Words by Ashleigh Penhall

Seeing Tegan perform is like listening to a close friend telling you a story. Her stage presence is so sweet, that as an audience member, you cannot help but be engaged by her performance. The intimate venue exudes a friendly atmosphere, which only grows stronger through the various f bombs dropped throughout the night. If you are a sports fan, nerd, or enjoy the occasional clever dirty joke, this show is definitely for you. Tegan does take a serious note before the end however, which personally, I found to be really emotive. But all in all, the show is very high energy, well rehearsed and well delivered.

Tegan Higginbotham is on at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival at the Portlan Hotel from 27 March to the 20 April.

Words by Ashleigh Penhall

Tegan Higginbotham brings her sporty-nerdy hybrid comedy to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this year in her show Game ChangerGame Changer combines sport, pop culture, and Higginbotham’s own personal experiences.

“Last year more people attended the AFL home-and-away season in Melbourne than Catholics did Church. In Melbourne, sport is the new religion, so it’s an exploration on whether that is a good thing,” Higginbotham says.

“There are a lot of pop culture references, just because I’m a massive nerd. It’s about me changing; that hit from going from young adult to proper adult. Where you hit that wall and you go, ‘Oh no, I’m not allowed to read Where’s Wally anymore without being judged.”

Higginbotham is no stranger to the MICF stage, this year marking her ninth consecutive year at the festival.

Her first solo comedy show, Million Dollar Tegan was based on female boxing. “I had always had this strange fascination with boxing,” Higginbotham tells me.

“Something I am quite passionate about is females in sport and equal recognition for women in sport, because it’s not there. I think it was another way to draw attention to a female sport that hadn’t been getting recognition.”

In preparation for her Million Dollar Tegan show, Higginbotham undertook intensive training for several weeks with Fight Fit, in addition to fighting in two boxing matches.

“The number of people that were going to be watching [the boxing match] really scared me. I thought all the time I had spent performing would have helped me prepare for that. But because I wouldn’t be performing, or doing a character or comedy—which is something I could control—I got really bad stage fright.”

The Written it Down star has performed in both improvisation and stand up shows. She gets nervous performing both styles of comedy, as they each offer unique challenges.

Currently starring in This is Littleton, Higginbotham has received great reviews from The Vine, who lauded her as “the strongest, funniest performer in the first two episodes”.

“I find [the review] so lovely and there’s always a bit of me that goes ‘that’s crazy’ because I know the other performers on the show and I come away from it every day laughing.”

This is Littleton airs on ABC2 Thursday Nights at 9.30pm.

Tegan Higginbotham will be performing her new show Game Changer at the Melbourne International Comedy festival from 28 March- 21 April. For tickets visit comedyfestival.com.au,  or call Ticketmaster on 1300 660 013.

Words by Ashleigh Penhall

Adam Richard’s laugh has become something of a trademark over his ten years on Fox FM’s The Matt and Jo Show. This year, Adam brings his comedic talents to the stage and screen with his stand-up comedy show Gaypocalypse and team captain position on ABC1’s Spicks and Specks.

After its final season in 2011, the music game show Spicks and Specks is ready to re-launch in 2014 with a fresh new cast. As team captain, Adam discussed his hopes for the show; “Adam [Hills] and Myf and Allen were always so generous, even though you were a guest on the show, you felt like you were one of the family. From my position, I just want to pass on that generosity with all our guests.”

Addressing the scepticism over the show’s new cast, Adam understands the way fans feel about replacing cast members. “People don’t like change… my favourite Doctor Who was gone when I was 12 and I was horrified. I cried and I didn’t want to accept the new one. Things change, people move on, things happen.” Remaining optimistic, he maintains that “what happens at the other end of change is sometimes revelatory”. With that said, Richard maintains that although the refreshed  Spicks and Specks will incorporate some new games into the show, it will still keep all of the classics.

While Adam’s music knowledge is suited to the pop genre, Killing Heidi singer-songwriter and opposing team captain Ella Hooper has come to Spicks and Specks with a bit of an advantage. “Ella has a huge and really broad range of music knowledge from the whole history, basically. I could never beat her on facts alone.” Fearing the competition, the actor jokes, “I know a lot about musicals, which is a terrible, terrible stereotype.”

Adam returns to the stand-up comedy stage on 4 March for the Adelaide Fringe Festival and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with Gaypocalypse. His show is based on the changing culture of the gay community as it has progressively integrated from a ‘minority’ to become a part of mainstream culture. “I’m positive about it in some respects and I’m negative about it in some respects, I’m excited on one level and I’m terrified on another.” Adam suggests that so much of gay culture is derived from being a minority in society. While being excited for the period of change, Adam also wonders how mainstream culture will alter the established culture.

Adam’s show takes into consideration how being gay for young people is more accepted today than when he was younger. Gaypocalypse is “a bit about how life was like in the old days. All I’ve known is gay bars and having huge groups of gay friends whereas now, the younger guys—they don’t know that many gay people.”

“We had to hide in gay bars; we blocked our windows so that people couldn’t see our disgusting behaviour. Being gay is not seen as disgusting as it once was”.

Inspired by the themes of Gaypocalypse, Adam and I played The Zombie Apocalypse Game. The premise of the game is that it’s the zombie apocalypse and Adam has a shelter which is zombie-proof. He has all of his friends and family in the shelter and has room for one more person. Two celebrities come to the shelter door and Adam must choose which to save and which to leave to the zombies. His choices are below:

Kim Kardashian vs Khloe Kardashian

Sandra Bullock vs George Clooney

Ryan Gosling vs Leonardo Di Caprio

Keira Knightley vs Natalie Portman—“If we get horribly surrounded and we need to dig our way out, we can use Keira’s Knightley’s face.”

Hugh Grant vs Colin Firth

Will Farrell vs Steve Carell

Meryl Streep vs Daniel Day Lewis—“I’d make her perform all of Mamma Mia for me.”

Jack from Titanic vs Jay Gatsby

Pirates of the Caribbean 5 vs How I Met Your Mother season nine—“For Johnny Depp.”

Taylor Swift vs Harry Styles—Both are fed to the zombies.

Spicks and Specks returns to ABC1 screens on Wednesday 5 February at 8.30 pm. Adam will be performing his brand new show Gaypocalypse during the Adelaide Fringe Festival (4 – 8 March) and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (28 March – 2 April).

For tickets visit The Adelaide Fringe Festival and The Melbourne International Comedy Festival websites, or call 1300 621 255 (FringeTix), 1300 660 013 (Ticketmaster) or 132 849 (Ticketek).