Monday, March 29, 2010

Comedy Festival reviews - Preview Weekend

I love Comedy Festival.

It's my favorite time of year - standing around in the rain and almost cold weather, seeing 2 or 3 shows a night, especially on Tightarse Tuesday when you try and cram in as many shows as you can. Every year I say the same thing - I'm not seeing too many shows this year, I'm not spending hundreds of dollars, I'm only going to see a few shows, I wont go crazy and see all the big names. And yet every year it's the same... I see my 'list' of shows during the cheap preview sessions, then the reviews start to come out, and the conversations start... and before I know it, I've seen 20+ shows again this year!

Not this year though. This year I am sticking to my budget and only seeing a maximum of ten shows. Preview weekend has just finished and I've seen 5 shows already, with another 4 in the pipeline, so I've not given myself much room to move... hmmm.

2010 started well for me - I got a $150 gift voucher for the Festival from my brother and sister for Christmas, so I was pretty excited as the shows started to go on sale. Too late we learnt that the gift vouchers, in fact the entire festival ticketing system, is a pain in the bum. Gift vouchers can only be redeemed in person, so for the first time since I was in high school (ten years ago people!) I had to actually go into a shop and purchase tickets. That is a pain in the bum.

Upon arriving with my carefully constructed list of shows and dates, I was informed that my gift vouchers could only be used for ticketmaster shows, which immediately cut out over half the shows I wanted to see. Pain in the bum.

No matter, I thought. I found some new shows that we sitting on the 'maybe' list, that had rapidly made it onto the 'let's see this show' list and purchased a bunch of my original shows online later that day. So onto opening weekend!

Friday night we had some free tickets to see Wil Anderson. I've not seen one of his shows in years. I thought I didn't like him that much. How wrong I was - he was great! His show was very political; he talked about racism, gender, fat kids and stupid people (my favorite topic). His motto for the show was "Let them go" and supported it by ranting and raving for much of the show about the need for society to stop pandering to the lowest common denominator - stop making laws that protect the stupid and start weeding out them out by means of natural selection. Hilarious. My favorite part was when he said "It's so lazy and stupid to hate people based on race or whatever. There's so many reasons to hate people, most people are stupid, so you should get to know them, and then hate them". Pretty much sums up my life. Anyway, it was funnier when Wil said it. The best part of the show was that he spent the whole time making fun of the redneck bogan population in Australia, which was most of the audience, and instead of being insulted they just laughed along. Idiots. It was hilarious. He's on for the whole festival, at the Comedy Theatre. Wilfl Misconduct - go see it.

On Saturday we had some more free tickets and went off to an afternoon dress rehearsal for "Good Evening" with Shaun Micallef and Stephen Curry. The was easily one of the best festival shows I've ever seen. Very clever and very funny. At one point I was that person in the theatre laughing and snorting uncontrollably (this was while Stephen was signing an Elizabethan song with a ridiculous hat on), which led to the group I was laughing along with me. Then I heard the people behind me saying "Look at that girl, she's killing herself laughing" at which point that group of people started laughing at me and soon enough the whole area of the theatre was laughing along with me. It was great.

Not that I mind swearing in shows, but it was nice to see some comedy without swearing and something that was a bit old-fashioned and silly. I suppose our generation missed all of that - the show is based on the sketches of Dudley Moore. Some people laughed at stuff before the sketch had even started, so I suppose they must have been well known by some. Good Evening is running for a limited time and is on at the Comedy Theatre. Highly reccomended.

Sunday night I saw three shows - David O'Doherty, Frank Woodley and Sam Simmons. I'd seen all these guys before, and they are some of my favorites, so my brother and I decided to get them in early during the preview sessions.

David O'Doherty was on at the Forum - late start, which is never fun when you have multiple shows lined up in one night. He has the longest introduction ever - but funny. He opened his show with his 'lower your expectations' song, which is very funny, but we've seen him do that before. I am never happy when my regular artists repeat material, hence why I'll never go see Tom Gleeson again. After many years of loyal festival followings, last year he repeated materials from 4 or 5 years ago. We were not impressed.

Anyway, David also does the same song at the end of every show, but he updates it with his most recent beefs of the year. This year it was iPhones and women. And he's written a book on Pandas which is pretty funny... My favorite fact was this: Pandas who are struck by lightning find that their black fur turns white, and their white fur turns black. These pandas are called 'negative pandas' and are extremely rare. And this one: All pandas are born female. They will only turn male if they get a fright within their first 48 hours of life. It is for this reason that zoos with a high female bear population often employ a panda spooker to surprise newborn girls into manhood.

Pandas are funny.

So David's show ran over which meant we were late for Frank Woodley. Luckily we've seen him many times before, so we knew the sneaky joke he got in at the start at our expense. He tells audiences that if someone walks in late, he'll ask them if he should tell a certain joke again and that the crowd should go crazy. It's pretty funny. So when we arrived late, he said hi to us in front of everyone and then asked the crowd if he should tell the 'badger' joke again, to which the crowd went wild! haha it was pretty good :)

But his show seemed to lack the magic he always achieved with Colin... at some points it was a bit awkward, although with quite a few empty seats, it's hard to be the only person laughing when no one else is. I suppose the preview shows are always hard. Frank also repeated a bit of material, but only a little bit and I suppose that for Paul and I, as two of the biggest Lano and Woodley fans ever, were bound to hear some repeated stuff. I love his little song "I might contradict myself, but at least I don't contradict myself". I was singing it all night!

And I also loved the bit where he did a skit dressed up in a suit and glasses with a mobile phone. Did he look exactly like David Tennant or what?! Weird. It was a pretty hilarious skit! Watch out for it.

After Frank, we wandered down to Bosco Tent, one of my favorite venues, to see Sam Simmons. We saw him here last year as well and he is now one of my favorite artists. His stuff is so strange - and hilarious. At one point last night I was in fits as he presented Diane, the angry cabbage to us. Weird.

I also love Bosco Tent cause it provides some of the funniest moments of shows - like when Sam got right to the end of his show and was wrapping up with his heartfelt message and there is a tram outside ringing its bell non stop. Cue Sam; "Shut the fuck up you stupid tram! Cant you see this is the poignant bit of the show??!". And then again 10 seconds later; "Seriously tram, what the fuck are you doing? Shut the fuck up!". BAWHAHAHA

A note: I am very behind with my posts. I still have my Soundwave review to post, as well as about 6 comedy shows I've seen since the ones above. But I am sure you will all forgive me, as I've had about 4 hours sleep a night this week. More posts will come up over the Easter break