April 14, 2015

MICF 2015 – Final Week Rapid-Fire Reviews

I’m a little behind on my blogging, so I thought I’d write a rapid-fire review post to make sure all the great shows I’ve seen(that still have shows left) would get a plug. I’ve already posted about some great shows everyone should check out, including Wil Anderson, Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall, Hannah Gadsby, Anne Edmonds and Claire Hooper. Here are some other good’uns worth checking out:

FanFiction Comedy

These guys have been doing the festival for a few years and I’m glad I finally got to one of their shows. They write new stories for every show, so it’s different every time. They’ve perfected the art of comedy fan fiction writing and you should get some laughs even if you’re not familiar with the topic they’ve chosen (most often a movie or television show), although it is definitely funnier the more familiar you are with the topic. They also invite a guest comedian from the festival to write something each show, which can be a real treat (as was the case on the night I went, with Laura Davis‘s erotic infomercial fic blowing the others out of the water). If you follow them on twitter they will often post what fictions they will be writing and who the special guest will be so;that you;can make a last minute decision if there’s a fiction or comedian you HAVE to see.

Alan Brough and Casey Bennetto “The Narelles”

This is the only musical act I’ve seen this festival (although lots of acts have had a song), and it’s a great one! Being a brand new duo, they avoid the conundrum of the musical comedy act – some fans wanting to hear your old stuff (like other bands), and comedy fans wanting all-new material. They’ve created a great hour of hilarious music and comedy – pulling you into a world were The Narelles have been a fixture of the Melbourne music scene for decades. It felt so familiar; like I was watching a concert I’d been to when I was a 14-year-old punk rock fangirl, but through a comedy lens. I recommend this show to anyone with a passing interest in music!

Chimp Cop

This is the only sketch group I’ve been to this festival. Chimp Cop is a single story about an inner-city cop. It plays on all the tropes of sketch comedy and crime-shows to make for a fun show. It’s a little predictable, but I have to recommend this show for the sex scene; which I think has become my favourite bit of the festival.

Karl Chandler “World’s Greatest (and Best) Comedian”

This is a perfect show if you want a show with the classic set up/punch line style of comedy which is way out of comedy-vogue at the moment. Of course, Chandler has come up with a twist on the style – to invite another comedian to heckle and critique his performance. Another one that is different every night, this show will quickly dissolve into comedic banter and call-backs from earlier. Sometimes he’ll say who his guest is on Twitter or Facebook, but I’d recommend checking it out even if you don’t know the guest – it’s sure to the hilarious anyway, and you’ll get to discover someone new.

Tommy Dassalo “Cutie Pie”

The other half of the Little Dum Dum Club has put together a great hour of stand up. Heaps of fun, lots of throwbacks to growing up in the 90s with video stores and Super Mario Cart. I was just a few years too young for some of the references but it was still funny. I liked that Dassalo finished the show with some great material, instead of it just ending awkwardly like some other comedians have this year. This would make a great show to take someone new to stand up to.

Kate Dehnert “Pony Yell”

Dehnert’s show is weird, and really not everyone’s cup of tea (Dad just didn’t get it). It’s a one-woman theatre performance about a postal worker and her pony colleague. If that seems weird, it gets stranger every minute. It reminded me of a slightly funnier, slightly better performed year 12 drama solo, but I got some good laughs out of it and found her energy and performance impressive. The main reason it makes my list is because I want someone to see it as a triple feature along with Simon Keck (who I wrote about previously) and Ben Russell (below), and have their mind explode from all the crazy, confusing, weirdness.

Ben Russell “The Tokyo Hotel”

If the idea of a one-person, weird-ass comedy performance appeals to you (and you’re not keen on my triple-feature idea for some reason (and you should be because it’s totally the best idea ever and you should do it)), I’d probably recommend The Tokyo Hotel over Pony Hell. It’s weird, but has some great characters and great jokes. Again it vaguely reminded me of a better, funnier year 12 solo (especially for the use of the door prop), but it’s certainly good for a late-night mind-fuck.

There’s heaps of great stuff on, so get amongst it and enjoy the final week of the festival!

April 12, 2015

MICF 2015 – Murphy McLachlan “Tries It All”

On the middle Saturday of the festival I met up with Cameron (my brother) and Erica (his wife) to catch the second last performance of Murphy McLachlan “Tries It All”. Paris was going to come with me but was feeling unwell most of the day and decided to stay in.

Sometimes I remember to take obligatory pre-show selflies.

Sometimes I remember to take obligatory pre-show selflies.

We settled into seats at the front, which is always our preference at comedy shows. It was a small but enthusiastic audience up for a good time. McLachlan started by asking if someone could be his time keeper. A woman behind us raised her hand. McLachlan asked her name, and they both sniggered slightly.

“err.. Mum” she splattered.

