First Gig Worst Gig

Aunty Donna

Aunty Donna

It was the first of times, it was the worst of times. And this time we welcome Australia's Aunty Donna, who are a big deal back home and now a decent-sized deal here too. The sketchy trio are negotiating their first UK tour, which has almost achieved its full bum/seat potential apart from Manchester (September 24) and London (Sept 30).

It's quite a trek to get here, of course - any obscure home comforts they've brought along?

"Tom, the musician/composer for Aunty Donna," they reply. "Some would say we bring him for his technical prowess, tour management skills and his active role in the show. But to us he is most important as a reminder of home.

"His blue eyes contain the sparkling blue light glinting off crashing waves. His musk smells of the petrichor off black dirt as a summer storm rolls over the horizon. Beneath the rasp of his voice lies the hum of the Australian bush at dusk; insect, birds, life - death."

Evocative. And how would they describe their show to, say, an elderly British person who's never seen live comedy?

"We wouldn't bother."

But can they be bothered to barrel through their gig history? Yes they can.

First Gig?

We did a five-minute spot at a gig for the Swinburne University Student Union. The headliner was Nick Cody from Fifi, Fev and Nick on Fox FM 101.9. If you'd told us that day that Nick Cody would go on to host a breakfast radio show with Fifi Box and Brendan Fevola we would have said:

'Brendan Fevola the full forward from Carlton Football Club is doing breakfast radio? Fifi Box we understand, she's an Australian radio icon, we love Fifi Box. But Brendan Fevola? The footballer? Actually, now that you've given us some time to think about it that doesn't seem so farfetched. Australia has a long history of turning sports stars into media stars and Brendan Fevola's bold personality would really shine against Nick's off the cuff humour and Fifi's keen professionalism'.

Favourite show, ever?

The single favourite gig was the aforementioned gig at Swinburne University. The gig was pretty good but afterwards we were approached by a soothsayer bearing tales of breakfast radio programmes from 2021 - present. We've been doing comedy for over 10 years and only after one gig have we received prophetic tidings.

Worst gig?

The most horrendous gig was Comedy in the Dark at the Edinburgh Fringe. They put a lot of work into making a room really dark and none into making an environment conducive to comedy.

Which one person influenced your comedy life most significantly?

For better or worse it's probably Captain Cook. Without this old mate we wouldn't have grown up in the context we did, our influences would be wildly different, and we wouldn't have met each other. And if you know anything about Australian immigration, you'd have to agree that Hitler would be a close second with Jesus Christ taking out the bronze.

And who's the most disagreeable person you've come across in the business?

Whoever put together this list of questions. This is a poor excuse for journalism. Hope it sells some tickets though.

Aunty Donna: The Magical Dead Cat Tour

Is there one song/bit/gag you loved, that audiences inexplicably didn't?

We had this one song about how everyone in the audience is a big dumb loser. It did not go down well. Mostly due to a lack of jokes and poor timing.

How would you describe your respective roles within the group?

Broden - Writer/ Performer.
Mark - Writer/ Performer.
Zach - Writer/ Performer.

Any reviews, heckles or post-gig reactions stick in the mind?

Yeah, heaps. You get into comedy to make people laugh. To do that you have to open yourself to the audience in order to improve and grow. But as you do this you run the risk of simultaneously opening yourself to opinion. Whether that is a review, or a nasty online comment or a positive conversation with a peer.

Over time the weight of these words can start to build and guide your creative hand until you're making sketches based on singular opinions of single shows you did years ago. We wish none of the reviews, heckles or post-gig reactions stuck in the mind, but it seems they're firmly in there.

We just hope when we're creating we come back to basics. Focusing on making the audience laugh.

How do you feel about where your career is at, right now?

Good. You?

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