I must admit, when it comes to comedy, I am very much an ‘anti-snob’. I feel so much more at home going into some hidden Melbourne bar to watch a local comedian than I do going into a venue like The Arts Centre. For me, it makes the comedy more personal, and it feels like it takes comedy back to its grass roots, containing an specific intimacy that big venues just can’t match.
I also like discovering new comedians as well. Yes, it is awesome to go along and support the Adam Hills and Jimmy Carrs of the world, but I also love being able to discover a brand-new comedian, then go away and tell all my friends that there is new talent in town that they simply must go and see.
It is for those reasons that I was excited to climb the stairwell of Heroes Bar last night, and then prop myself at the bar to watch Chelsea Evans, Eli Landes, and Sam Gebreleselassie ply their wares. Admittedly, I had never seen any of the trio before, and to me, that made the experience of witnessing someone and something new even more exciting.
First up was Eli Landes, and man, did he pack a comedy punch. Eli delivered that kind of natural comedy that I absolutely loved. He joked about things that we have all experienced over our years on this planet – living in share houses etc. while also entertaining the audience with well thought out ideas – such as double-word Café names making Melbournians more accepting to people who suffer from both depression and anxiety. Eli is a deep thinker and that comes across in his comedy. Not surprisingly, his short set has been one of my favourites of the 2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival so far.
Next up was Chelsea Evans who kept the laughs coming at a pretty quick pace. Her interactions with the audience brought a buzz to the venue and she did it such a way that no-one felt uncomfortable. In fact, it seemed that people actually wanted to get involved. A lot of stories were very personal and that seemed to add an exciting element to her set. From stories about touching bums through to taking her partner to meet her parents, nothing was off the table and this showed me that she was confident while also hilariously funny.
Wrapping up the night was Sam Gebreleselassie, who like the pair before him, delivered zinger after zinger. I’m not going to say something wanky like he held a mirror up to his Australian audience, but man, can Sam make an audience think. His humour was also personal as he told stories about what it is like being someone of Ethopian heritage living in Australia. His stories about working with his colleague and the fun they have with their names had me laughing out loud. That laughter kept coming when he started to throw in some jokes about his time coming from New Zealand to Australia.
Going to a night like Rising Stars of Comedy can sometimes be hit and miss. A good comedian here and a not so funny one there. But that certainly wasn’t the case with this show. Chelsea, Eli and Sam are not rising stars – they are stars just performing on a small stage. I genuinely can’t wait to go and see them at their next shows, and mark my words – all three of them are going to make it big in the Australian comedy scene.
Rising Stars of Comedy is now on at the 2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival until the 14th of April.
For more information, their socials, and ticketing, visit:
Chelsea Evans: https://www.instagram.com/chelseakateevans
Eli Landes: https://www.instagram.com/eli.landes.comedy
Samuel Gebreselassie: https://www.instagram.com/blacksideshowbob