MICF: Double Acts

The comedy double act is one where every laugh relies on the other person to make it work, so it’s no wonder the best are ones were one name can’t be said without the other. Today, we look at four diverse double acts on at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Sammy J & Randy
Sammy J & Randy

An Evening With Sammy J & Randy
28 March 2015

Sammy J and purple fuzzy Randy are consistently brilliant. They play off each other, support each other and know how to win the laugh and when to give it to the other. There’s not much that hasn’t been said about their love of possums, magnificent wordplay, wonderfully filthy songs and general must-see awesomeness.

It’s hard to be disappointed when they are on the stage, but this year’s show is mostly a best-of variety show rather than a “brand new hour” of material. And given how busy they are being all famous and loved, it’s selfish to want a new story show even when I’m laughing myself sick at favourites, like the one where they realise they’re both dating the same woman.

Jonestown. Sarah Jones and Nicholas J Johnson
Jonestown. Sarah Jones and Nicholas J Johnson

Jonestown, Guinea Pigs
1 April 2015

Sarah Jones and Nicholas J Johnson are Jonestown. Their debut show, Pajama Party, was nominated for the 2014 Golden Gibbo (best MICF new comer) and they were helped with a Moosehead Award (a grant for “mental and overly ambitious” comedy) to make this show.

In Guinea Pigs, they are trapped in a lo-tech, hi-laugh sci-fi experiment that tests their friendship and takes the double act not quite to the final frontier but surely where no one has been before.

Captured by a mystery nutter/genius, Sarah and Nick have known each since from high school and, with the help of the audience, re-visit their school and university days to figure out how they found themselves in an unescapable box in an unescapable box of a theatre in the Portland Hotel.

Adding story, mystery and shadow puppetry (yes!) to sketch and stand-up, the chemistry between these two is as cool as a bicarb and vinegar volcano, and as illogically exciting as opening a bottle of fizz that might have been rolling around the floor of a car.

David Innes & Rob Lloyd
David Innes & Rob Lloyd

Innes Lloyd, Men of Your Dreams
5 April 2015

David Innes and Rob Lloyd are the Men of Your Dreams: the dreams we can’t control.

As brothers who lost their other brother when he was a young, they discuss sleep theory, list common dreams and look at sleep in films, but the highlight is their re-enactment and interpretation of audience member’s night mares. And with subconsciouses giving us dinosaurs, a murdering father and exploding cars, it’s cheaper than therapy and lots more fun.

While they haven’t got the tightness and understanding of a great double act yet – they are great impro partners – and the show was trying to squeeze too much into an hour, I really hope that Men of Your Dreams comes back because there are endless dreams that need interpreting and endless audiences who want to talk about the bliss and horror of sleep.

The Narelles. Alan Brough & Casey Benetto
The Narelles. Alan Brough & Casey Benetto

Alan Brough wasn’t living in Australia in 1988, but he still formed a Melbourne garage band with Casey Benetto. The Narelles celebrate their 27th fictional year at Trades Hall in The Narelles.

If you went to any gig in the late 80s and the 90s, then the reunion gigs from the early 2000s, you’ve been to a Narelles gig.

Both on lead vocals, bass and guitar (with a stage shy drummer), they reminisce about the gigs, the albums and the times that their audience remember vividly, even if we weren’t there.

It opens with a bass riff that made me think I was 17 to a Nick Cave tribute song that’s more frightening than Nick Cave, The Narelles capture the tone and heart of live indie/alternative/not-shit-pop music between 1987 and now.

And they do it far better than any JJJ Top 100 count down.

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *