The Comics Lounge

22339088_1436142239775091_362525603957493456_oOn Tuesday night I returned to my home ground The Comics Lounge, This is the biggest club in Australia and was voted number 7 in the best clubs in the world.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have been doing some really tough shows in the country which really test your character and confidence so it was good to get back to a real club in front of a real comedy audience. Plus I needed to record a set to send to booker’s at other clubs so I can start 2018 with some great shows.

The crowd wasn’t huge like 2 weeks ago but a good sized crowd non the less. I was a bit quite for a couple of the acts but they were running new material so it is always hit and miss.

I got moved to the second bracket which suits me fine I can relax a bit more and get in the zone. I came out and started with a bit of crowd work that got a few laughs but didn’t really go anywhere so i went into material. Which went really well I did feel a bit of a negative vibe from a few people front row when i came out but after a few minutes they seem to relax and get into the swing of things.

I didn’t do any stories as I wanted to record a fairly tight set, I did get to add some new tags which came to me on the spot although i did forget to do a few so it balanced out ok.

I finished with a new joke that got a great reaction bigger than i expected, It was an re-write of the first bit i ever did and I managed to throw to it out during some crowd work.

The video came out great the audio didn’t capture the audience reaction but we used the recording from my phone which helped because the crowd was laughing in that direction.

It wasn’t the most electrifying gig but It was fun and I got the most out of the crowd so I was happy with it.

Lessons;  I am really staring to understand how confidence is key if you are present to the crowd and having fun they will come along the ride with you.

It is also true for crowd work I am not in fear on stage at all I am in control so I guess it feels like i am steering the ship.

This week I head back to the outback for the last of the shows and the documentary shoot on Friday. This should be a fun show as it is Kev’s home town.

Stay Funny

Flemo

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The next show

The next show was on the Saturday night in Wentworth at the Royal Hotel, Again Gibbo was on board for this one along with Dave Ickovic. We got in early as we were filming for the We are here documentary which is highlighting the town of Wentworth.

We got to go on a speed boat up the Murray and Darling rivers as they were filming Kev’s arrival using drones then we went to the Wentworth Gaol which was in use back in the bushranger’s day they would have a lot of people go in to town to send their money at the pub and then after a fight they would get locked up. I did an interview with Dave who looks after the Gaol. It opened in 1881 and closed in 1927 and was very barren,dry and hot the temperature can get up to 50 degrees which is around 122 fahrenheit.

Then we headed off to the river to do a interview at a paddle steamer the Ruby P.S. We met with the caretaker Ian who came off a bit abrupt at first but once we got in to the interview he turned out to be a champion. He was a real crack up and a real character I am really getting in to learning about all the old things about this country like i do when i am in America,like how things were done back in the day and you get a sense of how easy it is today and I think it is important to appreciate how easy we have it these days.

The following morning we headed off to a cattle station and had a chat with two 5th generation farmers  again it was really cool to see what they do what they go through each day to put meat on our tables in the city, you get a disconnect with were it all comes from,you would be spending most of your day finding and killing your food with out these guys.

Now for the show, I was told there would be a huge crowd for this one as there was a country music festival and a rowing regatta here at the same time,so the plan was to have the show outside in the beer garden luckily it was moved inside to the dining area because it wasn’t a huge crowd. It was the dinners and we kept them there.

We had a late start as the kitchen was running behind time so by the time I got on meals were still being served.

First up was Gibbo he was fun did some classic tunes that sounded great, unfortunately most of the audience were chatting and catching up but they were giving him a round of applause after each song. I was up next as an Emcee for the show and again got stuck in to the crowd work there was a lot of material in the room for me to make fun of and I bounced off the audience well. I did get pretty dirty with this show without being crass I am starting to really work out how to get away with murder up there I think the fact I am finding my voice now is helping.

Because we were running late and behind time we didn’t have a break, But when I did the Intro for Dave he said aint we having a break? No! He said, “nah lets have a break I’m going for a piss” and walked out then most of the crowd walked out too.

That’s the reason you don’t have a break when its getting late because people are tiered they have been held up already so you need to jump on and get going, So when he came back in I did the intro again to only a few people. His set was always going to be hard as most of the crowd had left, he tried his hand at roasting me but it just came out like a rude insult. I did hear one of the best Heckles i have ever heard he had his guitar out and was playing a tune but before he started singing a drunk sang the works, “listening to you is like watching paint dry” The people who were still there lost their shit!

