We all like to have a laugh – it's the reason why we watch current affairs programs, keep contact with dysfunctional family members and take public transport. It's also the reason why the comedy industry is such a serious business. The world is full of people wanting an endorphin rush, and while getting sexy or playing rugby (or both) can surely take care of things, the fact is that those activities aren't always an option. Plus, you get your hair messed up. Hence, the burden of keeping the humour for humanity falls upon those strange and brave individuals who make it their mission to make us laugh.
It's little wonder then that when the founder of Dog's Comedy, who is known around the traps by the lowercase mononym of armando, invited WeekendNotes to a show, we were there before you could say 'legal chemical high'. Perched in the front row with a vodka concoction and a wantonly willing funny bone, what came next was quite a revelation. It was quirky, it was entertaining, and it was very real.
Being, as it is, a vehicle to promote the local industry, Dog's Comedy shows are filled with a line-up of both seasoned performers and brand new acts. As each comic takes the floor, the audience is drawn in to a routine that isn't polished to within an inch of its life; the connection is more personal, more dynamic, and refreshingly genuine.
With some of the less practiced acts, not every line hits the mark as intended, and yet the vibe is never awkward. Instead, the room thrums with positivity and a fair show of good-natured heckling, creating an open and supportive interaction between the performer and the rest of the room. It's a good way to keep things interesting, because even when the delivery is bang on target you won't always see the punch line coming until it hits you. It's this edge of unpredictability, fostered by a very diverse mix of performers, which helps give Dog's Comedy its point of difference.
"Dog's Comedy is a safe place for people that want to have a go. New, established or anything in between, they get the chance to try new stuff," armando told WeekendNotes. "We've had several people do their first gig ever, and we've even had comics come out of retirement and choose Dog's Comedy for their comeback gigs, including Mark Pengilly, Corey Ryan [previously known as Crazy E], Vic Plume and Axl Taylor."
Other performers regularly behind the microphone include Morven Smith, a girl with sass and a penchant for a good bout of stalking, who recently performed at the Edinburgh and Melbourne Fringe Festivals, and armando himself, who is both an actor and a comedian as well as the originator of the Dog's Comedy philosophy, and is therefore a very busy man. "I've learnt that running a room makes it considerably harder to write," he said, adding that when he does get the time to take the mic, it can be both stressful and rewarding – daunting, and euphoric. "When you're on stage, the audience gives you instant feedback."
Dog's Comedy is currently held at Dancing Dog Café, an eclectic Footscray bar with a Carlisle St vibe, Thursday nights at 7:30pm, with the last show for the year scheduled for 1st December. The fun doesn't stop there though – check the website for additional venues and show dates for when Dog's Comedy resumes in February 2012, and take a peek at some of the other great comedy gigs on offer throughout Melbourne all year round. Alternatively, Dog's Comedy can tailor a show for a social event or work function at the venue of your choice, or if it's the stage you're interested in, you can sign up to strut your stuff as a Dog's Comedy performer.