With a variable roster of local, interstate and overseas comedians, it’s pretty hard to stay dour in the dark, whether you attend at the Marion or Arkaba Hotels or at the Rhino Room.
A typical evening consists of six comedians, comprising the host, the headline attraction and four others of varying experience. The host warms up the audience for each bracket before introducing the acts. The support acts get 10 minutes each to make us laugh before the headliner bombards our senses for a good half hour routine.
Across a span of almost two hours, the topics are as varied as the artists on show and even the up-and-coming comedians are funny enough to please.
This week the Marion Hotel pulled two big names in local comedy, Jason Chong and Georgie Carroll, and shame on you for missing out.
Chong is an ex-pat, now living in Melbourne, but with his regular returns to the Adelaide comedy scene and the Adelaide Fringe, you’d barely notice he was gone. He’s a stellar comedian and equally comfortable ad-libbing to an audience both as the host and in response to a verbose crowd. He tells stories of Asian drivers, step parents, Corolla cars and relationships. His timing is impeccable, his smile is mischievous and his unique vision of the world ensures there’s always an unexpected twist in the tale.
Carroll on the other hand is a relatively new-pat, having migrated from England. She proudly derides her hometown of Rochdale and loves to compare it and the people to Adelaide. She’s been a nurse for 16 years and her expose of the profession may cause a future staffing shortage as people run a mile! From feral patients to compassion fatigue, Carroll is infectiously bubbly despite having countless true stories to tell after so long in the health industry. This is the second time I’ve caught Carroll on stage and I delight at the thought of seeing her again.
Supporting these two talents were Vaughan Henderson, Rich Naberhood, Danielle Shafik and Kel Balnaves.
Henderson, the offspring of 2 jockeys, claims to look like a 12 year old lesbian and, while his timing could be tighter, he has a wonderful routine in development. Several of the comedians on the night referred to a news incident that had occurred that day in the area and it’s a lesson that Henderson could heed for extra laughs. I would have liked to see him make a connection between his ‘inner conversation’ routine and that of the new Disney movie Inside Out or some other long-standing pop culture reference of that ilk.
Naberhood, on the other hand, knows his stuff. He’s a modern day Austen Tayshus with a routine that cleverly plays on his name. As a boy from Elizabeth, his references are local, timely and delivered with style. His closing piece of poetry is nothing new in his routine but just as funny as the first time.
Shafik’s routine, like Henderson, could do with some tightening, particularly when using audience participation which can be a real pace-killer. When she’s on fire though, she lights up the room with tales of joining the police force, drink driving, modern dancing and ghosting. She has the potential to be a more physical comedian and really shines when she’s acting out her stories instead of just telling them.
Balnaves is one of those comedians who puts life under a microscope by examining what we do and say. He shirks no issue, debating a punch in the mouth and the way we respond to simple greetings. Watch out for more of Balnaves and Naborhood, soon on a bigger stage, I’m sure.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
When: Wednesday – Saturday each week
Where: Various locations – check the Adelaide Comedy website
Tickets: $15 – $25
Bookings: Check the Adelaide Comedy website for upcoming comedians and bookings