Go see comedy

It’s April in Melbourne again, which means one thing: I will miss a lot of good Comedy Festival shows.

Two that I won’t miss (because I’ve already gone to see them) are the Bedroom Philosopher’s Songs From The 86 Tram and Adrian Calear’s Code Grey: Adventures In Public Health.

This is the Bedroom Philosopher’s third staging of this show, following a successful Fringe season and a less successful Comedy Festival (he broke his arm after the first week and had to cancel the rest of the run). He did get the Director’s Award for it, though.

If you’e missed it up ’til now, I suggest not missing it further. It’s a great low-budget musical/theatrical experience. Any Melburnian who’s ever taken public transport will get into it.

The album is coming out soon, too, but the show’s better live.

Adrian Calear has a true story to tell you about his illnesses and injuries. It’s an astounding story which gets really good at the point where he died. Twice. He came back to life because he wanted you to come see his Festival show, which he received a Moosehead award to produce. So see it!

It’s another bit of one-man theatre (with assistance from perennial Melbourne favourite Tim Harris). No songs, but there is nudity. If you can’t handle the nudity, there’s a cartoon of Adrian at stage left (see above) which you can concentrate on instead.

So you may have noticed I did the Bedroom Philosopher’s poster and Adrian’s illness/injury chart. I’m very proud to have been able to assist these fine men with their excellent work. One day maybe I’ll get to do some animation for a Festival show!


p.s. I also recommend Matt Elsbury, Josie Long, Tripod and Andrew McClelland, who I intend to see over the Easter break!

Comedy Festival posters: the Facebook quiz

I spent some time with Sarah yesterday going through the Melbourne International Comedy Festival program and enjoying the head shots and ads.

Clearly there’s a number of quite specific poses comedians default to when they’re getting their photo taken (this chap pointed one of them out here). So we separated the many shots into a few distinct categories:

1. “Comin’ Atcha!”

You are “kuh-ray-zee!” You desperately want everyone to know that your show is FUN FUN FUN NON-STOP FUN! You will thrust yourself at any camera and make any “wacky” expression if it’ll get an audience to show up. Hey nowww!

2. “I’m On TV”

You are serene, confident. You get an audience, you get big laughs, and you know it. No big crazy movements or silly expressions for you!

3. “Figuring It Out”

Whew! This crazy old world sure is strange. But you understand it, and can explain it to the audience while scratching your chin and chucking in some biting gibes. Your show might well be a bit scientific or historical — but FUNNY-scientific/historical!

4. “Ah Don’ Get It!”

You’re desperately wacky (see the “Comin’ Atcha!” poster), but you’re also confused by this crazy old world (see “Figuring It Out”). So you’re living somewhere in between — pointing, laughing, staring right into the camera, as if to say… “Ah Don’ Get It!”

5. “Aw, Shucks”

You’re pretty modest, and you hope everyone will forgive you for maybe not being quite as boisterous as some of those bigger comedians… maybe scratching the back of your head will endear you to that mean old audience?

6. “Sleepybear”

What? Sorry, is this a Comedy Festival poster? It might be, but honestly, you’re a bit too dreamy and indie to know for sure. It’s all off centre, and the photo’s been taken in your kitchen. You might just take a squiz at something over there. Back shortly.

7. “Mugshot”

There might be something wacky or crazy about your show, but you’ll never acknowledge it. Staring straight down the barrel of the camera without any facial expression might not excite mums in the suburbs, but the hip kids will know that you’re cutting edge. Or maybe you said, “Take the stupid picture, I’m in a hurry.”

8. “Rock Star”

Clearly you’re not a comedian. You’re far too edgy and angry to be considered “comedy”. You, sir, are a rock star. Your hung-over grimace says so. So does your rumpled band t-shirt.

I made a nice Facebook quiz here, so YOU can find out which poster you should have for your comedy show!

The new Precinct project

First, something unrelated: in case you didn’t know, Tony Martin and guest writer Justin Heazlewood both have new writing on The Scrivener’s Fancy, a website which appears to have popped up out of nowhere to make me happy. Good for them!

Secret proj

I alluded in an earlier post to a “secret project”. There’s not really anything secret about it. The very important person I want to have involved in The Precinct is, clearly, John Farnham.

Farnsy's Got A Parma

Maybe you’re wondering why. I’ll tell you why. First, watch these videos:

The man can sing absolutely anything! He is an astounding talent, and funny, too. I didn’t know until relatively recently that he’d sung songs for a number of American movie soundtracks in the ’80s, Fletch being the only one of these movies I’d actually seen.

Some of these songs aren’t that brilliant (that Fletch one in particular does nothing for me), but Farnham’s voice MAKES YOU BELIEVE! I can’t think of another singer who could sing the lines “black leather angels on a midnight ride / soft on the surface but trembling inside” and get away with it.

That’s why I wrote The Precinct‘s title song, “Blind Man’s Bomb”, with him in mind. It is my fervent hope that he’ll sing that theme song for my show. Also, I wrote him in as a character in the first episode, so it’ll bugger the script if he won’t do the voice. Because who can impersonate him? Nobody, that’s who.

So the “secret project” is a new short Precinct animation telling a bit more of the series’ story. Most of it will be montage, and that montage will be set to LRB’s “Playing To Win”.

I like how Good Friends turned out, but watching it back I feel like it’s not representative of the pace the show will have — The Precinct should move at a lightning clip. Lots of fast cuts. Tell the story quick!

My pacing is not such a problem, but I’m not always very dynamic in my camera setups and moves (I like long, locked-off camera mid shots), so I’m going to work extra hard to make this new animation punchy in that way.

And I’ll be animating John Farnham himself into it, singing the song. So I’m going to have to watch more of these clips. You know, to study his moves.

Funny jokes from Mordy

Last month, my friend Saul’s little boy heard jokes being told and thought he’d tell us a few of his own. They cracked me up!

Q: What do you give a sick statue?
A: Meat!

Q: What do you give a flower?
A: Building!

Q: What do you give a rabbi?
A: Rabbi hair!

Mostly he came up with the jokes by looking around and spotting things he could name, but since there were no rabbis around at the time I reckon he might be talented.