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Tara Fergus Deano & Margie Kirsty Wilson Danielle Kutchelle Tim Logan Michael Connell Rob Caruana Carly Milroy Beau Fitzpatrick Emily French Dane Hiser Peter Green Matty B Xavier Toby Beau Fitzpatrick Ailsa Dunlop Seaton Kay-Smith SF Lyons Greg Kimball Steph Grey & Robin Taylor

7 Aunty Donna 8 The Variety Collective 9 Stomach Ache 10 We Should know better gallery 11. We Should know better review 12. Challenge the loop 13. Never say this in Japan 14. Variety Collective gallery 15. The Film guy 18. Geraldine Quinn Feature 23. The Polemic: An interview with Steve Hughes 27. Raw Talent 28. Gifted 29. Why do we joke about... 30. Swimming in the deep end 31. Deal Breaker 33. Good God Almighty! Brendan Burns and Mick Foley 38. Little Melly 39. Cave of the Wim Wam 40. Mallow 41. Boorowa Bikes 44. Comicsuuuuuwa!

FROM THE EDITORS: Oh hey, Beau. Hi Carly. Did you know it’s 2013 now? I know! Did you know this conversation isn’t really even happening? Yes. We’re not fooling anyone. We should run you through what’s on the cards forYAWP this month, I suppose? ‘Cause, oh my mercy, there is just heaps going on! For instance, on this January cover, you’ll see we have a hot new illustration from our feature artist of this month. Artist and designer Laila Aznar has started YAWP off for 2013, with her illustration of Melbourne’s hilarious comic songwriter and performer, Geraldine Quinn. Every second issue, the YAWP cover will now feature an illustration of our feature comedian. We strongly encourage artists to contact us via if they would like to apply to have a go at being our feature illustrator. We know you’re out there, you paint-wielding masterminds! We were lucky enough to pick at the delightful Geraldine Quinn’s brain, hearing about her experiences as a comic in festivals, on YouTube, and at home. As if that wasn’t enough to satiate your interview-reading thirst, we also spoke with Mick Foley, Brendan Burnes, Steve Hughes, and the boys from Aunty Donna. There is just so much chit chat happening. For your reading pleasures, we also have the usual true stories, fake stories, reviews, and photo galleries. Get used to it, because...

WWW.YAWPMAG.COM.AU GOES LIVE ON FEBRUARY 8TH! We are practically gnawing our knuckles off our hands just thinking about how exciting this is. And by practically, we mean literally. The site will be hosting chat forums, comedy classifieds, more articles and reviews than you can shake a stick at without damaging your computer screen. And in April: YAWP PODCAST. So if you’re in Melbourne, make sure you get down to the


Absolutely everyone who loves comedy is welcome to come and party with us. We want to meet you. We want to drink with you. We want to introduce you to a special hilarious man-guest who will be helping us launch the site. Many thanks, as always, to the hard work from all contributors across Australia this month. We adore you and what you do. Particularly big back-pats goes to the tireless dedication from Brendan Croxon, our web technician, who has had to endure many many hours of us smrudging his computer screen with our grubby fingers. For now, until we see you at the party, happy reading!

Beau & Carly









We’re Growing...

News & Reviews


By Tara Fergus Three boys from Melbourne comedy

troupe, Aunty Donna, are the most amusing people I’ve met in a long time. Adrian Dean, Mark Bonanno, and Zach Duane are three quarters of the sketch comedy quartet, together with Broden Kelly, who I didn't have the pleasure of chatting with. As an interviewer, you never know what to expect from your subject. You always hope it’ll go well; that you’ll be witty and well researched. Sometimes there are delusions of grandeur, and being compared to Andrew Denton doesn’t seem so farfetched. Most importantly, you should be in control of an interview. After perusing their YouTube channel and reading a few reviews, I thought I was prepared to meet the guys behind the fast-paced and filthy comedy stylings of Aunty Donna. I was not. I am appalled by my own naivety. Aunty Donna began in 2011, bringing together the current line up and Ballarat Arts Academy alums, Dean, Duane, Bonanno, and Kelly. “We had an initial meeting at Starbucks in February. It was great, and we were really cooking with gas and getting into it. Then we didn’t speak for a few months,” says Zach. “Nothing positive eventuated,” adds Mark. Joe Kosky was also an original member, but left the group to join the Australian company of Jersey Boys.

“The second he left, everything started to go really well,” says Adrian. “It’s funny how things just fall into place, because he wasn’t an asset to us at all and we don’t talk to him anymore.”

My mention of it leads to an 8 minute discussion on the topic. After apologising to the wide-eyed woman sitting next to us at the notably public bar, I decided to close my notebook. It was unnecessary.

The group rapport is obvious, and tangents are plentiful. From musings on relationships, to Lindsay Lohan, to bodily fluids, the interview is starting to feel more and more like performance art… I foolishly endeavour for straight answers.

Semen talk over, I receive my first almost serious answer of the night. Do they worry about alienating part of a potential audience, I ask, which could hamper wider exposure and success?

With so many opinions, the challenges of writing a comedy show as a group are different to that of a single comic. Disagreements about content and narratives are bound to come up. “There’s a lot of bad ideas. We have a head writer though, Sam Lingham. But he’s very unfunny,” says Adrian, “Zach wrote a sketch called Milk Crate On Head. The premise was he walks in and has a milk crate on his head.” “It’s single entendre humour. There’s nothing there,” adds Mark, vaguely disgusted. Zach is undeniably the mutinous force in Aunty Donna. He cut a highly successful "felching sketch", which caused much animosity between the other members. But, to be fair, Zach wasn’t the only one with complaints. “There was also the police issue - they got involved, and the lawyers. We were taken to court,” says Adrian. “Apparently [felching] is illegal to perform in front of a paying audience. Especially if you ask them to volunteer.”

“It’s almost impossible not to alienate, or offend anyone, so we sort of go for everyone,” answers Mark. His comrades agree. “Don’t come and see a comedy show if you’re afraid you’re going to be offended,” adds Zach. But it’s Adrian who sums up the thought, and the theme of the night perfectly: “If you’re coming to a comedy show at eleven at night, expect to cop a load on your face.” If, however, you don’t feel like copping a load on your face, I urge you to watch their channel 31 series, Aunty Donna’s Rumpus Room, which is part of the LA Webfest 2013 official selection. The series is comprised of seven short episodes. All hilarious in nature, most are satirical spearings of everyday situations. It’s “less intense” than the live shows. After almost an hour with the boys, I feel a bit exhausted. I’ve also come to the sad realisation that I’m no Denton. But that’s how it is with Aunty Donna; dissipate the delusions of grandeur and just cop it on the chin.

Legal issues aside, the troupe’s latest Fringe Festival offering is Aunty Donna and the Fax Machine Shop. One reviewer described it as if Agatha Christie was a thirteen year old boy who had just discovered naughty words. “I’ll be honest with you, the premise we had going into it was based on a true story, about the Jamaican bobsled team trying to make it to the Olympics, coached by John Candy,” said Dean, “But we’re not very good writers so we took the art nouveau road.” The show also contains a lot of “semen talk”. Actually, there’s an 8 minute sketch entirely on the subject of male specific bodily fluids in the show.

Aunty Donna will be reworking Aunty Donna and the Fax Machine Shop at the 2013 MICF. 28 March – 20 April 2013, Portland Hotel, 11pm. Tickets on sale now. You can find Aunty Donna’s Rumpus Room at TheAuntyDonnaChannel on YouTube.



et's face it. Our Wednesday nights are usually spent sprawled out on the couch in our pyjamas, watching Arrested Development on DVD. Not a great sight, we agree. Saving us from our lameness, The Variety Collective is a night well spent with quality entertainers, good company, and unpredictable old fashioned fun! Held at the intimate Brunswick Green every Wednesday at 8pm, the stage is separated from the bar, so you can enjoy the show without locals interrupting. The food is decent, the drinks cheap, and the atmosphere welcoming. The show we attended was themed "Tropical Heatwave". Although the weather was anything but Tropical, the audience were so keen to see the performers that no one took much notice. The night began with host, Nicholas Johnson, bursting onto stage. Johnson is a comedian, magician, and balloon animal savant. He oozes experience. Within minutes, the audience was not only engaged, but actively participating in the show they had come to spectate. As a pair of new comers, we were instantly set at ease with Johnson's likability and wit. His ability to host is commendable. This, along with the quality of the acts, differentiates The Variety Collective from any amateur variety show.  The evening's first performer was a man who is no stranger to YAWP: Award winning comedian, Neil Sinclair. Trying out new material, Sinclair brandished an awkwardness that allowed for laughter, even when jokes misfired. The lanky comic's humour is sharp and creative. Most importantly, his writing is smart, and his comedic timing on point. Also on the bill was axe-wielding sensation Elena Kirschbaum, who dazzled with her juggling skills. A short-but-sweet performance, we only wish that she could have been up a little longer. Highlight of the night came in the form of magician, Nick Kesidis. Kesidis' charming personality captured the audience's attention immediately. His close-up magic tricks were both engaging and awe-inspiring. As if us booking him for our next ten birthday parties isn't enough of an indication of his brilliance, we're still trying to figure out how exactly how his last trick worked. Our attempts later that night proved futile... One thing we know for sure, this magician is a man with a bright future ahead of him. Go and see his street show! Knock knock. Who's there? Just mathematical genius/comic, Simon Pampena. Part performance art, part enigma, Pampena's unconventional comedy was not for the light hearted. Audience reactions ranged from shock to laughter, with the entertainer performing hits such as 'Poo Jam Mother F**ker' a personal favourite. Simon was individual in his delivery, bringing us plenty of laughs. Minnie Andrews, a funky jazz singer, took to the stage last. Covering frickn' Snoop Dog - or Lion - as her final song, the audience sat in awe of this singer's soulful tone and old-school class. She is a talent; her laugh-out-loud one-liners added zing to an already quality performance. The shows' acts are diverse, with the line-up changing each week. Unlike the unpredictably of the acts, you now know how we will be spending our Wednesday nights. Come and join us at The Variety Collective.

For more information on The Variety Collective and the lineups, visit their website at:

STOMACH ACHE COMEDY BY KIRSTY WILSON The Stomach Ache Comedy Christmas Special was a great chance to hear some up and coming laugh-masters experiment with their material. MC Brett Blake went to special lengths with his Santa hat, Chrissie deco’s, and carols for background music. His ridiculous Christmas Quiz Game, which actually had nothing to do with Christmas, was a source of much amusement. Blake even brought gifts: Mi Goreng noodles and a toilet roll. Well, as Nana says, "It’s the thought that counts!" The Barley Corn Hotel is home to Stomach Ache Comedy, which has been running every Tuesday since November, 2012. The managers at the Collingwood pub are passionate about supporting local acts. This not only means you get a healthy dose of laugh therapy, but you also get to smash some yummy $4 pizzas, and $5 drink specials. They don’t even charge for the show; you just put some cash in the bucket before you leave. If you happen to be one of the superstar comedians up on the big stage yelping down the microphone, they’ll even shout you a free pizza! The festive occasion was a total mixed bag of styles and content. Michael Teychenne took the Christmas theme and ran with it, possibly even writing new material especially for the night.

Eccentric Fredrich Jones’ unusual nursery rhymes and long pauses incited random bursts of confused appreciation. Fast-talking and full of attitude, Blake and his rigged Christmas Quiz kept the tempo upbeat between the varying humourists. Unsuspecting participants were taken complete advantage of when asked to read out terrible, and tasteless, jokes. Onlookers had a chuckle at their expense. Chris Dewberry kept it clean and safe, while Mitch Alexander taunted the politically correct with almost every taboo topic you can poke a filthy stick at. Yes, there were people laughing. And groaning. Headlining the night was English-born Alan Driscoll, who took the opportunity to share some slightly-too-intimate details of his sexual journey thus far. He also posed some questions around killing things. Although compassionate and sensitive, probing some worthwhile social and global topics, the performance felt less like entertainment and more like a monologue. The Islamic poetry in particular was… unexpected. To wrap things up, Driscoll relied on some of his sure-fire material that got the punters cackling. Going to a local pub comedy night promises the opportunity to witness different levels of comedic abilities, that can be both amazing and disappointing. One thing is for sure, it’s a privilege to be there witnessing the process of comedians experimenting, and polishing up their act. Stomach Ache was one such evening. And the best part is, you can brag about how you were there - from the very beginning of your nervous, blundering, just-starting-out comedic underdogs' career, when they rise up and hit the big time. Now that's special.

For more info on Stomach Ache events, check out:


WE SHOULD KNOW BETTER BY DANIELLE KUTCHEL If the cancellation of a certain music/ comedy television quiz show in 2011 left a hole in your comedy schedule, then mourn no longer! A small bookshop in Fitzroy may have the cure for your withdrawal. Located on Johnston Street, Hares and Hyenas is an inconspicuous bookshop, selling literature catering to members of the queer community. After business hours, however, the cosy store turns into a perfect home for the out-there, in-your-face, live panel quiz show: We Should Know Better. Created by Melbourne's Peter Hayward, We Should Know Better keeps to a standard format. Two teams compete to answer familiarly funny questions and games. However, the evening differed from other television quiz show cousins, with a unique focus on sexuality, drugs, and porn. Hayward is a likeable, self-deprecating host, leading the two teams down a rainbow rabbit hole. He invites the audience to come along for a weird and colourful ride, joining in on the moans, groans, and excitement of the panel guests. It’s loud, lewd, and crude. And it works. The team members are an eclectic bunch. In terms of their sexual identities, some are out and proud, some straight, and some apparently unsure. One thing is certain though: There is no room for homophobia here. The show is a real display of the way in which comedy dispels prejudices, in order to bring people together for a good time. Those with a low tolerance for expletives, or an aversion to certain parts of the body, be warned. This is an intimate show, and I’m not just talking about the audience’s proximity to the panel. Fortunately, there didn’t seem to be many reserved audience members at January’s show. Instead, young and old arrived to take advantage of the cosy atmosphere, the cheerful staff members, and the summer cocktails.

