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Entries in australian comedians (4)


off and running... often running?

As if! I ran once. A few years back now. It was for a TV pilot and I'd written a sketch about a rotund girl who was going to Olympics - come hell or high water. They had me run, on a tan track with an assortment of very young, very lithe, very athletic girls. We were all wearing the same lycra boy-shorts and little tops. My 'little' top may have had more lycra per square inch than all the others, combined.  To clarify, when I say, 'I ran' what I mean is, I took a few angry steps, holding my boobs for ballast then planted my foot and threw my baton to my team mate - waiting 100mts away. It's not MY fault she didn't catch it... with her hands. Them's the breaks of high stakes, international athletics.

Where was I?

photo: James PenlidisOh yeah, we are, off and running. Haggar and I have decided/been lured back to/are completely helpless to resist [to do] another Melbourne comedy festival. It's been.... a few years. A decade or so. It's actually the 20th anniversary of Miss Itchy ever appearing on a stage. It was SO retaridiclous! Haggar wore a boiler suit that was half robot, half cuts of meat and 3D body parts. "Don't touch my duoduncan."

I wore a heritage top, spray painted gold with ballerinas all over it and a misshappen, homemade golden tu-tu. "Hmm, yes, it's huge, but there's something wrong with it.  I know, bring it out the carport and I'll run over it a few times with Mystique (the 6 cylinder-but-only-runs-on-4 Datsun 240k)!" 

I did have my black wig "Don't worry, I've got black hairs!" Haggar wore a bald cap with two coarse grey horse hair (genuine horsehair) plaits down the front with a few whisps floating here and there at the back. "I'm gonna get a perm one day."

We were Miss Itchy, but we didn't even have names, we just called each other, Miss Fahey and Miss Linda. Redic!

The first appearance was at a night at the Limmerick Arms, in Sth Melbourne called, Purge. (which I've spoken about before)

The response we got that night cemented the belief that we DID have something there... it was definitely THE most fun you can have in a wig with your best friend so we just kept doing it. And doing it. And doing it.

Sometimes it worked. Sometimes, it still worked but the audience didn't think so. We got some fantastic reviews and some horiffic reviews. We just knew, we loved it. And we continued to do it until we didn't love it, any more.

We did a couple of festivals. Then were lucky enough to get an invite to Edinburgh. That experience was transformative. We had a great season of terrifying shows. We tried stuff that even WE were too scared to do - under the insistent tutorage of the impressive and formidable Karen Koren. We came home from that trip determined not to do it again, until we had a new look and a new direction.

The following year, we won The Barry.

photo: Dr Peter MilneThis year, we're just hoping like hell we'll break even!

Ah comedy, you're a brutal whoreish mistress. We really must look in to getting you a manservant.

Coincidentally, tickets for Miss itchy's Late Night Larvae are on sale, NOW!

Book your tickets through Ticketmaster, here's a link.

It's an all new show with BAT LOADS of insane shit! We're really excited about it and thrilled to the back of our lips, teeth and gums to be working with the father of all things Itchy, really the Third Itchy, the Very Reverend, Dr Tim Harris (he's Alphonso's Dad. And Dr Grog. And Garth Minchinsky. And Dr Alexander Buchanan. And Gerald Peas. And Fergus McShite. And dear ol' masturbatin' fearin', Uncle Sandy. and and and... you get the picture, Tim's beyond BRILL!).  And this year we'll be joined by the ever lovely, nine bits of talented, Jennifer Wong. We call her Jeff. She's ok with it! See? Win/win!  Plus there'll be guests. Some will sing. Some will sell. Some will cower and cry for their Mommies. What more do you want?!


It's going to be - nice.

Proper and decent and nice. BOOK NOW!!

Miss itchy's Late Night Larvae - it's everything you'd expect in a late night chat show... if you've sustained a crushing skull wound and aren't a fan of oxygen.



MICF ~ How Does One, Do One?


   *This is an updated post that goes out in April. It's Comedy Festival Time.

It's that time of the Gregorian calendar again. That time of year when Melbourne's inner city is awash with Leunig Flags, a higher percentage of talented Street Performers and Desperate People thrusting hard worked for fliers at you. Fliers that you're just going to throw in the bin. Admit it. You horrible, terrible person you.

