I’ve had the live comedy bug for just over two years now; at the end of 2008 I dipped my toe into the live comedy scene with Carl Barron’s show Walking Down The Street, and Frank Woodley’s Possessed. Then I visited the inaugural Brisbane Comedy Festival seven times in March 2009, (six times to see Tim Minchin’s Ready For This, and once to see Adam Hills’ Inflatable.) The bug was well and truly in my system by then and I felt I should broaden my comedy horizons and see more acts. So during 2009 we went to see Bill Bailey, Jimeoin, and Dylan Moran, and when tickets went on sale for the 2010 BrisComFest I booked tickets not only to see comedians that I know, but acts that I’d never heard of, or just had a vague idea of what they did. Basically I booked purely on recommendations from online comedy fans. Yes, I’m infected with the comedy bug, and I’ve never been happier.

So, now the BrisComFest is over; we saw some big names and some lesser known ones and had a ball! Over the course of a month we saw Adam Hills, and his show Mess Around, then Josh Thomas with Surprise, and Frank Woodley with Wilderbeest; they were all bigger names and therefore in the big theatre. Then we saw David O’Doherty in the smaller Visy Theatre; a very funny man with a very tiny keyboard. And finally, best of all Sammy J and Randy, and The Pajama Men in the tiny Turbine Rehearsal Room – more about them both later. We also went to ‘chalkboard’ twice where I caught smaller doses of Melinda Buttle, Greg Sullivan, and a drunken character who shouted jokes at us for two minutes; also, Tom Ballard, Felicity Ward and Michael Chamberlain.

Out of all these performances, the two acts in the tiniest room were the most memorable; and we went to see them both in one night.

At 7.30 on Saturday 20 March, we went to see Sammy J and Randy, in 30 Ricketts Lane. This was absolutely brilliant, just two men, well, one man and a puppet called Randy, (operated by Heath McIvor) but I was entranced from the opening scene to the last, and it was all killer no filler. I did watch it through a haze of sinus pain and it was funny enough to carry me through and make me forget about it. I won’t give the plot away as it’s got a long run and lots of people have not seen it yet. But there are some scenes that will stay etched in my mind forever, catchy tunes that I can hum along to after only two listens, (yes it was so good I went again on Sunday,) and a good moral lesson – Don’t mess with the law: specifically the tax office!

After Sammy J’s show we went to see The Pajama Men. It is difficult to describe what The Pajama Men do. There are two men, and two chairs, they wear pajamas, (the men, not the chairs.) The pajama clad men are inhabited by many characters, and after the first bewildering few minutes where I wondered what on earth was going on, I started to follow the plot. ‘Blue pajama man’ plays an amazingly scary-looking dead girl and a convincingly crazy serial killer. ‘Grey pajama man’ is an annoying magician and a small lobster-like alien being? And these are just four of the characters, there must be about thirty of them! It was a fantastic show, very, very clever.

Then we went to the ‘Chalkboard’ show, a collection of comedians on at the Powerhouse that week. We saw Felicity Ward who also MC’d the night, Michael Chamberlain who for some reason did his whole routine without a mic, the Pajama Men who did some of their show plus an amazing reenactment of feeding a horse an apple, and David O’Doherty whom we’d seen on Friday night and was very funny, particularly singing about his ‘Beefs of 2010’.

Those three shows put me on such a high that I didn’t want the night to end. We’d bought the signed DVD of Sammy J’s previous show Sammy J in the Forest of Dreams and watched it when we got home, finally getting to bed just before 3am. 30 Ricketts Lane is a little tamer than his previous show, but I think it’s funnier.

Because I’d had such a good time on Saturday, Sunday was a bit of a let down and after much sighing and dropping of hints, my lovely husband said, “Oh go on then, you know you want to” and my sensible side booked tickets to just one more show on the very last night of the BrisComFest. I wanted to see 30 Ricketts Lane again, without the haze of sinus pain.

So Sunday night saw us at the Brisbane Powerhouse again. This time I took my daughter, her boyfriend and Kaitlyn, she’s a 15-year-old neighbour/friend of my daughter’s. The show was just as good if not better than the night before, and we were there early enough to get front row seats in the small, general admission hall. It was much more packed than it had been on Saturday, this made me happy, word must be spreading, this show deserves to play to a full house. It was Kaitlyn’s first comedy show and she will never forget it as she took part in it! We stuck around until Sammy came out and he was lovely to talk to and posed for photos on a crappy camera phone and we had a nice chat. I love it when people are just as nice as you imagine them to be. My only regret is that I didn’t bring a proper camera, and next time I would like to hug Randy the puppet as well as Sammy J. Well, even us 44-year-old ladies still have a bit of fan-girl in us: especially when infected by the comedy bug.

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