Review #22 - Deanne Smith in Let’s Do This
Tiny Canadian Princess of Comedy is Deanne’s official title. Deanne and I go way back - like a year - and I was really bummed that I wasn’t gonna make it to her show this year… EXCEPT FOR THAT I DID MAKE IT! I did! And I’m so super glad I did, because it was fabuballs.
Deanne is a pint-size performer but she makes up for her tininess with her hugeness of spirit and humour. Armed with a ukulele and a microphone she both entertains and offends audiences across the festival. She even does Instagram jokes, which I’ve found that I love, because I love Instagram. She even has members of the audience suggest and act out a scenario for everyone to Instagram so we can prove we’re having a friggin awesome time. You’ll learn phrases like TELL IT TO MY BALLS and HEIL CLITLER and it’s worth it for that alone. You might even slow dance with a stranger. Who knows?
I love Deanne and I love this show, and I’m sad I can’t recommend it to anyone because the festival is over now. But! Since she’s from Canada, she’ll be all over the place! If she’s in your city I super recommend you check her out, she’s a great comedian.
I was sitting in the front row, and by the very end of it, she remembered who I was and said “thank YOU, Greta Punch, for coming. I just realised who you were. It was driving me crazy” - and if that isn’t service, I dunno what is.
Review #21 - Adam Kirk & Michael Williams in The Last Video Shop Ever
The year is 2015, and there is a single DVD rental shop left in the world. It’s called Mr DVD, and Michael Williams works there. Alas! If they don’t get $100,000 before the end of the day, they’re gonna close it down. That’s when Adam Kirk, Overdue Squad comes into play. There’s exactly $100,000 worth of late fees to collect, and hopefully with Michael’s help, they can stay in business.
The unique thing about this comedy show is that it’s a movie created entirely in Microsoft PowerPoint and voiced live by Adam and Michael themselves (with all creative differences argued about during the screening). It’s a very clever way of presenting comedy, and that’s part of what makes it so fantastic. Movie lovers will enjoy the references and subtleties within this performance. If you’re familiar with Michael Williams’ solo work in ‘Nice & Easel’ you can expect a bit of the same excellent humour. You even get to choose your own ending!
The Last Video Shop Ever is a great bit of comedy fun, definitely left field from your usual stand-up.
tickets available nOWHERE because the festival is over
Review #18 - Tom Ballard in My Ego Is Better Than Your Ego (warning: biased)
I’ve been a fan of Tom Ballard since I saw him play piano at the year 8 piano concert in Warrnambool when I went to see my friend play. I’m probably his biggest fan. It’s either me, or my mum.
Tom’s show “My Ego…” is about the performers need to be validated and tell audiences intimate details of their lives to make them laugh and feel like they’re worth something - and reveal intimate details of his life he does. He covers the usual topics of his ‘psychopath parents’ (they’re not so bad, I know them) and ex-boyfriends and current boyfriends, and a couple of new topics like his Twitter feud with Wolfmother frontman Andrew Stockdale, and that time he offended the entire Jewish population of Australia on breakfast radio.
Tom is an effortless performer and handles heckles well, including audience members who think they’re a bit funny with their off the cuff input. Tom cuts them back down to size. He’s never bested. And he’s adorable, I love him.
My mum was literally doubled over in her seat weeping with laughter. If you can’t laugh at a show that involves the phrase “jizz on my receipts!” then what can you laugh at? It’s a bit late for me to recommend this for the MICF cos it’s over now, but if he’s in your town or city soon, get amongst it. He’s fabulous.
5/5 please date me Tom I love you
Review #17 - Lessons With Luis in “Famoucity!”
Straight up, Luis is adorable. His brother Luelin and father Len are adorable as well. And his neighbour Mr Bianci. They’re all adorable.
Luis, Luelin and Len are so relatable and heartwarming that it feels like they’re your husband and children, putting on a home-made show that they’ve been working on all afternoon.
This year’s show Famoucity is about how to get famous, and help Luis get to the Famous Awards to become the most famous person in the whole world!
The show is filled with amazing (terrible) jokes that you’ll laugh your eyes out at. If you’re planning on getting to this show, get a spot where you can see the VideoVision screen so you can enjoy Mr Bianchi’s performance as Dr Famous. There’s a spot of delightful audience participation if that’s your thing too, and you get a cat badge for your troubles too.
Luis is heartwarming with all the charm one could possibly possess and you’re with him 100% of the way for his journey to the Famous Awards. Special mention to Luelin for looking 100% done with being part of this family for the duration of the performance.
Review #16 - The Kransky Sisters in “Piece of Cake”
Musical act The Kransky Sisters are from a world of whimsy and magic - Esk, in Queensland - and you may recognise them from Spicks and Specks or The Sideshow. Sisters Mourne, Eve, and Dawn tour Australia in their Morris Major, and have made it all the way to the Melbourne Comedy Festival - and bless them too, because they are extremely endearing and heartwarming performers.