Oh, and the kissing booth with regular team captain Sarah Jane Haywood, with the proceeds donated. That may have been, ahem, a key attraction... Aside from that, the atmosphere alone is enough to make you want to come back. We Should Know Better is just a fun, chilled way to spend the evening. How often do you utter “analingus” in a social context without seeing the room rapidly empty? Maybe you and I move in different circles, but at We Should Know Better, refreshingly the audience seemed to lean forward in eagerness to hear it again. For those on a budget, this is a cheap monthly laugh with entry only $10. You certainly get more than your money’s worth. It’s like a gossip sesh with your best mate, complete with all the juicy stories. What better way to spend an evening?

We Should Know Better happens again on February 15th, at 63 Johnston Street, Fitzroy. Tickets are available for $10:


“I’m pretty sure all the answers are right here.” He said, holding up the AFX Thunderloop Thriller box. And he was right. Because that’s where we eventually found the name for what is quickly shaping up to be a fledging, alternative comedy festival, taking place right here, real soon, in our comedy hometown of Hobart. Challenge The Loop, we’re calling it. One venue, two nights, five different shows, buy one ticket and you get in to every show. That’s the loop. But the loop is also the norm, the convention, we want this thing to have some kind of subversive strain of bastard DNA in its makeup. Like the frog bits in Jurassic Park, comedy will always find a way… ‘He’ is Matt Burton; Comedian, poet, former army reservist, vagabond. He now lives in Melbourne and runs the monthly Super Show, a night as crazy as it sounds. We started doing stand up round the same time back in 2005/6 and have been good mates ever since. So we both wanted to do a show while we were still around. You see, Matt was about to go back to Melbourne and then who knows where, (he’s like that), and I was sorting a visa out to move to Oakland, California, possibly for the rest of the year. (I’m not like that, but my professor girlfriend is, and she’s there so I’m going) But within a few manic, possibly drunk minutes, the idea of doing a simple split bill show grew into a mini festival and that was why we consulted the oracle of desperate comedians everywhere…the AFX Thunderloop Thriller. As I write this, we’re still putting it together, but so far we’ve booked the far too wonderful, rising star, Luke McGregor, who’s coming down to preview his 2013 MICF show. Then, there’s Danger Academy, Hobart’s comedy impro troupe. Plus two, unique, local line-up shows, featuring the brilliant likes of Peter Escott, Mick Davies and Tracey Cosgrove. All finished off with a gala show headlined by Ronny Chieng. All that for just $20, geezus, maybe we should’ve made it $30….shit Our hopes are high, Challenge The Loop is going be a mad marathon of comedy goodness, and if people come out and enjoy what we’ve built, we’ll do it again next year and make the loop bigger and the challenge greater. Just like the oracle said, it’s the closest thing to real racing…



I’d just  arrived  in  Japan  and  was  meeting  my  host  family  for  the  first  time.   After  I’d  introduced  myself,  and  they’d  introduced  themselves,  we  fell  into  an   awkward  silence. It  seemed  my  Japanese  was  as  bad  as  their  English,  and  we  were   struggling  to  find  something  to  say. Suddenly  their  dog  ran  into  the  room.  It  was  a  Shiba  Inu.  These  are  small   Japanese  dogs  that  are  pretty  common  over  there  but  I’d  never  seen  one   before. “Oh,  wow!  What  kind  of  dog  is  that?”  I  asked,  leaping  at  the  chance  to  make   some  small  talk. My  host  mother  looked  confused  and  said  “Wakarimasen”  (Japanese  for  “I   don’t  understand”).  It  seemed  they  didn’t  know  the  word  “kind”. Luckily  they  had  an  English  to  Japanese  dictionary  and  looked  it  up.   Unfortunately  it  was  a  concise  edition  and  only  had  one  definition;;  kind  in   the  sense  of  kindness. “Hmmm  no…”  I  said,  “What  type  of  dog?” Again  the  concise  dictionary  failed  us,  giving  only  type  as  in  typing  and  my   host  family  started  miming  keyboards.

This could  be  you... Just  like  Michael  Connell,  is  looking   for  contributors  to  promote  on  the  site.     -­ Feature your ideas to over 85 countries -­ Gain free exposure -­ Add weight to your Google search results -­ Grow your social media following provides funny articles to todays time poor readers. To contribute your ideas to a creative team who will work tirelessly to promote YOU and your funniness... Contact Luke Simmons on 0424 722 963

Trying again  I  pointed  at  the  dog  and  said,  “Um…breed?” They  looked  it  up  in  the  dictionary. Suddenly  they  looked  shocked. “With  the  dog?!” What is

The site is accessed in over 85 other countries and it’s simply dedicated to short, entertaining stories which have a maximum of 1500 characters (250 -­ 300 words). The word limit is there to ensure that today’s “time poor” readers will never be deterred by the length of the story they’re considering reading. To date, contributors have included comedians, musicians, authors as well as everyday folks.


YAWP @ Variety Collective

The Film Guy presents

GREAT COMEDY BITS Rob Caruana Bill Cosby - Dentists “Dentists tell you not to pick your teeth with any sharp metal

I think most people would agree that comedy isn’t an There are hundreds of comic guidance books on Literary masterpieces, such as The Serious Guide to Joke Writing: How to Say Something Funny about Anything. Or, Don't Wear Shorts on Stage: The Stand-up Guide to Comedy. Last but not least, The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You’re Not.

an iron hook…” It’s the perfect way to begin. It’s so simple; something you could have thought of yourself, but didn’t. Cosby is truly one of the greatest comedians alive. He takes an experience that we’ve all been through, that most of us hate, and uses it to get almost ten minutes of material. It’s a great bit, taking you on a trip to the dentist without the pain. Also, a Cosby CD is cheaper than the dentist. Unless you’re doing something very wrong.

easy steps, including: Step 1: Use things that have happened in your life that you think are funny! Don't write about Grandma getting run over by a bus! (Unless it was funny).

It's is a shame, because wikiHow is usually so helpful. I remember reading How to Be Alone, and admiring how fool-proof the listed plan was. Step 3: Refuse to tell anyone where you’re going. Personally, I don’t think you can teach stand-up comedy to somebody, because stand-up comedy is just an idea. it. Nobody can teach you how to have brilliant ideas. Sure you can teach aspects of stand-up comedy, but paying for instructional books and CDs seems fruitless. If you want to become a comic, the best thing you can do is watch other comedians. If you don’t want to be a comic, then just watch them anyway. What else are you going to do? Update your Facebook status? Tweet? Watch some quality programming on free-to-air television? Exactly. So, when deciding what to watch, here are some routines that soar above the rest.

George Carlin - Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television In 1972, the seven words were "Shit", "Piss", "Fuck", "Cunt", "Cocksucker", "Motherfucker", and "Tits". Microsoft Word seems to be familiar with all these words. I don’t need to spellcheck any of them. But, if you add a wrong letter, it won’t suggest the word. I typed “cucksucker”, and it commented no spelling suggestions… Don’t play dumb with me, Microsoft! I guess today, these words are still slightly taboo. The bit may be dated, but Carlin’s delivery and perfect choice of words is why this works so well. For a brief time, Carlin removed "Motherfucker". He added it back in, claiming the bit's rhythm does not work without it. Proving that a "Motherfucker" isn’t always such a bad thing.

The Film Guy presents


Louis CK - Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy “There’s always delays, that’s what everybody complains Too Slow. Air Travel's too slow. New York to California in six hours. They used to take thirty years to do that, and a bunch of you would die on the way there.”

Abbott and Costello - Who’s on First? “I don’t even know what I’m talking about!”

How could this not have worked? The name of the bit is hilarious on its own. Sometimes I think Louis CK’s comedy should be printed as an instruction manual for humans.

Word play was a great tool in the early days of comedy, and it was used with a level of intelligence. One of my favourites is when Groucho Marx famously said, "Time

The point of this bit is best explained by Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop: “Stop whining!”

I’m always surprised when I meet a comedian who hasn’t seen this routine. Even if you’ve heard about it, that’s really not enough. It’s so much more than just a play on words. Abbott and Costello were a truly great

We should all be grateful for what we’ve got, yet everybody seems so unhappy. CK says, at one point, “I never hear anybody say, 'My phone is so awesome…” After listening to this bit, you’ll be a better person. Enough said.

is amazing. This is a perfect example of how powerful one single it. I don’t think any routine in the history of comedy has been referenced, parodied, and updated so frequently. However, I must ask, should there be a question mark at the end of the title? Or a full stop?

Woody Allen - The Moose “Twelve o’clock comes, they judge who’s got the best costume of the night. First prize goes to the Berkowitz's, a married couple dressed in a moose suit. The moose comes in second.” Comedians are constantly told to write about what they know; their life experiences, or things that are relatable to an audience. So, where exactly does a Moose at a Here, Woody Allen tells a joke with a setup and punch line. It’s not until after you’ve heard the punch line that it seems to be just another surreal story that had made Woody Allen so popular. The punch line is funny, but the story that leads to it is even funnier. You never quite know where Allen is going in his routine. It's what separates him from the rest.

Whoopi Goldberg - Bat Joke “Was it wrong or was it funny? Was it wrong because it was funny?” Whoopi Goldberg is one of the greatest female comedians alive. The joke she tells here is so simple, but you’ll

discussing the joke. Some see it as political commentary, others see it simply as a dumb joke. Most comedians would not advise you to end your show without a strong laugh, but Goldberg would rather leave the audience thinking, instead of laughing. There is no doubt that she is a very talented comedian.


Tea with

GERALDINE QUINN The fiercely charismatic Geraldine Quinn has been a ubiquitous force on the Australian and UK comedy circuits since 2005. Delivering hilariously sharp-edged lyrical comedy with her truly powerhouse voice, Quinn has earned a Golden Gibbo Award and Green Room Award for her Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, You’re The Voice: Songs for the Ordinary by an Anthemaniac - among a myriad of comedy and cabaret accolades. With a CD recording of songs from You’re The Voice under her belt, the rock comedy diva chats to YAWP about her upcoming MICF show Stranger, growing up in Wagga, and her personal thoughts on Camel Toe. “I think that my background doesn't prepare other people, who have to have relationships with me, for what they're up against,” she shares.

By Carly Milroy C

" ome in! I'm just faffing about with the furniture." Stepping into her home, I found Melbourne based comedian, Geraldine Quinn, rearranging her desk to prepare for a promo video she'd be filming later that day. Moments later, as though she just realised we had never officially met, the energetic red-head strode towards me from across the black shag pile rug, brandishing a sincerely beaming smile and an outstretched hand. “Oh right, hi! Tea? ...I HAVE BISCUITS!" Having seen Quinn's Golden Gibbo Award winning show, You're The Voice: Songs For The Ordinary By An Anthemaniac, at MICF in 2011, I was unsurprised by the fiery performer's willingness to chat very openly about her experiences in the comedy industry. There is a distinct candidness to the Wagga-born comic; an honesty and warmth, which translates inimitably to her colourful musical narratives on stage.

Tea in hand, we relocate from the extravagantly coloured 1970s kitchen and sit in the living room to chat, watched over by the knowing face of David Bowie from his many postered positions around the room.

“And I mean any kind of relationship, friendship or otherwise. ‘Cause we're so used to just yelling, and then it's fine. It confuses people. They think we're all quite emotional as well."

"Not in a weird way," Quinn divulges, gesturing to the walls. "They all have a story. That one was my sister's."

Quinn acknowledges that this communication style, which she takes for granted, is often misinterpreted as being “unstable”.

She jumps up to show me a framed photo of her family, revealing herself as one of seven brothers and sisters.“They're louder than me." I exclaim in wonder at the thought of seven Quinns in the same room, suggesting it must be a big party when the family gets together? "Not really. It's just a lot of personalities, and very strong ones. Everyone's sure they're right. So it's quite combative.” Growing up with six equally vocal siblings has had a lasting influence on my host’s experiences of socially interacting with people outside the family.

"To us, it's normal. It's really difficult for other people to get it. And so I've never really felt comfortable with social situations, ever. I just don't know when I've done something wrong. To the point where I just think, I have a block. A blind spot… I never want to see that look on someone's face again. 'Do you know what you just did? Or said?” This concept of defining and assessing how people either contribute to, or contest, typical social behaviour is clearly at the forefront of the self-reflective comic’s mind. Forming the crux of her new show, Stranger, Quinn poses the question: “Does everybody feel like they can’t do something right, sometimes?”

