Every Friday night, a bunch of enthusiastic regulars and curious newbies make their way down to The Butterfly Club in Melbourne’s CBD for The Big HOO-HAA! Melbourne’s longest-running weekly improv comedy show. If you’re trying to find something fun to kickstart your weekend, this is a good place to be.
Each week, a different line-up of Melbourne comedians are split into two teams – the Hearts and the Bones – to do battle in a variety of comedic games. The night I attended saw Dan Debuf, Ashleigh Phillips, and Brianna Williams on Team Hearts, with Matt Saraceni, Louisa Fitzhardinge, and Corey Glamuzina making up Team Bones. Melbourne comedian Elly Squire – who is known for performing as her alter-ego Clara Cupcakes – was MC and umpire of the night, while Alex Elbery played live music to accompany the witty, improvised songs and entertaining role plays.
Right from the get-go, The Big HOO HAA! has tonnes of audience interaction. Whether you’re in the front row or the back (or the side row with the comfy cushions), everyone feels a part of the show. Attending is an experience, rather than just a viewing. Once everyone was seated, Squire began by teaching chants and actions that the audience could use to support the teams and be involved. Throughout the two-hour performance, we were continually called on for suggestions of words and topics to sing about or act out, and we were given voting cards to decide the winner of each round.
We listened and laughed along to songs where each line rhymed with names like ‘Tom’ or ‘Chris’, charade games that acted out the occupations and personalities of (what the audience decided to be) cast members’ dream dates, role-play scenes and catch-phrase challenges.
A night at The Big HOO HAA! is fast-paced and full of laughter. The comedians seem to be having as much fun as the audience which creates a very intimate atmosphere in the room. All six comedians on the night I attended were wonderful, incredibly quick at thinking of jokes, one-liners, puns and rhymes. It was hard to believe some of the songs and jokes weren’t pre-prepared – that’s how good the cast on stage were.
The only time the show felt like it was dragging along was during the charades game, where each team had to act out three different words to one of their teammates. The person that guessed all three words first won the game. This round would obviously differ each week, with different audience suggestions being more or less challenging to act and guess. Unfortunately on the night I went, one team got stuck on the word ‘extravagant’ and instead of being funny, the game became increasingly frustrating as they failed to make any progress.
Despite this, overall it was a great night and was fantastic to see the talent of comedians shine through in a non-scripted environment. These shows have something for everyone and are a must for any comedy fan. The more you get involved, the more fun you will have, so leave your inhibitions at the door and let the fun sweep you away. Oh, and if you fancy yourself a bit of a budding comedian, there is an opportunity for audience members to come up with the punchline of a joke with the best one on the night winning free tickets to another show. There are definitely worse ways to spend your Friday night!
The Big HOO-HAA is e very Friday night at 8pm at The Butterfly Club
This Week’s Performers
Team Hearts - Dan Debuf | Ashleigh Phillips | Brianna Williams
Team Bones - Matt Saraceni | Louisa Fitzhardinge | Corey Glamuzina
MC - Clara Cupcakes
Music - Alex Albery