Raw Comedy 2018: What Went Wrong

Short version: Because some of you don’t like reading, the short version is some of the pictures I showed were too small… and other stuff.


Educational Version:

“You should do the pictures.”

“Do that pictures story.”

“Gosh that’s a good bit. Do the pictures.”

“It’s pictures for me.”

And more over the advice I had was to do the pictures routine. I planned to do another routine, two of my dating short stories. No pictures. Just three spoons and words. I don’t regret the change. Don’t get me wrong. The support and successful expectation was too much to ignore.

The routine I did involves pictures, where I tell a story and use images as comic breaks and narrative. It’s worked in the bars I’ve performed in before, and it was expected that the novelty of the pictures, compared to those doing “normal” stand-up, would elevate me above the pack at Raw. At least, that was the advice.

Raw Comedy is a stand-up comedy competition in Australia. All of Australia. It’s a big competition. Entrants are non-professionals. Those who don’t get booked. Those who get paid with a free drink, if at all. Those who wait for hours at open mic nights to try their routine on a stage after everyone has gone home. It’s not for the cream of the crop, but it does find the cream by weeding out the chaff. If you get my meaning.

So I had this pictures routine. Practiced and ready. As said, it’s gotten a great response previously. Often people would tell me how they enjoyed it after a show. In fact, the audience at Raw Comedy seemed to enjoy it too. So why didn’t the judges?

My set went okay. Fine really. I made a couple of stumbles but nothing anyone seemed to notice or mention afterwards. I did notice the crowd didn’t respond to some pictures as quickly as crowds usually do. You see, unlike the small rooms I’d performed in before, this Heat of Raw Comedy was performed in a genuine theatre. Seats leading far to the back of the room. If I held a hand out, the body of some people would appear to fit into my palm. Imagine from that distance looking at a laminated sheet of paper and getting the joke on it. The judges were near the back, and they didn’t get the best view. While much of the crowd was okay, two people mentioned that one picture was not identifiable enough. If you look at the picture attached to this report, maybe you can decide for yourself. Is it what it should look like?

Furthermore a friend was a judge. Fully impartial, as my failure would attest. Her advice following was for some of the pictures to be bigger, and for myself to be more of an identity. The Raw competition likes to have personalities or characters on stage. Stories about characters. I’m not a personality. I’m more of a facts and figures kind of guy. At least, that’s normally all people ask of me. Do I even have a personality? I don’t know. That’s not what the pictures routine is about. It’s about events. Funny thing is that the dating stories I originally planned to do is more of a character piece.

Anyway, her advice didn’t reference a minor stumble of words or any error in content. She gave a couple of keen ideas on improvements, but nothing life changing. So while it could have been funnier, the easiest fix for Raw Comedy was to consider the scale of the room, and to tell a story of personal or character insights rather than just events.

Maybe that will work next time. If there’s a next time for me.

(The educational version is much more educational, right?)


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Not Dating Advice (part 1)

When I was a kid, not saying I’m much more than that now but you know, many years ago there were movies, and like today, they showed the guidelines for dating and human behaviour.

In these old movies there’d be some woman, some upstart woman, and the guy would come along and say, “Hello beautiful,” and the woman would be all like, “Go away I’m busy,” and the guy would go away, but he’d soon be back.

“Hello beautiful,” he’d say, this time with flowers.

She’d be all like, “Go away. I’m busy. I’m working the family oil farm all by myself, and getting a doctorate, which means I’m planning to become a doctor, and I’m doing something else, something, rule of three, because I’m a strong independent woman.”

And the guy would go away, and then come back, all smiles, holding a wrench to fix something, something rule of three, saying “Hello beautiful,” and this would be alright. He’d fix her problem, because after all he’s a man and he can fix women’s issues. Not all women’s issues. Some of them are aided by tampons. You don’t actually need a man with a wrench or spanner or some cleaving equipment in that situation. I’m not saying men are needed to fix any issue. That’s just what happens in these movies. You know?

I’m looking at the audience (that’s you) and I think I’m okay with that point. Am I okay? I’m getting a head nod from the woman in the front row but I’m not sure if that’s an “okay” signal or a “We’ll talk about this later”.

Anyway, I think I’m okay, what the movies would do next was show the guy with flowers, or chocolate, or something, fix things, because he was wooing her.


I have a speech impediment but “wooing”, you understand that? Basically modern day stalking. The guy would stalk her, wear her down, break her will, Audrey Hepburn used to try to balk this trend in movies but it would happen, the woman would submit, give up her silly dreams, plan to make a nice kitchen, and they’d end the film with a wedding, bing-bong bing-bong, happy ending.