Every year I hear the same thing. EVERY year I try to shout from the rooftops.

You Guys : "Who do I go see?  There's so much on. Tickets are so expensive, the comics must make an absolute fortune!"

Me : "GO and see TWO local shows - someone you've NEVER heard of for every hardcore, heavily promoted International/National act. And, about the money thing...."

Simon Munnery, Flym-MakkerTo answer the first question, MY TOP PICK is always the same - go see Munnery, even if he's not here, go see Munnery.  Simon Munnery is not for beginners. He's an out there on his own comic, sailing through utterly uncharted waters.  He does it all with one leg in the boat, the other in an elaborate donkey suit, but this is no ordinary donkey - this donkey sells real estate while he turns ordinary household objects in to mineral rich homewares.  Or something WAY better than that. One of the most beautiful reviews of ANY comedy show I've ever read was for Munners. "If you want to see what other comedians will be doing in 5 years, go see Munnery now."  That about sums it up. (can you tell I think he's a bit ace?) 

And I'm deadly serious about the TWO LOCAL SHOW caveat. Which bring us to the money thing... There is a perception that local comedians get paid to put on a little 'skit' (my favourite word for comedy production), go drinking with their buddies all night then sit around enduring endless self congratulating breakfasts in the morning.  Let me hose the untruth off that for you.

Putting on a little skit, for a month takes a LOT of work.  A lot of work and a LOT OF MONEY. You see, the majority of the acts present for MICF are risking their OWN bank accounts, personal lives and sanity. You don't just rock up to the Town Hall in March and put a sticker on the door of the venue you'd like to play in. Although this is a policy I'd like to initiate.

Eddie Pepitone, Solo Show 5th April. (See program)

No, the work starts about October the year before. You fill out your MICF registration and find the $500 you need to register your show.

Let's keep a running tally, shall we?

Registration, $500

This is of course a show you have already written the bones of, at the very least. You need a show title and 60 word synopsis. You need good quality show images.  (I think this guy is the best. James Penlidis) Lets call it a conservative $500 for the shoot, then more to get your stuff Art Directed and on to a poster and printed... but I'm ahead of myself. A great image is going to help. You're not going to get away with that pic of you and your bestie drunk on the beach at Surfers, but professional images which relay the tone of your show. There are going to be HUNDREDS of images/posters vying for spots on lamppost, walls and cafe racks. Most of shows with a much bigger budget than yours so how are you going to stand out? 

*poster costs, assuming you've done most of the art work yourself, or you have a friend who's handy with photoshop/adobe. Let's call it $1,000. P.S., do you know the difference between semi gloss, matte, and universal gloss paper? Do you need A4 A 3 or A1 size posters?  Have you thought about postcards?

Rich Fulcher - Tiny Acts of Rebellion

Registration, $500
Photography, $500
Printing, $1,000 

Now you'll need somewhere to put on your little dog and pony show and unless your Dad's got a barn, you're going to want a centrally located CBD venue. Town Hall venues are prized hubs. Being IN the Town Hall does NOT always translate to ticket sales but you're still going to want to be there. Conservative estimates for the venue and tech - oh yes, you'll need someone to run your lights, sound and whatever else you've skillfully woven into your increasingly elaborate pastiche. Conservative estimates will put that charge at around $1500 a week for one of the smaller 30 - 50 seat venues.  The bigger the room, the more the cost.

Registration, $500
Photography, $500
Printing, $1,000 
Venue & Tech, $6,000 

Dave Callen - The Psychology of LaughterIt's getting a little flop-sweatish now, isn't it? Ooh! Don't forget your Entertainment Liability Insurance. You don't want your confetti cannons going off early and taking out a pensioners eye.  Or your mic stand to fall off the stage and kill a Seeing Eye Dog. Let's guesstimate, $350 (it's been a while and I can't find any receipts of the insurance we've had to buy) but that seems tame.

