I think of Ella Hooper as my TV sister. She has a new album out this week, her first solo venture, and it would be great if you bought a copy. She is such a prodigious talent, and an absolutely delightful human being. The album is called In Tongues and features the singles Haxan, Low High and The Red Shoes. It has been getting a lot of airplay on ABC digital station Double J, and nobody deserves more success than my beautiful TV sister, the radiant Ella Hooper.
The dreaded 4am alarm is back in my life this week. I'm in Hobart filling in for Paul Hogan on Sea FM with Woody (Esther Woodhams) and Lisa Gormley. You can hear podcasts of the show at their website and on iTunes, but unfortunately none of the SCA stations outside of the capital cities are streaming at the moment over an issue with music rights and royalties.
The Shelf returns for Season Ten (X). You can find up-to-date details at http://shelvers.com.au and our FB page as we get closer to December, but right now we have confirmed that joining Justin Hamilton and I every week will be Claire Hooper, Cal Wilson, Aunty Donna, Watson and Charlie Pickering. The first show on Dec 1 will also have a spectacular guest lineup including Rove, Tom Gleeson, Rob Hunter and Dave Thornton. Cancel Xmas, this is better.
I love doing The Shelf so much. The spontaneity, the variety, the mania. If you love seeing comedians enjoy themselves, you have to come down and experience the madness that is The Shelf.
My self-imposed long service leave is coming to an end. Rather than ease myself back into work slowly, I'm jumping in head first.
From Thursday I will be a part of Miss Itchy's Lazy Susan at the Tuxedo Cat for the Melbourne Fringe. Details available in the gig section, or you can click the picture of the identical twin teenage bridesmaids below. If you've never seen Miss Itchy before, it is a terrifying and deranged experience. Also joining Miss Itchy will be The Poofcast's Scott Brennan, although as he's pretty, he may end up being used as a toy by Little Miss Candy-Girl.
As well as the Lazy Susan, you can catch me in Melbourne at Spleen, Five Boroughs and The Comic's Lounge in October.
If I'm not engrossed in a film or tv show, I'll pick up one of my devices. Often I'll text my sister about just how ludicrous it is. This week Pompeii (dir. Paul WS Anderson) arrived from Quickflix, and while watching it, I started tweeting. It was that or fold laundry, which is difficult with 3D goggles on.
I'm watching Pompeii, or as I like to call it, John Snow and the Volcano.
WARNING The Poofcast contains coarse language, adult themes, sexually explicit discussion and the inception of Dirty Pilates.
The Poofcast has been on hiatus for nearly a year. It has been even longer since we recorded together. There were several reasons for the sudden cessation of the podcast, some of them personal to various members of the team, so I won't go into them here. We reconvened recently to record a Eurovision Reunion special, and it was a hoot. So much so, we recorded another couple on the back of the reunion, and they have been released over the last fortnight. It was just as mad and manic as ever, and despite how well things went, part of me is tempted to leave them as a three week reunion and never try it again. Like those Ab Fab specials.
I do wonder sometimes if my presence on Spicks and Specks is turning the whole thing quite camp. This week we have Lucy Durack, star of mega-musicals Wicked and Legally Blonde, Squared Division choreographer Ashley Evans, who has just choreographed a Vegas residency for Britney Spears, and uber-camp comedian Meshel Laurie. Thankfully we have the marriage-obsessed Luke McGregor to balance things out...
Lucy is the most wonderfully upbeat human alive, and you can see how she was cast as the ebullient Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, and the sugary-sweet Galinda in Wicked. She was also, recently, the Queen of Moomba with Bert Newton.
Another amazing episode. I got to sit with the incredible Martha Davis from The Motels. Her voice was an integral part of my life growing up in the 80s. After the show we went out for several drinks, and she told me some fascinating (and unfortunately unrepeatable) stories about Molly Meldrum, Madonna and David Fincher (one of his earliest directing jobs was the video for 'Shame' by The Motels) among many others.
Also on my team was the frenetic Frank Woodley, while Ella was joined by Luke McGregor and Teddy Tahu Rhodes.
If you haven't seen Teddy perform, you haven't lived. His deep baritone voice can actually vibrate the seat you're sitting in. Going to see him perform in South Pacific was like watching a musical while sitting on the washing machine during the spin cycle. He's a great sport and a lovely man, and he's roughly the same size as Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. Teddy will next be seen in The King and I.
You haven't accidentally stepped into one of those wacky Comedy World Cup things, although you'd be forgiven for believing that. Ella is joined by frequent Spicks and Specks guest, Irish comedian Jason Byrne, and his countryman, singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey. I was joined by British comic Joe Lycett and the return of an opera singer who, like Jason, has been on this show many times, Antoinette Halloran.
Ladies, crack open a bottle of bubbly and rip the wrapper off a packet of Tim Tams, because this one is for you. The smouldering sexiness of Dan Sultan and the boisterous charm of Ben Mingay. As well as two of the funniest women in showbiz, Gen Fricker and Denise Drysdale.
I was so excited to be working with Ding Dong again. We've been on this show together before, when we did a 60s special in season 5 with Brian Cadd and the late Ian Turpie. You can get it on DVD from the ABC Shop! Denise and I also appeared together on Tractor Monkeys and Celebrity Splash.
