Zoe McDonald – Good Morning Mofo
The Coopers Malthouse
If you have next to no time for breakfast television, you and I are going to get along just fine. Zoe McDonald, a writer performer whose previous show FOMO allowed her the opportunity to tell a multiple-character piece through the vehicle of talkback radio, has returned to the Comedy Festival with Good Morning Mofo, a multi-character piece which deconstructs and all-but tears apart the world of morning TV. Taking place at the Coopers Malthouse in the Arts Precinct (a great venue for a number of shows this year) this is a show built on the foundations of what must have been some painful research (just tune in to Today or Sunrise for more than a minute and try not to punch yourself in the face). Zoe McDonald’s superbly written and astonishingly performed piece takes apart the (quite frankly) absurd key components of a genre designed for women, but what has at the end of the day little to no regard from the women they are aiming at entertaining. This show had me pretty much from the outset, where the show’s central protagonist, a broadcaster named Chloe – nearing an age where any number of ambitious girls are aiming at her job – records a promo using a tone of voice that epitomises the kind of smarm only breakfast TV hosts can muster. A handful of characters emerge from there on, covering the spectrum of female archetypes in entertainment and business, showing what a nasty place the workforce can be – especially for a woman. Good Morning Mofo is a comedic-performance piece hybrid which showcases a talent of genuine gifts. Seek this one out.
Mel Buttle – Up to Pussy’s Bow
Melbourne Town Hall
‘As seen on Foxtel’s Great Australian Bake Off’ is a series of words I recognise, but makes little sense to me as a sentence. Nevertheless, Mel Buttle, acerbic and caustic observer of life boasts this as a claim to fame (good on her, champion) and with it, brings a suburban, down-home and entirely relatable angle to her often piercing observations about those things, people and circumstances in life that have her a little perturbed. Full up to pussy’s bow is something my great grandmother used to say… Or was it dolly’s wax? She got full a lot, did Nana. So in this show, this Pussy’s Bow business, Mel Buttle explores the events of her past year, from travel, to pet ownership, the eccentricities of her parents, school deputies, funerals … And finds time to sell some bottled water for what I can only assume is shits and giggles. Basically, there are a number of folks in this world of ours – many of them in Queensland – who have her goat well and truly gotten. Her delivery, timing and strong material are the kinds of distinguishing markers that elevate her from the sizeable crop of local comics seen around MICF and at fringe events/open mike nights who stand up behind a mic and tell jokes. Mel, cut from a different, more professional cloth than that fits in well with the emerging comics whose schtick is that of the superb storyteller. She can take those strange everyday occurrences and lift them from the banal to the hilarious. I may have to get the Lifestyle Food channel to get her spin on cakes.
Nick Cody – Come Get Some
You spend enough time wandering the venues for MICF year in year out, you’ll cross paths with one comic or another among the hundreds that ply their witty wares around the traps. Last year I saw Nick Cody do a tight, fast and funny ten minutes at The Festival Club (speaking about making the choice between living in Port Melbourne vs. Brunswick)and figured he was worth a guernsey, and it took me until this year to check him out. Take the lucky dip approach, I says, and if the comic fits the time you’re seeking out, go to it. What impressed me about Nick Cody as a performer was his confidence. That, you’d only assume comes from experience, but again, you can only fill a room like they do at ACMI ‘Beyond’ (he was occupying a space which was when I last checked occupied by some of David Bowie’s clothes) if the material you’re delivering is of a good enough standard. Nick Cody is on the next level. His material is strong, he is nothing if not wholly likeable, and his set was a fully fleshed out, nuanced and marvellously performed series of bits – timing was immaculate, he thinks fast on his feet, his call backs were note-perfect. Honestly, I had no idea this guy was as good as he is. Come Get Some was, for this reviewer at least, one of those aha moments: when you sit back and see a guy who gets it. You realise that this is someone who is filling mid-large venues now, but will be headlining In big theatres or the main Town Hall auditorium in no time at all. I thought it a few years back when seeing Ronny Chieng; I see it with Nick Cody. He’s starting from a place of greatness, and will only get better with time. Place some weight in my opinion if you will, and trust me when I say this: He’s got it. He’s the real thing. In years to come, he’ll be huge.