Settling in Melbourne has not been the hardest moving experience that I’ve been through, but I have to admit that there are times that I’ve felt like I was forcing my way into a space that was not ready to accommodate me. Maybe it’s because I’m older now, or maybe it’s because Jakarta currently holds nearly everything that I hold dear, whatever the reason – moving away was a bit harder than I had originally anticipated.
My #hermitadventureupdates that I post on my Instagram has been my way of finding my own little corner of home in Melbourne as I needed to find places that were mine, and mine alone. Not in the sense that no one else is there, but just places for me to escape to, all by my lonesome. I needed to be comfortable with Melbourne on my own. And while park-naps are fabulous, I also needed to find activities that I could enjoy.
I’ve loved stand-up comedy for a while now, and I have been known to put in extra effort to travel in order to catch shows. Getting excited about the month long Melbourne International Comedy Festival that is held annually, and having the time to properly plan out what shows I wanted to catch has helped me to at least attempt to carve out my own little Atri-shaped space here.
Stupidly, I left my adventures to the last week of the festival, so I sadly missed out on a couple of acts I wanted to watch, but I did manage to attend a respectable amount of gigs. Skip on to the end of this post for links to youtube videos of the people I saw, because I won’t be reviewing individual shows in depth. I’d like to talk about the experience in and around the shows more than anything. You can always head off to Chortle’s website for professional reviews or my new comedy buddy, Josie’s blog to find out about individual shows.
Disclaimer; This was not my date. But the guy whose show I went to watch. No way in hell am I putting a picture of my date up… my nosy family reads this blog!
I’ve always thought that watching stand up would be an ideal date night activity. You’re watching something live, something you can share and dissect together afterwards, and it’s a good way to test the waters to see if you share a similar sense of humour. I watched Steen Raskopoulos’ The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess with a guy I met, and I feel like it went quite well. Not quite the stellar conversation starter I had thought it would be, but that has less to do with the show itself and more to do with the guy I watched it with. Steen’s show was fabulous, 100% would recommend! I’m just quite pleased I at least managed to tick an item off my ‘date night to-do’ list.
MICF 2017 Festival Highlight – Richard Gadd; Monkey See, Monkey Do
Although I said I didn’t want to really review any show, I have to say this year’s personal highlight had been Richard Gadd’s show. I’ve never seen anything from him before the festival, except for a few youtube videos, but during my UK trip last year, I read a review for his Monkey See, Monkey Do show and tried to buy tickets on a whim – boy am I glad I didn’t manage to score any tickets! I would not have been prepared. Not that I was anymore prepared this time around, but I at least had an idea that it was darker than any comedy show had any rights to be.
It was so well written and raw. There was a manic energy all throughout the show, and the build up towards the ending has my nerves feeling sensitive even days after. I was literally in tears by the end of the show, and I had to call my best friend afterwards because I was just shaking and kind of falling apart. It was powerful, and honest, and like nothing else. The laughs were funny, but my heart was broken by the end. I don’t think a show has ever quite affected me in the same way. I spent half an hour just sitting at Federation Square, trying to gather my thoughts. It was one of those shows that I will have to take some time to really process through.
MICF 2017 Festival Highlight – Bear Pack
Another highlight of the festival were the Bear Pack duo, and the events surrounding the insanity that is an hour long performance that is completely improvised. The show itself was crazy, and I have immense respect for Steen Raskopoulos and Carlo Ritchie, the guys that ran around the stage, acting out improv scenes which had the audience in stitches. I actually saw the Bear Pack show twice this festival run. But more on that later.
As I queued for the show, I met in line a fellow comedy enthusiast by the name of Josie. We immediately bonded over acts that we found funny, and I am happy to say that we have plans on seeing more shows post-MICF! This is why I enjoy watching shows on my own, I always end up making a new friend. (Quick shoutout to Caroline, who I met at The Stand, Edinburgh, while giggling over The Elis James and John Robins Experience)
Fun stuff happened after the show too. I often get lost in the city, it’s full of people, my GPS is always fucked there, and all the buildings give me a headache. So it was of no surprise that I ended going in the wrong direction, and missing my tram. I headed back to the Town Hall and bumped into Josie who was waiting for her ride. Long story short I met Steen, and had a quick chat with him. T’was fun. Josie didn’t give me any warning when she called out his name, but I think I did quite well. I managed not to gush over his mad improv skillz.
He headed towards the direction of my tram and I didn’t want to seem like a weird stalker even though I had to go the same way, so I stayed back – and proceeded to miss the tram. Again. Keep in mind this was past midnight, and the tram would only come every half hour. Still high with post-show giggles, I headed to the tram stop to wait, and found Carlo Ritchie. I didn’t want to be a creep, so I said hello and asked for a photo. Turns out, we were waiting for the same tram, and were heading in the same direction. So that happened. We had a very nice chat, and I had to hold back on geeking out over language when I found out he studied Linguistics in uni.
Saturday Night Comedy Binge
I started my comedy adventures on a Thursday, and figured I’d see two shows on Friday and a further two on Saturday on what I feel is quite a reasonable viewing schedule. I didn’t take into account meeting a new friend and her being so persuasive. I ended up watching a lot of shows. Starting with ComComPod at 16.30, Steen Raskopoulos at 18.00 (yes, again. I did mention I saw him twice), Stuart Goldsmith at 20.15, and ending with the Bear Pack show at 23.00.
I don’t know if I would recommend packing so much into one evening, because while it lasted I felt energized and giddy, but when the adrenaline rush disappeared, I was exhausted. Plus I felt like I didn’t give them the justice of savouring each individual show. Am I weird? I feel like I am. I do tend to overthink comedy, and I do like having the luxury of time to dissect shows.
Ending the Festival with a Bang
I wanted to end the festival with a show I knew would bring in laughter-cramps and tears in my eyes, so when Bear Pack announced their last show would be conducted while both performers were off their face… well, I sensed an entertaining night. Plus, Josie said she was going and I knew I could drag Nicole, my housemate to watch it.
Introducing Nicole! Our insane housemate.
Suffice to say, by the end of the night, my stomach hurt, my brain refused to process anything, and my legs were dead. I spent a good 15 minutes at my tram stop with Nicole. Just staring into space, trying to gather the will for the last 10 minute trek home. I would seriously recommend sensibly spacing out watching live comedy. A marathon is always exhausting. Always.
Having said that – would 100% repeat the experience again. Just because I think I worked out my abs enough for the year. They’re pretty defined now.
Atri’s Comedy Recs!
These are sample performances of the acts that I managed to catch live this year. Do google and stalk all of them, they’re all incredible.
- Steen Raskopoulos
- Rhys Nicholson
- Richard Gadd
- The Bear Pack
- Stuart Goldsmith
- Stuart Goldsmith’s ComComPod