Oh yes, McLachlan’s parents were in the audience.

That didn’t stop him giving his all in this fun and silly show – trying “every kind” of entertainment drawn from a tin by various audience members. I was going to write something about “if you don’t like audience participation this is not for you” but that would be a bit pointless. Its not showing any more!
Murphy McLachlan
His parents were polite audience members until the very end, when McLachlan plugged mates show and his mum pipped up saying “Don’t swear!”, in the most classic mumsy way. McLachlan was a little thrown aback, but simply said “well, it’s a little late” and continued.

Having totally trashed the room with props and crumpled paper, McLachlan proceeded to clean up. And, as if part of the act, his mum started cleaning up with him!

As we filed out I heard his dad say “Hey Murphy, is that my old guitar”. McLachlan replied with a sheepish “yes…” and busied himself picking up papers.

McLachlans parents were definitely a highlight of the show.

April 10, 2015

MICF 2015: Good Friday Night

Holy crap this was the best night yet!! Honestly this was my favourite night of the festival so far. I doubt anything will top it! I’d pre-booked tickets for my sister Lisa and I to see Cal Wilson’s “Undercurrents” and Claire Hooper’s “School Camp”. With almost two hours between the shows we decided to squeeze in a 3rd act and I was delighted when Anne Edmonds show “You Know What I’m Like” fit snugly in between. The only real downer was that I’d made the foolish mistake of leaving the tickets at home! You see, I don’t have a printer of my own so I’d decided to have any tickets I booked far enough in advance mailed out. It was nice to receive exciting yellow envelopes, put together a comedy festical calendar and label them all with the artist and date of the show. I just forgot to account for my being an idiot. I had absolutely no excuse to forget them. It was a public holiday and it was literally the only thing I needed to do for the day. Once again I have to applaud the staff and volunteers. They were very understanding, and printed me new copies of my tickets without much trouble (thank goodness for smartphones and email booking receipts). Next year I’ll choose venue pick up. First up was Cal Wilson, who’s been a favourite of mine for a long time. We all have people (or for some people characters) who we think might just be our spirit animal, and Wilson is one of mine. As always, her show is original, quirky and clever. Ever surprising and strange, but somehow completely relatable. She had both Lisa and I crying, which as I’ve mentioned before is the real way to judge the quality of comedy. Quite an achievement, particularly because we’d caught her a few weeks earlier trying out some of her material at the Portland Hotel comedy night and had already heard parts of the show.

Yeah, I didn't get it either...

Get it? Those red things are currents…

“Undercurrents” is on all festival, and would be a great show for long time fans and comedy virgins alike. We rushed over to the Town Hall to grab replacement tickets and to buy last minute tickets for Anne Edmond’s show. And it was literally last minute, the start time ticking over just as they were printing my ticket at the box office. We managed to sneak in to seats at the back just as Edmonds was introducing herself. It was a sellout show, with a festival pass holder being bumped as a couple arrived at little later than us. I love to see other people enjoying a show, and they don’t have to be my friends. Edmond’s show had the perfect example; there was a guy sitting next to me who was just out-of-control with laughter. His cackling pierced through the noise of the rest of the audience. I don’t know how he was breathing because he barely stopped – laughing at one joke well into the next joke. At one point I heard his say something breathlessly through his laughing, and realised it was a quote from three jokes earlier. He was so caught up he’d missed three other crackers!

I’d never really seen Edmonds before, but by twitter feed had been flooded with other comedians praising her show. I was really excited to have been able to fit it in! And sure enough, “You Know What I’m Like” is an absolute blast. Edmonds is a master story-teller and has crafted painfully accurate characters that reak suburban Australiana. It might have been speaking to my bogan upbringing (that I’ve spent so long trying to mask), but I thoroughly enjoyed this show. Riotously funny, but with some moments not for the faint hearted (banjo music and pig squeals come to mind). I always knew Claire Hooper from her Good News Week days, but I’m ashamed to say never really given much thought to seeing her stand up. That all changed when I saw her do a spot at the Portland Hotel. Now, having seen her show “School Camp” and heard her banter on The Little Dum Dum Club podcast, she’s shot to the top of my favourite comedians (and people) list.    She’s witty and relatable and I adore her. Lisa and I agreed “School Camp” was our favourite show yet. Funny, thoughtful, just brilliant. Hooper had Lisa crying with laughter quicker than I’ve seen before, but that wasn’t the reason it was our favourite. It was hilarious, yes, but it was also thought provoking and almost painfully honest. I love when comedy tackles delicate issues in just the right way. This show does just that really beautifully. I really don’t want to give too much away because this is a wonderful show, and I think everyone should see it! It’s on until the end of the festival! Please, go see this show!

She really is a mad woman.

Took my pregnant sister to see @TheClaireHooper & @calbo tonight – collected quality parenting advice and quality laughs!!

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