Registration, $500
Photography, $500
Printing, $1,000 
Venue & Tech, $6,000 
Insurance, $350

Advertising! How are you going to let people know your tiny little show is on, in amongst the throngs of Hughsies, the heavily promoted International acts and the locals being produced byToken?  To be honest, you're not. You're going to rely on Word of Mouth but you're still going to buy a little advertising space aren't you? Buying ad space translates to editorial space. (you're buying ad space, the paper are 'giving you' editorial space). A 1/8 page, a 1/4 page, a 1/2 of full page ad?  How much money have you got to burn? You can spend anything from $500 for a tiny corner in something like Beat or InPress for the run or thousands on a Herald Sun 1/2 page. We'll call it a conservative $800 for advertising and flyering - the aforementioned standing outside your venue handing out those precious posters/postcards/flyers you had printed as a way of luring people into your show after they see the show they wanted to see is sold out? You can do that yourself or pay/beg/blackmail someone to do it for you.

Debra Batton, Catherine Magill - She Knows Too Much

Registration, $500
Photography, $500
Printing, $1,000 
Venue & Tech, $6,000 
Insurance, $350
Advertising, $800 

If you want a publicist, you can hire one now. If one has room for your show. It's gonna cost ya. $2,000 is a very conservative estimate.


Let's have a closer look at those locals, in particular. How many of them realistically make a living from stand up? If your guess is in the double digits, you're very probably wrong. SO, if you want to put on a show, you're going to need to take time off work. You won't have time to wait tables, or nurse, or be the funny accountant.  You've got some holiday time coming up - best use it. Insert your own lost wages estimate here. $Umpty dollars.

Frank Woodley, Simon Yates - InsideOk, so there are hundreds of shows to choose from. The tickets cost anywhere from $10, Tight Arse Tuesday tix to $45 for (example) Wil Anderson or Judith Lucy & Denise Scott.

Well, you're thinking. Let's shoot at the centre of that range and sell 20 tickets a night, that's $440! See, you guys are raking it in! TicketMaster take half that ticket cost as their fee. What?! Hmm, still $220 a night, where do I sign up! Let's also look at the guesstimated average audience size for a local (unknown quantity) show is on a good night, 10 people. 10. I'm being generous here. It's only going to be 3 or 4 some nights. Have you dampened your trousers yet?

As the MICF website says, "Producing a show involves everything from organising venue hire, marketing and publicity, travel and accommodation, sourcing props and equipment, budgeting, ticketing, obtaining insurance and licences and much more. As part of your registration, the Festival provides information packs and workshops to assist you, but it is up to you to make it happen."

Harley Breen - Some Kind of SomethingMICF is an amazing festival. If not for it, I would not have had 3/4 of the life experience I've had. I would not know who Simon Munnery was. Or Daniel Kitson. I wouldn't giggle every time I heard the words, "Rapper with a baby" (curse you, Rich Fulcher!) I would not have smeared chocolate cake on Adam Richard's head (ok, that probably still would have happened, just not in front of 3000 people) nor would I have laughed so hard at Bill Bailey that I hawked up a lung. I'd also probably not have the sight of a bare chested Sam Simmons smashing taco shells into his pigeon frame burnt into my retinas, nor would I have... ok the rest of that sentence is now redacted. You know why, Festival of 1998...

It's SO important that you get out there and support local acts. They're literally selling their souls for you.  Go see Harley Breen, go see Jennifer Wong. Go see Geraldine Hickey and why not make a night of it and see Wes Snelling and Kate McLennan - their show is held IN a hotel room!  Come on! I know you're probably already planning on seeing Wil Anderson, why wouldn't you? He is brilliant but please, take a chance and see someone you've never even heard of. 

They've got an average of $8,000-$10,000 on the line for you. Can you even imagine doing that for the love of your job? You can't, can you? And don't think, "oh I can just see them in October after all this festival stuff has died down." You can't. Festival is special. Festival is very often the only time of the year you'll see any one of these comedians do a solo show of 1 hours duration, packed to the gills with lights, props and a small Bolivan Lizard (WHAT a show!). Go. What are you waiting for?

fahey xx

(a tiny selection of those acts you really need to squeeze on to your wish-list)


Geraldine Hickey - Love Or A Slab Of Fudge

Jennifer Wong is Spineless Kate McLennan & Wes Snelling - Standard Double

Lessons With Luis - Famoucity

Ross Daniels - Graham Clone, The Future Is Incorrect Sam Simmons - Shitty TriviaSlutmonster and Friends


MICF - One final thing...