“When you’re in a comedy festival... lots of people go, ‘I don’t understand. There’s not as many jokes as I thought it was going to have?” She considers her own experiences of writing comedy, flicking her fingernails against the arm of her chair occasionally; as though she is trying to physically expel her thoughts. "I think of myself as a writer a lot, as well." Referring to her heavily stocked bookshelves, she elaborates, "I've got a bookish background, as you can see. You need to be alone a lot to write, and then you lose track of your bearings of how to interact sometimes." The avid writer explains that the environment many comic writers work in can be incredibly isolating. Rather than influencing their creative output, this will often have more impact on their personal, or perhaps more appropriately, interpersonal lives. Her description paints a picture of comic writers mentally existing in their own little worlds. "Little pods. People are just strange. And we all think we're right. Or we all think we're wrong. We never quite get the balance right. It never fits together. There's this constant push and pull." Quinn agrees that many comedians can attest to experiencing a degree of mental and physical isolation in the shaping of their work. This is interesting, considering how effectively the award winning performer communicates her ideas and social experiences to so many audiences, in a vastly relatable way. It can be assumed that before even taking their seats, an audience’s prior perceptions of what constitutes a Geraldine Quinn show, will impact greatly upon how they experience the performance.

Given her expansive career, stretching over numerous genres like the skin of one multi-talented drum, Quinn seems to be very aware of this factor. Self-referred to as a rock comedy diva, the comedian's professional repertoire balances between Rock Anthem Belter, Pop Songwriter, and of course Lyrical Comedian. So do audiences really need to know what they're coming to see before they attend a Geraldine Quinn festival show? "That's actually really interesting, because I'm actually trying to work on something a bit different. Um, where I sort of want audiences to not be sure what they're going to see.” “I'm interested in trying - one can only try - to look at people coming into a space and have them being intrigued, but being not quite sure? I think an audience going, 'We don't understand why you're trying to make us laugh when you can sing,' is not an illegitimate concern...”

So where is that line between comedy and performance art drawn? Do audiences attending a comedy festival show expect to reach a kind of laugh-quota every time? Quinn is quick to share her thoughts on the matter, as a performer whose shows confine themselves very little to any one comedic format. "SOME audiences do. Others go, 'That was great, I love that it had a bit of depth and light and shade.' And that's fine, it's whatever you like. I don't think it's unfair to say a lot of audiences who are going [to festival shows] are responding to who's on the television.” Agreeing that television is a brilliant forum for talent, she confirms with enthusiasm that on posters she’ll be referencing her appearance on the ABC music quiz show, Spicks and Specks, until the day she dies. “However,you see this beautifully innovative stuff going on in music and comedy, and spoken word, and art, and they're not really moving. Or they try to reach the same audiences by coming into a festival." Parodying a shrill Aussie voice, Quinn straightens up in her seat, tilts her head and snaps into character: "I don't get iiit? There weren't jokes about tits and stuff. I don't understand. What is this, thi-iing?"

She elaborates that a considerable reason behind her entering the comedy industry, was to reach a wider audience than the music or cabaret spheres seem to allow for. The interchangeable nature of her comic genre brings up all kinds of questions when audiences begin to realise hers will be a bit of a different show! ”When you're in a comedy festival, I think lots of people go, 'I don't understand. There's not as many jokes as I thought it was going to have?" It's a common concern for many comic performers seeking to structure their comedy outside of the traditional stand-up form.

She laughs away her caricature, relaxing back into her chair. “Or, 'Oh no I don't do women's comedy.' Or, 'No, I hate musical comedy.' Well, have you seen them all? No, you haven't. I mean these are all fucken’ OLD complaints. But everybody knows they happen. They're out there."

However, the analytical performer can’t be accused of overlooking the abundance of ”inventive and interested” audience members attending comedy festivals. She states very clearly that she doesn’t perceive all audiences as passive. “You just have to bare in mind, I think, some of those things when you're on stage. Because it's kind of silly not to.” “I need to understand what people think they're gonna get from me,” she continues, “if I'm gonna subvert it. Am I going to abandon anything they did like me for, before? That's just my opinion. There's a responsibility to the people you've built up. But you shouldn't also be a slave to it."

So how does Quinn perceive her own stage persona? “I'm now at this point where I kind of get it! I kind of get this ridiculous, incredibly clumsy, very overdressed and, um, very strong presence that I've ended up becoming on stage. And not trying to be anything else.” Hers is definitely a strong presence - one which audiences are devouring. The Age online reviewed You're The Voice (2011), as a “brilliant blend of sass, satire and pathos, delivered with an electrifying voice that can strip paint off the walls or retreat into haunting vulnerability."

“After Shut Up And Sing, Casey Bennetto (director and colleague) said to me, 'That's the first show I've seen you do for the audience.' And I went, I didn't mean to!” "He said, 'Yeah, but you did. You were thinking about how they were going to react to what you are doing, rather than how they were going to react to who you are on a stage.”

“I think the minute I went, 'I don't know what YOU want from ME anymore, and I can't guess', it worked. Weirdly. I don't know why." Tapping her nails again, as she frowns in contemplation, she seems to come to a conclusion regarding this turning point in her career. "I was probably so worried about how I was coming across before. And that's what life's like."

”I spent the end of last year or so talking to more people just going, 'Oh, it isn't just me. Oh that's something everybody feels.’ How arrogant of me to think it was just me!”

The charismatic songstress upholds a mindful approach to really guiding audiences through what she considers to be the heart of her shows.

In discussing the battle between writing shows for herself, or for her audiences, she reflects upon the development of her stage personality. How has her vibrant performance persona been shaped?

The result was an “energy manifesto”, leaving some audience members almost frightened by the storm of sound she was able to produce.

Quinn describes the idea that people are sometimes unable to fit within the world. It is a notion she feels closely familiar with. “I thought I was so SPECIAL. Because, I felt 'Other', or didn't fit.”

“I thought I was so special, because I felt ‘Other’, or didn’t fit.”

Quinn's ruminative analysis of her own performances seems to contribute in no small part to her success on stage.

“I just went, RIGHT. Rip this off, rip this off, rip this off! Just take the piss out of all these different things.”

There were, of course, some curve balls along the way. "I did a reeeally ambitious show in 2009, where there were always moments that were good all the way through, but the shows never really worked until 2010. And that was the year I just went 'Fuck it'. Fuck it!” “I had a review that basically said 'Don't talk. Your songs are good, but don't talk.' And, I went 'OK! Fine! I am going to write a show that has as many songs as I can possibly fit in it, and it's only going to be about writing songs.” Considering herself predominantly as a songwriter, Quinn’s decision to abandon much of the text in her shows, in order to harness her genuine love of pop music, has been transformational.

Sipping the last of her tea, Quinn discloses that she is certain many performers spend much of their time thinking, “I don't know how this is ever going to work.”

“Camel Toe was... a pre-emptive strike, ‘cause I knew what I was wearing on stage!” Discussing her inspirations in writing, it becomes apparent that the comedian absorbs a great deal of what her colleagues in the comedy community are creating. She smiles warmly as she reveals her thoughts on the industry, and its participants.

"I just keep saying [to my colleagues], 'I think you'll bring something - I want a piece of you to enrich this thing I've made.’ And that would show me something I wouldn't normally see? I'm not Prince. I can't do it all in my bedroom and it'll be brilliant. …I share his birthday as well. Tom Jones, Prince, Dean Martin. And Jesus. No." She adjusts her blue scarf, chuckling as she dismisses the Biblical name dropping. "I'm sort of interested in how people are really pushing good boundaries in comedy festival shows. We're seeing a heightened theatricality, and world. And that's becoming quite normal. I think maybe there'll also be a new wave of just straight stand-ups. And that can be brilliant as well. Absolutely." Although, with the size of the Australian population in mind, together with the already slim funding margins available to help sustain performance art and comedy industries, a division between marketable stand-up comedy and abstract theatrical comedy begs the question: Can they exist together? Is there enough of an audience in Australia to support both? "Yeah! Yes. Audiences are great. We can't get angry with them if they don't know what's out there to see... If somebody's got it in their head that they are not going to see musical comedy, just 'cause it's musical comedy, they just need one person to show them that they're wrong… That's when fringe festivals are exciting. It can be ANYTHING." ‘Anything‘ is right! As an ode to spandex, Quinn’s ballsy song, Camel Toe, has garnered some well deserved attention with its many euphemisms for the word Vagina.

Above: A still from Quinn’s ‘Camel Toe’ film clip (2012).

In September 2012, the Lycra-clad comic released a film clip for her pop song onto YouTube. Within seconds of mentioning the project, Quinn is clapping her hands together and jumping in her seat. In her booming cabaret voice, Quinn then takes a moment to sing out a quick "VA-GI-NA!" Given the content of the song, I inquire if the lyrics were an attempt at being confronting or jolting? “No. I was just trying to find as many words for vagina as I possibly could. Camel Toe was, I like to say, a pre-emptive strike, 'cause I knew what I was wearing on stage!” Quinn comments on the public hype surrounding the female-specific term ‘camel toe’. “Why can't I get on stage and do that sort of song?"

“People are really pushing good boundaries in comedy festival shows. We’re seeing a heightened theatricality, and world.” She notes that “the double standard is extraordinary”, by listing a few hilariously specific examples of historically visible penis outlines, sported by 1970s white-trouser-wearing rock stars. These included Bon Scott and Mick Ronson, for those of you playing at home.

"There's a little bit of love in all those songs that just seem to be taking the piss out of something. No, I love pop music. No, I love bogans." Her reflections and philosophies penetrate so many aspects of comedy creation, that fusing these with her personal experiences from life, in order to come up with an engaging show, sounds like a considerable task to undertake. In fact, it's difficult to pinpoint exactly where any comic’s ‘truthful’ self-awareness will collide with their creative self-expression. Being honest with themselves as an individual, and being diligent to the comedy they release for strangers to absorb, can often counteract one another in a struggle to compete for stage time. As a highly unique comedian, however, Quinn certainly appears to have accessed that bridge between the two. "I don't think I know everything. I definitely don't think I know everything about comedy,” she comments. “But I know quite a lot of things about different areas. And I love to know more… You just wanna get better, and you want to learn more. And find out new things. And work out what's the next thing for you to do. That's all I've ever really cared about. Ever."

For more info on what Geraldine Quinn is up to in 2013,

“I just thought, why are people so obsessed with this THING!? There are websites devoted to it. Women are running around in the pop industry, just wearing leotards all the time, and then you get, 'Oh my God, you can see camel toe!"

check out her website:

However, putting forward these "piss-take" songs effectively comes from a place of love for the subjects of her comedy, she says.

To watch ‘Camel Toe’ and other YouTube delights, click around her channel:

The Polemic An Interview with Steve Hughes

INTERVIEWER: Beau Fitzpatrick

I went  to  see  your  show  last  year.  It  was  a   blast.  I  noticed  that  your  audiences  have  really   grown  here  in  the  last  couple  of  years.   Well  I  assume  its  the  same  old  thing  when  you   come  from  a  country  like  Canada  or  Australia  or   even  Africa  that  if  people  overseas  start  liking   you  then your  country  starts  to  like  you.  It's  almost  like   the  UK  has  given  Australia  permission  to  like   me. That's  interesting  how  that  works,  isn't  it. Well,  ACDC  did  it.  They  sold  8  million  albums  in   Europe  before  anyone  in  Australia  even  heard   of  them.  AC  who?  hahaha  So  I  think  it's  that   kind  of  thing.  I   could  talk  about  this  stuff  for  ages  I  think   because  I'm  quite  interested  in  that  kind  of   thing.  I  wonder  about  the  underground  Metal   scene  and  the  comedy  scene  in  general. A  guy  I  know  is  making  a  documentary  about   underground  heavy  metal  scene,  which  I  was  a   big  part  of,  and  I  thought,  "That's  a  good  idea.   Why  don't  we  see  more  of  that?"   And  it's  because  we  don't  do  anything.  Australia   doesn't  document  anything  unless  its  sport  and   the  mainstream.  Which  is  a  shame,  because,   we're  quite  advanced  in  our  bands  and yet  no  one  hears  about  them  and  no  one   notices  them  because  we  fucking  live  down   there.  There  are  amazing  bands  and  comics   and  creative  people  in  this  country  but  the   infrastructure  is  not  set  up  to  give  them  a  go   because  it's  more  interested  in  other  things.  It's   a  very  conservative  country.  So  it  really  doesn't   give  people  who  do  art  any  sort  of  credence,  so   they  have  to  go  out  of  that  country,  and  get   respect  elsewhere  before  coming  back,  which   no  one  admits  to  consciously.  So  when  the  rest   of  the  world  goes,  "This  guy  is  good"  we're  like,   'Oh?  is  he?  Oh  alright  then".  (laughs) So  it's  almost  like  an  anxiety  by  Australian's  to   accept  their  own? You  know,  I  think  so.  There's  no  infrastructure   for  fame  there;;  psychologically.  It's  very,  "Well   who  do  you  fucking  think  you  are,  mate?!"  kind   of  mindset.  So  if  you  look  at  my  early  heavy   metal  career,  we've  got  no  photos  or  videos.  No   documented  footage  of  20  years  of  my  life  to   which  I  played  thousands  of  shows.  And  there   we're  normal  Australians  looking  at  the  scene   probably  thinking,  'why  would  we  take  notice  of   it?'  And  that  was  my  entire  life!  (laughs)  It's  like   I  just  turned  around  and  threw  it  all  in  the   fucking  bin.  Because,  like  I  said,  you  have  to   have  the  infrastructure  in  place  for  people  to  be   exposed  to  this  sort  of  stuff.

