There’s been much high-fiving online this week among Adele fans, who are delighted with the way in which local comedy hero, Adam Hills, took down Joan Rivers for making fun of the the singer’s weight.
The veteran comedienne went on David Letterman’s show after the Oscars and made cruel fun of Adele’s post-baby body. She said she’d met the singer at the event and then made a “she’s thiiisssss big” type gesture by spreading her arms wide and puffing out her face.
Rivers was unrepentant when audience members jeered her for unkindness and added “What’s her song? Rolling in the Deep? She should add ‘fried chicken’.” Boom boom. Ugh.
The gag quickly made its way around Facebook. “Dear Religion,” it began. “This week I safely dropped a human being from space while you shot a 14-year-old girl in the head for wanting to go to school. I kinda feel like you need a better hobby. Yours, Science.”
Cue canned laughter, roll the snare drum.
The “in” thing, social media-wise, is ragging on religion from a place of science-based moral superiority. Twitter is rife with it. If a poster isn’t saying people of faith are gullible fools, he or she is saying persons with viewpoints that run contrary to science have no right to express their opinion.
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Don’t punch reviewers in the face. That’s the official word from the press office after the Edinburgh Fringe officially started Saturday, August 3rd.
The Edinburgh Fringe is an open access festival, however there are several large companies that run venues and put together their own programs of events within the festival. I’m with C Venues, who mostly specialize in theatre, with a smattering of other acts including comedy.
It was the opening night of a theatre show, where a performer got a bit enthusiastic with a hand gesture, and accidentally punched an audience member in the face. Who turned out to be a reviewer. Who wrote a scathing review, for a show that by all other reports is pretty good.
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The Edinburgh Fringe Festival runs from August 3-27. So all I need to do is turn up, do my shows and leave. When I’m not sleeping off a hangover, probably use my spare time to check out some castles, attempt to digest some haggis and have a look for the Loch Ness Monster.
Being a comedian sounds awesome. Once you get past that whole fear of talking in public, and fear of people not laughing. Then there’s that first time nobody laughs, and you’re so embarrassed and shattered, you never want to do it again.
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After giving up an engineering career, and then journalism, I decided to try the one thing I’d always wanted to. Comedy. Mum said, “It’s wonderful that you’re following your dreams.”
Dad said, “Why didn’t you work this out years ago? Instead of paying for an education, I could’ve taken your mother to Europe.”
My girlfriend at the time said, “You’re very brave. Especially considering that you’re not that funny.”
Dear god, please make more people like Sacha Baron Cohen. One of those rare human beings who goes through life with his filter firmly switched to “off.”
He says what he thinks, when he thinks it. It’s off the cuff, astute and very, very funny. The world needs more people like that. Go easy on the lewdness though, because watching two grown men wrestling in the nude is not to everyone’s taste.
Sacha Baron Cohen is the legend of the one-liner. Cast your eye over his advice for leaders, given in full costume upon his arrival at Sydney Airport yesterday, to get a feel for what he does. Explaining it is a bit trickier.
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This is the final instalment from the Adelaide Fringe from Darien O’Reilly profiling acts which are soon to tour the eastern states, including the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
Sarah Jones Does Not Play Well with Others, Sarah Jones: “Sarah Jones does not play well with others” is a quote from Sarah’s grade 2 report card. This show sets out to explain Sarah’s personal reasons and behaviours that would make a primary school teacher write this about her. We meet Sarah throughout various stages of her life, as a child, as a self confessed dorky teenager and as a grown dorky ventriloquist touring the world fearing that she’s only several years away from becoming an old crazed haggard cat lady.
The show is simply staged and produced allowing us to focus on the things that matter within it. Sarah has a brilliant ability to produce animated puppets from the simplest of things (blankets, pillowcases, sheets and socks for example) and imbue them striking and distinctive personalities. This ability highlights her sketch comedy writing skills meaning that the show can be enjoyed as much for its verbal twists and turns as for its remarkable visual appeal.
We are introduced many characters along the way including her “only” childhood friend, a cat, who is a tad shirty about having been kept in a box for the last twenty years, her Uncle Albert, and her baby in the wonderfully crafted and random audience interaction scene.
This second instalment on the Adelaide Fringe looks at Gordon Southern: International World Clown and Spontaneous Broadway, who will be playing Melbourne Comedy Festival next month.
Gordon Southern’s A Brief History of History aims to present the history of history in an hour. The self proclaimed International World Clown aims to roam freely throughout the many cultures and empires that have risen and fallen throughout the ages and introduce the many weird and wonderful aspects of life and recorded history to us.
He throws a modern spotlight upon these older cultures in an often hilarious manner The pacing is machine gun. He highlights the absurdity integral to history and utilises PowerPoint in a manner which many university lecturers could learn from.
