Posts tagged ‘standup’

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!

March 27, 2015

MICF 2015 – Opening night: A great night of contrasts.

This year I attended 2 shows on the opening night of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and it’d be a stretch to find two shows that were more different! Still, they each highlighted different aspects of why we love this time of year.

The first, CJ Delling in “On Topical Island”, was a comedian I’d never heard of, on a stage at the back of the Bull and Bear Hotel, with about 30 chairs pulled out of storage and set up into rows. Delling ran the whole operation herself; she was at the door checking tickets, she set up her own lights and announced herself from the side of the stage. This being the first night of the show there was only 8 of us in the audience and as you can expect she hadn’t ironed out all of the creases in her set. But she was charming and sweet, and set the perfect tone for the rest of the festival.

If you’ve never gone to the festival and picked an act you’ve never heard of, in an obscure venue, I highly recommend doing so. They’re not always the best of shows, but it’s a cheap night out and you’re guaranteed something different, someone who’s really grateful you’re there and the satisfaction of supporting and up-and-comer. And sometimes you hit on something really great.

Waiting for Wil. #micfmicstands

Waiting for Wil. #micfmicstands

Next we hot-footed it across town to the Comedy Theatre to see Wil Anderson’s “Free Wil”. We arrived with time to spare, and found the crowd spewed out onto the street as people lined up to be seated. You could tell the seasoned festival goers by the way they squeezed passed the line and took the moment to got to the toilet or grab a beer – what’s the point in lining up when seats are assigned?

In contrast to Delling’s show, this place was packed. The sound and lighting were simple, but I’ sure it’s been a long time since Anderson was doing his own! The crowd was different too. With a big name like this all kinds of fans make the trip – not just the festival groupies that check out the smaller shows (and every show they can get to).

It being opening night, not every joke had perfect timing but really it wasn’t far off. Anderson is an Australian of comedy (he celebrates 20 years of MICF this year), and the show is wonderfully put together.

So everyone; get out there and enjoy the festival! Pick an old favourite and splurge, but don’t forget the fun of picking something unexpected.

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