The Melbourne International Comedy Festival finished it's four week run, last night. The awards were handed out, the box offices closed and comics(and staff) all over the country can get back to the vestiges of their lives.

Like me, I'm guessing some of them bleary-eyed, clicked on a "news story" with a catchy headline this morning. It was in the Herald Sun, a major MICF sponsor.  [insert your own spit take]

I'd link the actual article by Ms's Bennett & Duck but it seems it's been pulled down.

So, we're back to this shit already eh? We've ALLLLLL covered it before and yes, the consensus is clear, Stand Up's sans Dick = not funny. We get it. 

What's utterly disgusting, in THIS instance is it is a story, with an invective headline in what I concur is HARDLY the last great bastion of journalistic excellence but, you morons, you are a MAJOR FESTIVAL SPONSOR.  YOU SHOULD HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE VERY THING YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE SUPPORTING

And now, let's grab our mucky boots and have a quick wander around the facts, shall we?  You DO KNOW what FACTS are, don't you Ms Duck? Perhaps your learned friend, Ms Bennett has a grasp?

Fact. MICF's director is a man without a penis. She has been at the helm of this multi-million dollar venture for many years. It is Australia's largest cultural event - selling more tickets than any other Australian Festival.

Fact. Of the top three positions at MICF, three are held by men. Sorry, WOMEN. 

Fact. It is the only festival of it's kind to hold an all girl line up show, UpFront. Started by actual women comedians. It's in it's 18th* year.

Fact It's the only festival of it's kind to hold a workshop primarily for (but not inclusive of men) aspiring female comedians. It was started by another one of those stand-ups without wedding tackle, Linda Haggar. It's called Jeez Louise and it's generated a LOT of local talent.

Fact. Of the fifteen Barry Awards given, SIX of those have been awarded to chicks. Floozy's. Strumpets. Non-Blokes.

Fact. Conversely, of the THIRTY Edinburgh Awards given, only THREE of those have been awarded to women.

This shit is SO frustrating for the women who are striving, thriving and looking for an audience. Every single one of us has heard, "well, I don't normally think women are funny, but you were ok!"

I'd link back to my own blog post here from last October, but I'm sick of talking about it. Ok, here it is. 

To say MICF is not supportive of it's women is an outright lie.

To say MICF is not AS supportive of ALL of it's local comedians, is another story.

Sally Bennett, Siobhan Duck - why didn't your try THESE headlines?






So, fuck you Siobhan, you too Sally. More especially fuck you for not standing up to whom ever told you to write such a ridiculous article.  I chose to believe it was a large fat man, sitting in a brown Chesterfield Chair, stroking a balding cat.

Can we now, PUHLEASE put this 'argument' in a Hessian sack with a litter of adorable yet, unwanted kittens, a brick (male of course) and biff it out to sea?




Too much?


f x



**I might be off a year or two on UpFront. 


One More Time...

Update on Friday, October 21, 2011 at 8:47PM by Registered CommenterMiss Itchy

Seriously? HuffPo are in on it to? "Men Are Funnier Than Women, But Not By Much, Study States"

On HuffPo WOMEN, no less.

The irony just bit my dick off.

Fox News Says New Crop of Comediennes Combine Funny Bones With Banging Bodies

Female Comedians Need To Be Hot And Funny Or It Doesn’t Count!

Well, der!

Of course this headline is negated by the "Fox News says" at the front but the entire oeuvre shits me to a state where I'm fairly confident I could vomit up a baby's shoe. We see this article every year with out fail, usually around Comedy Festival time and it crops up at least bi-annually on the intersexy in its various forms and guises. And all I can say is, thank god SOME ONE is talking about it... Still. *sigh* 

Of COURSE you need a killer rack to tell jokes. Come on, it's RIGHT there at the very top of the form you fill out to be a comedian. Name._______ Age.________ Sex.________ (if you write, "yes please" here, go get to go right to the very head of queue and collect your Herald Sun weekly column byline) If "Female"Please Attach Recent Photo of Your Ladyness.________ Political Leaning._______ Prop Comic. Yes___ No___

It can't be fairer than that.




