Review: Jeff Green, Justin Hamilton, Jason Chong, & Big Al

Posted on 08 July 2009

This week is the ninth birthday for Adelaide Comedy. To celebrate the Arkaba HaHa had a huge night last night which included performances by Justin Hamilton, Big Al, Jason Chong, and headliner Jeff Green. We were treated to a glorious set of performances which were well received by a relatively young audience.

Justin Hamilton

Justin Hamilton, one of the founders of Adelaide Comedy, did the MCing. He is currently based in Melbourne and announcing for Triple M. I took his course at Jeez Louise in MCing and now had the opportunity to see him demonstrate. What I most appreciated about his method is its effortlessness. I’ve watched some MCs fumble with names and make stuff up about upcoming acts. They obviously hadn’t done their research. I can understand this when they have come from out of town and been handed a bunch of names for people they’ve never seen perform. Nevertheless, it’s worth shaking hands with the other comedians before the show, checking on the pronounciaion of their names, and asking for at least one detail about themselves. Justin was beautifully graceful in ushering people on stage, ensuring the audience’s energy was up and expectant for each performer.

Justin was adept at delivering Australia’s favourite comedy style: a bit rough with a big heart. He was also handy with colourful tales about the flaws and pitfalls of modern urban life, another Australian favourite. His story about a
friend’s descent into mundanity was hilarious and left me wondering, what is the price of tiles these days? I would also like to credit his caricaturisations. He does just enough to help the audience visualise the humour in any situation, making the scenario vivid and memorable.

Big Al

I have seen Big Al perform on several occasions. Last night was not his best. But golly, I wish my off nights were as good. He projects loveable teddy bear so well. The audience just enjoys his company whatever he’s saying,
and would probably be happy with a recitation of his grocery list. Just like real estate agents talk about “location location location”, comedians need to realise how invaluable are likeability and persona.

I have to say that it’s also a relief to hear a comedian making jokes about what’s working in his relationship or at least affectionately making jokes about a partner. I find a steady diet about the war between the sexes wearying. I’m wondering if we should send all comedians to relationship therapy before they are allowed to say something nasty about intimate friends.

Jason Chong

I find I’m becoming increasingly interested in the concept of family comedy. Many blockbuster films fall into this category: Mrs Doubtfire, Shrek, Austin Powers. These films are meant to appeal to both adults and children, and get
their huge ticket sales from people showing up for a family night out. We have a few comedians who have a similar appeal in this country, eg Lano and Woodley, Adam Hills, and Ross Noble.

Jason Chong could easily slot into this category and benefit from the greater numbers families can afford. His humour has a boyish charm that adults find engaging, and children cack themselves.  He brought back a song he performed for
Adelaide Fringe two years ago involving costumed dogs to great effect. My favourite moment was when he started telling jokes using…a pimped Optimus Prime Transformer mask! Be still my geeky heart. Jason is someone who would carry over onto TV well.

Jeff Green

I have written about Jeff Green before. He is a consumate expert at the one-liner. His style is polished without losing any humanity. I can highly recommend him for a consistently good night out. A proportion of his material I saw at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. What interested me in watching the evolution of his material is how he started with some of the harder-edged jokes that probably worked well in London, then in moulding his routine for the Australian audience it became rough-edged with a heart. These Aussies, ya gotta love ’em. If we could only bottle that spirit and sprinkle it over audiences around the world.

I was also fascinated how he took note of  comments I made about Adelaide before the show. Only a couple hours later he wove jokes into his routine based on my comments. In this way he  personalised his performance for the locals. That’s real mastery. That’s what you expect from a seasoned veteran.

Peace and kindness,


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