Was that  one  of  the  reasons  why  you  moved  to   the  UK  in  the  first  place? Yes.   I   mean,   I   always   wanted   to   move   from   Australia.  I  never  was  fully  accepted  there  by  the   culture.  My  parents  were  very  british.  I  start  to   get  really  spiritual,  thinking  'why  was  I  even  born   there?  There  must  be  some  reason.  I  don't  suit   the   place.   I   don't   like   the   machoism   and   the   sport,  all  the  outdoorness  and  you've  gotta  wear   shorts   everywhere.   Like   people   think   you're   a   poofter  if  you're  reading  a  book.  And  this  is  all  in   the  70's  and  the  80's  mind  you.  There  was  no   internet,  there  was  only  16  million  of  us  (laughs)   in  a  country  that's  five  times  the  size  of  fucking   Europe.   It   was   empty.   So   I   always   wanted   to   leave.  I  couldn't  do  what  I  wanted  to  do  in  that   place.   I   mean   of   course,   back   then,  Australia   was  very  "Just  be  normal  mate!  Why  can't  you   be   normal   like   everyone   else?   What   are   you   wearing  that  for?  Just  be  nooooormal."   And  I  always  thought,  "Aw  God  I  don't  want  to  be   normal.  I  want  to  be  me.  Everything  I  was  into   was  not  normal.  I  liked  Motley  Crew." But   it   was   funny   because   I   toured   abroad   for   years  and  then  after  a  while  I  came  back  again   to   see   what   had   changed   and   nothing   had   fucking  changed.  Nothing  happens! What  do  you  mean  by  nothing  happens? You   know,   they   don't   play   you   on   the   radio   or   promotion   wise   too.   Like   if   I   come   home   for   comedy,  there's  nothing  for  me  to  do.   "Is   there   a   TV   show   I   can   go   on   to   promote   myself?"   "Nup"...   "Do  you  want  me  to  go  on  the  TV?" "Nup" "Why  not?!  Me  and  Jim  Jefferies,  he's  one  of  the   most  successful  stand  up  comedian  imports  and   when  we  get  back  to  Australia  and  when  we  get   there,   there   is   nothing   to   do.   And   I   think,   "WHY?…  have  we  got  nothing  to  do?  (laughs)   But   you   go   to   England,   and   they   make   a   new   comedian  famous  every  week;;  saying  that  he's   on   a   show   and   he's   done   this.  And   to   be   fair,   there  is  80  million  people  and  geographically  the   country  is  tiny.  So  there  are  reasons  that  are  not   all  negative,  of  course.  Sometimes  there  are  just   logistical  reasons  for  things  being  the  way  they   are  that  you  can't  get  away  from.  You're  living  in   a   massive   country   that's   really   into   sport.   (laughs) So   I   understand,   but   it   does   become   very   frustrating  for  a  lot  of  artists  in  Australia  because   they  do  their  thing  for  years  and  years  and  years   and  they  just  don't  even  get  a  fucking  thank  you.   Like   an   example   from   music,   the   Hard   ons.   They've   been   at   it   for   20   years,   they've   made   album  after  album…  and  they're  all  driving  taxis.   No  one  has  ever  said  "thank  you….  thanks  for   establishing  a  brand  of  music  that's  something   to  listen  to  that's  different".

Yea it's  surprising.  Because  we  had  Rove  doing   his  thing  for  years.  When  he  finished  up  the   show  and  moved  onto  bigger  and  better  things   abroad,  a  lot  of  us  thought  it  was  him  tipping  his   hat  to  the  younger  generation  to  give  them  a  go   at  doing  what  he  did.  Because  for  a  lot  of   emerging  standup  talent,  it  was  their  one  outlet   for  exposure.  They'd  get  on  and  do  a  five   minute  set  to  Australia  and  it  was  a  boom  for   their  careers.  And  when  he  left,  we  all  waited   for  his  replacement….and  it  never  came.   (laughs) Yep.  Crazy.  You  know  Carl  Baron?  I  started   doing  open  spots  when  he  was  doing  open   spots.  Well  Carl  has  become  the  biggest  comic   in  Australia.  He's  a  great  comedian.  He's  a   master.  So  subtle.  He  can  make  you  laugh  by   saying  the  word  'biscuit'.  But  he's  been  the   biggest  and  most  well  known  comedian  for   fucking  12  years.  I  mean….  have  another  one!   You  know  you  can  have  more  than  one.  You   know  what  I  mean?  I  left  Australia  and  people   were  telling  me  about  Carl  Baron,  Carl  Baron,   Carl  Baron,  Carl  Baron.  I  leave  the  country  for   12  years,  come  back  and  you're  all  like,  "Carl   Baron,  Carl  Baron,  Carl  Baron"  and  of  course   he  is  because  he's  the  only  one  you  fucking   know! This  is  for  a  lot  of  reasons.  It's  a  conservative   country  and  it's  really  managed  by  money.  It's   afraid  to  be  offensive. And  that  is  alright  and  all  good,  but  it  still   means  you're  not  free.  That's  just  an  excuse  for   apathy  as  far  as  Im  concerned.  And  it's  getting   worse.  They  won't  let  a  man  go  to  a  ute  to  get   his  ladder  without  filling  out  a  form  and  doing  a   course  in  occupational  health  and  safety.   Freedom?  That's  restricted….  weirdness. It's  the  same  with  speech.  Speech  is  under   threat  because  there  are  people  out  there  who   consider  being  offended  a  form  of  harassment.   So  I  will  tolerate  you  as  long  as  you  don't  offend   me  or  say  anything  that  causes  me  to  feel   upset….  Because  I'l  sue  you.  (laughs) It's  theatre  of  the  absurd. (laughs)  Well,  the  good  thing  about  being  a   mental  case  and  a  bit  of  an  outcast,  is  that  you   can  do  what  you  want  and  not  give  a  fuck  about   the  consequences.  But  if  you're  more   mainstream  then  your  main  concern  centres   around  who  or  how  many  people  like  me  and   that's  the  worst  mistake  you  can  make.  You   know  what  I  mean?  Audiences  will  suss  you   out.  They  know  when  you're  being  a  bit  of  a   fake.  You,  in  effect,  alienate  your  audience  by   not  being  yourself.  If  that  means  being  rude  to   be  yourself  then  so  be  it.  Don't  accommodate   them.  Because  they're  not  children,  and  you   don't  know  what  theyre  thinking.    

So it  becomes  arrogant  that  you  think  you   should  accommodate  an  audience.  So  take  a   fucking  chance.  And  if  they  are  offended  then   fucking  deal  with  it.  (laughs)  It's  not  your  fault.   It's  their  choice  to  be  offended. So  how  about  you?  Do  you  have  any  anxiety   about  how  you're  going  to  be  received?   Because  you  call  yourself  a  bit  of  an  outcast. You  can't  worry  about  that.  If  you're  going  out   on  stage  with  the  deliberate  intention  to  be   provocative  in  a  situation  where  you're  going  to   ruffle  a  few  feathers  then  fair  enough.  That's   not  comedy.  Anyone  can  be  provocative.  But  I   would  never  do  comedy  for  just  that  reason.  My   aim  isn't  to  just  create  anarchy.  But  you've  got   to  do  what  you  fucking  want  otherwise  what  is   the  point?  It's  just  X  factor.  You  become  one  of   these  perfect  concepts  thats  the  least  offensive   to  the  biggest  audience.  But  you  may  find  that's   not  what  you  want.  Rhod  Gilbert  is  massive  in   the  UK.  He's  fucking  huge.  I  was  talking  to  him   the  other  day  and  he  said  to  me, "My  audiences  are  getting  worse" I  said,  "That's  because  you're  getting  fucking   massive.  They're  bringing  their  kids  to  the  show   now". Because  when  you're  on  TV  as  much  as  a  toilet   paper  ad,  you  become  a  household  name  and   your  audiences  will  become  shit  because  now   families  are  coming. There  are  some  very  boring  and  uncreative   people  in  the  world.  Most  of  them  come  under   the  category,  "the  mainstream". And  when  they  turn  up,  it's  not  that  you're   offending  them  by  being  offensive  or  provoca-­ tive,  they  just  don't  get  the  jokes!  (laughs) And  he  was  like,  "It's  getting  really  bad.  They're   actually  not  even  getting  it  now". These  audiences  are  typically  the  type  that   won't  say  anything  or  do  anything  or  believe   anything  that  they  are  not  first  told. So  I  would  never  pander,  and  it  is  arrogant  to   pander  because  you  have  no  idea  what  the   audience  think  or  believe.  I  mean,  to  think  that   you  could  tailor  your  act  to the  majority  of  the  audience  is  just  offensive  to   them.  You've  just    got  to  take  the  risk.  It's  as   simple  as  that. Tell  us  a  bit  about  the  show  you're  bringing  out.   It's  called  "Big  Issues"  and  it's  going  where?   Adelaide,  Brisbane,  Melbourne?  Tell  us  about   it. Yep.  New  show.  I  can  send  you  the  dates.  But   the  thing  about  the  new  show  is  there  have   been  so  many  new  things  that  I  want  to  talk   about  which  will  be  add  ons  to  some  of  the  old   things  that  I've  been  talking  about.  The  new   stuff  is  scattered  in  notebooks  all  around  the  

joint and   it   hasn't   fucking   converged   into   this   thing.  And  then  I  have  to  go  through  a  process   where  I  have  to  remember  it  and  I  hate  doing  the   same   material   forever   but   so   much   of   my   thoughts   are   a   continuous   stream   from   other   things  that  I've  previously  mentioned.

Well yea  true.  I  mean  comedy  was  the  place   that  you  went  to  laugh.  Then  there  was  a  point   where  comics  had  something  to  say  within  their   material.  It  now  seems  to  me  where  its  one  of   the  only  places  where  people  are  willing  to   listen  to  a  message.

Sometimes I  get  audience  members  coming  up   to  me  after  the  show  going, "Great  show  mate  but  Ive  heard  some  of  those   jokes  before" I  say,  "You've  heard  them  before!  I've  gotta  talk   about  this  depressing  shit  every  day  of  my  life!" And  that's  the  problem  really  is  people  think  they   run  into  my  material  more  than  once  because  I   don't   write   jokes   but   I   write   on   themes   and   stories  blend  into  one  another.

Yes! That  and  box  sets!  

Ill extend  the  joke  of  mine  into  something  which   goes  into  a  different  direction.  And  before  I  know   it,  I've  written  another  five  minutes,  but  for  you  to   understand   it,   I   need   to   talk   about   the   first   bit   which   people   may   or   may   not   have   run   into   before.


And do   you   think   your   comedy   would   be   less   satisfying  if  it  didn't  have  that  tie  in  to  meaningful   themes? Yea.   Completely.   I   know   exactly   what   you're   gonna  say.  I  mean,  when  I  was  in  death  metal   bands  or  thrash  metal  bands  when  I  was  18,  19.   And  by  the  time  it  started  to  get  big  in  the  late   80's   and   early   90's   I   started   to   get   out   of   it   because   you   can   only   sing   about   metal   and   chicks  and  Satan  for  the  rest  of  my  life.  And  by   that   time,   of   course,   I   was   interested   in   other   bands   and   thought   more   about   what   people   wrote  more  than  anything  else.  And  so  I  loved   listening  to  stuff  which  had  a  more  introspective   person   as   their   front   man;;   something   which   dealed  with  social  commentary.  It  was  attractive   because   it   was   meaningful.   It   was   deep.   Personal.  Which  I  do  like  that,  I  like  it  in  comedy   too.   I   mean,   I   like   a   guy   who   just   does   funny   jokes.   I   do.   If   they're   funny.   Sure.   But   there   is   room  for  everything  in  that.  I  mean  sometimes,   the  joy  of  comedy  is  to  just  make  people  escape   from   all   of   their   troubles.   You   know?   You   wouldn't  want  every  fucking  comedian  pounding   negativity  down  the  throats  of  all  the  audiences   all  the  time.  (laughs) But  I  do  find  the  country  ripe  for  the  picking  to  do   political  humour  if  that's  something  that  comics   want  to  do,  it's  there.  It's  a  minefield. But,  you  see,  it's  easy  to  do  it  after  having  gone   to  a  country  that  lets  you  talk  about  these  things   so  that  I  can  come  back  and  talk  about  it  with  full   confidence.  But  I  really  don't  give  a  fuck  what  the   audiences  think.  If  you  don't  think  it's  your  thing   then  it's  not  your  thing,  you  know?

(laughs) Amen.  Pleasure  talking  with  you   Steve.  Good  luck  on  the  tour. Yea  no  worries  at  all.  Chase  me  up  in   Melbourne,  we’ll  have  a  beer! *falls  over*

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RAW TALENT: Tales from behind the stand at RAW Comedy open mic competition By Emily French If there’s one lesson I can impart

about moving abroad, it’s this: You’d be surprised by the things you miss. While it’s expected that you’d yearn for the company of family and friends, it’s the things that you never realised were important that can really bring your homesickness to the fore. British comedy was such a thing for me. Despite my love for comedy, I never seriously considered attempting it myself. I have a considerable fear of public speaking, and stand-up comedy is about the most extreme version of this activity that I can think of. The first stirrings of the idea began two years ago, when I ended up giving a spontaneous speech at a friend’s 21st birthday. I went for it, emboldened by the room’s general tipsiness, and my friend yelling, “Emily, get up here and say something!" Turning the speech into a performance and making people laugh felt natural, and the response I got was brilliant. I have had very few moments in life where I felt genuinely cool, but that was definitely one of them.

