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Michael Toon: While You Were Sleeping - Bris Funny Fest

Home > Brisbane > Comedy | Festivals | Shows
by Yvette Chapman (subscribe)
Thirty something girl, originally from Sydney but Brisbane is home now. Eats, drinks, socialises, watches art-house, studies the stars, and loves music. I'm a professional copywriter and editor. Hearts writing things.
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Brisbane's comedy scene is sure to soften even the most hardened resting bitch face. There's something to float every boat, from seasonal comedy festivals showcasing local, interstate and international talent, through to open-mic nights featuring raw and fresh up-and-comers.

This August, Bris Funny Fest has spoilt us for choice with its mixed bag of goodies a program of diverse acts hosted by some of this city's coolest, hole-in-the-wall venues.

Last Saturday, I dropped by the Heya Bar in Fortitude Valley to catch the closing night of Michael Toon's debut comedy, While You Were Sleeping.

I like comedy venues to be intimate and grungy and arriving at Heya Bar, I discovered it definitely fit the bill. Set below street level, exposed brick and concrete floors line dimly-lit, cavernous spaces, brought to life with Japanese curios, pop-art and cascading paper lanterns. Its 'street eats' menu features a variety of fried and steamed dishes including cheeseburger spring rolls (I know, get out of town, right?!) and cauliflower karage.

While most comedy gigs I've enjoyed are rife with crude innuendo, potty humour and contentious subject matter, Michael's show had a refreshingly different style, incorporating mainly 'intelligent humour' and some very unique material. But even though it strayed from the usual mould I still laughed my ass off in parts.

Michael has the cheeky demeanour of a comedian and a geeky hipster thing going on. He also appears to have a freakishly high IQ. Which is no surprise, given he's an anaesthetist by day who can rattle off lots of really, really big words. Interestingly, he's also a former Olympian. While it may seem unusual for an elite athlete or medical professional to branch into comedy, Michael draws on his life experience as fodder for the show.



While You Were Sleeping is based on an anaesthesiology theme, and has some relevant props thrown in for good measure. Going off a show of hands at the start of the set, it was evident the night drew a fairly niche audience of workers from some of Brisbane's local hospitals.

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Michael has a sharp wit and can construct a clever joke. But don't necessarily expect a quick punch line. If you're able to 'stay' the course and get your head around the terminology, you'll discover they're real gems. As it goes with comedy, some of his jokes missed the mark, but overall it was a fun night out with lots of laughs.

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Michael has been doing stand-up on and off since 2013, while juggling his other work commitments. This was his festival debut and his third time doing a solo show, so you could say he's still fairly new to the comedy circuit. I do think he's definitely a name to watch though particularly as he continues to polish and refine his show.

For me, an enjoyable comedy experience is about venue, value and vibe. And my Saturday evening ticked all of those boxes.
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*Yvette Chapman was invited as a guest
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Where: Heya Bar, 351 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley
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