2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival:
• Ben McKenzie & John Richards—Splendid Chaps

Posted on 08 April 2013

Nineteen Sixty-three was the year President John F Kennedy was assasinated, when I was born, and when Dr Who began its travels across TV monitors around the world.

The saying within fandom goes, like your first dog you always love your first Doctor best. My first Doctor was Tom Baker. And for a time he was my favourite. I loved the facts that 1) his Doctor held a generous hand out to anyone who was willing to respond to kindness, and 2) he was (mostly) opposed to alien genocide. This made him largely unique among fantasy and science fiction characters.

Splendid Chaps is a podcast about all things Dr Who. It is being multicast monthly throughout 2013, and two episodes are being recorded live as part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival. I caught the performance, serendipitously enough, covering the Tom Baker years of Dr Who.

The show began with an audience warmup by a Dalek. It was a nice example of character comedy. The jokes in and of themselves weren’t funny. What made them hilarious was the context. Given what we know of the Dalek’s character, even a lame joke such as “How many Thals does it take to change a lightbulb?” received an appreciative laugh. I was impressed they carefully avoided the usual “exterminate” jokes. Good work by Petra Elliott for bringing the suit to life and delivering Dalek lines with aplomb.

The meat of the show was the conversations Ben McKenzie and John Richards held with special guests Dave Callan and Paul Verhoeven (host and co-writer of ABC3 show Steam Punks). Other episodes have included academics, authors, actors, costume designers, and more. This will be the funnier end of the guest spectrum for the comedy festival. We were treated to ridiculously long scarves, a two-headed Doctor, and a Dr Who drinking game devised by Callan.

The show wrapped up with a Dr Poo sing-along featuring the talented Petra Elliott on vocals. The musical part of Splendid Chaps is a regular feature worth waiting for.

Splendid Chaps has a lot of charm and makes loving use of childhood nostalgia. Their one weakness the evening I attended was the Dalek suit itself. It effectively removed Elliott as one of the hosts, since she was stuck inside the suit (albeit with the head piece removed) and forced to sit to one side. The guys needed to actively find a way to include her. When she signalled for them to move over closer to where she was singing near the end, their response needed to be “Yes, and…”

The show had a well-measured flow. McKenzie and Richards did an excellent job of keeping the conversation moving along and preventing people from talking over one another. McKenzie in particular was superb at maintaining lighthearted banter. Richards’s Dr Who knowledge helped to ground the show.

Splendid Chaps is a good solid afternoon of entertainment. I felt we had all shared virtual tea and crumpets on a space/time voyage. Teaparty down ladies and gents!

The comedy festival show: http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/splendid-chaps-ben-mckenzie-john-richards

The podcast: http://feeds.feedburner.com/SplendidChaps or https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/splendid-chaps-podcasts/id590762838

Splendid Chaps

Peace and kindness,


Responses are closed for this post.

Recent Posts

Tag Cloud

constitution environment human rights united nations


Katherine Phelps is proudly powered by WordPress and the SubtleFlux theme.

Copyright © Katherine Phelps