Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A great thing I just heard

I have a secret dream. Actually, it's more a secret crazy thing I cling to against all good judgement. It's this: I'll know the man I'm supposed to marry as a sign will come in the form of a perfectly crafted, serious enough to get on air but ironic enough to make me cackle love song dedication message from him, culminating in a Richard Mercer playing Truly Madly Deeply for me. ME*.

So you'll understand why I was impressed when I heard a comedian utilising this wonderful tool this evening. Sanderson Jones is performing this festival for realz this year. He used to come and not put his name in the program but flyer out the front of the Town Hall like a tall, charming British trooper to get audiences. But now he's paid his festival fee I can totes link to his show: here 'tis. Sanderson called up Richard aka the Love God, to spurt romantic nonsense about broken hearts caused by long-distance relationships while shoe-horning jokes in anywhere he could. Hats off, Sanderson. Your ploy has worked. One more audience member here. If only he'd requested Savage Garden instead of Phil Collins' Against all odds (Take a look at me now) I'd think he was my husband.

Unless he actually is heartbroken and the jokes were just him being a tall, charming, British trooper about it all....

Sorry, Sanderson


* I believe so strongly that this will happen that once I heard a man dedicating a song to a woman with the same name as me and, for just a split second, I thought maybe I actually was in a relationship but had just forgotten for a bit and that the voice from inside the radio was my boyfriend. 

No stars, just love*^

This post is about star rating systems and why, if they're the only thing people look at (which is too often the case) they are nonsense, useless, unhelpful and should be struck off the list of acceptable ways to interact with comedy festival shows. Yep, 'paying too much attention to stars' can join 'jumping on stage to attempt to make out with the comedian', 'taking a poo on the table' and 'not laughing at all, not even once' on the list of audience faux pas. Actually, taking a poo on the table can go on life faux pas too. Unless you're a baby. Or just really into that. In which case you should still make sure it's on your own table or you've asked permission first. 

Digression. Apologies. Deep breath. Back on track:

"But why get rid of stars?!", you wail, "Why would you want to get rid of something that is so easy to understand and let's me make an instantaneous judgement on the value of a show?". Well, underling, here's why: you should be smarter than that. For the following reasons (unlike star ratings, bulleted lists are easy and excellent).

  • Reason 1: They don't actually mean anything. That's right, you heard it here first folks. Star ratings don't actually mean a show is good or bad. They just don't. Think about it. There are so many ways to make people laugh, and so many varibles in what makes one person laugh at something and another tutt tutt and purse their lips that five little stars on their lonesome couldn't possible tell you if you'll find a show funny. What does one star mean? That the reviewer laughed for only 1/5 of the show? Or that the entire audience only laughed for 1/5? One fifth of your average 60 minute show, incidentally is 12 minutes (mad mathz skillz). Now if I laughed solidly, heartily and with my belly involved for 12 minutes of a show I wouldn't necessarily think that was a bad thing. So does one star mean that you only laugh for only six minutes and that also it was a sloppy show or they did something particularly offensive. But what causes one person offense is another person's comedy gold. And yes, yes, you could get around this by getting to know your reviewer by reading everything they've ever written and cross-checking it against your own opinions, but who's got the time?! Certainly not me, I've got mixed netball to play. So my thinking is, if the review is the bit you should pay attention to why even bother with the stars.
  • Reason 2: Lots of stars are easy to get. In a way. What I mean is that there are so many people and blogs and newspapers and magazines reviewing that, like Mario, you're almost bound to collect some from somewhere.  If you flip through the guide you've got impressive stars (4.5 and 5) from the following (reputable and not so reputable) outlets:
    • The Herald Sun (who also pay certain cretinous columnists who not only doesn't like refugees or Indigenous Australians but apparently has a problem with Oprah. Oprah! Do you really trust them?)
    • The Age
    • The Scotsman
    • Adelaide Advertiser [insert obligatory 'Adelaide is boring and crap' joke here]
    • The Independent
    • British Comedy Guide
    • RHUM
    • ThreeWeeks
    • Monday Magazine
    • Uptown Magazine
    • The Times
    • The List
    • The Guardian
    • Canberra Times
    • The West Australian
    • Metro
    • Scotsgay
    • The Pun
    • Venue Magazine
    • The Funny Tonne
    • Hollywood Fringe Festival
    • London Times
    • Chortle
    • The Mirror
    • Time Out
    • Sunday Times
    • Fest Mag
  • I can't think of any more reasons right now and two isn't really that many so if you think of any please let me know. Then I will add it and claim your idea as my own, mmkay? Kay good. 
Now that you've read my (bulletproof bulleted) argument I'm sure you'll be ignoring stars and instead devouring all of the reviews (and information about reviewers) before you see your shows. Or talking to friends who've seen shows. Or you might read this blog, which will faithfully stick to the no star rating system, (I did briefly consider a LOLCAT rating system but got distracted by this LOLCAT before the system could be developed) and follow me around little baby duck. Don't do that. I'm easily rattled. Really. Please stop even thinking it. I'm a paranoid hypochondriac so I'd think you were stalking me and that the air was giving me cancer. Seriously. Don't. Oh shit. What is that pain in the middle of my chest slightly to the right side? 

