2012 Melbourne Fringe:
• How to Draw Cartoobs and Other Typos
• Balderdash!

Posted on 11 October 2012

How to Draw Cartoobs and Other Typos

Andrew Marlton is the in-house cartoonist for Crikey. In 2011 he was voted one of the year’s best cartoonists by the Museum of Australian Democracy’s Website. He has also done some work for Electronic Frontiers Australia, who protect online freedom of speech. He is better known by his professional name “First Dog on The Moon”.

It was an inspired move on his part to turn the story of his life and his cartooning into the festival show How to Draw Cartoobs. At the moment we don’t have many political commentators in the live comedy circuit. Marlton’s gentle and irreverent humour teases people along to think about the issues. We could use more of this.

He starts the show by doodling people in the audience. He does this on a graphics tablet, so the image is projected immediately onto a screen. After warming his audience up with a Girl Guides pledge, the show turns into a fun-filled powerpoint presentation, interrupted occasionally by song and dance.

He was fortunate to have an intimate venue, though word of mouth has forced Marlton to put on a few extra shows due to a sell out season. I think he prefers close personal interaction with his audience. However, he could still use a lapel mic…I know, sound systems are expensive. However unless you are willing to take some acting classes in vocal projection, it’s usually best to have a microphone of some sort so your audience can hear you.

I enjoyed his stories about meeting Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd’s cat. His stories about his feminist mother were funny, touching, and insightful. I don’t think he’s entirely clear that there’s a difference between anti-social and pro-social emotions, but he rightly points out that we are being taught to think less and react more.

If you are a lover of funny cartoons, adorable gifs of puppies and kittens getting into trouble, and guys dancing around in bandicoot suits, then look no further. This is a multimedia extravaganza to the tune of “cute”, but it makes certain messages no less biting. Wonderful stuff!

How to Draw Cartoobs Melbourne Fringe Website


Balderdash! is the combined efforts of Liam Ryan and Timothy Clark doing their stand-up. I find the combination admirable. It’s good to see veteran comedians giving developing comedians a hand up.

Ryan has been performing comedy for more than six years. He’s one of the founding members of The Big Hoo-Haa, he was also part of the ensemble for Shakespeare Fight Club which was nominated for a Golden Gibbo award earlier this year.

Ryan has a practised sense of humour that’s as smooth as slow pulled ale. His laid back, good-natured delivery puts a smile on your face even before a joke is made. He is in danger of being a little too laid back. Audience laughter picked up when he spoke of subjects, such as playing paintball with his wife, with emotional excitement. His miming flowed naturally from his material and added considerably to the humour. I look forward to seeing more from this man.

Clark is one of this year’s RAW state finalists. He’s still finding his feet, but you can see the elements of a good comedian coming together. His self-deprecating material was his strongest. He could explore his darker subjects without risking alienating his audience. He needs to watch out for that humour where the men laugh loudly and the women go silent. If you are going to insult a gender, you are much better off either insulting your own or providing equal opportunity insults.

I liked how Ryan and Clark found a way to mingle in each others sets. They could have done more of this, it was funny and effective. This sort of show usually benefits from having a single theme that each comedian explores, and I would suggest they consider that possibility if they combine their talents again.

Good effort guys!

Balderdash! Melbourne Fringe Website

Peace and kindness,


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