Let me tell you about the time I sang a duet with Adam Hills [part 1]
Adam Hills and I at the AOC[DCiT] reunion, April 2007
Did you know that there is a YouTube video of me with over 800 views? Okay, so maybe I’m no charlieissocoollike, but the interesting part of the video isn’t its [lack of] popularity, but my co-star: Adam Hills. How did this happen? Let me tell you…
Part One: “The Aussie OC [Don’t Call it That]”
At the start of 2007, I was seventeen years old. I’d just finished school, and was saving money in preparation for a year of travel and self-discovery before entering the bewildering world of university. Meanwhile, Adam Hills was the host of a popular music quiz on the ABC. To aid in the preparation of his show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, he decided, along with Spicks & Specks writer Adam Rozenbachs [who shall be referred to as “Rozie” to avoid any confusion], to run a series of trial shows at a small venue in Melbourne. For a gold coin donation, people could see a variety of comedians [different faces each week – including Danny Bhoy, and the then relatively unknown Charlie Pickering] testing out new material before the festival.
Hillsy didn’t advertise the shows too much, but he did write about them on his MySpace blog. Naturally, I was intrigued. But, as I was underage, and the venue [6 Links] was a bar, I was worried about going all the way into the city [something that seemed a big deal at the time] and being turned away at the door. So, I didn’t go along for the first week, but poked about on LiveJournal to find out if others had gone, and whether or not they’d been asked for ID. All reports came back that I’d be safe, so I went along for week two, and loved it.
As the weeks went on, the shows grew a bit of a cult following. The original idea was that they’d be trialling material to a different crowd each week, but the same people kept coming back. Soon, the gigs became more and more about Hillsy’s interactions with the audience [something which then went on to inspire some aspects of Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight]. There was a pet cactus. People were being set up on dates. After a write-up in the Herald Sun, the popularity grew even further, and people started lining up to get in. If you rocked up too late, you’d be turned away. The ongoing audience saga was nicknamed “The Aussie OC [Don’t Call it That]” [note the Arrested Development reference].
The build-up to the final show was pretty big. It was only a week or so before the Comedy Festival began [and just two weeks before my eighteenth birthday]. My friends and I lined up about two hours in advance – and we weren’t the first ones there. By the time the doors finally opened, there was a significant crowd of people. However, something was different. This time, when I walked down the stairs, I was asked for ID. An offhand comment from a punter the week before about having school in the morning had scared the venue. They didn’t want a visit from the liquor licensing police.
I didn’t know what to do. My friends were all of age – as were the new friends we’d bonded with in the queue. I was sick of being young and not being allowed to go out and do things. None of the bands I liked played all-ages gigs; the girls from school were always going out without me. I didn’t have a fake ID, and I was fed up. So I burst into tears. Classy, I know.
Soon word got around to Adam Hills that there was a girl crying in the stairwell, and she wouldn’t leave [I didn’t want my friends to miss out too, so I figured I’d just wait for them outside]. He decided to come out and see what all the fuss was about. Tearfully, I explained my situation. Hillsy claimed to recognise me as a regular audience member, and said that he’d see what he could do for me.
After discussing licensing regulations with the venue manager, an arrangement was reached where I would sit outside the actual room, on a stool, and they’d perform the show with the door open. That was quite a novelty.
So I was allowed to stay in the doorway, on a chair. Cool.
A couple of weeks later, “The Aussie OC [Don’t Call it That]” held a reunion. Hillsy & Rozie made sure to schedule it after my birthday, and I took it as an opportunity to catch up with the new friends I’d made while lining up before the previous show. The reunion featured some special guests [including Wil Anderson], and ended with a lovely singalong of the unofficial theme song, “All You Need is Love”.
Rozie, Hillsy & Wil.
Stay tuned for part two, where I become a musical superstar.