News from inside the Bubble. Autumn 2017.
So now John Clarke is dead, too. I must be getting old if I feel, as I so often have of late, that so many of the people I respect are dropping off. I had the undiluted pleasure of working with Mr Clarke on two occasions, firstly in Mick Molloy's 'Crackerjack' and then as a character named, funnily enough, after me, in an episode of the second series of 'The Games'. He treated me as a contemporary (I'm not) and as a professional (debatable compared to him) and I found this quite intimidating. I enjoyed working with him so much. There was always a feeling of safety. He seemed to know exactly what was going on at every point, and he trusted his co-performers implicitly. He was simply extremely good at what he did. He was an inspiration, and I always felt proud if I could raise a smile in him. The last time I bumped into him, after not having seen him for a few years, he spoke to me with such familiarity it was as if we were finishing a conversation we'd started just the day before. He loved Dave Taranto. He loved Lynda Gibson. He was a wonderful, talented man. Vale Mr Clarke.
Recently I was sent some memorabilia, by the wonderful Lyndal McIlwaine, of my time working with Lynda Gibson during the mid-nineties, including photos by the great comedic chronicler Peter Milne. Lynda and I fell into working together when I asked her to direct my solo Mel Toupe show Lervsexy (1994) and we co-created Wall 2 Wall: The Shagpile Floorshow later that year, launching it at The Builders Arms Hotel in Fitzroy before taking it to the Prince Patrick Hotel in 1995 as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF). In that show we first performed Noeline and Laurie Dragge, characters we decided to develop into their own show, From Dragges to Riches, for which we received a MICF Moosehead Award.
We toured the show to the Adelaide Fringe of 1996, intending to perform it at the MICF of that year at the Melbourne Town Hall. Unfortunately, between one festival and the other, Lynda decided she wasn't that keen on performing during the time of her 40th birthday, and she quit being Laurie, helping me to turn From Dragges to Riches into a solo piece, which I performed in The Cloak Room. Lynda would have been 60 last year, had she not died from cancer in the early 2000s. A mad talent, a wonderful person, a brilliant, energetic nutter. A generous peformer and a great mentor. Thanks Gibbo.
So, I was in an ad...
It's for a travel website called Webjet. They were really lovely people to work with, and I got to catch up with an old colleague, the very talented Sarah Sutherland. Have a butcher's hook...
Cliff Hanger in Solitary Man, March 2016
So, to put it mildly, Cliff tore Kyneton a new one with his show Solitary Man in March.. .and here's proof, with his speccy performance of Burt Bacharach's Wives and Lovers from 1963. Cliff's performance was a bit 1963 too, frankly (...in a good way? You be the judge).
Unfortunately his mo' came off halfway through the show, and he was forced to reveal his accursed affliction: upper-lip alopecia. Tragic...
My agent made me do it
I have a long tradition of impersonating Australian PMs. I've been lucky enough to perform on TV as every Australian Prime Minister (or as Mr Abbott used to say 'Pry Minister') since John Howard (see Comedy Inc, Double Take, Ben Elton Live From Planet Earth and Wednesday Night Fever) and with the ascendancy of Malcolm Turnbull to the Pry Ministership last year I couldn't resist adding a small clip to my youtube channel in honour. It's my way of saying 'welcome to the gang'.
I've also popped link up to my Malcolm clip explaining the NBN, which we must all agree the roll-out of which he handled with his usual aplomb while communications minister.
The Taranto Show
I once knew a guy by the name of Dave Taranto. He was a true lover of comedy and he was essential to the development and success of the comedy scene in Melbourne during the 80s and 90s through his Cheese Shop radio show and by hosting his highly-regarded stand-up room.
Dave died in December 1999 but he lives on in the memory of so many successful performers who owe their start in the industry to him and the environment he nurtured.
I've always maintained a tribute to Dave on my site called The Taranto Show, featuring footage from the Cheese Shop Live Xmas Shows 1992-1998 and now I can proudly say I have uploaded every little bit of Dave Taranto footage I have from those shows, as well as some footage of Dave during an extravaganza of comedic performance called 'Cheese Shop 'Til You Drop' - a one-off mini comedy festival created to pay tribute to a man who had been such a source of encouragement and support to so many.
So, go to The Taranto Show and glimpse a bit of Melbourne comedy history. And send me a message about it.
It's all about me, people...
This site's about me... I'm a performer and a writer. Here you'll find some information about who I am and what I do. It's part brag-book, part archive, part blog.
There's a bit of information about TV and live shows I've done and links to videos on my youtube channel. As I say, rip in.
For professional contact, please email Kylie Nanfro at Helen Pandos Management.