Mel Buttle’s an Australian comedian and winner of the 2013 Directors Choice Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for her solo show ‘How Embarrassment’. She joins the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow in Hong Kong July 18-24 at the Hong Kong Fringe Club. Comedy HK caught up with Mel ahead of her week of shows.
What’s the worst you’ve ever bombed on stage?
I did a gig in Brooklyn, New York and the audience couldn’t understand me: I was too Australian for them. I ended up just doing terrbible impressions of Australian celebrities for the crowd. To them I sounded like Crocodile Dundee. I tried speaking slower, but it didn’t help. I think I closed my set on an impression of Nicole Kidman. It was a tough gig, but it was in Brooklyn so they were really lovely to me – giving me rounds of applause for trying to win them over.
How do you approach creating and building your festival show?
I do a lot of open mic gigs, and I record all my sets. I listen to what the audience laughed at, and then try and see if any theme is emerging in what things I want to talk about on stage. I then like to run a few trial shows before I open the show to a paying audience. Once I get one I’m happy with, I listen to it as I go to sleep each night to try and get it into my subconscious. I like to leave things ’till the last minute, too. A little bit of pressure never goes astray.
What adjustments do you make for the roadshow?
I’m very thoughtful. I tone my material down and do some of my weaker jokes so the other comedians look funnier than me: it’s just good manners. Joking!
Describe your favourite audience?
My favourite audiences are often ones that surprise me. I’ve had a great gig to a group of older people at a football club once. I thought they’d not like me very much, but they did. I guess sometimes you get lucky. It depends, but mostly I don’t like performing for large groups of people out on a work function. Usually they just like to talk amongst themselves and get very drunk.
Have you been to Hong Kong Previously?
I’ve never been! I’m so excited to try the food. I’m really into Yum Cha and seafood, so I can’t wait to eat everything. I’m also hoping to visit the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Zoo. I sound like such a tourist, probably because I am.