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Comedy with extra bite

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Comedy with extra bite

Shane Jacobson heads the star-studded line-up of talented performers bursting with hilarious jokes and stories to tickle our funnybones in a new-style entertainment festival coming to Caloundra.

Growing up watching his own father light up a room, Shane Jacobson knew from an early age he was destined to make people laugh.

As one of Australia’s most loveable actors and comedians, there is no doubt Jacobson has put more than a few smiles on faces during his 40-year career.

Believing that laughter feeds the soul, the down-to-earth entertainment legend says Aussies have the best sense of humour and whole-heartedly embrace the many television, film and stage productions he has been involved in.

But it was a story of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan gravitating towards one of his films that inspired Jacobson’s latest project.

That’s Not My Dog! – The Festival is coming to Caloundra this August, bringing with it more than 20 of Australia’s biggest names in comedy and music.

Inspired by the 2018 film That’s Not My Dog, the festival will emulate a laid-back gathering where a group of hilarious entertainers will take to the stage together in a bid to outdo each other.

Fiona O’Loughlin, Michala Banas, Dave O’Neill and Peter Helliar are some of the names set to feature in the star-studded line-up, with the festival also showcasing local food, beer and wine.

Speaking with My Weekly Preview, Jacobson believes it is more important than ever to find some comic relief amid everyday life and says this festival will be unlike anything else seen before.

“The body needs water, and sometimes the soul, heart and mind just need a laugh,” Jacobson says. “Especially after the past few years. We truly think it’s time to laugh again.

“This is live, unscripted and dangerous. What I’m looking forward to most is people discovering the festival for what it is.

“It’s not a normal comedy festival and it’s not a normal music festival – it’s a mixture. It’s like being invited to a pub with a bunch of comedians and musos and hanging out with them and having a good ol’ laugh.”

Jacobson says the name of the film, featuring the likes of Paul Hogan and Jimeoin, and subsequent festival is inspired by the punchline of an old joke.

He says That’s Not My Dog has been incredibly successful, with its unlikely audience of serving troops sparking the festival debut.

“The film came about because myself and director Dean Murphy realised people just weren’t telling jokes anymore,” Jacobson says.

“It was a bit of a dying art and Australians used to be famous for jokes.

“We are the custodians of a very special brand of humour in Australia.

“Unbeknownst to us, the film was popular with soldiers serving in Afghanistan. One of those soldiers – his dad runs events – and they would watch the film together when he came back from serving overseas.

“It became a great father-son bonding time and they thought it would be a great idea for a festival and contacted us. The rest is history.”

Claiming that, aside from food, laughter and music are his favourite things, Jacobson says the arts have a wonderful power to bring people together.

As one of four children, he grew up around a family full of people with the ability to walk into a room and infect others with laughter.

“My dad, in particular. Any room he walks into, people will gather around dad because he is so much fun,” Jacobson says.

“Watching my hero – my dad – make people laugh and tell me: ‘How much fun is your dad?’, I absolutely loved it. I never wanted to do anything but that.

“I wanted to be able to have that effect on people and I get fuel out of seeing people smile.”

Jacobson says Caloundra is the perfect location for the festival, not just because of its relaxed lifestyle, but also its allure for festival-goers to have a weekend away and escape the cold weather.

He describes landing at Sunshine Coast Airport like “getting into a warm bath with a champagne in your hand”.

“I love the Sunny Coast,” he says.

“There is a laid-back lifestyle there that becomes obvious as soon as you land.

“I’ve got mates coming up and the Sunny Coast is half the reason they are coming. You can see music and comedy anywhere, but having music and comedy on the Coast sounds like an awesome weekend.

“Sunny Coast people have so embraced the festival, too, and the location in Kings Beach Park is custom made for it.”

The jam-packed festival schedule will see events across three stages, including a comedy workshop and Mix FM Dad Jokes session. Each night will conclude with a live music performance.

“Look out Sunny Coast, here we come,” Jacobson says.