I was in stitches during this episode. My team featured adorable country singer Ashleigh Dallas and one of this country's smartest comedians, Tom Ballard. Ella was joined by perennial favourite Dave O'Neil and Peter Oxley, from Dave's favourite band of all time, The Sunnyboys.
Some lovely reviews from my limited Adelaide run of Gaypocalypse have come in. You can read the full review by clicking on the pull quote text. Yes, I snigger every time I think of pull quotes. I also imagine someone trying to give a wristie to a sentence, which is weird. (Full text of all reviews also available after the jump)
This week we have one of my absolute comedy idols, and a frequent guest at The Shelf, the hysterical Tony Martin is on my team. We're joined by Kate Miller-Heidke, who is about to release her crowd-funded album O, Vertigo. I've heard an advance copy, and it is brilliant. Great pop, with those unmistakable acrobatic vocals. There are some fascinating collaborations on this album as well, including Megan Washington and Drapht. A particular highlight for me was Share Your Air featuring Passenger.
Josh Davis aka DJ Shadow is one of the most influential figures in music. His 1996 debut album Endtroducing... is in the Guiness Book of World Records as the world's first completely sampled album.
Ricki-Lee is one of my totes besties, and the force behind such huge hits as Raining Diamonds, Do It Like That and the international club sensation Can't Touch It (as featured on the Sex and the City 2 Soundtrack and trailer)
This week Josh, Ella and I are joined by Dave O'Neil, who has been on the show more than any of us, South African born and now New Zealand based comedian Urzila Carlson, entertainment journalist Nadia Salemme, and legend of Aussie Rock, Sean Kelly from The Models. Also featured on the show are musicians Tjupurru and Efiq Zulfiqar.
I was quite excited to meet Sean Kelly, because I was a bit of a fan of The Models back in the day. When Kate Ceberano was their back up singer and drummer Barton Price had an uber-mullet. Sean confessed to us on the set that he didn't remember much of what happened in the 80s with bands like INXS, but he is pretty sure there weren't quite so many topless women wandering around, as there seemed to be in the Never Tear Us Apart mini-series.
Wendy Hargreaves runs the 5 of the Best website, and I was meant to do something deliciously indulgent for her, like 5 of the Best Mocktails or 5 of the Best French Toasts in Melbourne, but instead I went another way. Thankfully her passion for indulgence overflows to her contributors, and she let me get away with this extremely off-topic top five. Hopefully this helps other people stuck on the seemingly endless diet treadmill.
I've created a playlist of deleted scenes from Spicks and Specks on my YouTube channel. There's another playlist of special moments and behind the scenes fun. Sometimes there is just too much fun to fit into one episode!
This week we have a talented pianist, a soul siren, one of Australia's most accomplished comedians and Luke McGregor. Fans of The Shelf will be familiar with Luke's awkward charm, and now it's time for the rest of Australia to discover just how hilarious he can be.
McGregor completley takes over the show, possibly to disguise the fact that he knows almost nothing about music. I may have deprived my brain of oxygen whilst cackling at McGregor, to the point where I completely lost my composure.
As well as the appearance of rock legend Suzi Quatro, everybody is raving about the ethereal voice of Helen Croome (aka Gossling) on this week's Spicks and Specks. If you missed it, you can still catch it on iView and here is Helen's blisteringly good game of Substitute from YouTube. Also in this post, is DJ Speckta's second Spicks and Specks remix, dominated by the haunting voice of Gossling, and way down the bottom is a deleted scene captured when we thought they had stopped recording (mostly about Lawrence Mooney's junk)
We chatted about the basic concept, talked about what would be involved, and settled on a price. I tend to think quite visually, so as well as telling him what I wanted on the phone, I emailed James a basic layout of what was in my head, and it looked like this dreadful mess here -- I drew this on my iPad. (Image after the jump).
We could barely contain our excitement for Episode 1 of Spicks and Specks season 8, and Episode 2 is even bigger, believe it or not. Celebrating 50 years in showbiz this year, the magnificent Suzi Quatro is our very special guest this week. She paved the way for every bass-playing rock chick in the world (for a period there in the 90s it seemed they were mandatory).
Joining Suzi Q on Ella's team is Lewis Hobba, from Triple J's Veronica and Lewis show, and he is my new favourite thing. He is adorably funny, and he will be performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival so you should see his show, after you've seen mine at least three times...
Episode 1 of the new Spicks and Specks is a stupid amount of fun. Our guests are Meshel Laurie, Des Bishop, Jacqui Dark and Jay Watson from Tame Impala.
I have known Meshel since I first started doing standup. In fact, Meshel Laurie got me my first paid gig! I learned everything I know about MCing from watching and working with Meshel. You can hear her weekday mornings on Nova100 in Melbourne with Tommy Little. Meshel is stalwart of the original show, and wait until you see the gorgeous chemistry she has with Jay Watson.
Jay Watson (Tame Impala, Pond) is adorable, and you'll get to see his underpants. Isn't that what people want? To see 23yo rock stars in their underpants? Spicks and Specks will provide you with such delights.