Home' Scoop : Scoop 52 Winter 2010 Contents 36 scoop WINTER 2010
In July last year, arts-worker Jo Marsh and her
comedian friend Bonnie Davies launched WA s
first professional agency for local stand-up talent.
Their venture, Bootleg Comedy, was born in
response to the exploding comedy scene in Perth,
which had almost doubled in size over two years.
"It s hard to explain what happened really," says
Jo. "I think television had a lot to do with it. Shows
like Rove, Good News Week, and The Glass House
were really bringing comedy to the forefront. Then
people started to realise they could actually go out
and have a good laugh at their local pub."
Bootleg Comedy is all about supporting local
comedians, creating opportunities for them and
making sure they re well represented.
"We re hoping to make people see that comedy
isn t just a hobby. For some people -- like Joel
Creasey, John Robertson, Mike G and Bonnie --
it s actually their livelihood," says Jo.
Comedy in Perth takes three main forms:
stand-up, by established comedians with solid,
well-rehearsed material; open-mic, for first-timers
who want to get into the scene or just share a funny
yarn; and "impro", which sees a group of performers
creating skits based on audience suggestions.
For people wanting to watch live comedy for
the first time, Jo recommends a stand-up gig at
The Comedy Lounge, The Laugh Resort or Lazy
Susan s Comedy Den.
"The thing about open-mic nights is that they
can be awesome or they can be disastrous because
you ve got a lot of first-timers getting up. If you
want a failsafe laugh, go to a stand-up night, which
typically has an MC who keeps the event together,
a couple of supporting acts and a headliner.
"Impro can be a lot of fun too because you, the
audience, can get in on the banter. There s also
fuppet , which is a form of improvisation with
puppets, and that s really great too. The scene is
evolving in all kinds of exciting ways. It s a matter of
getting out there and seeing what you like."
HAVING A LAUGH WITH ...
A versatile speaker, puppeteer and ukulele player,
John is one of Perth s most energetic and charming
comedians. He s toured with Wayne Brady, Mark
Watson and Jamie Kilstein, and last year received a
four-star review at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
What material tends to resonate best with Perth
audiences? I think of Perth as the "colours, light
and movement" town, because we love a show.
We love a comedian who can hit us with jokes, do
an act, tell a story, play an instrument, swear, not
swear, spin some one-liners, couple of voices...
pop in a local reference -- if you feel the need, I d
suggest Armadale, it s a hellhole. We like confidence
and charm, and the city isn t so busy that we
need everything at a million miles an hour, like
Sydney or London.
What tips do you have for someone wanting to
start out in the scene? Write a lot and talk a lot.
The first thing I ever needed to learn was that you ve
got to write the way you talk, or you ll just sound
like you re reciting a
script. I like to write
a joke, then half learn
it; know the set-up and
the punchline and fill in
the rest naturally. After
that, just remember to
have fun. Oh, and if it s
your first gig, don t try
to be Bill Hicks -- we ve
got about a thousand
of them -- and nothing
makes people less happy
than being yelled at
about social issues
by a teenager. I know,
One of the brightest young stars on Australia s
comedy circuit, Dave Williams will be MC of
the Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Roadshow hitting Perth in June.
Where are you at the moment? We ve just started
the tour and we re in Caloundra in Queensland.
I m a bit disappointed because I ve just had a walk
around the K-Mart, and it looks pretty much like
every other K-Mart I ve been in. I thought they
might have more of a local flavour.
Do you find room to improvise much during the
show? Always, I leave room specifically for that. I
reckon it s so important and I like talking to the
audience as well. I don t generally pay out on people.
Unless they re a prick to me first, then I cane them.
What sort of gags do you find get the most laughs?
Honestly, I find in most country areas a really
good cock joke does you the world of good. You
know, because it s a little bit rude and shocking.
Plus it s got the word cock in it. Seriously, that
stuff will never stop being funny. In city areas,
paying out on pop-culture and youth-culture
goes down well.
What's the best thing about going on tour with
the Roadshow? Well first of all, you make really
good friendships with awesome comics who you
otherwise wouldn t spend any time with. And I
get to cruise around Australia and go to Perth for
a week! A whole week! And the hottest girls in
the world live there... it s going to be awesome.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow, His
Majesty s Theatre, June 8 - 13, bocsticketing.com.au.
The Wild West Festival and the Melbourne International Comedy
Festival have already hit stages this winter, but you don't have to
rely on the big events to get a decent chuckle. You can catch a
gig(gle) just about every night of the week.
compiled by jessica matthews & nathan scolaro
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