Allow me to set the scene: The sky is slowly turning from grey to black on a cold winters evening in Adelaide as I prepare for my fourth and final night of comedy. Deciding against having m&m’s for dinner, as I had done for the previous 3 nights, I wandered down Rundle Street looking for food. Now for some stupid reason, most restaurants in Adelaide are shut from 3-6pm and because I’d skipped lunch on this particular day I was now beginning to get hungry-angry (the worst kind of angry). Finally, I found the one open Thai restaurant in the entire state and struck up conversation with the waiter as I ordered.
Guy at the Café Michael 2 as I paid my dinner bill: So, got anything planned for tonight?
Me: Well actually, I’m going to be doing stand-up at The Rhino Room.
Guy: Oh! Do you know if they have any big acts on?
Me: They have Bart Freebairn.
Guy: Who’s hosting?
Me: Well, me actually.
Guy: *Long pause* What about next week?
Alright! So my star is still on the smaller side of large and that guy needs to dispose of the Pad-Thai that must be firmly jammed up his arse. But nevertheless I was chuffed to be back in what has always been for me Comedy’s second city – Adelaide.
From my very first Fringe in 2008 when I asked Daniel Kitson if he “did comedy” and was dubbed “The Pied Piper of Adelaide” for my uncanny ability to frolic around the Garden of Unearthly Delights and sweet talk people (men) into seeing my shows, I’ve had a massive soft spot for Adelaide Comedy.
Sure, it’s not always been perfect. I remember on late night show during my second festival when my fellow performers and I were being distracted by some strange noises coming from the back row. Was someone ill? Had a dying animal snuck into our tent? Nope, we ducked below the lights only to find a couple, drunk and completely unaware, having sex. But then again, it was a show about water so maybe having audience members get wet was naught but appropriate?
For this trip however, I wasn’t in town as part of a group act or doing 5 minute spots. I was there to host and on Tuesday night do my very first big feature spot. So pretty exciting times in T-town! It’s only quite recently that bookers have begun bestowing upon me the massive honor of hosting, and I’m incredibly grateful for their faith. When I think about it, it’s the closest thing I’ve ever gotten to a promotion. So guess who’s running out to buy a house and celebrate with some strippers! WOO!
I have to admit, it’s a strange transition to make. Just last Monday when I was hosting at The Local in St Kilda (The first room I ever did a stand-up spot for that matter), there was a split second at the beginning of the night where I had the thought, ‘Hmm, I wonder who’s bringing me on tonight?”. Only to remember that I’ll be bringing me on because I’m the host and oh my god I’m meant to be on stage right now.
And despite the numerous gigs I’ve been at and hosting sets that I’ve watched, there are still some pretty basic things I’m having to remind myself to do.
1) Look at the name of the person you have to bring on first. And remember it.
2) Wear dresses that aren’t see-through. Guys, you can ignore this one.
3) Look at the name of the person you have to bring on first. And know how to say it.
4) Crack jokes.
However one thing that helped prepare me was a fabulous blog I’d stumbled across not too long ago; and If anyone else is about to jump into their first ever hosting gig, I’d highly recommend reading “How to MC” by Danny McGinlay. It helped me A LOT!
Alternately, just surround yourself with helpful, lovely people. On one particular night, the hilarious Bart Freebairn took the time to point out an obvious mistake I’d made a couple of nights in a row. Basically, I’d get to the end of the first bracket, tell the audience to go have a 5-10minute break, then stare at them for a moment or two before awkwardly walking off the stage in silence. Bart pointed out that if I simply ask the audience to applaud everyone they’d seen in the first bracket, I’d leave the stage to clapping and noise and not look like a knob. It’s so simple!
Adelaide was a fabulous experience for me. The gratuitous audiences went with me each and every night, and even at The Marion where a recently heartbroken man was drowning his sorrows and attempting to have conversations with every comic who set foot on stage, I still had a fabulous time. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t famous or a TV person, the crowds and comics alike were delightful.
Thanks for being smashing, Adelaide. Hope to catch you again soon! x
Photo courtesy of the very shiny Craig Egan.
Also, two quick things:
1) The Shelf is back again! Located at The Toff in Town, this rooms brings me so much joy to perform at. It’s fantastic. Wil Anderson and Louis and Friends are on this coming Monday so if you don’t have tickets yet, you should jump on them asap at: http://www.moshtix.com.au/event.aspx?id=58776
2) The other day I was asked by Declan Fay to perform in a short little sketch with one of my favorite performers, Kate McLennan. You can watch it here: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIT3jXA3QIU&w=620]