Can’t do that today. I say hello to someone, they tell me to rack off, and I go home to masturbate into a pillow. I can’t come back with a wrench. No. That would not be okay. I can’t stand underneath a window with a boom-box playing her favourite love song.

First of all, I don’t know how romantic Beyonce’s “if you like it you should have put a ring on it” is at one in the morning, played by some guy standing in shrub next to the clothes line. Mostly I know that the neighbours would call the cops. Or she would call the cops. Or a passer-by would call the cops. The cops would be called, I’d have to explain myself and saying “I’m wooing her” would not be good enough.

No. Times have changed. That’s all I’m saying. Times have changed.

Dating Stories: The Vegan Lady

I took a vegan to KFC. Not on purpose, it was just near the car park where we planned to meet.

Mum said KFC was appropriate for a vegan, “Because they can’t fucking cook.”

I said, “Immanuel Kant, the famous philosopher, his name is spelt with a K, so the acronym could work there, but it’s unfair to say he can’t cook.”

Mum said, “Couldn’t fucking care.”

My date didn’t like the situation either. She said she had to go. She didn’t have a good vibe about the date and she was hungry and had to go home.

I said, “You can eat here. They have peas.”

My date said, “I don’t like peas.”

I said, “Sure, I don’t like peas either. I don’t like baby peas. I’m the youngest in my family I’d hate it someone ate me. I wonder if baby peas have older brother peas that would beat up their younger brother peas and that how you get mushy peas? And I wonder if they have older sister peas that would use their brother’s face as a test site for make-up designs, and take photos, and then post those photos on Facebook, fifteen years later, three times?”

My date didn’t answer.

I said, “And minted peas. They sound rich. Like they’ve got all the green backs.”

I smiled.

She didn’t.

I said, “I actually do like peas.”

My date said she didn’t want to continue the date. She had to go home to eat.

I said, “No. You can eat the mash potato here. There’s no meat in the gravy.” We checked. It is true. My date ate the mash potato and gravy and she loved it.

She said, “Thank you,” and she said she would see me again. She’d found a junk food indulgence that she could secretly have with me.

But I couldn’t see her again, because I googled more and it turned out that the gravy is ok, that is vegan, but the mash potato, it isn’t. The potato has chicken fat in it. The gravy is safe, but not the potato. It’s not vegan.

I had to tell my date. I told her about the chicken fat. She wasn’t so happy then. Vegans can swear a lot. They appear wholesome but they can sweat. But it’s better she knows the truth. And she’s now dating a guy who only eats chick peas. So that’s good for her. That’s a happy ending.

Dating Stories: The Banana Lady

I hate it when people assume things about me. Especially when they’re right. Like the time I was at the supermarket near me. It has free fruit for kids. It’s not good fruit, not fruit they can sell, but fruit they give to families, because they’re a family friendly store.

Everyday I pass this free fruit it’s a reminder of the family I don’t have. Why should couples get everything. So this one day I took a banana. I was eating it and a security guard stopped me and said, “Hey, where’d you get that?”

I said, “What?”

He said, “The banana.”

I said, “I’m holding this for my kid.”

He said, “You don’t have kids.”

That’s not fair.

I said, “I do. Jimmy. He’s over there,” and I pointed.

The security guard didn’t look. He repeated, “You don’t have kids.”

I said, “Sure,” and pointed at some person. “That’s my wife Kate. She’s minding Tom, and Jimmy, and I’m holding Jimmy’s banana, or nar-nar as he calls it.”

The security guard said, “That fruit is store property. You can’t eat property without purchasing it first.”

I said, “Hansel and Gretel ate the ginger bread house. They didn’t take out a mortgage first. There wasn’t any auction or settlement. They just ate it.”

He said, “You’re going to have to pay for that banana,” and he took me to a cash register and placed the banana it on the scales.

I thought I’d make a joke, ‘cause it was silly, so I said, “Do you want the other half?”

He said to the cash register lady, “This ‘comedian’ here needs to pay for this. It was for the kids,” and so the lady puts her hand on the scale, and I don’t know what product she selected, but that half-banana cost me $49.86, and I didn’t even get to keep it. The bruised, not fit for actual sale, banana got thrown in the bin and I got walked out of the family friendly supermarket.

But before leaving I heard the security guard say to the cash register lady, “Thanks Honey.”

I’d like to assume he’s not being a bit sexist, so they’re a couple. So that’s good for them. That’s a happy ending.

Dating Stories: The Saddest Story Lady

Often before a gig I hear people say they’ve practiced their new material on their partner, just to check it wasn’t shit first. I don’t have a partner. As I approach forty I know that’s when most divorces happen, so, fingers crossed.

My date doesn’t have to be divorced. Maybe I can meet someone who’s just been cheated-on a lot, or who’s husband’s died. Maybe. Not all three. I don’t think I have the emotional reserves to handle someone who’s suffered all three.

