All Growed Up

Watson comes out on to the stage brandishing a fine bottle of gin, sporting a leopard-print cape and a beard to rival Ned Kelly, and launches into a staccato, rambunctious soliloquy. At 25, he got engaged. Might’ve gone all the way, picked out names for the kids, bought a house, lock, stock, the whole lot. It’s funny, he muses aloud whilst dispensing shots of gin – note to self, sit front and centre for future Zach Watson shows – how he’s ended up miles from that.

On the surface, All Growed Up is Watson’s musings on how it feels to be 33 and clawing back from the windswept par-6 that was 2019 for him. Having Evel Knievel’d himself over a planter box (that’s his story and he’s sticking to it), he shattered his wrist requiring a few month’s whack of workcover and some prescription narcotics, and the introspection that creeps in when you’ve only got the two cats that your housemates have adopted to talk to. See, by 33, his old man was married with kids and a house, and it vexed him; where was his high-school sweetheart with a meal plan? His three kids with ludicrous names? His bricklaying job in a quiet country town? How did he get here? Where is that large automobile? Watson’s debut Fringe show last year was The Zachelor, about his attempts to move on from the aforementioned fiancée and find love, so it’s only natural that All Growed Up is the realisation that adhering to some universally mandated syllabus really isn’t the solution.

Part ode to his father, part love-letter to the fine art of blazing one’s own trail, Watson clearly revels in stripping himself bare, the self-deprecation leading to the acceptance that if you’re happy telling jokes, slinging drinks, and going on the occasional surfing trip with some good mates whilst sinking biblical amounts of Cooper’s finest, then how can that be a bad thing?

Delivered with a sort of nervous energy, Watson won’t have you rolling in the aisles, he’s not that sort of comic. Some people just won’t get him, the dishevelled shirt, the wild pogoing from one topic to the other, the gleeful smile when describing his ex-boss going bankrupt, but you ain’t gotta like him. He’s Big Lebowski’s The Dude, the affable anti-hero, and really, that’s pretty alright by me.

 

3.5 / 5 stars


Words by Mikey Della Porta

All Growed Up is playing at Rhino Room until February 22

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here

Jon Brooks: Selfies From Chernobyl

Jon Brooks got old, man. Ok, that’s probably a little mean, but he’d be the first to lament about the passage of time and the… seasoning that comes with it. Y’see, when you get old, and you inevitably reflect on the things that used to minor bugbears now really annoy you those things tend to stick in your mind, and after a while you’ve just gotta roll up your sleeves, spit on your hands, and hoist the black flag.

When Brooks makes an observation, he tends to deliver it like an annoyed heavyweight UFC fighter looking to exploit your glass jaw – and he hits like grandad’s homemade Grappa. He’s now the wrong side of 40, and with that comes changes, and they’re not always great; accidentally & mysteriously breaking his back last May – he’s still not sure how it happened, only that it very much did painfully happen – had him laid-up for five months with only the internet for company and has allowed him to really define things he absolutely detests – book people, social media spats between Z-List pseudo-celebrities, Brussel Sprouts, Scott Morrison, the light at the end of the tunnel that seems to be getting a little brighter every day – a booty call in your late-20s is a thing of joyous wonder that you excitedly prepare for, but in your 40s? For Brooks it’s now become more a matter of life and death, once more in the breach, dear friends, as what once was second-nature now requires a last will & testament is prepared and left on the bedside table. Stuff changes, and that’s scary, man.

Being a veteran of twelve years as a stand-up comedian, despite a hiatus of a few years, means that Brooks is instantly at ease on the stage, with an effortless cadence and delivery that underscores his show. Occasionally the jokes fall a little flat, and where a rookie would falter, Brooks squares up, dodges the jab, and suckers you with a left that you didn’t see coming… the caustic, acerbic, battle-scared pro doing what he’s really quite good at.

4 / 5 stars


Words by Mikey Della Porta

Jon Brooks: Selfies From Chernobyl is running from February 18 – 22 at Rhino Room.

For more information and to purchase tickets click here.

Confessions Of A 59 Year-Old Fringe Virgin

Hello. My name is WeeStu Campbell and I am a stand-up comedian.

If the rhythm and cadence of that sentence rings familiar, it is no coincidence. Both it, and the more familiar AA introduction, points to a deep-seated addiction.

Stand up comedy is the hard stuff. Once it gets into your system it is hard to shake. For 59 years I was abstinent, sober if you will, from stand up. Until that is, one fateful Monday night in July 2019 when, at the urging of my pushers, I got up on stage at OneMic Stand open mic comedy at the Rhino Room in Adelaide. The stage lights blinded me, the laughter intoxicated me and from that moment I was hooked. Now, if I go more than three days without a fix I am in withdrawal. Believe me, it’s no laughing matter.

Now I’m about to take my addiction to a new, higher level. I’m hitting up new pushers and suppliers, sorry promoters and venues. I’m upping the frequency and intensity of my doses. I’m going to run with a much bigger, far wilder crew of performance addicts. I’m seeking the mainline, the purest shit. I’m about to embark on my first ever Adelaide Fringe as a true user: a registered artist.

I write this on Monday February 10. Opening night still four sleeps away. But, today the journey begins. FringeWorks, the administrative hub of the Fringe is open, in the Fringe Club building on the corner of Frome and Grenfell. That means I can get my hand on the ticket to all my Fringe rushes. The artist’s pass.

For the moment FringeWorks, like any good dealer, is hidden from prying eyes. The club doesn’t open until Friday. No one advertises FringeWorks. It’s a secret for us performance junkies. The Fringe signs aren’t out yet. I enter the building cautiously, surreptitiously. It’s a building site, still being fabricated. There are no signs to guide me. Luckily three magicians come down a staircase, as if floating. They recognize me; I’ve worked with them in numerous variety shows. I’ve found my dealers den.

Upstairs the dealer’s hub that is FringeWorks is also in a state of flux. Workstations, printers the other necessities of an artist’s mobile office, still being put together. Again, I’m recognised. Being called WeeStu and wearing outrageous t-shirts has some advantages. Matt, Supplier, Artist and Venue Coordinator beckons me over. He sees the desperate hunger in my eyes and gives me what I need. The good stuff, the key to magic journeys. The Adelaide Fringe Artist Pass. With one of my aliases, Wee Stu, on it. This will give me access to the 25 nightly hits of stage time I’ve already secured, and hopefully many more.

I leave elated. A little drunk maybe. I pass another comic on the stairs; I recognise the cravings in his eyes.

By evening, however the hunger has returned. I’m back at Rhino Room OneMic stand begging for another hit of five. They give it to me. Third act in the first session. The routine works. The laughter fixes me. Very briefly I own a piece of stage real estate. Now I only have to wait until the next open mic at the Goody Hotel on Tuesday, BRKLYN Bar on Thursday and then, at last, my Fringe debut. Love 2 Laugh, Brompton Hotel Friday 14th February, 9pm.  Come along. Join me for the ride. Share the highs, the lows, the empty rooms, the deaths on stage, the behinds the scenes, the coffee (oh the coffee) and the confessions of a 59 year-old Fringe virgin.


 

Words by Stuart Campbell