It’s the season to be jolly. Certainly, in current times everyone needs a hearty dose of the 2009 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Before one of the three largest comedy festivals in the world begins, Anna Lozynski spoke to two comedians, homegrown, Fiona O’Loughlin and British born, John Moloney.

John Moloney1. Tell us what the audience can expect from your Melbourne show? 
John: One hour of jokes, with some songs.
Fiona: An absolute vision. I've had a lot of work done since last year.

2. Describe your delivery style in three words. What, if anything, has changed about your delivery style over time?  

John: Deadpan. Sardonic. Laid-back. Nothing has changed in twenty years. If it ain’t broke…… 
Fiona: Conspiratorial, animated and sneaky. I use the stage way more than I did when I first started out. Nowadays I like to almost "act out" my stories.

3. At which point do you know you have a receptive audience? 

John: Within 30 seconds on average.
Fiona: The second I open my mouth.

4. Name a subject matter you frequently use in your performance material? Why? 

John: The usual suspects – sex, drugs, politics, religion – you know the score.
Fiona: Humiliation, my own. It saves me a fortune in therapy.

5. What is the most amusing thing an audientee has yelled out at one of your shows?   
John: He’s a lesbian!
Fiona: "What a load of rubbish, that wasn't her, it was her sister Catherine!" My Mother is a stickler for the truth.

6. What keeps you busy outside of the festival circuit?  

John: My children. It’s exhausting but continually beautiful.
Fiona: Writing, corporate gigs, cooking and cleaning.

7. When did you know you seriously wanted to pursue a career in stand up? 

John: The first time I went to the London Comedy Store. I was hooked immediately.
Fiona: Watching Bob Franklin on stage at the "Star and Garter" back in 1992.

Fiona O'Loughlin 8. Which memory still haunts you from your first gig? 
John: I still feel the fear now and again. I was twenty – what has a twenty year old got to say to a room of grown-ups?
Fiona: One of my legs started shaking so badly I had to actually grab hold of it and try to keep it still. It looked a bit like I was having an epileptic fit.

9. What do you now know that you wish you had discovered at the beginning of your career?

John: That I shouldn’t judge people’s behaviour by my own standards.
Fiona: Everybody dies a comedy death from time to time and it isn't the end of the world.

10. Do you have a pre-performance ritual? 

John: A bit of pacing up and down, but that’s about it.
Fiona: I ring my parents while I'm backstage with the same line every time: "Do you know if you'd raised me properly I'd be home with my children".

11. What makes you laugh time after time?
John: The Siamese twins/trombone gag.
Fiona: In my case it’s not what, but who. Akmal.

12. Finally, what are you most looking forward to about this year's festival?

John: Building on the audience that I got last year. And hopefully giving value for money with an hour of jokes.
Fiona: Laughing myself inside out with Lawrence Mooney.

Fiona O’Loughlin performs Her Greatest Hits at the Supper Room, Melbourne Town Hall. Further information»

John Moloney performs One Hour of Jokes at
Swiss House, 89 Flinders Lane. Further information»

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