Well. That was informative. According to SilkDragon on WrongDiagnosis.com I've got heart disease. And you should always trust the first entry that comes up when you google 'ride side chest pain female'. With this very bad news upon me I feel I should offer you some sage advice. Advice is always much more likely to be true if it's coming from a dying person, you know. So hear this: 

When you want to go and have a bit of a laff, you can read reviews, or listen to your friends, or look at rubbish oustanding blogs before you part with your cash. Or you could just look at the poster and guide entry and take a flippin' punt on what looks good to you. And just go and have fun and be ready to laugh. That's what I'm going to do this year anyway. Which is why I'm going to see something called 'Sexytime!'. The rule about pooing may not apply here. 

'Til the festival, if I make it that far


*I would like to thank one Katy Perry and her hit (as in hit me over the head for loving it so much) Teenage Dream for inspiration for the title of this post. That's right folks, she's not just a tackier version of Dita Von Teese and Russell Brans's missus. She's so much more than that. Singer, Dancer, Muse.

^Obviously there is one glaring exception to the 'no stars on this blog' rule and that is to inform you about my delectable taste in music and the way it informs my writing. See above.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

This makes me happy

If Rebecca Black has to exisit then at least Conan O'Brian does too. No, wait, that's incorrect...if the record company that represents Rebecca Black (I will not post their details here for fear of encouraging other 13-year-old girls to seek their representation), Rebecca Black's parents, the people who wrote the song 'Friday' (including the lyrics 'we we we so excited', I detect a lack of, um, how do I put this, a VERB) have to exist then at least Conan O'Brian does too. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nine days and counting

I am so excited about the looming festival. I try to act all casual and disaffected just the way any aspiring underwhelmed hipster would but fail miserably, every time. All it takes is a whisper of "mmm...I might go" and I pounce, cat-like, head-first and usually rudely, into the conversation. "Oh. Hey...", I say while nonchalantly tucking my hair behind my ears. "You guys talking about the festival?", I continue, astounding my prey with my totally aloof coolness. What usually comes next is a confused, if not judgemental explanation that no, they are not talking about 'the festival' (whatever that is, insert eye rolls here) and are, in fact, talking about the newest ironic kitsch art exhibition featuring photos of emancipated men in sprayed-on jeans clutching crocheted tea cosys. It's being held in this new underground, above basement, converted slaughterhouse bar. I give them a big 'pffft', perhaps a flick of the double bird and swagger off, feeling pity for those who clearly have leagues to travel to reach my level of urban radness and comedy appreciation.

I then go home via the bus to sit in my parent's study on the single bed I had when I was twelve and mooch internet, and general good will, off them. If I can't have a room, house, car life of my own then I can at least have comedy. That's the saying, right? 

I know what you're thinking: 'enough about you, we're all getting jealous.' Alright, alright, I'll stop rubbing my enviably fantastic world in your snotty little face and tell you the shows I am particularly excited about. Trumpet sounds. In no particular (alphabetical) order:

  • Claudia O'Doherty, What is soil erosion?  Her last show, Monster of the Deep 3D was like swimming in a bath full of glitter: initially confusing but ultimately a very fun, worthwhile experience.
  • Daniel Kitson, The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church Daniel Kitson is God full stop
  • Dave Callan, 0+ I don't know whether it's his voice, or his hairy chest or his voice but this man makes me laugh at traditional standup in ways that I thought traditional standup could never make me laugh. Plus he has an accenty voice.
  • Dr Brown, Because My 100% all time good party time always and infinitely favourite performer of the 2010 festival would make my giddy if he ever looked me in the eye. And then said "I love you". This is the amount of famous-person love I hold for him that (a) I have even imagined this scenario and (b) I would vomit from excitement if it ever happened. Please don't tell him I said this.
  • Fear of a Brown Planet Attacks  I like these guys a lot. Good political comedy, poking fun at world leaders, irrelevant senators and former leaders and...oh wait...oh now you're pointing out how racist Australians are. Oh hahaha. I hate those racist bogans too!...oh...nope...definitely pointing out what's wrong with my inner-city-leftist-politically-correct hogwash. I'll just have a sit and a giggle and be silently amazed at how much righter you are than me.
  • Mathew Kenneally and the Great Escape This guy should be really famous. But for that to happen Australians would firstly have to care, secondly be informed and thirdly be informed and care enough to laugh about the caring and the information. And they would have to want to pay money to see political comedy. 
  • Sammy J & Randy in Bin Night Last year I left their show, Sammy J & Randy in Rickett's Lane, full and satisfied. They're like a TV show you want to quote to everyone afterwards but you realise half way through the 'joke' that actually it's more of a story and probably, might just a little bit require you to tell some backstory. Sharing the fun inevitably means you stumble all over your words and say things like "Oh! It was just so funny, they were playing chess, but it wasn't chess...you know when you make up rules to games, and it like, simultaneously makes the game more easier 'cause the rules were always developed by one person to win more points but then there are so many that it's actually harder? Anyway, so there's this game...". This is exhausting and in no way entertaining for the listener. Which is why you should just see them live for yourself. They're cleverer and better at saying things than me. 

I could keep going forever but it's my bed time (read: past my parent's bed time and they say the 'clacking' of the keys keeps them up in the next room). 'Til the festival, if not before. 

Yours faithfully,