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Comedy Festival

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I’ve seen four comedy gigs in the last couple of days, I’m going to try to summarise what I thought of them here.

Comedy Show The First: David O’Doherty

David is my dad’s cousin’s son, and we’ve seen every show of his in Melbourne since he first came here. Every year we enjoy it, and this time was really no exception. David plays mild, low-key but hilarious songs on his tiny Yamaha keyboard and chats with the audience. His jokes are subtle, their punchlines often unexpected, delivered in a gentle manner. He talks about the internet, advertising, his family and other myriad eclectic topics. Some had me only chuckling, but with others I was hunched over crying tears of laughter. The best way to get an idea of his show is to watch the Frequently Asked Questions for David O’Doherty song on YouTube. His songs are clever, and so is the way he talks to the audience – you can’t help but like him and want to laugh along with him.

Arj Barker

Of all the shows I saw, this was the most standard, Seinfield-esque “so what’s the deal with airline peanuts?”. When he first started off, he was making some comment about Australian Rules Football and no one was really laughing, and I was worried the rest of the show would be like this. But it turned out he was only doing it in an elaborate way of making fun of the audience. And so followed a great show. After hearing some of his really witty comments you can understand more that his sometimes-crudeness is to get a reaction from the audience. Often, he’ll have a long joke that seems pretty mediocre until the very last second, and he’ll turn it around, like in this clip. He was worth going to see.

The Delusionists

I saw the Delusionists last year when they first started out. Their director was a member of the SomethingAwful forums and he’d advertised about it there. My cousin and I went and saw a free show after we met them outside the Town Hall. We loved it. They’re all young kids from Sydney Uni (I think) and it’s all skit comedy. There’s no audience interaction, it’s like watching Monty Python’s flying circus – and last year they crammed in so much squeakily-polished content into an hour that we walked out dazed and confused with laughter.

It’s a real shame, then, that they were pretty bad this year. There were a number of reasons I could work out:

  • They had new, unfunny members – and they dropped the funnier girl for the worse one.
  • They tried to have an ongoing theme about .. history, I think? Last year it was just anything, and it didn’t matter because the skits were ingenious.
  • Their writing just wasn’t as funny. The three main guy actors were as capturing last year, it’s just that the script they were working with had a lot of weak jokes. Entire skits building up to a punchline that fizzled. Maybe it’s because they had a limited theme? Maybe they’d just run out of ideas.

Oh well, I really hope they come back next year and are fantastic. I’d told everyone how awesome they were and that they had to go see them, and my friends were disappointed. They have a lot of potential.

The Umbilical Brothers

The Umbilical Brothers work with a really physical sort of comedy – one of them mimes, generally, while the other does sound effects. They’re both great at what they do, and it’s truly clever how they play with around with the stage so much. They have you absolutely believing the imaginary situation they’ve created. This year they had a story about going to heaven or something else silly, and it was a perfectly functional vehicle for the funny scenes they had of car chases and skydiving and anything else with potentially funny body-movements and sound-effects. Erin loved them, they’re really a lot of fun and you don’t have to think a lot. Recommended for sure.


Written by atroche

April 14, 2008 at 11:20 am

Posted in review

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