Melbourne Comedy Festival stars talk mental health and the serious side of funny business
If you think about it, April might just be the most emotional time of the year for the Melbourne Town Hall. Each night, every one of its rooms – some grand and elegant, others makeshift and cramped – will host a person opening up to strangers. Some will fire out peppy one-liners; others will go deeper, pulling out stories from their lives, spinning them into comedy, and hoping that people will laugh – and maybe even relate. Comedians have the power to break down barriers around issues that we find difficult to discuss, reminding us that we’re not alone. Humour can help us heal. And increasingly, comedians are opening up about difficult periods of their lives and their experiences of mental illness. On television, comedian Maria Bamford sensitively portrays living with bipolar disorder in Lady Dynamite, and in 2014, Eddie Perfect performed a song titled ‘Don’t Kill Yourself’ for a mental health-themed ABC comedy panel show (making the point that you’d miss out on Game of Thrones). On stage, comedians like Felicity Ward speak candidly about anxiety and depression. The Australia-born, UK-based comedian became a mental health advocate in 2014, when she created Felicity’s Mental Mission, an ABC documentary in which she revealed her own struggle with anxiety and interrogated the stigma around mental illness in Australia. As part of the documentary, she also began work on her 2015 stand-up show What if There Is No Toilet? – a candid (and hilarious) journey through her battle with
This week in Melbourne comedy
You might also like...
Four fantastic shows to see at this year’s Melbourne International Arts Festival
Melbourne International Arts Festival is back again in 2019, with a stellar line-up of shows, exhibitions and gigs between October 2 to 20. If you’re a festival first-timer the stacked list of performances can be daunting – and even long-time festival fans appreciate a hot tip. The list of theatre shows coming to the city is particularly strong, with everything from rock‘n’roll biographies to a hilarious mother-versus-son verbal sparring match getting a run. Here are four shows to put on your Melbourne International Arts Festival bucket list in 2019.
Oktoberfest at Hofbräuhaus
From September 21 to October 26 Hofbräuhaus Melbourne is throwing an authentic, Oktoberfest celebration right in the heart of Chinatown. This is the 51st year of Hofbräuhaus in Melbourne and the venue is throwing a huge opening party on September 21 (the same day as in Munich) to celebrate. The party kicks off at lunchtime on September 21 with the crowning of the new duke or duchess of Hofbräuhaus who will have the esteemed honour of tapping the first keg. Fancy yourself as Hofbräuhaus royalty? Anyone who books a table between noon and 3.30pm on the day goes into the draw. If you’re selected you’ll also receive a $300 Hofbräuhaus voucher and a ceramic Bavarian stein which will be filled free of charge every time you visit the venue (until Oktoberfest 2020). The venue is offering, besides the regular seven Bavarian Biers on tap, three special biers for the celebration; two Oktoberfest biers and a Bock bier (a strong German lager) plus traditional Oktoberfest food (think pork knuckle, sausages and crumbed-to-order schnitzel), Bavarian music, traditional dancers and feast platters to share with your freunde (friends). For group bookings you can even arrange packages including the popular ‘the real Oktoberfest’ package which for $65 per person gets you a bretzel, a stein of Bavarian bier, a nip of schnaps and a platter to share. Test your Oktoberfest spirit during lunchtime with a stein-carrying competition where the man and woman who can carry the most steins (without droppi
Sandwich Chefs have launched a delicious new menu
As any lunch fan will attest, making a good sandwich is an art unto itself. Only amateurs haphazardly slap a filling between some bread and call it lunch – sandwich artists, like those at Sandwich Chefs, take your midday sambos seriously by combining only the most delicious artisanal bread, cheeses and perfectly roasted meats. Sandwich Chefs have been slicing, spreading and assembling their magnificent sandwiches for more than 30 years, delighting diners with their deli-style sangers. After all that time, the titular chefs have learnt a thing or two about making sandwiches and are launching a brand new menu that showcases sandwiches from around the world. The tasty new range includes American sandwich favourites like the Cheesesteak, Cubano and New York’s favourite lunchtime treat, the Reuben (featuring 14-hour slow-roasted beef plus pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island Dressing). Love chicken? Try the Schnitzel Club (it comes with Australia’s favourite brunch item, smashed avo) or try Sandwich Chef’s gourmet bánh mì. Traditionalists will want to get around the 14-hour slow-roasted pork or beef rolls (served with apple sauce and/or gravy) or if you can’t decide you can always opt for a make-your-own sandwich. Plus to celebrate the shiny new range of sangas, Sandwich Chefs are giving away a trip to New York alongside lots of instant win prizes when you spend $9.90 or more in store.To find out more, visit the Sandwich Chefs website.
IKEA launches an Australian Slow TV channel
IKEA caused a bit of a stir in marketing circles a couple of years ago with its series of deliberately boring YouTube commercials. These included a teenager doing the dishes for five minutes, a couple on a couch kissing in front of a TV for eight, and some young people arm wrestling for six. The ads played in front of YouTube content and many people skipped them, but they also garnered a cult following of joyfully disbelieving fans. The ads were inspired by the Scandinavian trend of ‘Slow TV’ in which almost nothing happens – designed as an antidote to our over-stimulated lives (some cool examples of Slow TV screened on SBS last summer). Now, IKEA is using the phenomenon as a way of promoting their new 2020 catalogue. They have launched an Australian Slow TV channel live streaming the 14-day (336-hour) journey of its products in shipping containers on board a ship to Australia. The channel, which in perfect Nordic understatement IKEA says “does not aim to excite”, is narrated by Kent and Sara Eriksson, narrators of the original IKEA Sleep Podcast. The Swedes are reading from the new IKEA catalogue with the sound of waves gently crashing against the ship’s stern in the background. Sounds a bit – well, dull, right? And that’s exactly the point. IKEA say they want to help Australians get a good night’s sleep, and watching this YouTube channel may indeed have that exact effect. And if you’re inspired to go buy a new IKEA bed to do it on, well that’s entirely up to you. The c