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- This first instalment on the Adelaide Fringe looking at acts which are about to tour the eastern states looks at Doc Faustus and the Scottish Falsetto Sock Theatre.
Doc Faustus: Sound and Fury. Playing until March 17: American nouveau vaudeville company Sound and Fury’s signature dish – the parody – is built upon a bed of puns, accompanied by sweetly chilled aural aperitifs, baked physical theatre and visual gags (I’m looking at you, dying goat) tossed with innuendo and served at a breakneck pace with little or no regard for the wall separating audience from performer.
In this case Christopher Marlowe’s original Faust, a highly successful scholar dissatisfied with his life, makes a deal with the devil (Mephistopheles, or Mel) and exchanges his soul for 24 years of unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Faust has long symbolised humanity’s dichotomous nature and how unbridled success, pleasure and power can weirdly lead to regrets and a quest for purity and redemption.
In Doc Faustus, the scholar becomes a quaint, slightly goofy, patient-killing doctor in a one horse town just outside of Abilene whose highest personal ambition is to become the personal physician to the State’s Governor. We are treated to a staccato travelogue of Faustus’ desires, whims and journeys through the ages and continents told in the most engaging manner. Both versions deal with the 24 years of untrammelled success, freedom and desires, both show the peccadilloes of human nature and regrets that come with living. Sound and Fury just happen to do it with better songs, cheaper jokes and nary a wasted line to be seen or heard.
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As I took my seat at Alain de Botton’s “Religion for Atheists” last week, I caught sight of a postcard promoting the upcoming Global Atheist Convention.
It listed the usual suspects - Dawkins, Harris, Myers (and sadly not Hitchens). But then I was confused. Was the Atheist Convention trying to save money by co-advertising with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival?
Out of the 34 speakers, 10 are comedians: Ben Elton, Mikey Robbins, Lawrence Leung, Jim Jeffries, Catherine Deveny, Simon Taylor, Tom Ballard, Stella Young, Craig Foster and Mr Deity. Sounds like good news for Melburnians - buy one ticket, get two conferences.
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I am not a fan of romantic comedies, or as they’re called in my living room when I’m alone and in the word for low-level wordplay: “vom-coms”. My housemates are fans of romantic comedies, however, and often offer up their DVD collections for my viewing “pleasure”.
Unfortunately, many of the DVD covers have been lost, due to the fact that my housemates may or may not have procured their movie collections via legitimate means. This means that, when I’m in the mood for a bit of Hollywood, I have a great teetering pile of almost identical discs imprinted with only a movie title to choose from.
No pictures of Matthew McConaughey leaning quirkily and sickeningly against this week’s femme. No scrolling silver script to indicate impending matrimony or whimsical flirtation. No Heigl or Aniston or Roberts or Jessica Parker on the cover looking diagonally upwards. Just titles.
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Writer, comedian and Can of Worms reporter Dan Ilic visited Aussie diggers in Afghanistan last month to perform a series of comedy shows. He writes about his time in Tarin Kowt in this second part of a two-part report. Read the first part here.
The next stop on the trip was the Australian stronghold of Tarin Kowt.
We flew there on an Australian Chinook, a large transport helicopter that can fit about 40 soldiers and gear. This was an amazing journey. Flying tactically, we buzzed across the Afghan terrain only about a hundred metres off the ground, hugging the valleys and mountains for cover.
In the back of my head I knew that only a few weeks before an American Chinook got shot down carrying 30 Special Forces troops. But somehow this was suppressed by the sheer excitement of being in a big loud flying machine.
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Writer, comedian and Can of Worms reporter Dan Ilic visited Aussie diggers in Afghanistan last month to perform a series of comedy shows. Today, he writes about what he saw and experienced, in the first of a two-part report.
Here are some tips for comedians. Never try out new jokes to a hostile crowd. If you do, keep it short.
Whatever you do, don’t go out to an unfamiliar audience and give them 15 minutes of new material you wrote just for them until you’ve actually learnt all the jokes. I did this recently on stage in front of a crowd of about 50.
I could tell the gig was going to be dull. It’s called Funny Shui: the audience all self-consciously sit as far away as possible from the stage. I couldn’t even make eye contact with this group. Showtime.
Once upon a time there was an endearing little sitcom called Bewitched. It was predictable and more than a little cheesy, but it was good fun.
A few decades later, there was another sitcom called Two and a Half Men. It was predictable and more than a little cheesy, and it mightily sucked.
Two and a Half Men resumed overnight, after a six month absence caused by Charlie Sheen’s quest to simultaneously screw every woman in the world along with his own dignity. He succeeded in both.
