Top 30


Okay, so I’m quite happy at the moment – my enhanced comedy podcast - Stand & Deliver! - currently sits at number 29 in the iTunes top 100 comedy podcasts.

I know it’s the quiet time of year when I don’t have new episodes from Tony Martin, Ricky Gervais, Nonstopical or even Radio Ha Ha to contend with – but I’m still proud. I mean, after all, Radio Ha Ha never got up that high…

Don’t know what I’m talking about?

Subscribe via iTunes and find out!

Pretty soon I'm going to burst through my bandwidth. If anyone would like to get on board before that time and buy some advertising, convince a rich and powerful friend to sponsor the show or just donate wads of cash, I'd be ever-so-grateful (you'd only be contributing to the greater good of the Australian comedy scene, after all).

Meanwhile, please feel free to friend me at my MySpace space and Stand & Deliver!’sSpace as well, if you haven’t already.

No pressure.

Radio Ha Ha Episode 37

Geez, I know this was a month ago now, but it feels as though all I did was blink and the time passed. I wonder if I lived in some rural midwest backwater I'd be claiming that aliens abducted me, did the anal probe thing that aliens are wont to do, and that no time actually seemed to go by at all, to explain the break in updates!

Truth is, in the time since my last post, I've spent a week in Melbourne and… hang on, I did something else, otherwise I'm going to have to resort to the interstellar proctologist excuse.

Oh, whatever, more updates will fill you in on the hours whiled away in the face of comedy…

For now, the issue at hand is Episode 37, which consisted of an extended chat with Shane Dundas, the Umbilical Brother without wavy hair.

We talked at length about what the Umbies do - which consisted of a bit of cheating on my part, since I already broadcast a bit of an interview discussing what they did as part of Episode 32 (download it here or listen online here) when we showcased the four nominees of the inaugural Helpmann Award for Comedy (eventually won by Lano & Woodley). In addition to playing excerpts from the excellent Speedmouse DVD, the episode includes another airing of the Umbies' underrated novelty single, 'Don't Dance To This'.

In the same episode, I got to play an interview with with Paul Livingston - aka Flacco. It was probably a bit of a mistake to put Flacco in the same episode as the Umbilical Brothers and dedicate such a fair whack of the show to deconstructing the comedy of both — a bit heavy-going for the casual listener, not least of all because both Flacco and the Umbilical Brothers depend on physicality as well as wordplay and silliness. But for fan, it's rare to get the opportunity to get Paul Livingston, or Shane Dundas, to talk so much about their work.

The Livingston interview was originally conducted for a glossy, Sydney-based magazine called Last - which failed to live up to its name. After a year of existence as a weekly, it started coming out monthly before being shut down. But before it ended, I got to do a 'cover story' - on Flacco's show, Releasing the Imbecile Within. That was for a Sydney run at the Studio of the Sydney Opera House. At the time I was still doing stuff for ABC NewsRadio, so I got to record the interview in a studio, and edit it for broadcast.

This is an entirely different edit (okay, a significantly different edit), featuring soundbites from the likes of DAAS Kapital, the excellent Doug Anthony Allstars comedy that lasted all of two seasons during the early 90s, in which Flacco appeared, plus Live at the National Theatre, a live recording of a Doug Anthony Allstars performance for which Flacco was the support; thanks to Dani Solomon for entrusting me with her Allstars video collection in the pursuit of those sunbites). There are also bits from Flacco and the Sandman Live in the Corridor of Uncertainty a recording of a live show I saw at the Seymour Centre in Sydney in the mid-90s (perhaps I saw Further Down the Corridor of Uncertainty!) released on CD. The one thing I regret is that I failed to include the big finale from the live DAAS video, in which Flacco delivers an excellent cover of Roy Orbison's ("the Big O's, the Big Nothing's the Big Zero's…") 'In Dreams', accompanied by the Allstars. I thought the episode was a bit long… and it was… but maybe that would have brightened it up at the tail end somewhat. Doesn't matter though - when I finally catch up with Ted Robinson, legend of Aussie comedy, I will stick that bit in somewhere!

In all, a lot of ground covered.

Read the transcript at the Radio Ha Ha blog, if you like.

Or, more importantly:

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Meanwhile I promise to get to the more recent episodes sooner, rather than later!

Radio Ha Ha Episode 36

Gosh it’s easy to fall behind with the transcripts and synopses of Radio Ha Ha. The episodes go out weekly, so if you subscribe, you get them anyway. If you’re stumbling on to these episodes after the fact - and in this case, waaaaaaaaaay after the fact, download and listen to the episode (if you think it takes your fancy) and then download the latest gig guide to bring yourself up-to-date.

