Hello. My name is Alex. And I’m a sucker for a musical comedian.
I am more than aware that there are different types of comedy out there. I just don’t really care. During my first ever visit to the MICF I’ve been actively seeking out musical comedy. Although maybe “active” is the wrong word. I just kind of happens these days. Someone says “ukulele” and before I know it I’ve handed over my money.
This list is by no means conclusive but it does contain quite a few people you’ve probably never heard of. And you should have heard of them. Because they’re great. You should probably go out of your way to give them your cash.
1. Dead Cat Bounce
We may as well get them out of the way. Followers of mine (both online and IRL) are more than aware of my feelings about this Irish trio. Most of the bands I like are either dead, no longer together or (occasionally) both. As such I’ve never really had the chance to get properly excited about music. About albums and tour dates and scandal. So, for me, Dead Cat Bounce are a real rock band. They’ve well and truly surpassed the realms of comedy.
2. Josh Earl
Josh Earl is, in a word, adorable. To dispel any accusations about gender bias, my boyfriend also thinks Josh Earl is adorable. And last time I checked my boyfriend is straight. Josh Earl is a comedian for the clumsy, nerdy, Gen Y hipsters. And considering most of my favourite people in the world fall into that category there is a fair chance you will like Josh Earl. I regularly want to hug him for hitting so many nails on the head.
Josh Earl is a niche you didn’t know needed filling but now he’s there you never want him to leave. The world needs songs about Scrabble and grammar. And it needs an awkward Tasmanian hipster to sing them.
3. Smart Casual
During my time at the Melbourne Comedy Festival I’ve taken a bunch of chances. Some of those gambles paid off, some of them less so. Smart Casual were the royal flush of this comedy poker.
Prior Raw Comedy finalists, Smart Casual are slick, funny and gloriously absurd. This pair of brothers have serious musical and comedic talent. This was one of a very small handful of shows which have prompted a desire to drag strangers off the street and demand they sit still for an hour and WATCH. Possibly my favourite part is that they’re Sydney based which means making the effort to see them is actually plausible.
LINKS- Sydney, Facebook, CD
4. Shane Matheson
On the subject of comedy poker- I saw this show based entirely on the merit of the name. Shane Matheson and His Fabulous Bucket of Gravel is, without question, my favourite title in the whole MICF guide. I feel as though I should mention that Shane Matheson is, in fact, a double act. All the songs are duets. With a bucket of gravel. For real.
This show was properly absurdist humour. To give you an idea- remember that David Bowie episode of Flight of the Concords? Or the cheese episode of The Mighty Boosh? Its in that ball park. There’s a song about tongue kissing a squid. Watching Shane Matheson do a vulcan mind meld on a framed picture of some ducks is the only time all festival I have laughed until I cried.
LINKS- Sydney, Twitter
5. Ryan Coffey
I was talking to someone about what shows we’d seen at the festival and they looked at me and said-
“You like musical comedy right?”
(Whatever gave you that idea?)
“You have to see Ryan Coffey.”
When I was buying tickets, the man at the box office seconded this assertion, adding that “he’s a total babe”. (At this point I should address something. The fact that most musical comedians are also rather nice to look at is a total coincidence and has nothing to do with the interestes of any discerning female fan-bases).
One of the things I look for in a musical comedian (No! It isn’t a nice face! Shut up!) is genuine musical talent. I want comedy I can dance around my house to. Ryan Coffey has musical talent in spades. He manages to balance on the precarious ledge between music and comedy. And he does it brilliantly.
6. The Bedroom Philosopher
I’m pretty new to The Bedroom Philosopher. As a musical comedy nerd I’ve obviously been aware of him for a long time but in that weird peripheral way that means you never actually get around to doing any Googling. His show at this year’s MICF didn’t actually feature very many songs at all, which was a little disappointing. But he has an adequate number of CDs available to buy- a drastically underappreciated trait in a musical comedian.
I find that The Bedroom’s Philosopher is about 50% total genius and 50% pretty good. And that’s an average we could all aspire to.
7. Sammy J & Randy
Most of you are probably aware of Sammy J and Randy. They’ve been on TV a bunch. But I’d be willing to bet that a lot less have ever seen them do an actual show. I’m here to tell you this is a tragic over-sight. The Inheritance is a spectacular show, emphasis on spectacle.
I had to reconsider my prize for “Best Use of Shadow Puppetry in a Comedy Show” because, oh man, is it great. (Can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that there are multiple contenders for this award? That makes me so happy). Sammy J and Randy manage to achieve this wonderful balance between glorious songs, engaging narrative and lovable characters. There’s something very special about what’s going on here. Something you’re missing if you’ve only seen them on TV.
8. Genevieve Fricker
Another Raw Comedy finalist, Gen Fricker is like treacle. By which I mean she’s dark and sweet. Not that she’s sticky or tastes good on crumpets. I haven’t seen Gen do a full show, probably because she hasn’t done very many. But the set she did as part of Breakout Comedy was delightful. If you like dark jokes and catchy guitar, chances are you’ll like what you find here.
LINKS- Sydney, Twitter
9. Eddie Perfect
Eddie Perfect is like the Michael Buble of Australian comedy. He’s charming, middle aged women quite like him and boy, can he sing.
I haven’t actually seen Eddie Perfect do a show (I did see him loitering outside Town Hall the other day but that really doesn’t count). My lovely friends at Internet Party tell me that his last show was really properly excellent. So I watched said show on DVD (thanks Beth) and they are right. Man oh man. Eddie Perfect.
10. The Axis of Awesome
I’m slightly annoyed with the Axis of Awesome. They are a single uncrossed name on my MICF musical comedy wish-list. This is because they started their show on the 17th of April and I flew out on the 16th. That’s just cruel.
You’ve probably heard these guys even if you don’t know it. The Four Chord song is the most viewed comedy clip on YouTube. That’s bloody impressive. I’ve been pulled into a couple of YouTube holes watching their videos and they’re more than a one hit wonder. They are the only musical comedy act (other than Tim Minchin) that I’ve come across who have a blue Twitter tick. They’re obviously a big deal.
LINK- Sydney, Twitter
I didn’t even know Deanne Smith was a musical comedian until I saw her playing ukulele outside Town Hall. I’m told Deanne Smith was in a tiny room last year, which makes me think now is the time to start paying attention. Deanne Smith is cute and her show felt remarkably like it was teetering on the edge of something amazing.
Tripod have been knocking around the comedy traps for a while now and, its pretty safe to say you know who they are. I feel as though Tripod are either about to announce some grand-new plan or a farewell tour. Either way, they’re worth keeping an eye on.
Sometimes people send me things that they like which they think I might also like. If you ever have the urge to send me musical comedy- do it.
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