Punchline Magazine’s dispataches from Melbourne’s International Comedy Festival, part 4

Melbourne International Comedy FestivalI was thrilled to learn that singer Ali McGregor was hosting her own late night variety show and even more thrilled when my husband Christian [Finnegan] was booked to perform on it. Back when Comix was still brand new (as though 3.5 years makes it old!) I produced a music show called “Live Wire.” Ali and her husband Adam Hills, a comedian and host of the Australian TV show Spicks & Specks were in NYC and the Comix audience was given a rare treat to have them both on the show.

Ali performed an operatic version of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.” I first saw AC/DC in concert when I was 12 years old and stoned out of my mind after toking a joint on the air tram with my brother. I remember the theatrics of that outdoor performance – pyrotechnics, a giant cracked liberty bell, cannons that saluted 21 times– as though it were yesterday. Normally, I’d say don’t mess with nostalgia but then Ali opened her mouth and re-wired everything I ever thought about Acca Dacca. Screw the memories, I need a hot blond to transform the song into an orgasmic dessert with extra whipped cream.

Share in the delight of that performance here.This makes me want to produce “Live Wire” again. I had goose bumps for hours that night.

I made my way inside and was greeted by Saxon the Butler as portrayed by Aussie comedian Asher Treleaven who looked a bit like John Waters with a fake pencil thin moustache. He offered me a drink before moving along to greet guests and straighten up the room. Every show should have a butler. Contact the unions and let’s make it happen.

Ali McGregor
Ali McGregor

As Ali is about 8.5 months pregnant, a lovely chaise lounge was set on stage right for her to sit during the show. There were sets by four comedians, including Christian and fellow American Nick Thune. Saxon the Butler performed a hysterical interpretive dance and Ali sang a few songs with her heavenly voice. The crowd was the most enthusiastic one that I’ve seen during the entire run of the festival and they got the show they deserved. It was a lovely spectacle that culminated in an amazing hula hoop act Jess Love.

Executed without saying a word, she portrayed a disgruntled sideshow performer forced to wear a silly showgirl costume and fishnets that are so annoying that she strips naked – removes the fishnets permanently – gets re-dressed in the feathered leotard and wows us with more spinning. Hilarious and really cool to watch.

Variety is the spice of life and Ali gave me a shit ton of chili peppers. That doesn’t make sense, but you can still quote me on that. My only wish is that she’d pop out the wee one and get on with having a show every single night of the week. I’m selfish that way.

Random fact: Jess Love holds the World Record for the most hula hoops spun at one time. 115 for those who are counting (like the World Record counters do).

Related: Melbourne dispatch, part 1.

Related: Melbourne dispatch, part 2.

Related: Melbourne dispatch, part 3.

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