When my name was eventually called I had gone slightly numb. I got up on stage, tried not to fumble the microphone, and was briefly blinded by the lights. Bizarrely, that helped me overcome my fear a little, as my sense of performing to a full room was somewhat dulled. Last year, a close friend of mine began his trails on the amateur comedy circuit, so I tentatively voiced my desire to give it a go too. He was extremely encouraging when I pledged to overcome my public speaking terror to join him, eventually finding myself with no more excuses. I’d recently heard of RAW, so I decided to sign up. Perhaps subconsciously hoping I wouldn’t hear back. But then I was assigned a heat. In the two weeks before my spot, I put together several versions of material before being settling on one. I rehearsed using my hairbrush as a microphone, never getting the material completely right. I always messed up a line, or blanked on a bit. The morning of my heat, I sat on my sofa in my dressing gown and genuinely contemplated not going. I’d never tried out any of this material on an actual audience. Hell, I’d never even performed in front of people before. What was I thinking? Somehow, I eventually got myself in the shower, into clothes, and on a tram. When I arrived at the venue, I immediately tried to start chatting to others to calm my nerves. I will be eternally grateful to them for putting me at ease. The show began. Everyone seemed to be doing a decent job getting laughs, when I began to question my jokes. Was what I had written actually funny?

I’ve heard other comics say that the sound of the first laugh from the audience helps to ease your fears. While the sound of laughter was certainly great to hear, it was tempered by not really being able to tell how loud it was. Were they good belly laughs, or just polite titters? I didn’t really know, but I had no time to consider it. I ploughed on. When I finally thanked the audience and stepped off the stage, praying not to end on a slapstick note as the stairs were quite difficult to see, I felt pretty incredible. I knew it had gone as well as I could have reasonably hoped for. During the break, I was overwhelmed by people’s kindness in telling me they’d enjoyed my spot. From my first experience of it, the amateur comedy environment seems incredibly generous and warm; everyone is given a fair go, and their efforts are recognised and appreciated. When the round finished, my stomach tied itself into knots waiting for the return of the judges. I crossed everything. After they’d called five comics’ names, I accepted that it wasn’t going to be my day. When mine was the sixth, I punched the air and hugged the person next to me. Despite not knowing who he was. Right now, I feel terrifically high on life and eager to compete in the next heat. When it actually comes around, I’ll probably regress to my pre-performance nervously shaking self. Did I enjoy performing comedy? Hell yes. Did it help cure my fear of public speaking? Thus far I’m going to have to say: Hell no.


The Pros and Cons of Self-Deprecating Comedy By Dane Hiser Try a little experiment for me. Wake up after a big night of drinking. After 2 hours of broken, restless sleep, hit your head on your bedside drawers, then have 5 shots of tequila, close your eyes, spin around on the spot for three minutes, put an annoyingly itchy bug in your hair, and then proceed to go about your day. You’ll be disoriented, uneasy, uncoordinated, moving at a slower pace, and not thinking straight. Welcome to my world. Welcome to what it’s like being me. It’s like a continual hangover, from a party that never happened. Entering this state of being, you’ll start to get some idea of what its like to be a man who one night discovered he was wearing two belts, and who after a boxercise class was mistaken for having a carer. So the question is: What do you get when you mine the experiences of the most awkward and uncoordinated human being ever to stumble from the womb… with a lisp? Comedy gold, that’s what! So, converting my mishaps and daily pain into self-deprecating comedy seemed like an obvious choice. They say the best comedy comes from tragedy. They also say, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." But I don’t like lemonade. Who exactly is 'they’ anyway? Not exactly a water-tight academic reference for Anyway, I’m getting distracted.

Self-deprecating comedy has been around for years. Really, self-deprecation is at the heart of most comedy stylings. Regardless of whether or not a comedian is known as a self-deprecator, the very act of getting on stage and revealing yourself - your thoughts, your observations, your personality - is putting yourself under

Also, the very elusive and irritatingly vague ‘they’ say, “Hear no evil, see no evil.” In other words: If you can’t see it, then it doesn’t exist. So to mock your

under the spotlight, for yourself or your audience to tear apart.

The primary danger, however, with self-deprecating comedy, is that it can sometimes be limiting. If you build a reputation for mocking yourself, it can

The very enigmatic ‘they’ (another watertight reference), also say that performing comedy is like therapy. Mostly group therapy; a way for an often fragile individual to reveal themselves to a group, trying to make sense of their thoughts and experiences out-loud, in the hope that it gets a laugh. Or, at the very least, resolves a question for them. So that’s the positive side of your exposing yourself, in a legal sense, and making mockery of your foibles. It turns negative character traits into positive energy, or laughter. It addresses the elephant in the room - a noticeable characteristic that often needs to be called out and addressed, in order for people to laugh at it.

or a microphone - and announce it to the secret that complete strangers didn’t know before, they certainly do now!

you have an opinion on external premises, such as politics, popular culture, or the world outside yourself in general. Plus, if you are going to only talk about yourself, the continual self-indulgence may alienate some audiences. Eventually, you may even run out of stories about yourself. Not me I’m still working it all out myself. I guess the trick is to get your audience to like you and respect you for exposing yourself - again, in the legal sense - and as a result feel close to you. Hopefully the audience will be willing to take the journey with you, in whichever direction you choose to go.

Also, as I said, it’s therapy; a way of your place in the world. Most importantly, getting on stage and escaping the daily awkwardness of being yourself is a chance to get laughs, to be accepted, and to feel as close to "normal" as you can whatever that may be for each individual. and foremost, it’s scary as hell. To get on a stage and tell strangers about insecurities - the kind of characteristics you once hated about yourself and were even uncomfortable discussing with family and friends - seems unnatural. Much like a confronting, although voluntary, invasion of privacy.

Check out more from Dane Hiser: Comedian, writer, promoter, marketer. Follow @DaneHiser on Twitter

WHY DO WE JOKE ABOUT... TASMANIAN INCEST? By Peter Green Everyone knows that Tasmania is the go-to place when making references to inbreeding.

Even an Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, has gotten into the act, according to Mungo on the Zoo Plane - the funniest ever book written about general elections from 1972-1977. On a flight to Launceston, it is said that Whitlam went back to regale the attending throng of journos with promises that on arrival, they'd be up for a bit of double headed fellatio.

The social security official took a look around, suggesting to the family that it might be prudent to make the male children and the female children sleep in separate buildings. This advice was taken on board; the next time the social security visited they were proudly shown the family's new sleeping arrangements. Still all in the same room, but with the boys on one side and the girls on another. A strand of barbed wire was installed down the centre of the space. In some versions, the barbed wire is replaced with a black curtain. It is from here that the jokes originated. The reality is slightly less romantic if, in your heart of hearts, you really want to believe the hills of Tassie are full of batshit-mad hillbillies, wanting to have intimate relations with intimate relations.

So, where did this all start? Straight away I'm going to state that if you visit Tasmania you won't find it full of drooling mutants, playing doctor with their close kinfolk. I'm going to hit that notion on the head right now. On both heads.

For one thing, there is no such thing as a "Black Bob". Black Bob is the name of a locality on the Ouse to Queenstown road, named after a long forgotten fellow named Bob who had black hair.

The stories stem from the 1920s and 1930s, and involve a group of people called the "Black Bobs". The legend goes like this:

There was a family of timber cutters in the area, who lived a long way from town and didn't see much of the rest of society - just like thousands of other families all over Australia at that point in history.

Up in the heavily wooded hills of the south west corner of the state, past the village of Ouse, there lived an extended family of timber cutters who, over a couple of generations, became more and more isolated from the rest of society. When the social security services came to visit, they found the families living in sheds, and heaps of kids with disabilities. One of the kids was tied up to the verandah with a chain. According to different reports this kid had either an armless or legless torso, or simply just a torso and head, or possessed all his limbs but was down on all fours barking like a dog, or was a Downs Syndrome afflicted individual. OR, best of all, a head on legs, with no body in between.

One credible source is a newspaper report from the time, that follows up rumours of a disabled child being chained to a cart wheel in the back shed of a house. When the police visited, they found that there was one profoundly physically and mentally disabled member of the family, who was well looked after and dressed up against the winter in a warm woolly coat. He slept in the house in his own bed just like any other member of the family.

This family member was unable to walk, but to help out he liked to tie some wire around his waist, crawl out into the forest and gather fire wood, which he tied into a bundle with the wire and dragged backed to the house behind him. Sometimes, for his own protection, he was locked inside the house for short periods of time when the rest of the family went out. There were three younger children in the family who were deaf and dumb, but otherwise not further challenged either mentally or physically. Records suggest that maybe one or two marriages in the family took place between first cousins, but no more than you would find than in your average European royal family. Also, at around this time there was less iodine being used as a food additive, leading to a lot of goitres being found in the population at large. This meant many people, especially those on a restricted diet, had scars on the side of their necks where the goitre had been removed; hence the suggestion that an extra head may have been taken off at some point in the past. As for that other cliche about Tasmania that we all like to joke about, I've taken a good look at a map of Tasmania in my atlas. I can confirm: It does look like a fanny.


Writer/Comedian Peter Green's latest book "Bad Hobbits" is available through this website:


By Matty B I

‘ve been performing stand up comedy for just over two years now, and the one thing that really stands out for me about this industry is the challenge you have in finding a good role model or mentor. There are a lot of things to learn about handling yourself on and off the staged. Unlike other pursuits, the hierarchy in comedy can be vague; the unwritten rules hard to comprehend and the word of the people around you hard to trust.

But how do you really know what is a good level of progression or improvement? How do you identify the areas in which you need to improve? For the love of God, show me a yard stick! What really is quite infuriating, is that while I say I'm objectively satisfied, there is a very real possibility that I am a fool who is blinding himself to the truths of the industry? Undoubtedly I have made mistakes. I have said the wrong the thing to the wrong person, I have said the wrong thing to the right person, and I have put my trust in people who didn’t deserve it.

It’s a ponderous conundrum that we all face in the early stages of negotiating the comedic landscape. Having recognised the dilemma, what can be done about it? The only conclusion that I can come to is that I, and all the rest of us new, keen, and clueless comedians, have to place just a little bit of trust in ourselves. The bottom line is that no one is going to tell you precisely how good you are, or how well you represent yourself. Ultimately I write and perform stand up because I love it. I’m going to be myself and unapologetic about that. It can be frustrating operating within a system where there is no end game and the goal posts seem to occasionally move. In the end I’m responsible for myself, and will trust my own judgement.

There have been times where I have either grossly overvalued or undervalued what I can offer as a comedian. I don’t know that I would honestly be surprised if someone took me aside and said, "Sorry mate, everyone thinks you're a wanker... And you’re not funny."

There are endless different paths to tread, until it seems that everyone who you look up to has a different story to tell about how they got there, with hugely varying advice on how to achieve success. So here’s the question that I have: Who do I, as relative grommet to the Now, to be realistic, I think I have comedy world, ask for a fair evaluation achieved a reasonable amount in a of where I’m at? Who does anyone ask? short amount of time. But it’s really very hard to know exactly how you Now, I can think of a lot of suggestions are progressing as a comedian. to that question; venue co-ordinators, I’ve worked my way slowly up a few rungs on the ladder in the club scene, and performed a couple of seasons of a solo show that was well attended and well reviewed. When I objectively look at what I have created and the network I have grown, I think that I am making solid headway towards my goals as a comedian.

professional comedians, and peers are all viable options. However, going down that road may well lead you to a state of even greater confusion.

For me personally, if I were to ask around I would think there would be a spectrum of response ranging from "Unfunny wanker", all the way to, "Hilarious champion. Here are the keys to my house."

Chat, ponder, and appreciate comfy chairs with Matty B. Twitter: @MattyBComic

DEAL BREAKER BY XAVIER TOBY "If he was ever an Emo, that’s a deal breaker."

There are real deal breakers. Cheating on someone, along with other actions and words so horrible that "If she's ever had any Vajazzling, they’re inexcusable. These limits are that’s a deal breaker." different for everyone; when negotiating such heavy emotional "Bad fake tan: Massive deal breaker." territory, I think "deal breaker" sounds too flippant. "Putting a jumper on a dog: Huge deal breaker." "When I found out those trips weren’t for business, and that he’s got a You know the biggest deal breaker second wife and family. Well, totes a for me? Anyone who uses the deal breaker. OMG FML." phrase ‘deal breaker’. Or, to imply that any relationship could sudden- If you meet someone who is perfect, ly be ended by one particular apart from one superficial aspect, behaviour or action. and you’re prepared to rule them out as a prospective partner based on It makes dating feel like a transacthat, well I think that says a lot more tion. Instead of two people hanging about you than it does about them. out and having fun, it’s like you’re buying a second hand car. You’ve It also implies that you’re spoilt for kicked the tyres, taken it for a test choice. So you’re probably very drive, and all seems fine. Until you popular, and are too busy looking in notice a Southern Cross sticker on a mirror, commenting on your the bumper bar, or fluffy dice on the photos, and replying to endless rear vision mirror. Then the deal’s Facebook friend requests to be off. reading this. Forget that a sticker and fluffy dice can be easily removed. That they’re probably something to do with what the car was, not what the car is now. That the car has changed, and is now ashamed of those things. Apart from a few surface imperfections, it really is a smooth running car with a solid service history, and no major mechanical flaws.

Incidentally, for me, all three of those things are deal breakers if they prove to be indicators of a largely vacuous nature, and a complete obsession with self. If not, and we can work around those menial differences, then things will likely be fine.

