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  • Writer's pictureJenny Wynter

The After Party that Was

The entrance:

We linger outside Rosati’s – a quite enormous and suitably snazzy setting with a large square bar at its centre – and chat briefly to Toby Sullivan, the Raw Comedy Producer who nods at Josh and I, greeting us with: “JT, JW.” We’ve been here under a minute and aleady I feel cool.

The introduction:

We make our way inside where I am too busy admiring the funky fluoro wedding-style-cake to start celebrity spotting yet. Josh, however is on the task. As we form a little hub with Josh’s friend and co-Comedy-Zone performer Matt, Josh leans over and whispers to me: “That is SOOO Rove McManus.” I look over his shoulder to the couch a couple of metres away and he’s right. It SOOO is. There with his wife, apparently he was one of the first to arrive as he and Belinda had opted for a birthday dinner instead of the gala. Everybody say it together with me, AWWWWWW… As the champagnes start to descend, I find myself using Rove as my point of navigation in the room – as he doesn’t move all night. I guess that’s when you know you’ve got power in this industry: you no longer need to work the room, you just stay put and let the party come to you.

Josh reveals himself to be the David Attenborough of comedy, embracing me as his long lost little tourist in need of guide.

“Charlie Pickering.” “Akmal.” “Behind you: that is SOOO Eddie Perfect.”

And so it continues, in what if I try to repeat it all here will just seem like I’m shamelessly name-dropping. And I’d hate for it to SEEM that way because obviously that’s so far from the truth. Ehem. Ehem. Ehem.

The Party:

My heart stops a beat for half a second as I look across the small circle in which I’m standing and realise Tim Minchin has just joined it. We make eye contact and I quickly look away – I suck. Apparently I’m now my high-school self, preferring to fob someone off and look like I hate them, rather than risk them knowing that…shock, horror: I like them! I sip on my drink, pep-talking myself into introducing myself to him. We have e-mailed before and I think he’d remember me if I jogged his memory…but I’ve missed my moment. Person after person comes up to him – he is one man of the moment. And I suck. That said, I will get another moment. “Haha,” I hear you say, “as if Jen. When the hell will you get another moment to chat with Tim Minchin this festival?” Well, people, have I got news for you! I’m doing reviews and stuff for thepun.com, one of which is (tentatively) an interview with Monsieur Minchin himself. Be still my beating comedic timing.

Briefly chatted to Corinne Grant again in the bathrooms, Dave Hughes said hi as I walked up the bathroom stairs (where I also flitted past Chris Lilley), Demetri Martin looked quite lonely sitting at a back table with only his guitar for company – Josh and I debated going up to keep him company but resolved we’d rather leave the guy in his monkly soltitude rather than look like star-struck geeks. Because, as you can see by this blog entry already, that’s SOOO not the case…okay, I’m gonna stop name-dropping now, seriously. If you have any specific requests of comedians-Jen-spotted, then please take a ticket and I’ll endeavour to address them as soon as possible.

Was very cool to catch up again with Kent Valentine who’s doing a show down here – if you remember correctly (which you probably don’t, I mean no offence, but who DOES?) – Kent and I went head-to-head at last year’s TINA in the hip-hop-to-the-death battle and felt instantly bonded as a result. It was certainly nice to have a familiar face to crack up a conversation with!

Cos that’s the thing – while the guest list reads like an all-you-can-muster-buffet of Aussie comedy, it’s hard to actually muster up the guts to TALK to these people. Firstly, because everybody wants to talk to them and so it’s very difficult to get a leg in, secondly, you don’t want to look like a complete geek and thirdly, you don’t want to look like a complete geek. As Josh said at the end of the night “I’m sure if you did actually go up they’d be really nice, it’s just getting to them!”

BUT…very very cool indeed was meeting a heap of people I didn’t recognise at all. Like a producer from Spicks and Specks, Lucy Sullivan who books the comics on Rove, a writer from Rove who’s also directing two women’s comedy shows in the fest, one of Andrew Denton’s producers, a woman who scouts talent for Edinburgh Comedy Festival and more. And the weird part of all this was how serendipitous it all seemed – I didn’t hunt out ANY of these people and yet we just somehow ended up in conversation. Granted, at an event like this I guess the odds are kinda high, but still, there would have easily been 400+ people in the room so it still seems pretty strange-in-a-good-way.

