Comedy on the Edge has been one of those “in the know” comedy rooms around Sydney for the last few years, a place where the audience has often been largely comedians watching other comedians: where newbies brave the open mic, where not-so-newbies test longer sets, and where established pros drop in at short notice to try out 5 minutes of new material and see what sticks before the night’s MC & headliner wrap up the show. It’s still all those things, but now even better!
A new venue in Chippendale has finally allowed The Edge to come alive with the sound of plenty of proper punters, turning up just because they like a laugh locally. Downstairs at the Shannon Hotel (easy walking from Sydney Uni or Central Station) is a great room, well away from the pub’s other activities, where comedy junkies can get their fix in a space where comedians are willing to flop and take it on the chin (and make themselves the butt of the joke in the process). There’s always the MC to swoop in and lift the mood when required, but when the new stuff works? It’s oh so fresh and fabulous to see it build right there and know that it will be even better when you hear it developed further as part of their regular set.
Last night the headliner was Montreal’s (nee NY’s) DeAnne Smith, who is perhaps quite weary of being described as pint-sized and pixie-ish, but these attributes do help make her so sweetly charming that she gets away with utterly outrageous stuff, delivered with twinkling aplomb and the occasional assistance of the most stylish ukelele you have ever seen. After watching so many local comedians have so much fun, she was super-relaxed, ultra-cheeky and absolutely rocked the room.
DeAnne Smith is currently appearing at Sydney’s Comedy Store (with Tony Woods) and maybe featuring at a comedy room near you before she heads back home (but she’ll be back in Oz again for the 2011 comedy festivals season). www.deannesmith.com
The comedians who’d built that energy so beautifully for DeAnne to ride home to the finish were ably marshalled by MC Toby Coleman with voiceover work from Jonas Holt – standing up in the heavily pro-slanted open mic section were Chris Radburn, David Emory, Lila Tillman, Desh, Dom Romeo and Clint Paddison, and previewing the opening 15 minutes of his work-in-progress 1-hour festival show 12 Easy Steps To Live With Your Psychosis was Seizure Kaiser. Beaming benevolently over it all (and ringing the get-off-stage-now bell for the open mic) was The Edge’s godfather, Mark Williamson (The MW Oh Show).
This room has long been a GFI favourite, and it seems to now have the venue it truly deserves. Watch out in mid-January for final dates for a smorgasbord of festival preview shows featuring some of Sydney’s favourite comedians.