 

Getting to know the comedians …

Anisa Nandaula

What is one of the best reactions you’ve had during a performance? One of the best reactions I’ve had from a comedy performance is people coming up to me after the show and saying, ‘Oh my God, your characters are so relatable’. I love knowing that the characters that I embody in my work are so personal to me yet, at the same time, incredibly universal.

What do you love most about the Sunshine Coast?
My favourite thing to do at the Sunshine Coast is go to my favourite Moroccan restaurant, Marrakech, and order the lamb tajine. It is one of those meals that you cannot get enough of.

 

Dave O’Neil

How did your comedy career begin? I have been doing comedy for 30 years. I used to work in the public relations industry in the ’80s. My client was the taxi industry. They asked me what can they do to improve the image of taxis. I said, ‘Have you tried deodorant?’ I got sacked and started doing comedy.

What is one of the best reactions you’ve had during a performance?
I had a woman tell me she laughed so much, she did a bit of wee. She also added she’d had eight kids, so I can’t take all the credit.

 

Bev Killick

What is one of the best reactions you’ve had during a performance? Starting a cake fight at The Sit Down Comedy Club in Brisbane. A truly outrageous evening. Don’t worry – most of it was eaten.

What might we expect from you at the festival?

I’m telling some jokes that you can take home. It’s ‘Take Away Comedy’ – all part of the style of the movie and the festival. There’s a lost art in telling jokes to your family and friends, so bring some note paper.

 

Marty Fields

What is one of the best reactions you’ve had during a performance? My first gig in the US. It was before there were many Aussies going over and I was worried they wouldn’t get me, but it smashed. I think they were surprised we spoke English.

What might we expect from you at the festival? I’m a gag specialist, having grown up around the country’s best joke specialists. My normal stand-up set has a lot more gags than most other acts, rather than situational stuff.

 

Tim Ferguson

How did your comedy career begin? I collapsed into comedy straight after school and I’ve kept making comedy any way I can.

What do you love most about comedy? Total creative freedom. When the microphone’s in your hand, you can say whatever you like, so long as it’s funny. Even if it isn’t funny, you can blame the audience for just not ‘getting it’.

 

Michala Banas

What do you love most about comedy? I love nothing more than a good laugh. A cracking joke or funny story that makes your face contort and stomach tighten with uncontrollable giggling is one of the best things in life.

What do you love most about the Coast? This is my first trip to Caloundra and I am beyond excited. I’ve done a bit of Googling and it looks like heaven. I’m going to grab as many tips as I can from the locals … and thoroughly enjoy being warm.

 

Hung Le

How did your comedy career begin? I fell into comedy through poverty. I used to be a musician in a troop called the Como String Quartet and we did classical music/comedy. We toured all around the world playing festivals. Then in 1990, the recession hit, so I went to the Adelaide Fringe and started to do stand-up so I wouldn’t have to split money with so many dudes.

What do you love most about comedy? Working 45 minutes a week.

 

Stav Davidson

What is one of the best reactions you’ve had during a performance?

I did a gig in Balmain and after, actor Bryan Brown came up to me and said: ‘That was great, mate! Buy you a beer?’ I said, ‘Bugger me, you’re Bryan Brown!’ and fell backwards on top of his wife.

What might we expect from you at the festival?

Everything my wife hates about me. I love telling jokes – good jokes, bad jokes, dad jokes. I love them all.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT The Festival

That’s Not My Dog! – The Festival is happening at Kings Park, Caloundra, from August 26-28. Australia’s funniest comics and entertainers working together in unique group sessions to outdo one another by telling the funniest jokes and stories possible. Each night will wrap up with a music performance: Ross Wilson and The Peaceniks (Friday), Killing Heidi (Saturday) and Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows (Sunday). The festival precinct areas will include a main stage, food and bar space, comedy and open-mic space, local musicians and big screens.

See the program at thatsnotmydogfestival.com.au.

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