Of course, the VERY best articles about comedy are ones that try to dissect, analyse or theorise the art. It's a subjective beast at the very least, "Oh yeah, he's funny. Or, "Meh" should cover it. But when you add boobs to the equation, suddenly the tone takes a very different turn. There are pages and tomes and encylopedias of articles, discussion forums and theses (thesii?! is that collective?) vilifying "women comedians".  Very often - and by 'very often' I mean 99% of the time - it has little do with what she's saying. Instead it's about what she looks like, what she was wearing and how much or little, cleavage she was showing.  I can't find these same acres of gigabytes about "male comedians".  At best I can see, "I hate X, he sucks." and "No way! We saw X at the Chuckle Hut at our work Christmas party and he was hilarious!" I never ever ever get to find out what he was wearing or how drunk he looked hanging off the MC's arm in the bar after the show. Never!



About, no not about EXACTLY SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO (give or take a few months) Loob and I along with a bunch of other ladies of the stage; Denise Scott, the late, great Lynda Gibson, Judith Lucy, Christine Basil, Sue-Ann Post, Janet McLeod, etc, etc got together and decided that we needed to put together a night for MICF to showcase the alleged dearth of be-racked comedians who were struggling to get stage time. And seventeen years ago (give or take a few months) on the sticky stage of the Espy we rocked that sold out show to the ground. It was needed. Wanted. Unexpected. But darlings, that was seventeen years ago. (holy shit that was 17yrs ago?!)  I also recognise the fact that 17 years prior to us (give or take a year) the Sal Uptons, Gina Rileys, Rachel Bergers, Noeline Browns, Denise Drysdales, Mary Coustas', Marg Downeys and Jane Kennedys had also travelled the same boob-laden road. And probably seventeen more years from now some young, bright thing will be blazing her own Tassie-mapped trail. Urgh, that's depressing.


How about we please, please, puhlease just agree to get to the end of the ad nauseam Are Women Funny? Why Are Women Funny? Women? Funny or Not? Jokes, With Or Without Dicks?, articles NOW. It is, was and will always be, passé. The mere mention of a "very funny comedienne" makes me taste sick (usually, my own) and then there's the chatter if you ARE a hotty (the very curse of my life), you must have fucked your way to the top.  And what exactly IS at the top of the comedy ladder anyway? Dishes?

Comedy ain't boxing. There ain't weight divisions. It's not even like ballroom dancing. You don't have to do it with a gay partner who insists on leading. Comedy is an art form. If you're GOOD at it, it doesn't matter if you've got a pumpkin for a head. Louis CK. It doesn't matter if you've got an annoying personality. Ricky Gervais. It doesn't even matter if you've married your ex wife's adopted child fercrissakes. Woody Allen. Ok, I'll take that one back. That's icky. Ooh! Icky - Todd Barry.

It's a numbers game. Let's say there are 100 comedians. Probably only 10 of them will be women. It's just how it is.  Kinda like plumbers. Chicks can do it, just not too many feel the urge to shove their arm up a muddy pipe.  Like kindergarten teaching. Lotsa chicks, not so many dudes. A numbers game. 

Comedy should make you laugh. That's kinda it. Pretty simple job description when you get down to it. It doesn't matter if there's bumps in the front of the shirt below the face hole that's telling you the funny stuff. It just needs to be funny stuff coming out of that hole.

It's amazing when it's more than that. Sarah Silverman. Sam Simmons. It's brilliant when you're mouth is agape and your heart is pounding. Simon Munnery. Miss Itchy. If you're lucky, it's transcendent escapism. Stewart Lee. Kristen Schaal. Or, it's simply beyond dick jokes. Reggie Watts.  Doug Stanhope. Sarah Millican. Corinne Grant. Andy Andrist. Kristine Levine. Steve Seagren. And there's dick jokes. (You know who you are.)

Can we please just agree if it's funny, we can call it comedy.  From a comedian. Rocking bod. Wil Anderson. Or not. Rosanne.

How on earth has it been seventeen years?!


fahey, a comedian xo