Two word review: high-kicking terriers.
A step out of the city, you can make your way to Tuesday night comedy at The Catfish, located at 30-32 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. As a first timer to the Catfish, the large range of quality beers on tap (including a superb stout) was an excellent surprise! And for those who aren’t partial to that, a decent range of food to nom.
After a quick stroll up the stairs, we were greeted by the friendly Tommy Dassalo, still recovering from The Little Dum Dum Club’s big 3-0-0, paid our $12 entry (spoiler alert: worth it) and found our seats!
Before I get onto some of the highlights of the night, one observation from over the last couple of weeks… Comedians and comedy enthusiasts alike may disagree but the C bomb is not a punch line. There are moments in a set where a comedian may struggle, or where an audience is just not reacting to what is happening on stage, then there is some merit in pulling an audience back into a set through particular language or a hook. A comedian can lose me for a moment if swearing (or in particular the C bomb or another phrase said with aggression) is a critical part of a joke or set. This is not to say swearing does not have a space in comedy or that I am against it. Heck, some of the greatest use it well! Rather, in the same way toilet humour can become a crutch, the C bomb does not need to be Australian comedy’s punch line.
You could not ask for more from Adam Richard as an MC for a gig like Catfish comedy. Adam set some comedy limits early (that there are no limits) and delighted the audience with comedy throughout the night! The two bits about Adam’s MC'ing for the night that I appreciated the most (outside his comedy obviously) were how familiar and supportive he was of the other comedians on the bill, and secondly, his infectious laugh. Throughout the night, you could hear Adam’s cheery laughter from the back, egging on the comedians on stage.
A comedian who this support might have helped was Nick Capper. It’s difficult to comment on comedians you’ve only seen a couple of times but this was one of the better sets I’ve seen Nick do. While it was the same material I had seen before, his calls backs worked well and the confidence he gained from the crowd helped him nail some solid punch lines.
Tom Ballard’s appearance was a particularly agreeable surprise on the bill, and as the first act of the evening! Tom (mostly) appeared to enjoy hitting some nerves in the audience and set out some callback lines for others to follow. He might have been testing some new material, so it will be interesting to see if he keeps the same tone as the jokes develop. Similarly, David Quirk put forward a good short set! I’m still curious what we didn’t get to hear from him but he executed his pre-worked material well!
The Aunty Donna Boys, an entertaining sketch group, got some solid laughs from relatable scenarios! Some of the sketches overly reliant on yelling appeared to lose some of the audience but overall, they connected with the audience well and had decent chemistry with each other.
Ben Knight delivered the standout performance of the evening. Laura’s high-kicks almost out did him, but with a bit of guitar skills, a dreamy smile and some zingers with melody, Ben won me over. When he arrived on stage, I was not sure what style of comedy to expect, having seen a grand total of zero of his comedy previously. Nevertheless, when he finished his song, I regretted having missed his 2016 MICF show ‘And Then the Music Started’ but I can guarantee from just his short set that I will be there for his 2017 show.
Thanks Catfish Comedy for putting on a great night!