We’ve all got things in our past that we’re not proud of. Things that, if they came to light, are all likely deal breakers. Being photographed sleeping on a nature strip next to a pile of vomit. Standing too close to a fire and losing your eyebrows. Happy pants. Sporting memorabilia. Porn in the internet history. A Dan Brown novel. Souvenir shot glasses. Embarrassing hairstyles. Owning a Hanson album. Remember them? They’re still going.

Anyway, what happened to giving people a chance? For the most part, people probably do. Perhaps "deal breaker" is only an ironic throwaway joke. If you’re not joking, and are seriously using it to review dates and relationships, then stop it. You sound like a judgmental fool.

The fact that I know that, is that also a deal breaker?

That said, I am 34 and single, so what the hell do I know?

'Xavier Toby - White Trash' Fringe World Perth Feb 7-13, Adelaide Fringe Feb 15- Mar 1, and the MICF March 27 - April 9.


What looks like an odd mix to begin with turns out to be a partnership that was meant to be. Award winnning Comedian, Brendon Burns and a Hall of Fame wrestler, Mick Foley sit down with YAWP to tell us how they are virtually the same thing... Beau: How did you and Mick actually meet? Brendon: It  was  actually  through  a  mutual  fan.  I  was  signing  this  guys  book   and  he  mentioned  he  was  going  to  see  Mick  Foley.  So  I  said  to  him,  ”Give   him  a  copy  of  my  book  will  ya?”  And  when  I  was  asked  to  do  a  guest  spot   with  Mick  one  night,  we  hit  it  off  back  stage.  That  gig  was  the  first  time  I’d   actually  tried  out  wrestling  material  for  stand  up  and  it  felt  like  shooting  fish   in  a  barrel. Anyone  that  knows  Mick  Foley  would  not  at  all  be  surprised  that  he  is  now   doing  stand  up.  And  number  two,  no  one  is  surprised  that  we’re  friends.   (laughs) I was watching some of your previous shows on YouTube, “So I suppose this is offensive now.” Did I get that right?

Beau Fitzpatrick Or as  it  was  listed  in  Russia,  “Finally  I  have  insulted  you” (laughs)  Yea  because  I  watched  the  clip  where  that  lady  in  the  audience  had   heckled  you  for  saying  comments  which  she  was  offended  by  and  called   you  a  racist  during  your  performance,  to  which  she  soon  after  left.  But   because  the  clip  only  went  for  two  minutes,  I  didn’t  realise  that  at  the  end  of   the  show,  she  comes  out  on  stage  and  takes  a  bow;;  so  she  was  planted  in   the  audience!  But  it  took  another  year  or  so  before  I  found  that  out  from  a   friend! Yea!  Well  everything  is  in  there  for  a  reason  so  it’s  best  to  watch  the  thing  in   it’s  entirety.  But  one  of  the  frustrating  things  about  the  filming  of  that  night,   they  didn’t  show  the  reaction  of  the  audience.  And  we  had  mirrors  on  stage   and  everything  but  we  changed  the  lighting.  But  long  story  short,  when  it   comes  to  a  matter  of  offense,  in  that  show  I  took  every  measure  to  commu-­ nicate  that  Television  and  the  media  needs  things  to  be  black  and  white   because  grey  is  far  too  more  complex  and  you  can’t  get  there  in  a  sound-­ byte.  .  And  when  there’s  a  scandal,  everyone  falls  into  two  schools  of   thought.  That  is,  offensive  people  are  evil  and  wrong;;  or  it’s  the  right  going,   “Well  this  is  just  political  correctness  gone  mad”. So  in  the  show  I  took  those  both  arguments  to  their  illogical  ends...  But  then,   we  manufactured  a  situation  where  everyone  in  the  room  was  forcefully   divided  into  one  of  those  two  schools  of  thought.

Yea I know what you mean. Melbourne has had a bit of that recently, with the forming of two camps around whether comics can say or not say offensive material and for a long while, everyone was at each others throats. I saw  a  bit  of  that  thing  unfold  actually  and  the  kid  that  did  it,  Alan   Driscoll  who  did  it?  And  the  bit  was  about  how  impotent  he  felt  when   his  girlfriend  was  raped.  I’ve  seen  the  bit.  And  I  actually  think  that  it  is   quite  tender.  He  goes  to  the  preposterous  notion  and  also  creates  a   tender  moment,  saying  that  he  wanted  to  say  a  joke  to  make  it  better.   This  argument  has  been  going  on  for  years  and  when  unfunny  people   start  weighing  into  it...  Shut  the  fuck  up!  You  don’t  hear  me  arguing   with  a  doctor  about  medicine.  And  with  me,  I’ve  been  banging  my   head  up  against  this  rock  for  God  knows  how  long.  Is  there  a  plethora   of  misogyny  and  rape  jokes  going  on  in  Comedy  now?  Yea  I  think   there  is  because  guys  watch  other  comics  with  skills  pull  it  off    and  so   they  think  they  can  too.  I’m  bored  of  seeing  new  comics  get  up  on   stage  and  they  think  the  punchline  is,   “...and  I  fucked  a  kid”.   Am  I  offended  by  that?  Nah,  I’m  just  bored.  But,  in  order  for  me  to  be   one  of  those  comics  who  could  pull  those  sort  of  jokes  off  and  get  it   right,  I  had  to  first  get  it  wrong. Now,  bottom  line  is,  Holocaust  victims  said  of  Mel  Brooks,   “The  greatest  revenge  they  ever  had  was  laughing  their  arse  off  at   Hitler”. So  for  every  person  who  is  offended  by  a  rape  joke  or  a  racist  joke  or   a  disabled  joke,  there  is  someone  who  finds  catharsis  in  it. You must have some new audiences now that you’re touring this show with Mick Foley? Are you starting to see a lot of wrestling fans come to your show? There’s  a  huge  crossover.  Both  me  and  Mick  were  surprised  by  the   audiences.  The  amount  of  people  who  recognised  me  at  his  gig  and   vise  versa.  But  also  because  I’m  out  as  a  wrestling  fan,  if  you  have   any  sort  of  public  profile  and  you  let  it  be  known  that  you’re  a   wrestling  fan,  other  wrestling  fans  will  seek  you  out.  It’s  that  kind  of   community.   What kind of advantages do you think there are from getting into stand up a bit later on in life? You  learn  quicker.  You’re  a  lot  more  accountable  in  front  of  an   audience  too.    I  think  in  general,  the  people  that  I  have  seen  over  the   years  have  progressed  the  fastest  have  been  people  in  their  30’s.   They  look  at  what  they’ve  done  wrong  on  the  night  and  immediately   fix  it.  Although,  to  be  fair,  Television  these  days  is  looking  for  younger   and  younger  people  all  the  time,  which,  if  we’re  to  look  at  the   American  model,  is  exactly  when  the  industry  starts  to  eat  itself  from   the  inside;;  when  people  start  to  worry  whether  someone  is  too  pretty   or  not.  Which  is  why  the  US  is  starting  to  have  a  renaissance,  and   why  a  lot  of  us  who  are  here  are  looking  to  go  there  now  because   people  who  were  doing  stand  up  in  the  90’s  weren’t  doing  it  for  the   money  or  the  television,  because  neither  was  happening.  They  did  it   because  if  they  didn’t  they’d  have  to  kill  themselves.  That’s  why   they’ve  got  that  renaissance  period  is  because  it’s  all  natural  comics.   We’re  in  the  middle  of  the  boom  now  which  is  all  pretty  guys  in   haircuts.  And  slowly  but  surely,  mainstream  audiences  will  begin  to   go, “Urgh,  this  is  all  very  similar”. Well this show “Good God Almighty” is anything but!

Yea absolutely.  I  mean,  we  did  this  show  a  week  in  Montreal,  we  did   New  York  State  and  Jersey,  and  that  was  us  just  working  out  our   material.  But  yea,  it’s  all  very  surreal.  We  were  premiering  the  show  in   Montreal,  and  I  turned  to  him  and  said,  “Do  you  have  a  self  destruc-­ tion  button  I  need  to  know  about?” This  is  the  guy  who  used  to  have  C4  death  matches.  This  guy  used  to   throw  himself  willingly  into  barbed  wire.  And,  you  know  I  strongly   believe  that  we  will  be  firm  friends  until  the  day  we  die. And how do you think the audiences here will react to it? Are we wrestling fans here as much as abroad? Here’s  the  thing,  in  Montreal,  I  said  to  Mick  that  the  Quebec   audiences  are  notoriously  quiet.  They  don’t  clap,  they’re  quiet.  And   with  this  being  the  30th  anniversary,  we’ve  got  a  lot  of  shows  to   compete  with  so  we  might  not  be  that  full.  Don’t  take  it  personally,  it’s   just  the  way  it  is...  Boy  was  I  talking  out  my  arse. We  were  sold  out  every  night  with  a  line  around  the  block,  we  were   getting  standing  ovations  as  we  were  entering  onto  the  stage.   Because  it  is  like  shooting  fish  in  a  barrel,  I’m  doing  a  comedy  festival   show  about  wrestling  in  front  of  wrestling  fans.  It’s  a  bizarre  world  that   is  so  rich. I  mean  consider  that  the  first  five  years  of  a  comedian’s  act  is  usually   a  guy  talking  about  his  day  job.  Here  we  have  a  guy  who’s  had  the   most  bizzarest  day  job  for  30  years.  It  kills  like  nothing  I’ve  ever  seen.   Like,  in  Montreal,  everyone  is  trying  to  be  cool.  I  mean,  there  are  a  lot   of  icons  there  and  you  have  to  be  invited  to  the  festival.  It’s  the   wrestlemania  of  comedy  festivals.  Edinburgh  is  the  big  one  but   anyone  can  go  to  Edinburgh.  This  is  the  showbiz  one.  The  Academy   awards.  So  everyone’s  ‘cool’  there  but  as  soon  as  they  saw  Mick,  they   all  turned  into  fans. So could I come to the show even if I wasn’t a wrestling fan? I  think  the  most  apt  quote  we  got  was,  “If  you’re  not  a  wrestling  fan,   you’ll  like  it...  If  you  are  a  wrestling  fan,  you’ll  absolutely  love  it”.    Mick   says  he  wants  people  who  aren’t  wrestling  fans  to  come  along  and   enjoy  the  show.  I  don’t.  We’re  already  stereotyped  and  prejudged   enough.  But  everything  I  know  about  comedy  audiences  goes  out  the   window  with  this.  I  don’t  know.    As  a  comic,  you’ll  watch  this  show  and   you’ll  think  this  is  nuts  because  you  won’t  understand  what  we  are   saying  but  we’ll  be  killing  (laughs) I guess my final question is, what has Mick’s experience as a wrestler taught you about comedy? It’s  very  much  the  same  lifestyle  and  it  definitely  attracts  the  same   personality  type.  Absolutely  same  carbon  copy  personality  type.  But   one  thing  it’s  definitely  taught  me,  and  I  think  this  is  show  business  in   general,  that  if  you’re  a  comic.  And  I  don’t  mean  a  career  guy  who’s   looking  to  do  this  for  television,  I  mean,  a  comic  who  did  it  because  if   they  didn’t,  they’d  die.  If  you’re  a  comic  and  everything  you’ve  done  in   life,  you  think  is  stupid,  pointless  and  a  waste  of  time,  it  ends  up  being   useful.  You  end  up  doing  comedy  about  it.  I  mean  I  used  to  be  a   closet  wrestling  fan.  Every  time  the  wrestling  was  on,  everyone  looked   at  me.  And  I  don’t  watch  it  ironically,  so  anyone  who  says  that  can  go   and  fuck  themselves.  I’m  sick  to  death  of  irony.  And  up  until  now  I   thought    it  was  this  pointless  obsession  until  now.  But  everything  that   makes  you,  you,  will  be  useful  in  your  career  and  it  will  end  up  making   you  money.  (laughs)


So where are you calling from now? Im calling  from  Kansas  City  Missouri.  I’m  doing  a  couple  of  shows  out  here.   I’m  gonna  debut  my  new  material  and  hope  that  it’s  workable  and  as  good   as  it  can  be  before  I  get  to  Australia.  I  mean  it’s  so  easy  to  rely  on  stuff  that   you  know  already  works,  because  I  know  that  that  would  work  really  well.   But  from  a  performer’s  standpoint,  I  want  it  o  feel  fresh.  And  you  kind  of   want  to  feel  like  you’re  taking  the  audience  on  a  journey  with  you  and   hopefully  it’s  a  journey  that  you’ve  not  already  been  on. Has  Brendon  told  you  about  what  to  expect  from  Australian  audiences? (laughs)  Not  as  yet,  is  there  something  I  should  be  aware  of? (laughs)  Nah  nothing  like  that.  Just  thought  there  might  have  been  a   difference  between  the  Montreal  audiences  and  the  UK  audiences.   Aw!  I  mean  every  audience  is  different.  Kansas  City  will  be  different  from   Iowa  next  week,  and  they’re  both  much  different  from  Los  Angeles   audiences  which  are  different  from  New  York.  But  the  lesson  I  learned  in   wrestling  is  that  you  hope  that  people  come  to  see  me  do  what  I  can  do   best.