Weirdest of all was chatting to this guy for about five minutes, without us actually having introduced ourselves. Suddenly someone else joins us, and said guy shakes his hand and says “Hey, I’m Arty.” I do a complete double-take. THIS is Arty!!! Allow me to take you on a flash-back…

*** 4 days ago at Corndale gig (in Northern NSW)

I do my spot and afterwards the headliner comedian corners me and just gives me some of the most affirming feedback I’ve ever received in my life (as you would already know if you read my previous blog entry – I’d link it here but my friend’s puter doesn’t allow me to for some strange reason). But the part of conversation which is relevant here went something like this:

Him: “Oh, it’ll all happen for you, don’t worry. Arty Laing’ll get his hands on you.”

Me: “Oh yeah?”

Him: “Have you met Arty yet?”

Me: “No.”

Him: “Well, I’m talking to him this week, so I’ll definitely be bringing up your name.”

*** Flash forward:

I do a complete double-take. THIS is Arty! CEO of A-List Entertainment (amongst Australia’s top entertainment agencies/promoters/producers) I pry my jaw shut and look at him for another second. The other person leaves.

Me: “So you’re Arty. I’ve just clicked where I know your name from.”

Arty: “Oh yeah?”

Me: “Yeah.”

I’ve had three champagnes now and my courage is at its peak.

Me: “Yeah, a comedian in Brissie mentioned you the other day – he said he’s going to be chatting to you this week and is going to tell you about me.”

Arty: “Really. Well, you’re here now, why don’t you just tell me about you?”

Me: “Okay.” Silently wishing I’d had half a glass less of champagne and half a minute more of preparation.

Arty: “Let me guess: you’re a really funny comedian.”

Me: “I’ll bet you get that all the time.”

Arty: “Not as often as you’d think.”

We continue chatting for about another ten minutes, after which time the bald half of the Umbilical Brothers joins us – Arty introduces me and offers me a free ticket to their show but I’m not sure if he’s just being nice as Umby Man doesn’t look quite as enthusiastic. They get chatting and I try to work out a subtle-yet-classy way to slip Arty a business card. If nothing else, I am DETERMINED to leave him with my contact details! Not that anything amazing’s going to come out of that straight away, I mean it’s not like you can convince someone you’re talented based on a single conversation, but at least it’s a foot in the door. I do, say bye and head off to mingle some more.

THE AFTER-AFTER-PARTY

Hours have passed already and we’re being moved along. Turns out that what we previously though were just downstairs bathrooms actually open up into a secret bat-cave of exclusive night-clubness! Josh and I boogie on down right next to Stephen K Amos, Eddie Perfect and Fiona O’Loughlin (oh damn, there I go again: I am WAY too uncool to be a celebrity, I’d just spend all my time gushing) and I even manage to sneak in a mutual wave to Arj Barker, though I’m not convinced he knows it’s me (i.e. the chick he saw onstage the night before) as it’s not only dark but I am very uncharacteristically dolled up.

I’m still riddled with post-part-buzz, but Josh is tired and his fatigue soon rubs off – or rather, wakes me up to my own tiredness (go figure that one out: I dare ya.) We make a move and head for home, but not before…

Me: Oh no!

Josh: What?

Me: I forgot to take a single photo!

Josh: Oh.

Me: We have to take one now.

Josh: Are you-

Me: WE HAVE TO!!!

*holding him at gunpoint, I mean lens-point* (or something)

I’ll post it as soon as I can figure out this computer. So hooray – all was not lost after all.

***

THE CONCLUSION

I had the absolute time of my life, even if it did feel at times like being at high school where you’re not yet in THAT group of cool people. Which of course, is exactly where everybody wants to be. As Josh and I stood next to the front door watching the likes of Danny Bhoy stroll in post-gala-gig, I whispered to him “Who knows Josh? Maybe five years from now, you and I will be strolling in through those doors and two young unknowns will be standing in this exact spot, going, ‘Oh look! It’s Josh and Jen!” Hey…it doesn’t hurt to dream.

Especially when there’s free beer on offer.

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