Again we hung out with the crowd after and had a few laughs sang some songs they were a really cool bunch.

The next show is in Morgan South Australia which is Kev’s home town so it will be a great show.

Lessons on this leg;

Again flicking the switch and just going for it sets the tone for a show and lets the crowd know that you are in control.

And getting back to crowd work, I haven’t done much of late and you tend to jump in to your material but I am really a lot more comfortable on stage now, after the hard shows I have done this year I feel like I cant be broken as I have already been to hell There isn’t anything they can do that’s worse than what I have been facing.

I am looking forward to some gigs this week and maybe just doing crowd work and a couple of new bits. If I can get really strong with the crowd work i think I can take on any crowd.

Thanks for reading If you like give it a share and a like.

stay funny

Flemo

 

Touring the country

I’ll give you a brief run down of these shows as the are not all fresh in my mind and i have tried to delete them from my mind. The crowds are small if any which is the problem when you don’t charge entry plus most people in these town don’t know a shows on.

I started a tour along the Murray River a couple of months back for a charity which is raising awareness of mental health issues for our farmers. The Murray river is a very long 2,508 Km to be exact and it runs through three states New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. A huge part of the trek is us following a Kayak-er Kev Cook who is paddling the whole length over 64 days and 42 towns.Four farmers take their lives each day in Australia, so the tour is set up to stop in at the local pub,Golf resort or sportsclub and raise some awareness and bring some laughs to the locals.

We started in Jingellic at the local and only pub in the village, There was only a handful of people at this show but it went well considering. I made one lady spit her drink across the room which is always a win for a comedian.

The lessons range from gig to gig, at this one there wasn’t much i could do either way just plow through it.

The next show was at a golf resort in Howlong, It was a big venue not really set up for comedy but non of these shows are.

Kev and the crew had rounded up a crowd the problem was they were all over 80 years old it was a retirement village show so i was holding back and trying not to offend them.

The slightest swear word got gasps one lady was just shaking her head the whole way through the show. The only positive was crowd work with a couple of the old fellas to the side of the stage they were having a great time a least and came over for a chat afterwards. Tony was a funny guy really friendly and he had a ball so it makes it worth it in some way. The crowd work saved me on this one the material was not suited at all.

Next stop was Corowa Golf Club again this wasn’t set up for comedy and the crowd were there for a raffle so they were held hostage till the comedy was done. And like the night before it was like a retirement village, Add to this there was a darts tournament on right next to me as the show was going on and the AFL Finals on the TV’s.

Again not many people here but at least i found the people who were into it and just worked on making them laugh so it was a slight win. But i was starting to realize the shows might not get any better than this. Again crowd work helped although i didnt do much and punched my way out was becoming the norm on these shows.

Lessons dont finish with a joke about strokes when most of the crowd has had one!

Next was Bundalong a small pub in the middle of nowhere again nobody was there for the comedy it was two groups there for birthdays and I just interrupted their parties with my jokes. I made a dumb move here as i got a child up to tell some jokes which got a great reaction because it was a kid then when i went back to material it didnt work so we had a joke off with some old stock jokes which worked but im not that kind of act i’d prefer to die doing my material than win stealing other comics jokes or reading from a comedy joke book.

Lessons don’t bring a child up on stage until you have finished this gig sucked I sucked the crowd sucked the best thing i did was finish.

Next up was Club Mulwhalla a huge club on the border of NSW and Victoria.

We go in and there are no posters up for the show and the manager knew nothing about the show being on so another good start. I was really over it each gig has nobody there and we have to round up a group of Yeehaa Grandma’s to sit through my hardcore set. The only good thing was it had a huge stage which i feel very comfortable on but a huge room with no audience in it. By the time we finished dinner I really didn’t want to go up, It is more damaging for my mental state and confidence than anything positive that could come from this, I really have not had this many bad shows in a row before.

So I start the show with an interview with Kev and Peter about the trek then head into some jokes. There were mabe 15 people a few ladies from Melbourne who i messed with and did a bit of crowd work but they didn’t hang long. Someone would come down from the pokies so i would hang it on them till they left.

