Melbourne International Comedy Festival
First Dog on the Moon (real name: Andrew Marlton) may not be known to audiences outside Australia (and indeed, to a large number of uninformed Australians as well), but ignorance here is no longer bliss. Cartoonist for the website Crikey, First Dog has taken time out of his busy schedule of scrawling and shaping daily toon-based missives to tour his first show, ‘Cartoobs and other Typos.’
Cartoobs is a wander through the mind of one of Australia’s unsung political satirists. I write ‘unsung,’ but the man could easily print ‘Acclaimed Journalist’ on his business cards without feeling a pang of conscience. It seems that he likes a challenge, and just to make us all wonderfully jealous, has embarked upon his first Comedy Festival Show, made possible by crowd-funding site Pozible.
While his cartoons are the only reason why a sane and balanced mind opens up the Crikey daily newsletter of an afternoon, does his stand up (pardon me here) stand up? To this question that I have just posed myself, I answer: yes. Resoundingly so. Unlike some acts who deliver a whizzbang of lights and sounds and noise to bamboozle the senses into a form of pre-epileptic submission, First Dog wisely chose to deliver ‘Cartoobs’ via PowerPoint. In a small room in a hotel where there would be nothing to mask the shame of an unprepared comedian or an unfunny joke. It’s fortunate that he has the comedy to back up the chutzpah because it was a hoot.
Cute cartoons, cat photos and a whole lot of false bravado were cleverly interwoven with heart-warming tales of feminism and family and then booted home as he sang Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ whilst playing a ukulele and wearing a bandicoot’s tail and ears.
Few grown men would do that, and even fewer during their debut Comedy Festival show. But First Dog, clearly isn’t your typical grown man (or dog). And for that we can be thankful, as we wouldn’t have had the hour of joy that was ‘Cartoobs and Other Typos’ if he was.
Accents can make anything funny, which is why Dave Hughes and Billy Connolly can always get a crowd giggling even with the most mundane of observations. It helps too, if your lovely Irish brogue is accompanied by a cutting wit and miniature keyboard skills. David O’Doherty’s 2013 MICF show ‘Seize the David O’Doherty’ is chock-full with songs, puns and a surprising number of self-deprecating anecdotes from one of the UK’s most successful comedians on tour.
From the moment the introduction began ringing out over the Forum Theatre (a large plush venue with allocated seating, for those playing along at home), the crowd was O’Doherty’s for the taking. ‘Seize the David O’Doherty’ is meant to be a life-affirming hour where he aims to fix the world. If anything, O’Doherty proves that he doesn’t even need to provide genuine solutions—he does a lot of good just rolling around the world generating belly laughs. Like Patch Adams if he were actually funny (and Irish, and not a doctor).
O’Doherty’s trademark is the rollicking good show that is a little unstructured and flits between topics. Here he is as disorganised as ever, but it’s why we’ve come to love him: The man can make a good joke out of anything. Or a silly song with good jokes which is just as great. If you don’t believe me, consider one of the show’s final pieces: a song about a man wanking on a bike. If you can construct one joke that doesn’t require an obvious rhyme, like ‘banking,’ then I suggest you close this page and get to the Edinburgh Fringe, stat. Comic geniuses are in short supply; they’ll be needing you this year.
‘Seize the David O’Doherty’ is naturally meant to be a show all about positive thinking and bouncing back after a relationship breakup and depression.
While it is very much so a peppy affair, it largely really ends up being about how great he is.
Not in the content itself (typically, O’Doherty is caustic about his own self and inability to attract the opposite sex: “People see me and think: Wow, Chris O’Dowd has let himself go!” he says at one point, rather incorrectly), but the overall Carpe O’Diem experience reveals just how funny, interesting and amusing he is.
Rapid-fire jokes sent a delighted audience into raptures, and I believe I did not stop laughing until the very end when I had to run to catch a train. Emergency pulls on my drink were necessary to ensure that I made it out of there alive, but there certainly are worse ways to die. A bit of CPR from one of the funniest comedians on tour today truly would be the Kiss of Life.
‘Seize the David O’Doherty,’ proves that David O’Doherty is getting better and better with every year that passes.