Beau Fitzpatrick Well you definitely bring something completely new, that’s for sure. A wrestler turned comedian is something I’ve never seen before. But this isn’t your first time in Melbourne isn’t it? No. My  last  tour  out  there  was  around  in  about  1999.  Long  days  touring  for   the  WWE.  But  I  worked  so  hard  that  it  was  literally  enough  time  to  fall   asleep  and  wake  up,  so.  This  tour  is  a  little  less  demanding.  I  have  a  few   days  off  so  I  can  spend  most  of  it  to  see  as  much  of  the  city  as  I  can. And  plus  we’re  doing  Perth,  Brisbane,  Adelaide,  Melbourne  &  Sydney. And your show is called Good God Almighty. Where does that name come from? (laughs)  Yea.  It’s  actually  a  reference  to  a  Jim  Ross  quote  when  I  wrestled   the  infamous  “Hell  in  the  Cell”  match.  He  said  “Good  God,  Almighty,  he’s   been  broken  in  half.  Someone  stop  the  match”.  But  having  said  that,  we’re   going  to  be  talking  wrestling  in  general.  It’s  not  necessarily  going  to  be  the   same  show  it  has  been.  We’ve  got  new  material  and  new  stories  for  the   Australian  audiences. The good thing about naming it that is people who follow you down here will know the reference and will know that it is going to be about wrestling and will also be aware of what to expect.

It’s a bit of an incredible leap though. Going from Wrestling to comedy;; have you noticed a similarity between the two industries? Oh yea,  they’re  incredibly  similar.  You  know,  it’s  one  of  the  things   Brendan  and  I  bonded  over.  Essentially  going  out  there  on  stage  is   like  going  out  there  in  the  ring  but  without  the  threat  of  physical  injury.   But  it’s  got  the  same  feeling  of  walking  a  tight  rope.  The  same   excitement  of  succeeding.  The  same  disappointment  of  failing.  But   you  know,  unless  the  set  goes  very,  very  bad,  you’re  probably  not   going  to  end  up  in  an  emergency  room. Yea true. I mean, in wrestling, you need a high physical tolerance for pain. In comedy you need a high emotional tolerance for pain. You must have an incredibly high threshold for pain in general. Yea  it  can  be  punishment!  You  know,  there  can  be  nights  where  it’s   the  greatest  feeling  in  the  world  and  then  there  are  nights  when  it’s   not  so  amazing.  Fortunately  the  highs  vastly  outnumber  the  lows.  But   a  set  that  doesn’t  go  that  well  can  obviously  be  a  mind  numbing   experience. Yea I can imagine it would be similar to being suplexed. Yea  I’d  put  them  out  on  par. (laughs) Well  thankfully  we’re  having  a  blast  with  this  show.  It’s  very  much   worth  it  and  I  can’t  wait  to  put  this  show  on  in  Australia. I was watching the Montreal performance on YouTube and it was great to see that your fans actually followed you out to the stand up arena.

Well the  urge  to  get  reactions  has.  I  was  just  talking  to  the  guys  at  the   WWE  about  this.  They  came  over  to  finish  up  the  last  bit  of  the   recording  for  the  DVD  we’re  filming  and  it’ll  be  out  in  April  through   WWE.  And  I  was  talking  about  when  I  was  18  and  found  that  I  had  the   ability  to  get  shock  people  and  that  felt  great.  It  translated  well  in  the   ring  too.  When  I  was  playing  the  bad  guy,  I  could  induce  fear  and  you   want  that  when  you’re  playing  those  characters.  You  want  to  create   that  sense  of  being  ominous.  As  I  got  older,  I  realised  how  difficult  that   was  to  do  on  a  nightly  basis.  It  requires  so  much  physical  wear  and   tear.  And  I  realised  that  there  were  so  many  more  things  that  you   could  use  other  than  my  body  to  induce  shock  and  terror  with. I  honestly  regard  that  match  that  I  did  in  1998  called  “Hell  in  the  Cell”   which  is  undoubtedly  one  of  the  most  famous  matches  in  my  career,  I   look  at  it  as  a  turning  point  for  me  because  I  realised  that  I  couldn’t   continue  entertaining  people  largely  through  physical  feats  of  daring.   You  know?  I  had  to  mix  it  up  with  other  emotions  and  that’s  when  I   started  to  make  the  character  more  lighter  hearted,  more  comedic. Yep. Yep. And in terms of the move, in general, has there been any road bumps in that transition to comedy? Well  yea  not  really  because  the  industries  seem  so  similar  it’s  spooky.   It  really  is  as  similar  as  it  could  possibly  be.  Just  take  out  the  physical   element.  I  mean  some  of  the  closest  shaves  turn  out  to  be  the  best   experiences.  As  an  assignment  in  preparing  for  Montreal,  Brendon   told  me  to  get  us  some  warm  up  gigs  in  the  New  York  area.  So  I  just   made  a  few  phone  calls,  I  didn’t  know  anything  about  actually   booking,  myself. We  ended  up  in  a  bar  and  grill  that  not  only  did  not  advertise  our   names  at  the  front,  they  were  advertising  the  previous  nights  late   dinner  special. Great. Yea,  so  the  people  coming  inside  didn’t  order  comedy.

Yea! Yea,  it’s  very  flattering.  It’s  always  a  leap  of  faith  for  the  wrestling   fans  who  come  out  to  really  know  what  they’re  gonna  get  but  the   responses  so  far  have  been  really  flattering.  From  what  I  know,  once   people  come,  they  really  enjoy  themselves.  They  almost  unanimously   leave  pleasantly  surprised. Yea. Because there would be some people in the audience who have never come across your work before. How do you approach those sort of people? Oh  I  love  having  non-­wrestling  fans.  I  love  entertaining  them.  My  goal   is  to  make  those  people  happy.  I  think  the  review  I’m  most  proudest  of   is  from  a  show  I  did  in  Edinburgh  which  was  reviewed  by  a  decidedly   non-­wrestling  fan  who  said,   “If  you’re  not  interested  in  wrestling,  you’ll  like  it.  If  you  are  a  wrestling   fan,  you’ll  love  it”.   And  I  really  do,  I  try  to  create  a  comforting  atmosphere  so  that  the   people  feel  welcomed.  Mine  is  not  a  mean  brand  of  comedy  at  all.   Brendon  will  shock  and  offend  people.  Mine  is  almost  PG. Good cop, bad cop. (laughs)  Exactly,  exactly. Because even when looking at some of your wrestling clips, I noticed a stand up comedian wanting to break out. Has the urge to make people laugh always been with you?

Did they  introduce  you  as  the  last  nights  late  dinner  special? That  wouldn’t  have  surprised  me.  Brendon,  for  one,  arrived  and  saw   what  was  going  on.  He  was  like,  “Im  not  doing  it  mate.  I’m  not  doing   it”. And  what  changed  his  mind  was  me  saying  to  him, “Brendon,  think  of  the  stories  we  could  have  from  doing  this  show”. And  they  played  his  music  and  he  went  up  and  they  were  eating  out   of  the  palm  of  his  hand  and  he  had  a  great  time,  you  know?  And   we’ve  done  some  amazing  shows,  we’ve  sold  out  shows  in  Montreal   and  Edinburgh,    and  we’ve  toured  the  show  all  around  the  world  but   when  I  think  about  it,  one  of  the  greatest  memories  ill  cherish  are   those  15  people  who  didn’t  see  it  coming  at  that  Bar  &  Grill.  That  was   very  special  to  me. Well  hopefully  when  you’re  down  here  you  can  take  the  time  to  see   the  sites  and  have  some  fun  with  it. And  so  you’re  from  Melbourne?  I  had  a  girlfriend  from  Melbourne,   many  many  years  ago  and  I  think...  she’s  older  now  obviously,  we’re   talking  23  years  ago.  And  I  don’t  think  she’s  interested  in  being  seen   by  me.  (laughs)  So  I’ll  be  on  the  look  out  for  her. Maybe  you  can  hashtag  her  before  you  come  down. Yea  I  really,  really  doubt  she’s  following  me  on  Twitter.

Story Time

LITTLE MELLY AND THE GREAT GARRUMPHAL: A Cautionary Tale For Thomases and Robertas of All Ages. BY AILSA DUNLOP L

ittle Melly fafundered home, desperate to impart to her Mother and Father the horrors she had witnessed. Her life would never be the same again, you see. For today, Little Melly had encountered the Great Garrumphal. “What is this Great Garrumphal of which you speak?” You ask, reader? “How is it possible that I, a father of three, grandfather of seven, and accomplished pittiwoll breeder, with a PhD in Centrobillary (applied and theoretical), sitting here in my hand-carved listura pine armchair, am certain I have never heard of such a thing? Either my mind is not so graftile as I esteemed it, or you, author, are telling impilgent chinnywithers!” Rest assured, reader, I seek not to groatslip you. Nor do I endeavour to pass judgement on the actions of Little Melly on that kismetious day. I merely wish to recount the events that passed, that others may learn from my truncular tale. It began a perfectly ordinary day at St Figliss Primary School. First came Surfory Metalwork, then double Liptography. A quick spilge of Biplantular Arithmetic before break time, and Little Melly reinflaturated her kimphing batteries by mythensencing beneath a jodhip pine and cavriciously omboscoing a monk-and-giracta sandwich with murenciebun paste. It was not until she returned from her afternoon foraxional, that Little Melly’s day began to take an unbrigionary turn. When she entered the classroom, eager to calp straight on with the afternoon’s acadurious fillities, she was, to say the least, ignosturated to discover the room emptied of its zemious pupils, and holsiton standfirm. In their place, she found what could only be described as the most chagrious, emprostifiled creature she had ever seen.

It sat glodgily in Teacher’s chair, its cladging rimbangles flothing over the side as the arms skreented under the unpaley whorge. From its hovious mouth dangled a ribbon of the most inharpular drowk, which itself fairly quanked of rotten sitnips. But this was nothing, in comparison to the feeping zail that emanated from the Uphracian foot it rested upon the table. So remothstuous was the farp of decomposing sallycrubs from this ompulating appendage, that Little Melly borruked and could scarcely contain her gorphing stomach. Thus, the beast spoke: “Nah, cos, like, I only got here twenty minutes ago – more like ten, five, two. Literally, like two. And it was, like, there was no one in the classroom, literally. It was just really surreal? And, cos, when I see a chair, I just, like, have to sit? That’s just the way I am, it’s my philosophy? And then all these kids and a teacher came in and, like, I guess, okay, in THEORY, I ate them, but it was in, like, self-defence? Like, it was me versus them; I was versing them? Cos there was, like, literally a thousand of them. Not literally, but I mean literally, like, as in a saying? Like, I say it how it is, so I’m not gonna lie, I ate your people, but, like, at least I’m honest? Always be honest, cos, like, everything happens for a reason?” Little Melly could stand no more. The zip of rancid cartigs was one thing, but now the Great Garrumphal had pidged her with its most whontid spear. No Little Richard or Jocasta had been known to auditate more than three minutes of the Great Garrumpal’s motterangs and survive. Faster than a pelkator risping, Little Melly distrenched her teacher’s favourite pencil from its shelly, and smapped it into the Garrumpal’s hefty forthion. With a terrific "GURK", it hussewed its last, and furthugged to the floor in a pool of its own traw. Little Melly turned and zammerred home, anxious to bydie up in her own bed and forget what a tertibious afternoon she had had. But what Little Melly didn’t know, as she bumbowlered down the high street, was that when she had jaked the trevorous beast, three Little Garrumphals and a Garrumpaline had been watching from the bullery cupboard in abject pestifor, as their beloved loaf-baiter had met his Hazar. Unhappily, reader, it betrabes me to tell you that, as you optigest these words, it is likely that Little Melly, and indeed, her Mother and Father, are no more. But I beg you, do not lachrytate! Only, think on Little Melly’s shryless deed, and know that I tell you her story not to instill in you the huddering jivver-birries, but to make you wiser to the ways of the Great Garrumphal, that you may not commit the same terrible blash. You have been duly cauldered. Good night.

Jack Diamond:



illed with the bravado of an adventurer, and the water from a nearby stream, the recently hydrated Jack Diamond trudged through the bush of the Fin Finnay; a forest many say is haunted, but few believe it. (It's not haunted). "Alright, Hanna, game plan update," said Jack, coming to a halt and raising his hand to cease his companion's stride. "We find the treasure of the Gintang Goowop, take the orb of the Trippy-Lippy-Doo-Doo, and make our way to the secret whereabouts of Martin Martin, that Swine!" Martin Martin had stolen what was most precious to Jack. He had stolen Fiona, so now Jack and his man-kick, Hanna, would trek through the Fin Finnay. "He is," stuttered Hanna. "He is a swine. Only a swine would kidnap someone's woman and hold her captive." Jack looked Hanna up and down. "There are lots of things that do that, not just swine. It's unfair to swines to say that; it's a bit of a generalisation." Hanna was ashamed of his empathy. "Are we far from the treasure?" he asked, trying to steer the conversation away from boarish bigotry. "No, we're close," replied Jack. "We'll enter the Wim Wam, and that is where we'll meet the fiery bird." Hanna's ears pricked up like a concerned daffodil. "Fiery bird? You never said anything about a fiery bird. What fiery bird?" Jack turned to Hanna, looked him deeper in the eyes than anyone had ever dared to gaze, and uttered the words, "The dragon." Hanna's face all of a sudden turned a very pale shade of white. "What is it Hanna?" asked Jack. "Is it your woman's intuition?" "A dragon? You never said anything about a dragon." Hanna could feel his knees weaken.

