Q&A with Beau Fitzpatrick: The Quarterly Retort

Related Post:
Quarterly Retort – November 24
Buy tickets at the Quarterly Retort website:

A chat with Beau Fitzpatrick, founder/coordinator of the Quarterly Retort, a mini-festival of comedy shows held every three months in Melbourne.

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Q: So why The Quarterly Retort?

A: Well, a retort is a robust response, so every 3 months, every quarter-year, we retort to the common Melbourne question “Where does all the Comedy go once the Festival is over?”

Q: So that’s a common question, even though there are many comedy rooms offering weekly and monthly shows around Melbourne all year round?.

A: Of course there are all those shows, but lots of people don’t seem to know about most of them. I think it’s also because the regular shows aren’t like festival shows where somebody’s up there for an hour, and people can’t get to see all 300+ shows during the festival … there’s a tendency to prioritise seeing the internationals because you mightn’t get the chance again, and then people feel that they’ve missed out on seeing what the local acts’ can do with a festival format, because we just can’t do those hour-long sets in a normal comedy club showcase line-up.

Q: How did you come up with the idea?

A: At least partly because I didn’t get to see all the local shows that I wanted to see, and it was the same for other comedians I spoke to. One girl came up and told me that she wanted to be a comedian…I asked her if she enjoyed seeing comedy, and when she said yes, I told her “then don’t become a comedian”. I was only half-joking… the guilt – if you’re watching shows you’re not out there promoting them, if you’re out there promoting shows for yourself and your mates you’re not watching them in their shows!

The other side was that lots of local comedians feel that they can’t compete promotion-wise with the media blitz for the big international and national stars, so they just don’t get the exposure during the festival itself, so there was a feeling of being overlooked.

Q: Until this year, I’d never heard of The Order Of Melbourne, so how did you find the venue?

A: During MICF, while performing in a show for Comedicate at the Kaleide Theatre, I happened to meet someone across the road in The Order Of Melbourne and found a venue with two great performance spaces, and the idea of a regular mini-festival where local comedians could showcase their wares without the international competition hogging the spotlight was born.

Q: This sounds like a concept that could also work well in Sydney and other capitals…

A: The response from excited audiences and comedians thrilled to get an hour on stage to themselves again has been so positive that I am looking to expand The Quarterly Retort concept to other cities around Australia, and eventually build to a point where some interstate cross-fertilisation between Retorts gets going, so that comedians who haven’t yet broken through to regular gigs interstate can introduce themselves to new audiences in new cities.

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Buy tickets at the Quarterly Retort website:

With a new purpose-built ticketing system for the Retort and other Comedicate gigs, Fitzpatrick is looking to really push this concept next year, hopefully with the aid of a visionary sponsor and some supportive promoters.

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