And, in order to bring you up-to-date, this week’s episode (recorded, not yet edited) will be co-hosted by Eddie Ifft. The following week will feature and interview with Lily Tomlin. Huzaaah!

Meanwhile, the next synopsis/transcript I get around to organising will be for Episode 37, co-hosted by Umbilical Brother Shane Dundas and featuring a Flacco interview.

So on with the synopsis-slash-psychodrama…

Quite recently a comedian accused me of "liking everyone", which, strictly speaking, isn't true - even though, admittedly the amount of comedians I've ever reviewed negatively is remarkably tiny. Which is why some comedians take great joy in drunkenly encouraging me to accost the recipients of said reviews when either one of them happen to be across the room. Which probably was what led Fiona O'Loughlin to ask me, over a drink in the Peter Cook Bar during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, "Why aren't you reviewing for anyone? You'd do a good job; you always say nice things..." (Maybe that's why she recently appeared in a dream, handing me a bunch of those small, sweet bananas. Right now in Australia, that's like someone appearing in a dream offering you jewelry or a large sum of money.)

Tommy Dean was also at the table having a drink at the time, and he replied, "No, what Dom does is he finds nice things to say". Tommy may not appear in a dream handing me bananas, but he's certainly sussed me out! Even if my tastes are so broadly Catholic, I can honestly say that they are not arrived at lightly. I refuse to jump on bandwagons, or to accept anything I haven't either discovered or at least explored, in my own time and/or on my own terms. Which brings us, in quite an around-about way, to Chuck Boyd, co-host of Episode 36 of Radio Ha Ha.

When I first encountered Chuck, he was quite a slick up-and-comer competing in the Raw Comedy competition and, truth be told, what with the sophistication of some of his jokes and his American accent, I naturally assumed that he was an American comic who had gotten to a certain level in his home country, emigrated, and decided to pass himself off as a newbie. Chances are, I marked him harder as a result. But then again, getting billed as Sydney's 'Hanging Judge', that's my prerogative! Irrespective, by the time of State heats ended, Chuck had clearly earned his place in the National Finals, and I didn't think much more about it - until I heard about the Sydney Underground Comedy DVD, of which he was the main organiser, administrator (and, it seems, seller…) Again, I had to approach with at least a slight amount of suspicion. I mean, why did it take a newly arrived American to organise the next wave of the burgeoning Sydney comedy scene? Well, that's part of what Chuck does... and that's part of what we discuss in this episode.

In addition to the examples of Chuck's own comedy, the episode contains great stand-up from Lila Tillman (check out her deliciously dry line about children) recorded live at Comedy On The Rox, at the Roxbury Hotel, Glebe, and Melbourne comic turned Tasmanian comic,Gavin Baskerville recorded live at Mic in Hand at the Friend in hand Hotel, Glebe.

In addition to the more recent stand-up, Lano & Woodley get another run on account of their winning the inaugural Helpmann Award for Comedy (announced Monday 31st July).

Once again, there is a transcript of the episode available for perusal at the Radio Ha Ha blog.


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Radio Ha Ha Episode 35

What a joy Episode 35 was to do!

Judith Lucy agreed to come in and co-host. Now, Judith is someone I've been familiar with since her days on The Late Show on the ABC, one of the later members of the D-Generation, but one that didn't quite make it to The Panel. She always seemed to be part of a sub-unit with Mick Molloy and Tony Martin, so it's no surprise that she wound up as leading lady in their first films, Crackerjack and Bad Eggs, respectively (playing leading lady opposite Mick Molloy).

If you're a fan, you'll know that Judith Lucy is always a joy to watch - that each stand-up show is always better than the last, but that each show seems to grow out of great personal misfortune. In the past, her shows have involved: discovery of her own adoption, well into adulthood, at a family Christmas; the time she paid for the services of a male prostitute; how she dealt with her mother's death. This time round, she deals with a horrible year trying to succeed in commercial radio in Sydney; unfortunately, the breakfast shift she co-hosted with Kaz Cooke and Peter Helliar didn't rate sufficiently. Lucy and Helliar were moved to drivetime. Eventually, Lucy was sacked. And so her show is called I Failed!

This episode features an excerpt from I Failed! - as featured in Judith's set at the 2006 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala. (And, as previously played on Episode 32 of Radio Ha Ha – when we were showcasing the nominees for the 2006 Helpmann Award for Comedy, of whom Judith Lucy is one.) Judith discusses the process of preparing a set for the Gala, some of what may or may not go on backstage, and some of the issues surround I Failed!, the show, and the hell year that inspired it.