Mourne, the matriarch of the three, takes the lead and tells (occasionally macabre) stories about growing up in Esk and listening to the wireless, where they learnt all their songs from. They have an amazing repertoire (and whoever does their arrangements - is it them? Amazing) from Queen to MC Hammer to Pink Floyd, and it’s incredible to hear these classics performed on musical saw, tuba, reed keyboard, toilet brush, tambourine, etc. There’s even a bit of terrifying audience participation where they celebrate Dawn’s birthday with a couple of audience members (I won’t tell you what happens, but it’s a highlight of the performance). You grow to love these three sisters for what they are and by the end of the show you’ll realise that this show is exactly what would manifest if your aunts Margaret and Pamela were put in charge of writing (and performing) in the comedy festival. I loved this show very much, and I would go again.
Review #15 - Paul McDermott in Paul Sings (warning: biased)
So, it’s no lie, I love Paul McDermott an awful lot. A lot, a lot a lot. I saw this show last year at MICF at the Spiegeltent and it was amazing then, and it’s still amazing now.
Paul possesses an amazing charisma, charm, and stage presence, and is effortless in his performance, and his background experience in music and theatre and television is clear.
Paul Sings is all the songs Paul wrote for tv such as The Sideshow, Good News Week, etc, to fill in the gaps towards the end of the show. They’re not what you’d expect from the funnyman of comedy if you’re familiar with his Doug Anthony All-Stars material, but more heartfelt and emotional pieces with beautiful soaring melodies.
In between the pieces, he entertains with little anecdotes and banter with the audience, which was a bit of fun. Afterwards, for being such a great audience (not sure if this happens every night, don’t hold me to it) he asked us all to come outside to Hosier Lane where he performed a couple more songs in the alleyway with his amazing band, sans microphones or PA system, but still an amazing captivating performance.
I’m full of it, because I just love Paul so much, but this show is spectacular. He’s an Australian king of the stage and this showcases all his amazingness. I can’t stop saying amazing. I love Paul so much.
I never give 5/5 because there is always room for improvement, but Paul is an angel.
Review #14 - Abel Seaman in Art! Art! Art!
Art! Art! Art! (AAA) takes you on a journey through several stages of art as we know it. Impressionists, Modern Art, Monet vs Manet, Michelangelo - they’ve got it covered.
If you’re into art history, you’ll get a little extra from this just for being in the niche. Highlights include “The Problem With Selling Adolf Hitler’s Art To Jews” and Art Attack vs Mr Squiggle. We saw the first show, so there’s a likelihood that it’s only going to get better. There’s not much I can say about this without simply describing sketches, but if you manage to locate the Highlander bar, it’s a great little show, ready for the picking.
Review #13 - Adam Knox in Cataclysmos
Cataclysmos: 1) a catastrophe, 2) a flood, 3) a douche.
Adam Knox is an immensely likable comedian with a great little show, “Cataclysmos”. He implements the use of cards with diagrams and pictographs for some of his set which is very effective, which brings to mind comedian Michael Williams and his Nice & Easel sets. Knox covers the cataclysmos of the world - the population, the economy, and how to win over girls, amongst other things. Knox has a lot of excellent and original material which is genuinely hilarious, and I found myself doing my trademark cackle a couple of times.
I enjoyed myself, although during this particular show two people left, and Knox kept bringing up this fact long after it happened and it got a bit tiresome, and I wondered what the material would’ve been like alternately. He can tend to get a bit distracted by mishaps in the show which he dwells on too long for me, but it doesn’t ruin the show. He’s a great talent who seems at ease on stage and his show Cataclysmos is worth a look at if you’ve got the time.
Review #12 - Gravëy in “50 Shades of Gravëy”
50 Shades of Gravëy is Tenacious D meets Electric Six: undead band members Richie Page, Lucky John, and The Captain make up 3/4 of the band, and living human Penny (“just Penny”) makes up the final quarter of this hard-partying comedy musical ensemble. After dying in a car crash and rocking so hard they brought themselves back up to earth from purgatory where they found Penny, Gravëy are a hard rock band that just want to have a really good time.
Their songs (such as “Atheist in the Afterlife”) span across a number of genres, from classic rock to reggae to what I describe as “90s guitar pop/rock”, tackling all sorts of topics from estranged fathers to… well, I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s a relationship gone very wrong. Occasionally the “scripted” banter can go on a bit long and you want to get back to the music, but overall it’s a great little show for people looking for something other than stand-up at the festival this year. I’ve got time for any band that does an english punk song called “The Pope” that changes halfway into Ave Maria. If you’re into Tenacious D, you’ll probably be very into Gravëy.
Review #11 - Cam Marshall in “Don’t Quit Your Daydream Job”
Cam Marshall, first and foremost, is a graphic designer. He wanted to be an astronaut, but he’s doing stand-up comedy, which is second best. His comedy show is about how important it is not to give up on your dreams, especially if they involve becoming an astronaut.
Marshall is very endearing and friendly, and even though his jokes can get a little long-winded by the time the punchline comes around, it pays off. Occasionally his comedic timing can get a little messed up when he stumbles over a few words but most of the time it’s well written and well delivered material. A highlight for me was the sad tale of realising he could never become an astronaut due to his extreme motion sickness, and that time he went on the Gravitron at the carnival.
Cam laments a little about the difficulty of putting on a show at the festival - which I can totally understand, it’s probably very hard - but maybe lingers a little too long on the topic? Having said that, it doesn’t affect the overall heartiness and joy of the show, which deserves a larger audience than it appears to be receiving.