THIS promises to be a good year for Australian fans of stand-up comedy, with our country’s duo Lano and Woodley making a comeback after 12 years and Britain’s Jimmy Carr starting an international tour here that will see him perform in 15 countries by mid-November.
Carr’s popularity in the Hunter was shown when his January 11 show at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre sold out well before that date. But the organisers were able to squeeze in an extra performance at the Civic on Monday, March 5, before he heads back to Britain for a seaside town show four days later.
Carr will be followed at the Civic on Friday and Saturday, March 9 and 10, by Lano and Woodley, whose new show, Fly, has them taking on the roles of the Wright Brothers, the American aviators and engineers who are generally credited with inventing, building, and flying the world's first successful airplane. They’ll be flying high on laughter.
The English comedian’s show, Jimmy Carr: The Best Of, Ultimate, Gold, Greatest Hits World Tour, has him bringing together what he views as some of the best of his jokes from the 15 years he has been performing and new laugh-raisers. See the adjoining story for more about it.
Lano and Woodley (Colin Lane and Frank Woodley) were initially members of a Melbourne comedy trio, The Found Objects, which began performing in the late 1980s. When the third member left in 1993, they became a self-titled duo who quickly won fame, with a show they took to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1994 winning them the Perrier Award for best comedy show. They subsequently became television comedy favourites in shows put together for the ABC and BBC and repeatedly toured Australia.
In 2006, after working together for 20 years, they decided to separately do other things and put together a touring show, Goodbye, that premiered at that year’s Adelaide Fringe Festival and was performed at 37 cities and towns across Australia, attracting more than 150,000 people to say farewell.
The pair made a surprise appearance together at the Melbourne Comedy Festival’s 30th Birthday Gala in 2016 and brought the house down, leading them to decide to work together as a duo again, with the current Fly tour announced last November.
While their characters are based on the Wright Bros, Woodley has stated with a straight face that he will spend most of his time on stage trying to get Lane to do the right things.
Fly has performances at the Civic at 7.30pm on Friday, March 9, and 5pm and 7.30pm on Saturday, March 10. The show runs for 80 minutes without an interval.
Tickets: $45.90 to $54.90.
STAND-UP RARELY SITS DOWN
JIMMY Carr began his life as an eager school and university student, with his skills leading him to be appointed to the marketing team of one of the world’s premier petroleum companies.
But after six years with the firm, he took a voluntary redundancy in January 2000 and decided to perform at a paid stand-up gig later that month, having done only one unpaid pub show at the end of 1999. He became an instant hit and has performed nine sell-out tours, playing almost 2000 shows to more than two million people across four continents. And his 11-month 2018 tour of Jimmy Carr: The Best Of, Ultimate, Gold, Greatest Hits World Tour will see him go to those continents – Australia, Europe, North America and Africa – with his popularity shown by the fact that he will perform in many countries where English is not the national language.
Carr performs stand-up tours continuously for all but about five weeks of a year and has also been involved in television and radio hit programs. He says that his current show includes between 300 and 350 jokes in its two-hour running time, aiming for a laugh every 20 seconds. And he recently made a comment that could have influenced Lano and Woodley in putting together their Fly show, saying that “Comedians are a bit like pilots. When you’ve got 10,000 hours on stage you get quite good at these things, and there’s not much that can happen that will genuinely surprise you.”
His show can be seen at the Civic on Monday, March 5, at 8pm. Tickets: $79.90.