Asher Treleaven


Asher Treleaven wont tell me about the lobster dance, but then again he’s barely had breakfast. I catch him on the phone in Adelaide on what he promises are his final mouthfuls, and dutifully call back a few minutes later. I tell him not to worry, I’m not going to work the questions too hard. “That’s good because I am an idiot. For a while there I was talking into a brick, instead of my phone when it rang.”


The critically acclaimed comedian who is known for his keen blend of smart political satire and ridiculous physical comedy is back for his seventh comedy festival, and this time his show, Smaller Poorer Weaker Cheaper, approaches his subject, fear and the economy, a little differently. “I set out to write a show about how rich people being arseholes is bad for the economy. When I finished writing the show I talked to my wife… she said ‘That sounds like a shit idea, can you please just write a fucking show that is you, rather than pretending to be this kind of activist, left wing intellectual browbeating comedian telling people how the world is when you’re really not like that at all.’ And I said, ‘Tell me more.’ and then she gave me the most serious dressing down have ever had in my life as a comedian, and I have had some savage reviews from some absolute pricks. So I started again.” With the aid of this editorial savagery, Treleavan has transformed the show into something that is “About a man desperately trying to convince an audience, any audience, that you can do a good show while everything falls to shit around you throughout the day.”


With Treleaven’s distinctive, energetic style, combining wit and physical comedy, it’s hard to fault an evening spent at his mercy. Although his comedy has always been centred around the physical and the silly, his political force has been a fixed aspect of his work. “Politics are part of me and part of my personality. It’s about picking the political things I talk about, rather than letting the new social media wash over me… You just get bombarded by all this shit to be angry about all the time…. it can be difficult sometimes to not only, I guess, pick the topics, that matter to you, but also to pick topics politically that you are educated enough to approach in a fresh way.”


This sort of talk is definitely refreshing. “You hear so many comedians going ‘blah blah blah gay marriage’ and you’re like, you’re not part of the community, you don’t give a fuck about this, you’re just saying it to get kind of like, a clap… I’m as angry about things as anyone else, but just because I’m angry about the wrongful incarceration about refugees on Manus Island, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I have the intellegence, the research and the comedy chutzpah to go on stage and talk about it as a white middle class vanilla fucking pedestrian guy.” Wise words, but what becomes most apparent about this chat is the special event that is in store for his audiences. He says, “Why don’t you ask me about my big lobster dance finisher?” I’m not one to disappoint. Please, can he tell me about this lobster dance I’ve heard so much about? “Oh come on it’s a secret, I mean you’ve gotta see the show, then you’ll get the lobster dance at the end of the show, I can’t tell you about the lobster dance now.” It’s more something you have to experience for yourself? “It really is.”


Venue: Gin Palace – The Swamp. 10 Russell Place, Melbourne

Dates & Times 27 Mar – 20 Apr 9.30pm

Tickets: $28 & $25



Published as part of the Beat – Melbourne Comedy Festival Lift Out

Marty Putz, The Very Weird and Slightly Dangerous


Canadian comedian Marty Putz returns to the Melbourne Comedy Festival after a ten year sortie into producing and writing television. His show, The Very Weird and Slightly Dangerous is an all ages affair, but it still retains its edge, “I think we all like that rush of something that tends to make you feel just a little dangerous, whether it’s the first time we get on a bike, or the first time we ride a skateboard. For me my hero was Evel Knievel growing up, so a lot of the dangerous elements I kind of see myself that way a little bit, and the weird, I’ve always loved weird things, I’ve always loved magic… magic was always weird to me. I loved the sideshow freaks at circuses and quirky inventors and anything that was slightly odd.”

The Comedy Festival loves its family-friendly comedy as a way of getting laughs to as many people as possible. “I like to call the evening shows ‘Simpsons-friendly’… there’s a little bit of edge that would go over the heads of kids, for the adults, there’s a lot actually, and the afternoon show is really geared towards, you know, full-on family and kids.” These afternoon sessions will be concentrated over the school holidays, so that everyone can witness the gadgets and inventions Putz is going to bring to his comedic visual weirdness.

Comedy came to Putz as, literally, an accident. “I loved magic as a kid, and I was a really bad magician… I had things go horribly wrong, like I dropped the rabbit… and people laughed, and rather than be upset about it I kind of just fed off it and proceeded to muck everything else up purposely, and that’s when I heard the laughter, that was it.” These early days have grown into full-blown spectacular, with flying hamsters, exploding suits, weird inventions and huge marshmallow fights making up the show.

“We’re locked away in a secret location where right now I’m working on all the pneumatic fittings to try and get some of this stuff going. I’m excited to go into the Spiegeltent, and I think it lends itself to my show because it’s kind of a new vaudeville vibe to it… and I think there’s this great sense of ‘What happens in the tent stays in the tent’.” His enthusiasm beyond the Spiegeltent, for touring Australia and New Zealand is palpable. “I love this part of the world, everything about it… there’s a nice sense of reckless opportunity here as a performer. I find Australian audiences welcome strange and creative people who are willing to step on the edge to try something different… it’s just fantastic.” And his love of Australian and New Zealand performers is just as enthusiastic.