This gig was the best so far mainly because i really didnt care at this point so i didnt hold back or care if i offended anyone plus being on the big stage helped me feel more at home.

One thing I learnt was when i just let loose or get in the zone i win it has been that way over my 25 years in entertainment. It is just hard to let loose when your getting kicked night after night.

When i got back to Melbourne I jumped up at The Comics Lounge which is my home ground and had a killer set, which is just what i needed. I was starting to doubt my material after these shows but when you get up in front of a comedy crowd at a comedy club it made me realize it is the audiences I’m performing to not me.

The next night i got up at a open mic room and ripped out a 28 minute set in a 5min spot haha they dont mind. I went nuts as i do in this room I use it as practice to connect with the crowd.

I really need the real gigs each week to lift me or I will get down,It is hard to get up for a crowd that hasnt turned up for comedy and hasnt paid for the show they have no investment in the show.

But these shows a making me a lot stronger and able to handle to bad things that are going to come up in the next leg.

I’ll do another blog tomorrow about the next leg,

Stay funny.

Flemo

 

 

Night 4 Montreal JFL

I was pumped up for tonight I headed to the Katacombes nice and early to see the Goddamn Comedy Jam again Bill Burr was up again with Margaret Cho and Peter D. The line up was huge and again it was a sell out so I raced over to JFLOL at Newspeak again.

Tonights show was hosted by Jake and Amir they didn’t seem to be very strong in a stand up sense they have a comedy web series and it showed because they we not the best. First up was Graham Clark he is a local and he was ok like the other shows the start really hasn’t been that strong. Next up was Sara Hennessey another local she has won a Canadian Comedy Award for best stand-up and again I had seen better acts when I was in Toronto. The rest of the show was the same except for Duncan Trussell and Ian Edwards I really came to see these two guns and they were great they really stood out from the rest. Duncan did a bit from his show that I have seen before but it was still great and Ian was slow to start but then ramped it up and smashed in the end.

The puppet dude was on again and died HARD again! Mike Ward who is a legend in Canada was on and it was good you could see the years of experience showing through although he didn’t kill. And the final act was Pete Holmes, Pete wasn’t that strong he tends to over smile a lot which I see only as a trick with some acts now. There were others but they weren’t worth mentioning.

Then I headed over to Cleopatras again to see Brian Posehn, Brian has been around forever as an actor, writer, fellow Metalhead  and comedian so it was cool to finally see him live. His set was good up and down with the funny but he seemed to have his crowd in so it was more relatable to those people. He sounds like Louis CK heaps if you close your eyes you would swear it was him. Anyway it was a good show.

Next show was the Roastmaster Invitational again the semi finals tonight we have some great acts on. Tonights Judges are Michael Che (SNL) and Trevor Noah (The Daily Show), stepped in for Keith Robinson, and joined director Jeremy Garelick (The Wedding Ringer), and Jeff Ross to take care of the those duties. First was Sarah Tiana VS Trevor Wilson This was so and it was very funny Trevor took it in the end.Ashley Barnhill and Mathhew Broussard. Both L.A. based comics and both regular competitors in the L.A. Roast Battle scene, Broussard eventually advanced to the semis by defeating Barnhill who had been asked back despite losing the night before. That was due to the poor performance of Mark Forward and Sean Cullen’s delirious half-drunken face-off resulting in neither comic winning.

Next was our own Tom Ballard Vs Tony Hinchcliffe Tony started strong smashed it but then Tom smoked him it was so one sided! Then Jimmy Carr Vs Joe DeRosa and Jimmy destroyed Joe it was so one sided it became funny.

Then I headed back to the after party and caught up with Evan and got free drinks and food met a heap of people then ran into Mini Holmes from Toronto and then she introduced me to a few people including the owner of Yuk Yuks who I hung out with for a while.

Later we were out the back were all the Deathsquad guys were and Duncan Trussell came up to me so we hung out chatting, He is such a nice guy very sweet so make sure you check him out in November when he comes to Oz.

The night finish with Kim, Mini and I going back to the vice president of ICM (the biggest agency in the world) Hotel room and hanging out till the next day drinking and being idiots lotsa fun! Chris is a very nice guy and very funny and great to chat with about the industry and how it works. Who would know more huh.