Hanna shuddered at the thought, but already Jack was off; tearing towards the cave, tearing towards the dragon. When Hanna caught up with Jack, he found him at the mouth of an ominous cave. Sulfur stained the air and the grass felt crisped beneath their feet. "This is the place," said Jack. Hanna gulped, "What if the dragon eats you?" "Then I'll fight my way out from the inside! I'll rip out his heart, tie up his intestines and exit through his anus! Like a real adventurer! Like a real man!" "But he'll probably chew!" pleaded Hanna. "It's unlikely he'll swallow you whole." Jack shook his head, "Dragon's don't care about indigestion. They just eat. They inhale their food; I've never seen a dragon chew." "Oh, you’ve seen a dragon?" enquired Hanna. Jack thought momentarily. "No! That's what makes this so exciting!" "But what if he does eat you?" Hanna served. "He won't," returned Jack. "But if he does," Hanna sent back. "Never!" replied Jack. "I am both unwilling and unable to admit defeat." Hanna, unmoved, queried further, "But if he did defeat you...” Jack took out his blade and prepared for entry. "I wouldn’t admit it." As Jack began walking toward the cave's entrance, Hanna, not giving up his line of questioning, asked once more, "But if you were defeated, who would save Fiona?" Jack stopped in his tracks. "No one." Hanna could feel Jack coming around to his way of thinking. "That's why I'll be careful. I'm not an anatomist, I'm a trained adventurer. Fighting dragons is in the job description. If I don't fight that dragon, who will? How will we get the orb of the Trippy Lippy-Doo-Doo? How will we locate the Mung-Hip-Forwor province? Now,” cried Jack, “It's time to fight the dragon!" Hanna stood powerless as Jack ran into the cave. Blind to the action, Hanna listened, terrified. "Ah, Dragon, at last we meet!" He recognised the voice. It was Jack's. Then a mighty roar, which Hanna assumed was the dragon. A war cry: Jack. A bellow: The dragon. Then... silence. Finally, a bloodied arm flew out and landed by Hanna's feet. Horror filled his eyes. His stomach flooded with acid; he was sure he would throw up. "Don't worry Hanna!" he heard Jack scream. "That wasn't my arm!"

Jack shouted excitedly, "You're my protege! You signed up for danger, for heroics, for dragons!"

Hanna looked at the arm, it was extremely hairy, not like the smooth arms of his hero. A leg came flying out, hairy and muscular.

"I never signed up for dragons!" cried Hanna

Hanna threw up.

Jack rebutted, "It was a non-verbal contract, an unwritten agreement. Penned in thoughts and notions. Don't worry Hanna, I'll fight the dragon."

SEATON KAY-SMITH: Purveyor of sexy secrets, Prince of Wonderment Towers. Follow him on Twitter; like him on Facebook.


“I didn't know people did this in real life,” I said.


“They do if there are four other fuckin' people at the same table.”

Cynical comic, erstwhile activist and successful middle-aged sellout Tony Mallow attempts to redress some of the wrongs of his past, or at least hide them better. We start on page one, where it begins, at first…

He was talking about my business partner, Sandy, and our disinterested lady company: my Pearl, Sandy's wife, Mary (both ostentatiously full as googs and now debating whether coffee and pastries might kill them), and Sam's 22 year-old redhead from the Sunday morning women's sport roundup.

By SF Lyons I

topped up my glass with the last of the pinot gris while he wrote a generous figure on the clean side of a serviette. Everyone at the table went quiet because this would help their x-ray vision penetrate his hand, cupped around the cloth and the looping pen. Sam O'Quinn, the new CEO of Network 8, would have learnt this routine from TV shows and movies but nowhere in real life. He was relishing his first taste of offering someone a lot of money without needing permission and he might have even had a stiffy, but that's an ungenerous thought. He flipped the serviette over and tried to slide it across the table through the debris from Vue de Grosso's famous eight course degustation dinner, but it got snagged on a bit of marinated veal tongue, so he picked it up with a deft fold 'twixt thumb and birdfinger, leaned across the table with a grunt, and dropped it on my chocolate mousse. “I think, mate, you'll find that satisfactory.” I drew my ticket to Bigtime out of my dessert, trying to remember if this was the same bit of crisp linen I'd seen him wipe his hand on when he came back from the toilet.

“Fair point.”

Cinnamon giggled as she tried to playfully spoon some peach into Sam's mouth and he wouldn't open up. His attention was fixed on me. I unfolded the serviette and looked at the sum of money he was offering. I'd been hosting and producing In Mallow Tonight on the ABC for three years, with respectable ratings for a late Friday night slot on a government broadcaster. “Cult status” was the polite term. The amount written on the napkin – my proposed salary – was twice the entire budget for the current show. I maintained a dignified calm by filling my cheeks with fluffy chocolate. I laid the cloth facedown on the table and Sam studied me like a poker shark looking for tells and I ignored him, and the napkin and the money, and ate the mousse, thinking about the traps he was baiting. I swallowed and looked him in the eye. “For what period?” “Per year, on a three year contract” “Budget?” “Much bigger than now. Obviously.” Sandy reached across Pearl's plate and turned up the serviette, pondered the figure written there for a moment, then returned to his peach melba without a word. I continued. “It'll have to keep the same timeslot. It won't work any earlier, or on a weeknight.” “We thought maybe ten thirty rather than eleven.”

“Mmmm.” “We can discuss that, but we'd never make you go earlier than ten thirty.” “You'll give us complete creative control?” “You've got a proven track record with this show. We wouldn't want to change a thing.” “I keep the same writing team and cast.” “Yep. Absolutely.” “No open contract. This program and nothing else. I don't want to be forced into some celebrity pole dancing show.” “Yes.” “No cross-promotion interviews or advertorials.” “Of course not. Look, I think we're drifting off into minor details here, Tony. This stuff can be discussed as we draw up the contract. The key point is: a fuckload more money to do the same thing you love doing, but better.” “And you get to mark your territory as the new boss.” “Of course. It's always a pissing contest, Tony. Not with you, with the board. And with the other network bosses.” “That makes my show the piss.” “Does it? That can't be right.” He thought earnestly for a moment. Cinnamon got her chance to get some peach in him, but his attention hardly left me while the gears worked on a metaphor he was happy with...

To read more you'll have to wait for the finished book. When that will appear remains a mystery. Meanwhile: Follow SF on twitter @sflyons,, SF is also looking for comedians to interview as part of his research for the novel. For details visit

BOOROWA BIKIES No stage, no microphone, no lights. A crowd of aggressive, heckling, drunk Bikies. Canberra comedian Greg Kimball says he’d do it all again...

By Greg Kimball We’ve all done gigs in our favourite

rooms, with friendly crowds and familiar stages. Hell, you’d take them every time, right? You’re comfortable on stage, you know the space and you feel completely safe and in control. That’s not to say these gigs don’t involve risk. There’s risk of being owned by a heckler, losing the support of the crowd, or generally just not being funny. But there’s no physical risk to you, directly. You won’t die - at least in a meta-physical sense. I’ll tell you about a time, while doing comedy, when I genuinely felt there was a legitimate chance I could die. It was the most fun I’ve had standing up. And, not to brag, but I’ve had sex standing up. Firstly, you'll need some context. Each year, we take a group-show called Capital Punishment from Canberra to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF). Like all wannabe comedians, we have no money to travel, let alone live. Actually, I think that’s just all comedians. So we do fundraisers. The particular out-post we chose to anoint with our cultural blessing, was a town called Boorowa, a ninety-minute drive Northwest. If, for some reason, you were driving from Canberra to Dubbo, Boorowa is the first stop on a long drive to disappointment. It’s a shearing town of about 1000 cousins of Irish-Catholic persuasion, and the only thing better than the bakery’s pies is forgoing them and driving on to Cowra.

The town’s list of attractions consists of native birdlife and sheep. Boorowa’s major (only) tourist attraction is 'WoolFest’, featuring the annual Running of the Sheep. This involves a herd of sheep running down the main (only) street of town. The first (only) page of the Boorowa tourist information guide optimistically describes it as, “Not as dangerous as the running of the bulls, but just as visually exciting.” Hmm, sure it is. This is a town crying out for entertainment. So why would you decide to perform in such a town, Greg? Excellent question, thank you. But please don’t interrupt. One member of our group, Jez Margosis, taught there in the '90s, and still had contacts in town. Or, as his wife and show’s producer, Beverly said, “He thought he was somebody.” In the two previous shows in Boorowa, a total of about 13 people showed up. Some of them even paid. We were opened at 10:30 pm by a loveable rugby league legend and stroke victim, who killed doing thirty minutes of racist Joke Book jokes; my feet were threatened with amputation. S So it turns out, in Boorowa, Jez is not somebody. At least, not somebody anyone likes. The poster on this last sojourn read: BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND, but I doubt they got the joke. By "poster", I do mean the singular. There was one black and white faded poster on the door of the delightful Ex-Services Club, right next to the stained-glass image of an angry Japanese World War 2 soldier, which didn’t exactly suggest there was a sushi-train inside.

Despite flyering the whole town, by show-time, there were two customers. On one last Blues Brothers-style lap around town, we stopped in at the thoughtfully named Top Pub. We held out little hope as the owner of the pub six months earlier all but settled on selling the joint, so he decided to tell everyone in town what he really thought of them - only for the sale to fall through, leaving him with no mates and even less clientele.

“This is it, someone’s getting stabbed, I thought...” Walking through the back gate to the beer garden, I saw about forty Harley Davidson motorbikes and a group of large, loud, drunk, leather-clad, mullet-toting bikers. “G’day ladies,” I said. “You wanna come to a comedy show?” There were blokes there too – I’m not suicidal. “When?...Where?...Fuck off,” were among the responses. They told us they were staying put because they were pissed and they’d already been booted from one pub. Apparently one of them got into a family’s car in the drive-through bottle-o.

BOOROWA BIKIES By Greg Kimball If we wanted to bring the show to them, they told us, they’d listen. Lies. Bev and I looked at each other and shrugged – why not? Turns out there were a few reasons why not. The first one being the repeated suggestion from one bloke, who looked like an extra from every prison movie ever made, that if he got drunk enough he wished to have non-consensual sex with all of us. The challenge became more of a demand. A burly bloke then yelled a shaggy-dog story of his own at me. I can’t remember it, as I tuned out in a kind of school-yard anxiety… These guys didn’t want my wagon-wheel. His mate stuck a finger in my chest: “Fuckin' listen to him, he’s gonna listen to you later.” I was convinced he meant listen to me scream. Our stage was a wooden gazebo, with a hand-painted sign that read: The Cubby House. No microphone, no lights, and a bunch of jeering bikies. As I stood on the step about to start, I reasoned that surely they weren’t interested in violence, which calmed me down. Right up until the bikie leader told me, if I wasn’t funny, he would pour petrol on the Cubby House and set it alight with me in it. It was a joke, sure. One which brought about the kind of laughter you see in the movies, when a bad guy makes a joke/threat of violence. His gang laugh because they have to and the good guys laugh along all nervous-like.

"...’Be nice to him’. This was like telling a hens party to behave themselves at Manpower Australia. Having a more difficult gig, 21-year-old Danny Phillipa was probably done a disservice, when I said that he was an ANU student. And to "be nice to him”. This was like telling a hens party to behave themselves at Manpower Australia. “I knew instantly that all my material was either useless, too long, or going to get my face massaged with a fist,” Danny told me later. So he improvised by asking what work they did and if they had drugs; not exactly endearing him to a group of people who told us strictly the video we taped can never go online because some of them "might" be wanted by the police. But he survived.

The rest of the night went over without incident. The bikers did most of the joke-making themselves, bouncing back and forth, and we laughed as much as anyone. Jez did his thing, though people still thought he was nobody. Marie Helou, who earlier in the night said there was no way she was getting up, gave a last minute nod and closed the show to many offers of sex. I believe they were respectfully declined. After the show, the bikers were all complete sweethearts. Later, one of them even sent my forgotten notebook back to me in the mail. They bought us a beer and said that they planned to give us a hard to time to toughen us up. We all agreed that it sure did. “I’ll never play a harder gig than a bunch people who use drugs as currency and use the word ‘c***’ as punctuation,” Danny said. It was the biggest rush I’ve ever had doing comedy. The danger was real, as were the consequences. But I’ll never be apprehensive about getting on stage again. That is, until next year, when we go back to Boorowa.

The scariest moment came when Kale Bogdanovs was 'propositioned' by the Sergeant-at-Arms in a jeering joke.

I’ve seen enough movies to know the bad guys always end up doing what they joke about doing. My first line was interrupted with a cutting, bellowing voice: “You ain’t saying shit, funny man, until I get me fuckin’ stubby holder back.”

Kale stepped off the steps and accepted the offer with a gentle caress of the bike boss’ beard, immediately emasculating him in front of his underlings. He slapped Kale’s hand away. For five long, nerve-wracking seconds, we held our breath. This is it, someone’s getting stabbed, I thought.

Thankfully she got it back quickly, not that every single line thereafter didn’t get the same treatment. It was horrible. But at least I was the one they liked.

‘Doodle’, which was seriously his name, made a comment about Kale’s appearance. The group laughed, restoring Doodle's status and diffusing the tension.

Greg Kimball is performing as part of the Capital Punishment show in the Canberra comedy festival: March 19-23. Get tickets here:

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Yawp Issue 8  

Yawp magazine issue 8 is now out!

Yawp Issue 8  

Yawp magazine issue 8 is now out!

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