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Stand-up comedy’s a funny thing…but there’s nothing funny about stealing another comedian’s jokes. Unless you do it on national television and it spawns hilarious Twitter hashtags like #JordanParisQuotes and #Jordangate. But seriously, there’s nothing funny about stealing another comedian’s jokes. Unless it leads to me scrolling through my Facebook news feed pissing myself laughing. But even then it’s not funny.
The Jordan Paris story is right here just in case you haven’t checked it out. And you can see the original Lee Mack routine there as well.
Now something that happens a lot is comedians make jokes about the same subjects. Airplane travel, wives, husbands, kids, jobs, the killing of Osama Bin Laden - the list goes on. But those jokes are never almost word-for-word identical. Every comedian approaches things in their own unique way, so while the subject is the same, the journey and the destination are always a little different. But you’d have to be one hell of a believer in divine synchronicity to suggest that someone isn’t ripping someone off in this instance.
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The Palace is not amused. A royal edict, delivered not by chariot with unfurled parchment, but via grey-suits and sneaky lawyer speak, has decreed there shall be no Chaser royal wedding coverage. Oh, well. No big loss.
Let’s face it, you were either going to salivate over every second of the straight Royal Wedding coverage, or you were going to act like someone with a life and ignore it completely. The Chaser’s coverage, despite this week’s massive publicity blitz, was always going to be of minimal interest to the masses.
That’s not to say The Chaser’s take wouldn’t have been a laugh. Without doubt, it would have been an amusing enough diversion from the obsessive fussing over the length of the bride’s train, Beckham’s wedding hairdo and other minutiae. But there’s no way it would’ve been must-see TV, and there’s a very simple reason why.
As fossil fuels dwindle and we struggle to feed a hungry population, the world faces a new shortage. As we speak, implausibly rugged scientists are being taken by chopper to a secret bunker while Robert Redford does his best to convince an old special forces type to leave his forest cabin for one last job.
They told us the supply wouldn’t last. “Ration it out,” they told us, “there’s plenty to go around”, but we didn’t listen.
That’s right, because of our greed and refusal to acknowledge the finite nature of our resources, the world has run out of Charlie Sheen jokes.
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Jim Carrey. Ricky Gervais. Adam Sandler. Steve Martin. All well-known funny men. Well, move over, guys. Philip Nitschke, the world’s best-known euthanasia activist, is considering a career change.
Life must have been pretty dreary for Nitschke lately. He has spent the last fortnight or so touring the British Isles in the dead of winter, touting his message of suicide on demand. It must be a bit demoralising to give a passionate lecture to a sea – a pond actually – of blue rinsed and bald heads in chilly local halls week after week.
But things are looking up. Dr Nitschke is contemplating a career as a stand-up comedian. No, this is not, repeat, not a joke. He told the newspaper Wales on Sunday, “There is a proposal to do some sort of stage stand-up comedy. It will be comedy associated with the issues of death and dying directed more at entertainment, that’s what we are looking at.”
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I recently watched Ricky Gervais hosting the Golden Globe Awards and found it hilarious. He’s got guts. In his closing line he shouted out that he wanted to thank God for making him an atheist. I think that also took guts - on top of everything he mentioned during the night he finishes off the show with a jab at religion.
It makes me wonder sometimes, being a religious person myself, how different would life be if you’re an atheist?
I moved into a new house not long ago and on our first night’s sleep, we discovered a note was cellotaped to the back of our bedroom door. It was a prayer, one I hadn’t heard before. The following morning I looked it up and discovered that it’s a life prayer.
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As an avid consumer of news, I’m considering adopting a few new hobbies over the next few months.
They include: Developing a crystal meth addiction, having 12 sugars in my morning coffee, throwing cinder blocks through shopfronts, having unprotected sex with at least four people a day, permanently wearing one of those beer helmets and making a giant inflatable ark-type thing out of all those condoms I won’t be using.
In case you’ve been living under a rock in a Cold War-style nuclear bunker, the end of the world has been slated for 2012… or 2036… or something.
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In Kerang, Victoria, visiting mother. Helping clean up house after floods. Damage has been extensive, and mother’s insurance may not cover the entire bill. Mother is at least relieved that, as a flood victim, she will get an exemption from Gillard’s flood tax levy. Maybe I should change my postal address to also avoid levy?
Go downtown for breakfast. Locals keep telling me I look familiar. Reluctant to reveal that I am an MP. Have already heard my quota of flood stories from mother. Decide to tell locals I work in insurance. Serious mistake. Pretty sure I would be better off pretending to be Greens Senator.
Decide not to change postal address - don’t want to end up representing these people.
Think we’ve got a new paradigm? Get this: two comedians are positioning themselves as the voices of reason in American politics.
