Melissa Trickey investigates why bones are funny with BuSTCo co-directors and funny men Spencer Hadlow and Nick Rudich.
Orthopaedics is defined as the medical specialty concerned with correction of deformities or functional impairments of the skeletal system, especially the extremities and the spine, and associated structures, such as muscles and ligaments. Comedy, on the other hand, is defined as quite simply, the art of being funny. You would wonder how the two are related, as there is a lot about broken bones that is not funny, particularly those bones that are yours. But with the 7th annual Deakin Comedy Revue by BuSTCco named Funny Bone, these two seemingly unrelated matters join to create a collusion of harmony and hilarity.
Not being familiar with comedy I wanted to find out from the two head honchos, Spencer Hadlow and Nick Rudich, exactly how a group goes about creating a show out of, effectively, nothing! “Imagine constantly asking yourself: ‘can I make a sketch out of that,’ " said Nick. “There’s nothing quite like rehearsing for months and months, workshopping countless amount of sketch ideas, only for Spencer and I to eventually piss everyone off by cutting half of them. Good times!”
“The process of sketch comedy is a fine and delicate one,” said Spencer. “We send the cast home after every rehearsal with a list of stimulating sentences that will hopefully generate some comedy gold. If that doesn’t work, we just read Charlie Sheen’s twitter.”
I was also interested to know exactly how the cast were selected. “When casting the show there are several things we had to factor in,” said Spencer: “Ability to improvise, persona on stage, likability, and for the girls cup size was really important. With the guys I really wanted to consider how attractive I would look standing on stage next to them, unfortunately I think they all win in that regard.” Nick continued along this vein: “Mostly I just looked for people who laughed at my jokes and made me feel good about myself. If they were funny, it was considered a bonus.”
Sketch Comedy is not something we are usually exposed to on Theatre People, it’s usually people who can sing and dance, often at the same time. So why sketch comedy? “I get bored easily, so having a show with 80+ sketches coincides well with my short attention span,” said Nick. Again repping for Gen Y, Spencer said: “In these modern times, with the ‘Facebooks’ and iPods and such attention spans are much lower. That’s why sketch comedy is the perfect fit for the 2011 Melbourne International Comedy Festival because if you get bored of a sketch you know another one will start after a minute. Not that anyone gets bored at Funny Bone. Ever. I love sketch comedy because you get to be so many different characters on stage in such a short period of time. For example, in this show I get to play a DJ, a little kid, a judge, a fish, a footy fan, and a Greek uni student!”
Finally, why should we flock like seagulls to see Funny Bone? “Bone. That’s why,” said Nick. “Funny Bone is funny because the whole room is made out of feathers so that no matter where you sit you will be tickled,” said Spencer. “Funny Bone is also funny because of my receding hairline, but mostly because we were able to find an amazingly talent cast who crack me up on a regular basis. Trust me you don’t want to miss it!”