Fresh off the Adelaide fringe festival, comedian JC Clapham is bringing his story-telling comedy to the city’s first Warrnambool Comedy Festival.
Spread across three of the CBD’s live music haunts, the three-day event will feature some of the country’s new and returning funny people.
From March 15 to 18 more than a dozen comedians will perform one-hour shows in an effort to bring laughs to crowds gathered at The Seanchai, The Loft and Mozart Hall.
Event organiser and Dirty Angel Comedy front man Aidan Nicholson said he hoped the event kick-started a love of live comedy in the community.
“We really want people to see multiple shows, especially on the same night,” he said. “The idea is, people watch the early show, head for dinner, then swing back to the venue for the second show. Or in the case of the Seanchai, order their dinner to be delivered to the pub.”
Former Warrnambool man JC Clapham said returning to his hometown to perform would also be a nostalgic occasion.
“Dad was a taxi driver here for 15 years,” he said. “And he played for South Rovers in the 85/86 premiership teams and coached the under 18’s a few years later.
“I’ll actually be wearing his old Warrnambool Radio Taxis t-shirt for the show.”
Grandson of the owners of ‘Kepler Kettle’, Clapham said he shares many fond memories of Warrnambool, in particular his late father.
His show Humpty Dumpty Dad is a personal tribute to “smart-arsed fathers who die too young”.
“I sat down to try and write a one-hour comedy show full of jokes about parenthood and the more I started writing it, the more my own story of my relationship with my day started begging to come out,” he said.
“It was like the more I kept making jokes about having an absent dad the more I found I wanted to explain why he was absent.”
JC (Joel) Clapham lost his father to suicide when he was 16 years old.
“There is no humour in suicide. For me the humour comes in what he was like and he had a wicked sense of humour and he was a shit-stirrer and so was his father, my pop.
“He (pop) died when my father was only 24 so there’s a theme there, smart-arse fathers that die young.”
Clapham said after a marriage breakdown and a career change he saw a similarity with his father.
“Mental health became something that I share with my dad.
“I’m a father of three and although I’m hoping I break the die-young bit, I am a smart-arse. In fact some of the tall tales my dad used to tell me I tell my kids and some of them are throw backs from pop.”
Clapham said his show’s theme is “fatherhood, mental health and a sense of humour through the generations of men in a family.”
“So yes it’s a personal story but with humour throughout,” he said.
“At one part I talk about my wedding day and I mention in my speech that my dad couldn’t be there and as I said that a tug boat let off its fog horn in the bay nearby.
“It was spooky and it was cool but then I ridiculed dad for being reincarnated as a tug boat. I mean it’s a shit boat, of all the things why would you come back as a tug boat?”