If you love comedy and you live in or are passing through Melbourne, you have to visit Crab Lab Comedy. The room consistently draws good numbers, which creates a great atmosphere for stand up. Seating is at a premium and I highly recommended you get there before 8pm to secure a seat for the 8:30pm kickoff. If you miss out on a seat, there’s still space to grab a drink and settle in for a great night of comedy.
With a loaded line up on 25 January, we saw (in order of performance) Ben Lomas (MC), Demi Lardner, Geraldine Hickey, Luke McGregor, Dane Simpson, Ben Knight, Fiona O’Loughlin, Clinton Haines, Danielle Walker and Cameron James. With no ‘standout’ performance in a fantastic 2 hours of comedy, below are some highlights and comments about the evening.
Ben Lomas kicked off the night as our MC with a solid and well-rehearsed opener. He delivered his set with more confidence and enthusiasm that I have seen previously, including an excellent moment of audience interaction. Ben is a passionate guy and he is particularly entertaining when he arcs up! Cameron James delivered a similarly strong performance, but in contrast he appears to perform best when he keeps his cool. He had crafted his set well and maintained a comedic flow as he covered some lighter issues about growing up.
The charming Ben Knight tried to be divisive with his new song but he ended up just bringing the audience along for a sing’a’long. He seems to get a little too caught up in perceived audience reactions (which may all be for show) but when he focuses on the comedy, he nails it (even in the face of technical issues).
It takes a lot of confidence to attempt Clinton Haines’ comedy style. Clinton appears to relish in the awkward and the bizarre. I struggle to find this type of humour particularly funny, rather I take the enjoyment out of the reactions that it draws. In a more traditional comedy style, Danielle Walker also appears to enjoy juxtaposing her apparent inoffensive presence with unexpected content from the Cosmo ‘sealed section’ to draw an audience reaction.
I have seen Demi Lardner perform a few times now and she continues to draw laughs with her consistent approach to her sets. After a really enjoyable 2016 MICF show, I’m keen to see where she takes her 2017 MICF show ‘Look What You Made Me Do’! Two comedians who I had never seen before were Geraldine Hickey and Dane Simpson. Geraldine’s relaxed approach suited the crowd well as she interlaced jokes throughout her stories. She appeared professional but also approachable as she delivered what appeared to be reliable and new material well. Similarly, Dane presented as confident and well prepared as he delivered a few jokes with plenty of cheeky one-liners. While this set largely focussed on his family (which I am sure there are plenty more jokes about), I’m keen to see more of his work covering other issues.
We were lucky to be surprised with two special performers, including Luke McGregor who hit some gold trying out new material and comedy treasure Fiona O’Loughlin. Fiona had automatic rapport and took the already supportive crowd on a winding but very entertaining journey about love and hate….actually, what’s the level above hate? Severe and intense loathing? There is something special about Fiona’s comedy that pushes some buttons but also makes you want to connect with her and listen to what she has to say.
Thanks Crab Lab Comedy for another great night!