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Entries in comedy festival (4)

Thursday
Jul172014

"the world’s favourite comedy festival has no room for women"

The title grabs ya, doesn't it?

LINK HERE

And, yes, this Just For Laughs (With Penii) line up IS ridiculous. But, this, I wanna say, well-intentioned article also delves into some murky ground. The writer says,

"From now on, I refuse to attend any festivals and events where women count for less 2 fifths of the line-up, and I urge you to join me."

How can only support an art that splits into a gender ratio that doesn't offend you?

Here is my reply.

Hi Maeve.

Although I agree the Just For Laughs lineup is ridiculous I also see that as a heavily curated festival, it gets to do what it likes. In doing this it also has the opportunity to show itself to be a bit of a dinosaur. Of course there are many many women who are worthy of a spot. Many.

I also want to make sure the MICF facts are in place. It's a festival, close to my heart. I've participated numerous times. Some times more successfully than others. EVERY time, utterly supported by the behemoth that it is. 

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. It is the only festival of it's kind to hold an all girl line up show, UpFront. Started by actual women comedians which is now in it's 20th 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. It is utterly supported, both financially and artistically by MICF.

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

The dangerous territory you're getting in to here, assigning a ratio which, under a specific threshold you wont be satisfied is silly. Would you do that for any other industry? 

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 wedding tackle or not. Comedy doesn't even care 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. 

It's a numbers game. Let's say that in the whole world, there are 100 comedians. Probably only 10 of them will be women. It's just how it is. Exactly 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. You see what I mean? It's just 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 . Andy Zaltzman Josie Long  Steve Seagren Kristine Levine Sean Rouse... the list goes on. And then there is also, the dick jokers. (You know who you are.)

JFL are doing themselves a disservice to exclude the excellent comics they have to choose from. The same can NOT be said of MICF. To demand a higher percentage of wymmyn to fulfil some arbitrary ratio is just as silly when you've only got 10 plumbers in the game.

fahey younger. comedian. swear word aficionado. lady.

 

Monday
Jan202014

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.

 

Wednesday
Mar272013

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

Monday
Apr092012

Comedy Festival - How Do I?

 

                                     

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simon Munnery, in La Concepta & Hats Off to the 101ers.

"You kinda know something about this Comedy Festival thing, right? There are SO many shows! You guys must make a fortune! Who should I go see?"  Is a question I am asked at least once a day during the month of April. (Today, the next door neighbours dog, Hitler asked me.) 

My answer is always the same - go see Munnery, even if he's not here, go see Munnery. AND GO AND SEE TWO LOCAL SHOWS FOR EVERY INTERNATIONAL YOU SEE! There is a perception that local comedians get paid to put on a little 'skit' (my fave word for comedy production), go drinking with their buddies all night then sit around enduring endless self congratulating breakfasts in the morning.  Let me shake 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.

Felicity Ward in the Hedgehog Delemna

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 to have photos. (I think this guy is the best. James Penlidis) Lets call it $400.  Remember, you're not going to get away with a 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, 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?

Asher Treleaven

Registration, $500
Photography, $400
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 $1000 a week for one of the smaller 30 - 50 seat venues.  The bigger the room, the more the cost.

Registration, $500
Photography, $400
Printing, $1,000 
Venue & Tech, $4,000 

Jennifer Wong, Ouch & Other WordsIt'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, $250 (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, $400
Printing, $1,000 
Venue & Tech, $4,000 
Insurance, $250

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 by Token?  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 - have I mentioned 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 someone to do it for you. Damian Callinan, Robinson Crusoe

Registration, $500
Photography, $400
Printing, $1,000 
Venue & Tech, $4,000 
Insurance, $250
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.

Daniel Kitson in Where Once Was WonderOk, so there are hundreds of shows to choose from. The tickets cost anywhere from $10, Tight Arse Tuesday tix to $40 for (example) Judith Lucy on Sunday night.

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. 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."

MICF 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 have seen Greg Fleet bare his soul and lengthen his sleeves or Felicity Ward rock the shit out of a room. 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 Damian Callinan, go see Jennifer Wong. You're probably already planning on seeing Wil Anderson, why wouldn't you? He's brilliant but please, take a chance and see someone you've never even heard of.

They've got an average of $8,000 on the line. 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