“I haven’t really sat down to decide what I want to see, but I remember Fleety, Greg Fleet I always enjoy. I pretty much want to see anyone that’s not North American just to get a taste and a flavour of what’s going on in this part of the world. And the Umbilical Brothers are great, and I always loved loved loved Lano and Woodley, and I know each of them has a show going now too so I sure would love to see both of them. They were fantastic.”


Venue: The Famous Spiegeltent at Federation Square

Dates: 27 March – 6 April (not Mondays) at 7pm (Sun 6pm), 8 April – 19 April (not Mon, Fri & Sun) at 2.30pm (Sat 5.30pm) Previews 27 Mar – 30 Mar

Tickets: $15 – $28




Published as part of the Beat – Melbourne Comedy Festival Lift Out

Stephen K Amos


Stephen K Amos is a charming, much-loved veteran of the Melbourne Comedy Festival. He is currently in Adelaide before moving on to Brisbane and then Melbourne for his, what number Comedy Festival in Melbourne? “Do you know what, I can’t, honestly, genuinely remember. When I first came out to Australia many years ago, maybe it was nine years ago, I never dreamt, in my wildest dreams that I would still be here, in 2014, doing another show… in Adelaide it’s raining, very unusually, I’ve been here for a week, and it’s just been the most amazing long weekend ever, with Womadelaide, the Future Festival, the Fringe Festival, the Festival Festival, it’s all happening.”

For his show this year, What does the K stand for? Amos is concentrating on his personal stories, and how they relate to the universal. “I’ve called it ‘What does the K Stand for?’ because that is the one question, bar any, that I’m asked of, and everywhere I go, be it an interview or someone on the street it’s ‘What does the K stand for?’ and it got to the point where I was thinking ‘What are the other questions people never ask each other, as human beings?’ And I’m sure we’ve all got a question that people keep asking us, whether you’ve got a funny sounding name or maybe you’ve mole on your face, but people don’t normally ask about your sexuality, or religious or political beliefs. You know there’s certain questions that you don’t even broach, you know those dinner party conversation killers? So I’m just having a light-hearted look at all the questions that should have been asked.”

But when I ask what that letter K does stand for, Amos is coy. “If I tell you that then the end of the show will be a bit of a giveaway.” For him, this is where the heart of his show comes from, “I propose the idea that it could be anything.”

Amos has just wound up his last tour two weeks ago, and is about to start work on a sitcom.”This is something I’ve written and it’s all about my kind of formative years growing up in South London, a child of immigrant parents, so it’s quite an interesting time, and also I’m thinking of doing a three month tour in America, after I’ve finished here in Australia.”

He’s looking forward to seeing his fellow comedians from the UK, but he’s also enthusiastic about the Australian comedy scene. I’m looking forward to seeing Sarah Kendall, a Melbourne lady who has done some very good stuff in the past, and also there’s some very good news for one of the comedy festival galas, I’m not quite sure if I’m allowed to say anything about it at this moment.”

That is something to look forward to, but he’s not to be distracted from encouraging local talent. “All I would say is that I’m very grateful that the Australian audiences, be it Melbourne, Brisbane, or Adelaide, come out and support what I do, but I also think that it’s very important that, you know, you also seek out your local talent. There’s a lot of people coming through the Australian comedy scene that are making waves around the world, so check out people you’ve never heard of, but yeah come and watch me too, you’re guaranteed a laugh.” The other thing that he’s looking forward to is in Adelaide, “I can’t wait for the closing party here, it’s going to be full on.” Have you got any goals, goals for the party? “Maybe to wake up under a table somewhere that isn’t my hotel? It’s a good goal isn’t it?”


Venue: Athenaeum Theatre

Dates: 27 March – 20 April (not Mondays), Previews 27 & 28 March

Tickets: $36.00 – $45.00

Times: 19:20 [Sun 18:20]



Published as part of the Beat – Melbourne Comedy Festival Lift Out Guide

The Boy with Tape on His Face


The Boy With Tape On His Face has gone from strength to strength since his breakout Edinburgh Fringe season four years ago. The New Zealand comic, real name Sam Wills, uses a blend of whimsical visuals, prop gags, and puppetry, along with gentle audience participation to charm his audience. Wills tells me more about his character and his brand new show, which he is currently performing in Adelaide.

“The Boy With The Tape On His Face was a character I developed seven years go. I used to do sort of normal stand up comedy back in New Zealand until I got bored of my own voice and bored of doing the same sorts of tricks and stuff, so I set myself a goal to develop something which had no talking and no tricks, and I wanted to find a way to get the audience to entertain themselves, so the character came from that.” The clincher, though, which created his namesake, came more out of necessity than anything else. “On the first night of the show, I went onstage − and I didn’t have tape originally − I went onstage and ruined it within the first couple of minutes by talking to the audience, out of a general panic of being way out of my comfort zone. And so the next night I was backstage joking with some other comics, and a roll of gaffer tape was around, and one suggestion turned into now a career.”

