Sartre might have said Hell is other people, but I think Dave Callan’s Radio Gaga proves that Comedy is other people, especially when they’re pissed, stoned, or high.
Regular Triple J listeners may fondly recall Callan’s Graveyard Shift late Saturday talkback show, which ran from 2005 to 2010. If you ever heard it, you wouldn’t have forgotten it, partly because Dave has a deep rolling Irish accent and deadpan manner that make him perfect for radio. But what really made the show riveting listening was the very relaxed vetting of callers; rarely was anyone declined the opportunity to go on air, and the small hours of the morning harboured the strangest and least sober people in Australia.
So, for him and for me, Radio Gaga is something of a nostalgia trip: Callan fondly recalls and plays back for us a variety of the strangest and funniest moments from the show, complimented by a slideshow supplying photos, subtitles and segment introductions.
The weirdness heard here is astonishing and hilarious in equal measure: from show regulars like Condi Copperknob, the Snake Charmer Farmer and Steph-from-Tamworth (whose job was to dress up as a piece of bread for Brumby’s), through segments like “Which Artificial Stimulant is this Caller On?”, to Callan’s personal favourite – callers trying to sing songs they don’t know the name of in order to request them.
Sure, this is an easy gig for Callan – an iPod Nano and PowerPoint do half the work – but it’s very funny just the same. Besides, he more than earns his keep with the dance number that ends the show. It seems from past stand-up shows that Callan likes to dance, and he doesn’t disappoint this time either. What makes Dave’s dancing such a highlight is the fact he commits completely to it. Highly recommended.
2011 Melbourne Fringe Festival
Venue: Fringe Hub – The Ballroom, Lithuanian Club | 44 Errol St, North Melbourne
Dates: 23 Sept – 8 October, 2011
Tickets: $19.00 – $12.00