoy the show since he is the one producing it.  You don't want him to look and think he's made a terrible mistake.  My ex is also one of the smartest and most astute people I know so I wanted her to enjoy the show because I respect her take on anything I do. If she told me she wasn't certain about something I would give it a lot of weight.  The only way this could have had more personal pressure for me is if this was the show Mum attended.

Going in I had to make certain that I didn't try too much.  There is a tendency to overcook your performance when you want to make an impression.  I have been working on some new approaches in this show, one of which is keeping movement as minimal as possible. This was inspired (and this might seem a little out of left field by go with me) by watching Matthew McConaughey in "True Detective".  The way he holds himself in that TV series (which finishes tomorrow night...and I am pumped!) is so mesmerising with what appears to be little effort and I wanted to replicate that idea as much as possible onstage. Knowing that there were close friends in the audience that I wanted to enjoy the show I made certain that I kept my energy as low as possible so as not to change the rhythm of what has worked for the show since the beginning of the week.

I know the above may sound weird but I often find the majority of my inspiration comes from other art forms.  My 2008 solo show "The Killing Joke" had an opening that was inspired by the first page of the graphic novel "Watchmen".  This is what the first page looked like:


The classic opening page.


My show opened in the dark with a voice over.  When the lights came on I hit with the first joke.  It was my version of the diary pages and the the first speech bubble on the Watchmen page above.  "Goodbye Ruby Tuesday" was my attempt at writing a show with the feel of "The Purple Rose of Cairo."  For those of you who have seen "Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994" you can look at the image below and in the process might recognise a moment that occurs about halfway through the gig:


Batman takes down the ultimate evil.


The moment that the above page inspired was an ad lib on the first night that I have subsequently kept because it worked so well.  If you come along to the show keep an eye out for it.  I should also point out that I don't kill the ultimate evil with a well placed god killer gun.  I'm saving that for another show.  The set list was:


Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994


I thought it was a pretty good show even considering how warm it was in my venue. This is not a complaint since I know how hot it is going to get and I'm prepared. Plenty of water before I go onstage is the main aim of the game.  I have noticed from my recordings that the show is coming in a couple of minutes shorter than when it started.  I'm going to have to go over my notes and see if I'm leaving something out. The past two nights I've noticed this and tried to remember to check my notes but have subsequently forgotten to do so the next day.  As soon as I finish this blog I'm going to check it out.

My B.B.M. only had two notes so that counts as a win in my book and my ex enjoyed the show as well.  We're all looking for validation in some way and I was happy that they enjoyed the show.  It was important for me that after a week of excellent shows they saw a good one too.  You can tell people it is going well but it is much better for them to experience it with their own human faces.

After my show I walked down to the train station and caught a train one stop to the Governor Hindmarsh for the late show that the wonderful Mary Tobin and her girls produce.  This was a fun show with a great line up consisting of close friends:  Gordon Southern, Adam Rozenbachs and Greg Fleet.  I was on in the sweet spot:  the first comedian on after the break.  I had a lot of fun and kept to a similar set list as the night before:


Turning 40

Car Crash in Adelaide

Invite to Parties

Hairy Baby

Little Boy Joke

Glitter in Invitations

People Wearing Your Glasses



In the past I've made the mistake of thinking I should use late shows to work on new material.  My approach is different now.  I hit the stage with the material that is the strongest and most fun to perform.  As I've said before if the solo show is a cricket Test match then late night shows are 20/20 and you're just aiming for the boundary with every line.  It is a good opportunity to flex different muscles each night.


Greg Fleet bathed in white light as the final act for the night.


After the gig I was able to walk back to Mum's place.  This was also an unexpected bonus because what it meant was I could avoid the temptation of staying out late in the city.  I was feeling good last night and that can turn into a late night as you hang out and attempt to burn off some excess energy.  Instead I had a twenty minute walk to burn off the rest of the night and managed to be in bed at a reasonable time.  Well, reasonable considering I'd just performed at a late show.  When I woke I had missed calls from a lot of people asking where I was.  That is what is often referred to as a "bullet dodged".


Justin Hamilton

9th of March, 2014