Smashing Fishbowls: Blast Off! at Hermann’s Bar

Ian Ferrington is an optimist

Last Wednesday night Hermann’s played host to a new campus comedy show, Blast Off! An Intergalactic Comedy Spectacular, featuring a combination of sketches, stand-up and musical comedy. It’s intended as the first in a series of regular scripted comedy shows; Improv Circus is the other semi-regular student comedy night at Hermann’s. Both these shows are efforts to fill the gap left by Project 52, a weekly show which ran between 2009 and 2013, whose talent has moved on to places like Giant Dwarf, SBS and ABC comedy.

Blast Off! featured some talented performers and good material, both from the sketch cast and guest performers. Notable standouts were Eliza Owen, and Sarah Gaul’s musical contribution. Individually good sketches, which provided most of the night’s highlights, were badly served by the structuring of the show. Sketches alternated with songs and stand-up sets, with an MC announcing each segment. The low-energy stand-up was fairly well received, but didn’t lead very well into the punchier sketches. As MC, Ciaran Magee was allegedly in character as Lazer Space Good; the laziness of the characterization was part of the joke, but Magee simply didn’t have enough to do, and his appearances generally just introduced the next segment without delivering comedically. He did accidentally smash a fishbowl which was very funny.

With luck, this team will continue doing shows at Hermann’s – much of what’s needed is already there. It seems like the cast and creatives, mostly drawn from revues, are deliberately trying to escape the revue format of simply presenting sketch after sketch. With luck their next attempt will flow better, and I’m looking forward to seeing it.