Lessons 

Roasting is awesome! It is what gives the North American acts an edge we don’t have you can see it in their style and we are falling behind in the standard of comedy because we wouldn’t allow a roast back home. Its mean you can’t say that because he might get upset etc. Im starting it crowd or no crowd!

Once you have a fan base it can become easier to perform. Its like your mates all know you and get you so your jokes work.

It seems a lot of the acts are doing the smaller shows to bring crowds for the bigger ones but the sets are designed for a Gala or theater so the jokes don’t work when it is performed as though there are 100 times the people watching. A pro should be able to do a different set for a small room that is why I think so many suck in the small rooms here.

Be Cool

Flemo

Night one at Just for laughs Montreal.

I headed out early to see a 7pm show as I had a spot at 9pm, but walking through the crowds and feeling the excitement in the air here I started to think it’s a bit far away.

The first show was at the Katacombes its a Metal venue really cool with skulls all over the pillars, Last year the door guy recognised me from Pegazus. So I rock in, I have an Industry pass so I can get in to most of the shows free. $5 PABS at the bar and I’m set. I was hanging to see this show It has a few of the same elements as a show i have been writing for the MICF.

This show is called The Goddamn Comedy Jam a mix of music and comedy each show has 3 acts get up do a set then tell a story then sing a song with the band. It starts with a band and the singer/Emcee Josh Adam Meyers a very good comedian from Baltimore, Maryland. They play songs but sing them in a funny way taking the lyrics literally while roadies are rocking out with the band and really getting the room pumped up.  Then Josh does some stand up and then bring on the 1st act.

First up was Kyle Kinane he has been to JFL a couple of times but been around for ages and he was awesome! The whole room were laughing hard! Great jokes and story before the band joined him for Sweet child of Mine. The guitarist has a flying V violin and starts. And they all go off! They really get the crowd up and going with a crazy intensity and energy. The roadies are jumping around the audience then during the solo the guitarist hangs of the balcony playing the violin then running through the crowd.

Next up was Brent Morin he plays Justin in the sitcom Undateable they are all here for the awards show later in the week. He has done this show a few times and like Kyle he was awesome too he got stronger towards the end.Then they jammed out to Are you gonna be my girl by Jet. Fucken Hate that song! Fake as! But anyway, he and they crew just rocked out hard on it! It was very funny and entertaining everyone is going off on stage the roadies are going nuts and the crowd are loving it.

Then Josh announces that they had a special guest Bill Burr but he has had to split early to film something, But we have a special guest coming up instead one of the biggest rockstars in world Dave Grohl! And everyone goes off! It’s Bill Burr with a wig and a pair of sunny’s on and he launches into a brilliant set, everyone was pissing them selves laughing from start to finish. He is a freak! How can you get much better year after year? To be better than the best year after year and you are the best! My face was hurting! If you know Bill Burr you know he love’s playing the drums so they blast out on some Foo Fighters. I couldn’t believe it this is the first show I see and was I going to go to that gig now? Fuck No! So I bolted to see Duncan Trussell he was right in the middle of the main strip a 5 minute walk.

Duncan is awesome I saw him briefly in LA and he did a lot of the stuff he did at the store but he had tweaked it so it was a lot more punchier. his show has a lot of turns and if you Duncan he has a soothing voice and nature that he can really take you anywhere and you will go.,And his closer is awesome I don’t really want to give any jokes away so I’ll just say when he comes to Australia in November go see him.

Then I raced back to the Katacombes to see Tom Segura, I have been wanting to see him live for ages and he was amazing! He smashed the room was rocking with laughter, Like a packed comics lounge with Pommy Johnson destroying. He is heaps funnier live his mannerisms and looks he gives add so much to his like ability.

The whole night was Stand up Comedy at a different level there is a polish to the jokes and a naturalness to these guys from 10-20 years of really hard work.

Lessons 

If my jokes don’t get the same response they are not finished. They can its just a matter of hard egoless work.

Acting out, everyone does it and does it right!

This is the best festival in the world, if only the Melbourne festival would spend some of that crazy money they make from open mic acts each year and spend it on this level of comedian it would inspire and raise the bar in Melbourne. So we all get better. 

Political correctness is way too over the top in Australia the things that get said here are full on and hilarious!

Don’t be afraid to go further it might be where you find your voice.

This was one of the best nights of comedy I have ever seen. 10/10 

Be Cool

Flemo