When talking about influences and how he builds his character, like his show, Wills draws a little bit from everywhere, including his main inspiration, Wile E Coyote. “I love that concept where you can phone in and you get this delivery and it’s this crazy invention. And for me I take that to junk shops − there’s a shop here in Adelaide called the Reject Shop, which is very good, you know the shops that carry bric-a-brac, multivitamins, clothing, hardware, I love them because you can find everyday objects that everyone knows, and for me it’s a challenge just to take that object and make it into something else that people aren’t expecting, and match it with a perfect song to create a whole new thing with it, which is really fun.” Which means he’s over the moon when I tell him we have a Reject Shop in Melbourne. When I mention Arthur Daley’s Clearance House he knows all about it, “Oh I know that one, I remember that one from five years ago and it was freakin’ amazing!”

It’s time to clear up peoples’ fears about the audience participation element of his show, something that could wrongly send punters running. “It’s the nice sort − this is the other thing I’m trying to do one audience at a time is change the perception of audience participation, cause when you say that everyone freaks out… people who have done audience participation have been doing it wrong, where they tend to humiliate the one person onstage… whenever I get someone up on stage I want to celebrate them being there and that they helped out with the show, so that when they leave, they’re leaving the stage a hero! And it’s reached the point now where people are actually wanting to be on stage which is very strange.”

It seems like audiences can expect a thoroughly positive and hilarious experience from The Boy With Tape On His Face. “The last time I was in Melbourne was five years ago at the comedy festival, and that was my first show so the show that’s happening this time is never-before-seen in Melbourne, it’s 100 percent new material… it’s good fun.”

Venue: The Forum, Upstairs – 154 Flinders St, Melbourne

Dates: 27 March – 20 April (not Mondays), Previews 27 – 30 March

Tickets: Thu/Sun Full $30, Conc $25, Tue/Wed All Tix $25, Fri/Sat All Tix $30

Times: 7:30pm Tue-Sat, 6:30pm Sun, or 1300 660 013


Published as part of the Beat – Melbourne Comedy Festival Lift Out Guide

Tom Stade (Best of the Edinburgh Fest)


I feel charmed but slightly depersonalised when I ask Tom Stade − one third of the Best of the Edinburgh Fest show playing at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and acclaimed Canadian comic − to tell me about his show. “Well Beat − I hope you don’t mind me calling you Beat? I feel kinda of close to you guys now. I am the show… you come to see Tom Stade and not a theme. And Tom Stade has many themes, to focus on just one would not be a true celebratory representation of life. Just buckle in and get ready to relate!” He then apologises for speaking in the third person. Since I am being referred to as Beat I can’t really find the heart to complain.


Stade got into comedy the way most seem to − in an extreme moment of clarity and inspiration. “I was elevated out of whatever humdrum existence society had for me before comedy intervened! I was planning to ‘end up’ being an actor until I went down to a comedy club many moons ago and saw a friend who was on, and he pulled some strings and next thing I know I did my first gig and I never looked back.”


This is Stade’s second Melbourne Comedy Festival, and he’ll be playing with two of the UK’s hottest new comics. “My partners in comedy crime are the super comedy talents of Carl Donnelly and Kai Humphries, I’m proud to be one of their wingmen.” Donnelly has been referred to as “A remarkable talent − a relaxed, easygoing anecdotalist with an eye for funny details.” While Kai Humphries’ style is known as “Happy, original and surreal.” When Stade talks about where he’s at, he’s philisophical about his ambitions. “I think I’m hungrier now for success than I was a couple of years ago. After we signed a DVD deal and recorded the Tom Stade Live DVD it lit a fire under me! I try to stay true to the comedy art form, and would always try to be successful in the comedy biz on my own terms − looks like the biz likes my terms!”


What thing, person or idea are you most obsessed with at this time? “That’s easy, first we’ll start with ‘thing’ and that has to be my Kindle Fire HD. ‘Person’? That’s easy the wonderful, challenging, sexy, frustrating, ‘why won’t she just do things my way, yes I’ll listen,’ and smart, the greatest photographer in the world and equal partners in the Stade family business…Trudy Stade! And ‘idea I’m obsessed with at this time’ is why is Scotland the only place if you buy a house you have to bid over the asking price? Messes with my head!”


When I ask what else he gets up to in his spare time apart from being depressed about real estate he replies, “I’ve joined a beginners jogging club and I’m up to 5min walk, 15min jog, 5min walk, cool down. Oh and I enjoy gambling all my money away! There’s a horse track in Melbourne right?” Sure is. He’s coy when I ask if he has any other projects in the works right now, but he is at least super enthusiastic about the festival. “I could’ve of done a lot more [Festivals], it’s not like I wasn’t asked constantly, but sadly I have an awesome family so it was hard to get out there without leaving them behind. But the kids are older now, so look out cause the Stades are a-coming!”


27th March – 20th April, Tue-Sat 7.30pm
Sun 6.30pm

70 minutes

VENUE: RMIT Capitol Theatre


$26 – $34

Published as part of the Beat – Melbourne Comedy Festival Lift Out Guide