DEFINITIVE RANKING OF AUSTRALIAN MUSICAL COMEDY

11. The Kranksy Sisters

Now I have never been a fan of the Kransy’s but I have to give credit where credit is due. Hugely popular at various festivals around the world with their unique arrangements of popular songs.          

10. Man Bites God

Not really around anymore as a group but James, Mark and Chris delighted us with their busking-folk style music for several years. Catchy tunes such as ‘Esmerelda’ and ‘Sleazy’ can be found on their numerous back catalog now on itunes.

9. Lano & Woodley

Not a 100% musical comedy act, but there is no denying that for over 20 years Colin Lane and Frank Woodley were one of Australia’s biggest comedy exports. After winning the prestigious Perrier award at the Edinburgh Frige (1994), these slapstick oddballs had the world in the palm of their hand. A successful TV series, numerous tours and media appearances, DVD’s and an Aria award winning album ‘Lano & Woodley Sing Songs’ followed.

Since breaking up in 2006, both have gone on to forge successful solo careers.

8. Smart Casual

In the past 6 years, the laconic stylings of Roger David (on guitar) and Fletcher Jones (on beard) have been taking the comedy scene by storm. Sold out festival shows around the country proves that laid-back Aussie humour is still as popular as ever

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ujsizFw-h8

7. GUD

McDermott really likes working in trios (DAAS, GNW) and GUD. Though no longer together, for a few years GUD was the closest thing we could get to the offensiveness and beautiful harmonies of the Doug Anthony Allstars. Along with Cameron Bruce (Keyboard) and Mick Moriarty (Guitar), Paul McDermott sang and thrusted his way back into our hearts (and our tight jeans).

6. Sammy J

One half of the successful Sammy J & Randy, the human half has also had a long and successful solo career. He has featured in festivals across Australia, Edinburgh and Montreal and released numerous CD’s and DVD’s.

5. Scared Weird Little Guys

For 21 years the Scaredies performed close to 5000 shows and hundreds of TV performances. Their appeal lay with a combination of a capella and guitar skills that few can match. Their song mash-ups (where they would sing one song to the tune of another) made them favourites on tv and radio, where people were encouraged to ‘Stump the Scaredies’.

Aria Awards, performing at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and performing with a full symphony orchestra made them firm favourites with many demographics.

For me, I will always remember them fondly for ‘Superband’. The Scaredies Superband was an institution at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for many years. Saturday night at the HiFi Bar (or Spiegeltent) was Superband for me. It was always the highlight of the festival. You would line up for hours to see John & Rusty perform in a full rock band with some of the biggest names in comedy doing covers of their favourite songs. It’s where I got to see Adam Hills perform ‘Ant Music’ in full Adam Ant Costume and see him perform ‘Working Class Anthem’ for the first time (his mash-up of the Australian National Anthem to the tune of Jimmy Barnes ‘Working Class Man’. Years since the last show, I overheard some punters at the Festival Club this year say Ít’s just not the same without the Scaredies’.

4. Axis of Awesome

3. Tripod

Tripod have been around for nearly 20 years. Doesn’t that make you feel old? It certainly does for me. I’ve been a Podster since they still dressed like knock-off Wiggles.

3 Nerds
18+ years
Hundreds of TV appearances
14 Albums (Not including solo & side projects)
3 DVD’s
1 ARIA award (Middleborough Road)

They continue to evolve musically and are currently performing ‘This Gaming Life’ with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

2. Tim Minchin

There’s a lot of people I know who were there at the beginning. Who were there for the first few performances of ‘Darkside’ which launched Tim upon the world. I can proudly say that I was there for the end of the beginning. Having arrived in Melbourne my friends insisted I go see this guy who sings and plays piano. Cept I couldn’t get tickets as his season had sold out. Then luckily an extra show was added. And my love affair with his music began.

Now ten years later, just about everyone knows his name. And he has branched out, showing us just how truly talented he is. Co-writer of the musical ‘Matilda’ based on the Roald Dahl book led to 12 Tony Nominations. Toured the world in the cast of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ as well as numerous world tours has led to Tim being the biggest comedy export Australia has had since ‘The Castle’.

  1. DOUG ANTHONY ALLSTARS

They came, they saw, they offended. They got me sent to confession. As a girl growing up in a then strict Catholic up-bringing, there was nothing worse for us to watch than DAAS. I would sneak glimpses of them on the Big Gig and DAAS Kapital. One of those instances came back to me years later when I realised it was watching them perform ‘Mummy Dearest’ that got me in trouble with my parents and I had to go to confession. Thank Christ they didn’t catch me watching ‘Çatholic Girls on LSD’ or ‘Dogs’.

I will say single-handedly the Dougs corrupted myself and both my sisters (how many other eight year olds could recite the entire ‘Dead & Alive’ show by heart?)

They were the biggest things in comedy and are still regarded as personal comedy idols to many of the biggest names in Comedy (and me). Richard Fidler, Paul McDermott and Tim Ferguson were the kings who conquered the world (well the UK and Australia).

The Dougs performances were legendary. Their vocal harmonies more than made up for the abuse they inflicted on their audience. You could be spat on, slapped, have your clothes forcibly removed and still, as soon as Paul started singing with his angelic dulcet tones, all was forgiven.

20 years after they split they are back with a vengeance, ready to offend a new generation. Most of their back catalogue is available on iTunes or on DVD (Except ‘Live in Edinburgh’ and ‘Blue’; both of which I am here begging for them to release). Our beloved Flacco (Paul Livingstone) has stepped in as the ‘guitarist’ (Richard having gotten himself a proper journo job with the ABC). There was a 12 year old kid sitting in front of us at their Seymour Centre gig. I was both proud and scared for that child.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS ACROSS THE POND

– The 4 Noels – singing improv group that kicked ass with sketches and song

– Flight of the Conchords – People used to think they were Australian, so we’re glad to take them on.

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