First published on 6 Apr 2011. Updated on 19 Jul 2011.
If you're a regular Time Out reader you'll hopefully be aware that there are a whole mess of great comedians in Australia. Many of them bang out an entire festival show every year, take it around the Adelaide Fringe the comedy fests in Melbourne and Sydney, plus (hopefully) some international festivals, and then it just disappears forever. Sure, many acts film a touring show for the purposes of a DVD, but what of those who aren't at the Wil Anderson/Arj Barker/Ross Noble level? What of Sam Simmons, say, whose Fail was one of the most gut-burstingly hilarious and inventive shows of 2010? What of up-and-comers like Tom Ballard or Josh Thomas, just getting their names around the nation's households?
Well, Madman have come to the rescue with their Warehouse Comedy series, where they filmed a bunch of Australian comics do their entire show in a specially built venue and are now pumping them out to coincide with the festival season. Some are in early states of construction: Ballard's ...Is What He Is and Simmons' Fail are both good, but were noticeably improved by the time they hit Sydney. Others show comics still in their compiling-their-best-bits-into-a-patchwork stage (Felicity Ward's absolutely superb Textbook Idiot, Sammy J's Randy-less performance 58 Kilograms of Pure Entertainment), while Hannah Gadsby's Kiss Me Quick I'm Full of Jubes and Thomas's Surprise are both well-balanced narrative pieces.
There are also great shows by Tom Gleeson, Denise Scott, Charlie Pickering and Dave Thornton, but this collection is one that will hopefully continue past this initial release. As entertainment, it's superb – but as a time capsule of Australian comedy in 2010, this is unmatched.