Words by Ruby Muller. Gallery by Daisy Wu.
With $10 tickets, cheap booze and an impressive lineup of some of Melbourne’s best comics, it’s no surprise that the Monash Comedy Night was packed with students eager for a laugh. The showcase, the culmination of a Monash stand-up competition, ranged from the very green to household names like Luke McGregor and Dave Thornton.
The night kicked off with a warm welcome from Monash’s very own Doug Chappel. The Masters student is no stranger to the stage, and the grin he wears while performing is infectious. He did a fantastic job warming up the audience for Monash’s other homegrown talents, Alex Marinelli, Jon Walpole and David Rose, who each held their own against the night’s more experienced acts. As they took us through the all too familiar student woes of online dating, job interviews and breaking the ice with classmates, laughter was rippling through the audience in no time.
There were some understandably nervous moments, especially for the night’s first and freshest act, Alex Marinelli. But his dark humour and blunt jokes about growing up as a gay boy in a religious school—and then having to adjust to university life—grew increasingly clever as his set progressed, redeeming any nervous stumbles he’d had in the beginning. Jon Walpole’s cool demeanour and cereal-themed introspection was certainly something to savour. His take on how to be ‘spontaneous’ was also a huge hit with all the Tinder users in the audience, though I wouldn’t be asking him for dating advice any time soon.
Or David Rose, for that matter. Rose, one of the event’s organisers, tackled subjects from bathroom graffiti to sleeping with sex workers with a sharp wit we should all be swiping right to. A swiftly rising talent in the Melbourne comedy scene, he came on with the calm of an expert. His self-deprecating anecdotes even made him a few friends in the front row. This promising law student is one I’m certain we will be seeing more and more of.
Still relatively new on the comedy scene, Bart Freebairn had students in stitches. His ode to cheesecake hit deliciously close to home and his advice on how to be a true Tigers supporter had the crowd roaring. His laissez-faire style of delivery and too-real punchlines took the audience totally off-guard. If you’re looking for some fresh laughs, Freebairn is definitely worth checking out.
The night’s headliners, both with modest beginnings in Raw Comedy competitions, reminded us that even adults have trouble adulting sometimes. Luke McGregor, the indisputable king of awkward, found many friends among his audience. From shared obsessive compulsions to receiving advice on how to end a conversation, his endearingly cringeworthy brand of stand-up is always refreshing. His attempt to answer those hard questions that keep us all up an night such as, “Who had the first pet” and “What’s with makeup?” were brilliant, reminding us that it’s good to laugh at ourselves every now and then.
Dave Thornton closed the night with buckets of laughter and some particularly quick census quips. His timely spot on the Olympics had some students absolutely howling. The radio star had us all going when he reminded us of the rules and how we Aussies are a stickler for them. Thornton was the perfect choice to top off a truly great night of comedy.
Catch Jon Walpole and David Rose in the Monash Law Review playing at The Butterfly Club this August.