I mean, the best I could sympathise with is this time Mum drove over my pet snail, and she replaced it with one from the garden. I could tell it wasn’t my Sluggy. I told Mum and she said it was, and I said it wasn’t, and she said it fucking was and if I kept this up she’d put me up for adoption.

She often said that.

She never did, but it didn’t make the feeling feel less real.

If I told a date all that, I don’t think I’d get a second date.

Thinking about it, it wouldn’t be so bad to met someone who had all three happen. In the order that someone was cheating on them, and they divorced them, and that person died.

I’d be okay with that.

That’ll be a happy ending.

In the meantime I’ll try new material on audiences. It might be shit. They might still laugh, and that’ll be good for them.

Dating Stories: The Birthday Lady

It was my birthday last week. At 4:30 in the morning Mum poked me awake with a stick.

She said, “Where’s my present?”

I said, “Oh, yeah, ah, Mum, last night I went on a date, and it was her birthday soon, and she told me her mum was buying her something. She said, ‘That’s normal’. She said, ‘Nobody does it the other way around’.”

Mum said, “Don’t believe what dates tell you. Remember, ‘You’re such as nice guy’ means ‘You’re dead-shit boring’, and ‘I’ll be in touch’ means ‘I don’t want to hear from you again’.”

I said to Mum, “But, you’ve never bought me a present in your birthday.”

Mum said, “I gave you the greatest gift of all. Life. What have you given me?”

I said, “Last year I gave you a bottle of gin.”

Mum said, “The year before that?”

I said, “It’s not all my fault. Vodka and gin are in the same aisle. They’re both clear. I’m sorry.”

Mum said, “I had to choke down that vodka with a bottle of Coke. Gin doesn’t even need Coke.”

I gave Mum a handbag with a bottle of gin in it. She gave me back the handbag. I keep socks in it.

I texted my date. She said I was really nice and that she’ll be in touch.

I hear she’s dating a fishmonger. Fish is really healthy. A good source of omega-3.

So that’s good for her.

Stupid Western Story

The year’s 1876. Old Grandma Jones is washing dishes in the gutter. We tell her not to. It’s dangerous up there. Carrying hot water up a ladder’s not safe, and all the suds just run away down the drain pipe. She doesn’t get a good lather, but she squeals at us if we try and stop her.

I remember the day clearly because it was the first time I wore my lucky hat, plus my mother and father were killed, and my two sisters. I was also wearing that hat when the fire station burnt down, and the year there was no crop for harvest, and the time my uncle got ran over by a stage coach. Come to think of it, I shouldn’t wear that hat so much.

I’ve gone and given away the ending, ‘cause what happen next was Boss Fitzgerald swanned into town. Man, that’s quite a sight. Most of us rode horses. Imagine a 300 pound, six-foot man with a full beard and a six shooter strapped to each side riding a swan, tugging its elongated neck to and fro down the main street. You got to hand it to that swan. Man, that was some swan.

He comes in and shoots to death my mother and father and two sisters, without so much as a word of thanks, and then swans back out of town. If I wasn’t holding the ladder for Grandma Jones to I’d be shot through too.

I guess in some ways, that really was a lucky hat.

Dating Stories: The Sweety Names Lady

I’ve never had a girlfriend, or partner. I think if I do I’ll use some sort of nickname for her. I’m not an overly formal guy. I’m not one who’d say, “Hello this is my friend, Margaret.”

“This is my partner, Margaret.”

“This is my fiancé, Margret.”

“This is my wife, Margaret.”

“Dearly beloved, we are here to mourn the passing of Margaret.”

Never Maggie.

I’d be Maggie straight away.

I couldn’t use a standard nickname though.

I’m not a “Babe,” kind of guy.

“Hey Babe.”


“I’ll just run it past the Ministry of War and Finance. He, he, he.”

No. I don’t want to be that kind of fuck wit.

“Savings account? More like spendings. He, he, he, he.”

Fuck wit.

No. I’ll come up with some name. Not Snook’ems.

I don’t know what. I haven’t meet her yet.

Mum said, “You’re never going to meet someone if you’re not going to call them by their name.”

I said, “I will at first. I just assume our relationship will evolve.”

She said, “Yeah, eventually you’ll put her off. Why don’t you just say ‘Hello Francis, nice to meet you, do you mind if I call you Francis?’”

I said, “I knew someone named Francis. We called him Franger.“

Mum said, “No-one should be called Franger. It sounds like I’m calling them Condom-head.”

Franger was okay with it. He meet a nice lady. She was named Dolorous. I can’t remember what nickname she had.

Anyway, they’re happily married and I never see them again. So that’s good for them. A happy ending.