Jon Stewart of The Daily Show and his Comedy Central colleague Stephen Colbert have just announced they will hold rallies at the end of October in Washington D.C. calling for a return to common sense in debate in the US.
This is in response to last month’s rally led by conservative commentator Glenn Beck calling for a restoration of “traditional values” to American life. That rally, held on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, was well-attended by members of the Tea Party movement, a loose anti-taxation, anti-establishment grassroots movement which has just managed to get some of its members installed as Republican candidates for the US Senate.
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Is Flying High the funniest movie ever made?
This month the comedy classic Flying High (aka Airplane!) celebrated its 30th anniversary – and I’m pretty much certain it is still the funniest movie of all time.
No other film comes close to the sheer number of jokes packed into a trouser-dampening 88 minutes, so many quotable lines and visual gags that simply refuse to age like almost every other comedy.
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Well it’s official: we’re at war with Alabama. Rather than being conducted in a conventional sense this war will be one of utes vs trucks, and fought between men wearing AC/DC shirts on one side and Metallica t-shirts on the other. Fortunately all will be sporting mullets.
If you’re not sure why this war has been declared it’s the fault of comedian Robin Williams. He had the audacity to joke that Australia was basically a country made up of “English rednecks”. This drew an embarrassing sub-par comeback from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who suggested that Robin Williams “should go and spend a bit of time in Alabama before he frames comments about anyone being particularly redneck”, he told Triple M radio. (Of course he has to say “frames comments” rather than just “calling us” or something.)
Now the Governor of Alabama Bob Riley has bought into the conflict, putting out a statement today saying he his rather confused by all this.
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I don’t know how it happened. It could be higher levels of blue-rinse in the water. Maybe it’s a spike in the sales of model trains. Or a sudden surge in the demand for lamingtons. But 2009 is unofficially shaping up to be The Year Of The Wowser.
With almost German precision (if I am permitted to use nationality as the basis of my point), the chorus of shrill voices responding to controversy in comedy has been oscillating at a rock solid bi-weekly frequency in recent months.
While you have to admire the sheer energy these biddies have - you can’t grant them any real depth of understanding when it comes to the art form. (And yes. It is an art form.)
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It’s less than a fortnight since Mark Scott made his annual trip to Canberra for his annual dust-up with conservative politicians at Senate Estimates hearings. This gives him a full 50 weeks to prepare for next year’s breathless interrogation as to why the national broadcaster used taxpayer funds to fly John Safran to Israel so he could masturbate on television.
This at least will be the puritanical take on what unfolded on our screens at 9.30 last night in the debut of Safran’s mega-hyped new series Race Relations.
As part of his exploration of interracial relationships and attraction, Safran flew to Israel where he arranged for a Palestinian man to donate sperm which he then took to an Israeli fertility clinic. In return, the Jewish Safran donated sperm to a Palestinian fertility clinic, using a photograph of Barack Obama to arouse himself.
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It’s been one of the most hyped shows of the year, sparking complaints before it even aired, and an extraordinary pre-emptive plea on The Punch today by ABC director of television Kim Dalton for conservative viewers to switch off. Join our live blog here at 9.30pm tonight to discuss John Safran’s new show, and tell us what you think.
Live tonight: The Punch team will blog here tonight during John Safran’s show. Join us from 9.30pm
I have some blunt advice for some of the people who will be reading this article on The Punch. And it is not the kind of advice you would expect from the ABC’s Director of Television.
My message is this: think carefully before you settle into the couch tonight for the 9.30pm premiere of John Safran’s comedy-documentary Race Relations. If you think you are going to be offended or outraged (or want to be offended or outraged) then don’t tune in.
This ABC program is not for everyone. It was not designed to be. By scheduling the series at 9.30pm and attaching an M warning the ABC is signalling that this is challenging fare. John Safran’s Race Relations contains material that some viewers will disagree with or find distasteful.
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Aussies consider themselves as pretty funny but sadly Australian TV comedy is no laughing matter.
Perhaps that’s not true if you are satisfied, wit-wise, with a boy smearing vegemite all over himself on a Hey Hey It’s Saturday – The Exhumation special.
Still, such antics may have a lowest rung place on the spectrum of disposable panel/skit/stunt shows that Aussie TV throws and sometimes throws up at us.
AS Australians, we have a reputation for our offbeat sense of humour. But is the joke now on us? Or are we just losing our sense of humour, or more to the point, the art of satire?
Humour - or rather the lack of it has occupied more bloggers’ bytes on news sites over the past fortnight than any other topic.
Asked by news reporters for their view, everyone, right up to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, seems to have an opinion about what’s funny and what’s not.
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