The Melbourne Comedy Festival is immensely popular. It can boast of quality local and overseas performers as well as a huge following of fans, young and old. Just recently, I happened to be staying in Melbourne on business where TAFE had booked me in at the Victoria Hotel on Little Collins Street. Little did I know that it was the central venue for the Comedy Festival until my daughter, Carly Findlay, told me.

Smithton Tasmania (photo by Dan Fellow)

Hannah Gadsby from Smithton

by Roger Findlay

On this particular night, there were ten short shows. Carly suggested the early show called Hannah Wants a Wife. “You’ll enjoy Hannah Gadsby Dad. She’s a Tasmanian!”

After a plate full of hot chips and drinks we joined the queue out on the street. The audience of around two hundred filled the Banquet Room. Living in the country you don’t see the variety of people that you see in Melbourne. I gawped at the mixture of young and old; some hideously dressed but I was promptly reminded that I should be moving with the times!

You may have seen Hannah Gadsby on Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight. “She’s from Smithton you know.”

Smithton. We had an unusual experience there. It was a while ago when the Smithton Club was a predominantly male domain. On this particular Friday night the heads at the bar turned in unison as we entered through the main door. “A man and a woman! We can’t allow that,” I thought they said. No, we didn’t feel welcome but we stayed put.

On our second visit, the following night, it was quite different and we enjoyed the local band and a fantastic meal. In the restaurant, the people were most friendly. Later that night, I had a few words with the club president about the earlier incident and explained that our custom should be valued. He got the message and I think Smithton started to move into a new era!

Hannah Gadsby Talks Gay Marriage

The message from Hannah Gadsby regarding sexuality, straight and gay marriage was doing much the same. Yes, it is out there. Always has been and always will be.

The show was focussed on a late-Renaissance painting – The Arnolfini Wedding – where Hannah claims to be the total expert on what it depicts. Both the man and the woman wear a dress. Other persons can be seen in the mirror. Oranges, a dog, shoes and a chandelier with one candle are all subjects of discussion as Hannah had the crowd in stitches with her analogies.

See an image of the Arnolfini Portrait that Hannah Gadsby refers to.

The jokes weren’t only at the expense of politicians or the church. She had a go at the audience, herself and others regardless of their sexuality. I came away feeling that I’d entered a new era as a New Age Dad. Bob Dylan was right when he sang “Tell yer Ma, tell yer Pa you’ll find Roger Findlay in a public bar rar, rar, rar.”

Map: Smithton Tasmania…

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