In addition to Judith Lucy, this episode also features a great interview with Wil Anderson who, between appearing at the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, spent five days doing ten sold out performances of his current show Wil Communication at the Newtown RSL. Like Judith Lucy, Wil Anderson has stopped doing breakfast radio and begun concentrating more seriously on his comedy. We discusses the effect of that on his work, as well as talking about his 'youth' audience and his Today Tonight-publicised spat with Shannon Knoll.

And to kick off proceedings, more of the stand-up of Mat Kenneally is featured at the beginning of the show. If you'll recall, some of Mat's material got a run last week. Then he was talking about terrorism and public transport. This time, he's talking about drinking.

Once again, there is a transcript of the episode available for perusal.


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Radio Ha Ha Episode 34

Episode 34 was a tough one to do — it was the first one without co-host and co-founder of the show Tammy Tantschev, who has accepted work overseas. She's not left the country yet, but she has left the show — for all of a week — and I already miss her!

Anyway, this is the first episode to feature a 'guest co-host', as it were — stand-up comic Dave Jory.

The first time I met Dave — in fact the first time I met all the comedians in this episode, and Tammy for that matter, was during a heat of Raw Comedy, that competition to locate fresh talent run by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival every year.

As we discuss in the episode, my first impression of Dave — in his black suit, with his bald head, doing dark and shocking material that wasn't necessarily funny — was that he was scary enough to be one of those crims in a Guy Ritchie crime flick.

In addition to playing a bit of Dave’s stand-up, and discussing his development as a comic, we also feature an excellent piece from Sam Bowring. Sam's got an interesting story — having started doing comedy at age 17 at the now-legendary (and sadly defunct) Harold Park Hotel, formerly in Glebe. Since he was under-age, his father had to accompany him to the venue, as legal guardian. But his father wasn't allowed to see him perform — potentially, too embarrassing for Sam!

Not so now — I saw all of the Bowring family at a recent performance, where I got to record Sam. The routine involves him spitting venom at the proprietor of a pie company responsible for the worst pie he‘s ever ingested, and it was recorded — as was all the comedy apart from a little snippet of Dave’s stuff featured early on —live at the Mic In Hand; that’s the Thursday night gig at the Friend In Hand Hotel, Glebe, run by Sam Bowring and fellow stand-up comic Kent Valentine. (The other Dave Jory snippet was recorded at the Comedy Store, at Moore Park).

Actually, now that I think of it, Sam insists we met long before he tried out in Raw Comedy. When he was a 17 year-old open mic comic at the Harold Park Hotel, I was an earnest wannabe publisher, of a comedy zine called Stand & Deliver!. I don't remember encountering him there, but he certainly remembers me and my little zine — which still almost kind of exists, as my blog, also entitled Stand & Deliver!. Before I move on, I think I'd be withholding important information if I didn't add — for the less familiar — the fact that Sam Bowring was shortlisted for 'best newcomer' at this year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival. And Kent Valentine enjoyed a sell-out season (much to my embarrassment, virtually the only Sydney act I didn't see down there — only because every time I set aside an evening to see him, he was, of course, sold out!)

The other comedian whose work gets a run in Episode 34 is Mat Kenneally, another comic from the ranks of the legal fraternity (that gave us the likes of John Cleese, Tim Brooke-Taylor, James O'Loghlin and many others I should be able to name but can't off the top of my head right now). I got to know Mat this year because he was one of four comics appearing in The Comedy Zone — the show the Melbourne International Comedy Festival puts together by selecting a bunch of up-and-comers from a series of auditions. Of course, Mat insists that I saw him in a Raw final (he would have been a law student in Canberra then; I would have seen him in a NSW State final) and that I commended him on a particular routine for being politically aware and still very funny. I don't actually remember the conversation or the bit of material, but I can still commend Mat for producing that sort of comedy. In fact, it was a joy to see him MC at the Mic In Hand a couple of weeks ago; he was the MC at The Comedy Zone, and was great, but he's already come a long way since then!

If any of this interests you, you may read the transcript of the episode here;


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Where to go for Tim Brooke-Taylor

This post originally contained a link to what I felt was a substandard execution of a great interview with Tim Brooke-Taylor of the Goodies. I had promised to produce a better edit of the interview, and I have. It now forms part of Episode 1 of Radio Ha Ha.

To hear it, you can click here.

To read a transcript of the interview, the entire episode can be read at the Radio Ha Ha website — as part of Episode 1.

And, if you like what you hear and read, go here and copy and paste the appropriate link into your podcastcher to have Radio Ha Ha downloaded to your computer every week.