Quick Bites Comedy, located upstairs at Boney (68 Little Collins Street), is on every Monday from 6:30pm. And guess what kids…it's FREE entry! This means you can give as much $ as you want at the end of the night.
I visited Quick Bites Comedy on a quieter night, with punters who came and went at various times throughout the evening. There was also a large contingent of comedians (some not performing) and their respective friends. When the balance between punter and comedian leans towards a comedian majority, a venue can feel a bit like a ‘mates room’.
For Quick Bites Comedy, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It presents a ‘safe’ space for performers to try out new material and see how it lands. As a semi-regular comedy room attendee, I have no issue with comedians trying out new material as it is an essential part of developing a style or composing a complete set. That said, if a comedian is trying out an entirely new set, I feel that there needs to be at least one joke or a story that is a ‘sure thing’. Without one, comedians run a high risk of putting off punters entirely and leaving a longer-lasting negative impression, particularly for those who are not regular stand-up attendees.
An advantage of Quick Bites Comedy is the number of comedians who perform and the variety this affords. On 17 October, we had 13 different comedians put forward short sets. In order of performance, we saw Rhi Down (MC), Tessa Ryan, Matt Young, Lewis Spears, Cameron Duggan, Jonathan Schuster, Angus Gordon, Peter Jones, Roland Hoffman, Jess Perkins, Natalie Harris, Claire Sullivan and Brett Blake.
Conscious that many of the performers were trying out new material, I am hesitant to be too critical but there were particular standouts and areas that warrant discussion.
Starting off with our MC for the night, Rhi ‘COMEDY’ Down put forward a very personal effort for the night. She explored many facets of her life, covering both the humour of her pets and relationship but also more intense material which felt a bit out of place. Conversely, Sydney-sider Cameron Duggan used two left-field topics to great effect in his set. Cameron excelled in his focus; without jumping around, he used repetition well and was able to tease out the humour of his topics. Particularly for a short set, his approach worked well.
There were also a couple of mini-highlights such as Jonathan Schuster owning his comedy workshopping. He openly acknowledged where he had possibly gone too far, which is refreshing, and I particularly appreciated the way he confidently approached his set. Angus Gordon is another comedian that is a little left-field but who has a cunning knack of taking concepts to surprising areas. Angus is far more entertaining when he hits these marks and explores new topics and does not stagnate on overdone issues.
In this respect, my patience for ‘cheap’ gags revolving around toilet humour has gone. Sure, it’s an ‘easy’ laugh but there is no complexity or depth to this type of humour. I highly respect comedians who make a point of avoiding toilet humour all together. There has to be a point where comedians want to distinguish themselves as performers, and the sooner they move past this type of humour the comedy will be better for it.
The standout for the evening was Peter Jones who brought another great performance. What helps Peter stand out is his professionalism and how he approaches each of his sets. In the last few times I have seen Peter perform at gigs around Melbourne he has demonstrated quality comedy consistently. Peter puts forward structured sets, developing new jokes in conjunction with his solid rehearsed material.
Quick Bites Comedy is a great place to check out a bunch of comedians who you may never have seen before. Fair warning that some of the acts will be trying some new stuff but that shouldn’t take away the enjoyment of a free comedy night. I will be checking out the room again and keep my eye out for particularly enticing line-ups. Thanks to room runners Dave, Rhi Down and Houston; Matt on the tech and Phil behind the bar, for a fun night!