April 5, 2015

MICF 2015: Hannah Gadsby’s “Donkey”

My sister Lisa has got to be my favourite person to go to comedy shows with. She just gets so overwhelmed with laughter, it’s heartwarming and hilarious. She judges how funny a show is based on how much she cries from laughter. It’s the best.

We went to see Hannah Gadsby’s show at last years festival, and it was probably my favourite night of the festival largely because Lisa cried uncontrollably the whole way through. None of my other comedy companions got into a show quite as much as she did. Not only that, but Hannah’s show was also great. So I was pretty excited to be seeing her again, in this years show “Donkey”, with Lisa on Thursday.

Waiting for Gadsby.  #micfmicstand

Waiting for Gadsby.

And it didn’t disappoint. Hannah is charming, clever and really, really funny. Her show this year has a different tone to previously, largely because it’s not all about being sad. In fact some of it is about being happy! It does explore themes of mental illness, but is poignant, insightful and filled with warmth.

This show feels different to her previous shows on another level as well. This is, I suspect, because she has been diagnosed with ADHD and is finally on medication that works for her (this is the major theme for the show). It has quicker pace than I’ve seen Gadsby deliver before, and really feels like it bounces along instead of meandering. I’ve long been a fan of Gadsby but I think she’s gotten even better! If you’ve found her to be too slow or sad in the past I encourage you to give her another go! Gadsby’s comedy has never grabbed by boyfriend Paris’s fancy, but he said she was the absolute highlight of the Gala this year.

You might leave this show wondering if you also have ADHD, or that your brain functions differently to other people in some way. But if you do, you’ll feel ok about it. This show is ultimarely uplifting, and I realise that I do “like my brain” too.

April 4, 2015

MICF 2015: Tuesday Night Dancing & Bart Freebairn Ultra Power Lord

I’m doing my best to keep up with blogging, but between work, seeing lots of shows, and a funeral this week it’s been a challenge. It’s also just occurred to me that I haven’t mentioned that my awesome brother gave me an “Impy Golden Pass”, which means a friend and I can go to every Melbourne International Comedy Festival show at the Imperial Hotel this year. So, that’s why I’m able to go to so many shows on a whim. What brought on this amazing brotherly generosity? He actually managed to win TWO of these passes. Lucky bearded bastard.  

My usual Tuesday night means dinner and a swing dancing lesson. Our usual venue, The Exford Hotel, has comedy shows on during the festival, so the lesson was moved to Wesley Church. This is kind of a disappointment – the venue just isn’t as good. The bar is much more laid back and fun, with more flattering lighting and drinks for those who need it. The fluorescent lights of the church hall call back memories of my grandmother shuffling along to a line dancing lesson with her community ladies group.

But we went along and had a blast as always. It was unfortunately a pretty hot day, and the hall had bad ventilation and cooling. On top of that the teachers decided to teach one of the most energetic moves yet. Suffice to say, I got a bit sticky.  

After the lesson I couldn’t decide whether or not to go straight home and wash off the grossness, or head out to a show at the Impy, so I put it to my swing dancing friend Nick to decide. It turned out he’d never been to a comedy festival show, so of course we HAD to go.  


 We arrived at 8 and decided to see Bart Freebairn’s show “Ultra Power Lord”. We were a little bit late and must have missed a couple of jokes because the room was already laughing. We were able to grab a seat up the back easily enough, which I have to say is kind of a shame – this show is great and deserves a bigger audience! Even with a small crowd Freebairn puts you at ease, and has everyone laughing! His show is about fighting, and is funny and insightful even if you’re not much of a fighter. It made for a really great intro to the festival – classic stand-up with a bit of edge and lots of great laughs.  

 Freebairn is putting in an amazing effort – putting on his show EVERY NIGHT of the festival! 

April 3, 2015

MICF 2015: The Comedy Zone & Simon Keck

After wasting away the day watching cartoons and scrolling past tweet after tweet about the Cricket World Cup, I managed be running late for The Comedy Zone. But as I hot-footed it past Carlton Gardens which, was playing host to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, I was proud that my home city was hosting 3 international events, something great for everyone, all on the same day.

I did manage to get there on time to collect tickets and be at the door. The same can not be said, however, for my friend Bree. I’d spoken to her when I was making my way to the venue, and she was closer than me to the venue. But she’d walked in entirely the wrong direction. And kept walking. For a good 10 minutes. It wasn’t until I frantically called her and looked up where she was before we sorted out where she was, which was miles away.  It just kind of boggles me how she can be 24 in 2015 and still be perplexed by her smart phone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m bad with maps. Like, really bad with maps. But that’s the beauty of the smart phone; it show you a route, you start walking, and then you correct if the little you-dot seems to be going in the wrong direction. How do you go TEN MINUTES in the wrong direction before realising?

Anyway, I digress.

Props need to be given to the guy at the door (who’s name now escapes me), who let me leave her ticket with him while I went into the show. And to all the staff and volunteers at the festival for that matter – you guys ROCK!

This was my first time going to a Comedy Zone, and I certainly recommend it. The show consists of 5 hand-picked up and coming stand ups from around the country. If you’d like the to see someone new and relatively unknown, but are too chicken to show up at the Town Hall and pick something from the dozens of flyers thrust your way, this is for you!  

 This year Jacob Lingard (QLD) hosts as MC to fellow comics Matt Ford (QLD), Ciaran Lyons (WA), Nina Oyama (NSW) and Matt Stewart (VIC). They may be relatively new to the scene, but they have all found their groove on the mic – each with their own style and poking fun at their unique quirks. They were all fun spirited and energetic, commanding the room with charisma despite a fair splattering of empty seats. You should totally go and fill those seats – these guys are well worth it.

Our comedy appetites throughly whetted, we decided to pick another show and crossed the city to the Imperial Hotel. Bree left me in charge of picking an act, and I chose Simon Keck for no other reason than who could resist “Eating Tiger Dicks”?

I had no idea what to expect, but I’m very glad I chose this show. It’s great.

This is about the moment Bree lost it.

This is about the moment Bree lost it.

This is Bree losing it.

This is Bree losing it.

I love standup, but having seen a lot in the lead up to the festival I was really pleased to see something different. Keck has crafted a show around the deplorable fictional self-help guru Tug DeLabranska. The character was a perfect caricature and, yes, had me and Bree telling one another they’re a piece is shit. He didn’t have to look far for material, sometimes spouting passages from real-world self-help works. This intensity was intermittent with the more transitional comic-rumblings of the narrator, as well out-right absurdity. It was all together dark, outrageous and uproarious. Perhaps my favourite thing about festival time is seeming my friends enjoy a show, and this show and Bree in tears.

Of course, I too lamented along with other festival goers at the rumble of fireworks interrupting the show. While earlier I was beaming proudly at the diversity in my fine city, now I was cursing cricket fans for ruining my comedy festival. It’s a ludicrous sport anyway.

Both shows are running in Melbourne until the 19th of April!

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