The girls certainly stood up on Friday night at the Comedy Lounge at the Charles Hotel. It was a rather oestrogen-studded full-house for The Girls Stand Up live comedy show, featuring Perth’s own Claire Hooper as the headline act. Presented by Relationships Australia and supporting the Breast Cancer Foundation, there definitely seemed to be a theme to the evening, with all the girls at some point doing bits on boobs, bums and hips, and even the odd map of Tassie for good measure.
Kehau Jackson, a Hawaiian born comedienne who now hails from Adelaide, skilfully introduced each act, and also got the night underway with her own routine. Jackson, a regular on “Stand Up Australia” and at the Fringe Festival, is a big woman with a big dose of self-deprecation, and was a hit with the audience: “A teddy in size 20 is more like a grizzly… In it, I don’t have a camel toe honey, I have a camel hoof.” Her bawdy brand of humour set up the evening well, although I did think it a bit strange that she demonized the mammogram and the gynaecologist in a room half filled with women young enough to be put off such necessary evils, on a night that supported the Breast Cancer Foundation, whose main motto is about early detection.
But then, mammograms, pap smears, boob jobs, and childbirth (and if last night is anything to go by, poo too) seem to be the bread and butter of the Australian comedienne. All of the comics on the night covered these topics and all of them, bar none, made disparaging comments about their bodies and solicited the males in the crowd, including the lesbian of the bunch. This didn’t sit so well with me, and I wondered if perhaps our female comics are afraid that the only way to make it in a predominantly man’s world is to use their sex as fodder. Don’t get me wrong - I can, and do, laugh at bums and poos as much as the next person, but I was surprised at the extent to which these topics filled the routines.
Natalie Lewis, the youngest of the bunch, certainly had the most original opening of the night, coming out and lifting her dress to reveal a rather large protuberance in the crotch of her tights, and asking the audience if we thought it suited her. It turned out to be a sweet potato, and in the end, a rather strange joke. Lewis was all about lewdness, and she certainly followed the (I’m assuming unplanned) tits and arse trend. After the old yam-in-the-pants-trick, she went straight to the boob jokes and then mused, “Let’s see… willies, boobs... now I wanna talk about poo.” She didn’t disappoint; the remainder of her routine comprised a lively performance all about it. For me the shock value was forced, which took away from the comic value, but she was entertaining nevertheless. Her description of a perfect poo as “throwing a sausage down a hallway” was certainly one of the hit jokes of the evening.
Home grown talent Andrea Gibbs followed, and was a delight. She had a great stage presence and wasn’t afraid to use props and sound. It took Gibbs all of two or three minutes before she was talking about her nephew’s penchant for shoving marbles up his bum, and we were quickly back to below-the-belt territory once more. She did, however, move on to the delights of “the angry child”, and treat us to a Cliff Richard musical interlude that was highly entertaining. Gibbs is currently performing with The Big HOO HA! and was recently back at the Melbourne Comedy Festival with her highly successful one woman show, ‘Starkers'.
With 2006 RAW Comedy national winner Hannah Gadsby next, the volume of laughter went up a notch. Gadsby was brilliant. She’s a master story teller with a delightfully droll delivery. Her palindromes joke will likely stay with me for some time. There was a satisfying sense of continuity to her long routine, and she used her body extremely well. Despite the fact that her material covered a lot of ground, there was still the tits and arse talk, and much self-deprecation going on: “My camel didn’t just have a toe, we’re talking club foot.” And when talking about her ample hips: “I like my pussy in parenthesis… or, for the Australian audience, I like my bush in brackets.” Her bogan male impersonation, likening them to your average garden variety pigeon, was priceless. If you get a chance to see Gadsby live, I’d strongly suggest you jump at the chance.
Claire Hooper (from TV’s ‘Good News Week’), fresh from performing her new show ‘Storybook’ at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, closed the show. The childbirth, marriage, and poo theme continued, with Hooper struggling somewhat in the wake of the energy created by Gadsby’s performance. Overall, Hooper was engaging and fun to watch, but there were few truly laugh out loud moments in her routine.
The Girls Stand Up was a fun night out and great value for money. The Charles Hotel is a good venue for gigs like this because the atmosphere is relaxed and informal, allowing the crowd to sport the odd heckler for seasoned performers such as Gadsby and Hooper to have some fun with.
The Comedy Lounge presents
The Girls Stand Up
The Comedy Lounge | The Charles Hotel, 509 Charles street, North Perth
Friday September 5th
Show 8pm (doors 7pm)
Bookings: 9484 1133