Lunatics Beer Garden – Late Show
Ro Campbell [emcee] & a big ensemble @ Producers Garden
11:15pm, Sat 21 Feb 2015
So… there’s a fair few late night ensemble shows now, isn’t there? They each seem to be trying to establish a niche for themselves: one may be strictly standup, another comedy-heavy with a little cabaret, others exclusively young artists, and so on. And being a bit of a fan of Ro Campbell, I thought I’d check out the show that he was emceeing and throw him some support.
And I discovered that the Lunatics Beer Garden niche is sheer, unbridled, almost scary drunken insanity.
It all starts out well enough: Ro does ten or fifteen minutes upfront, setting the rules and trying to corral the more unruly drunks sitting in front of the stage… and let’s be clear, there were a lot of pissed idiots in attendance (hey, it was a Saturday night Late Show, after all). Larry Dean came up and did a chunk of his Scottish gay material, Ivan Aristeguieta did his clever “Aussie Language” bit, and Nick Nemeroff… well, he had me re-jigging parts of The Schedule as soon as I got home. His spot was amazing; even amidst the drunken heckling, his quiet, hyper-restrained delivery got the crowd hanging on Every. Drawn. Out. Word.
After a bit of a break came a bit of human dartboard action. I wasn’t really expecting that. Wooden block over the spine, a dart gets thrown into a guys back, and he leaves the stage. Ummmmmmm… okay. UK comedian Pete Dobbing followed that up by telling a “worst gig” story, which rapidly devolved into a series of ketamine jokes. Darwin comic Amy Hetherington rounded out the bracket with tales from her worst holiday, with sidetracks into father abuse.
Another break, and Campbell announced The Bearpit: a heckle-friendly arena in which no protection is afforded to the comedians who volunteer. John Cameron kicked off with some savagely awful dick jokes, Elf Lyons bravely soldiered through some heckles, Danielle Andrews (another Darwin-ite) didn’t fare so well, and Dave Campbell copped a barrage of abuse from the crowd. The Bearpit looked like seriously hard work!
Finally, Angus Hodge convincingly won a rap battle against Patrick Carl… though it must be said that some contestants were obviously operating under reduced faculties.
This edition of the Lunatics Beer Garden Late Show was certainly eye-opening. Not only did it introduce me to the gloriously tortuous genius of Nick Nemeroff, but it also made me a teensy bit… ummm… scared to be at a show. There was a real feeling of lawlessness in the ‘Garden… but I suspect Ro Campbell wouldn’t have it any other way.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) February 21, 2015