Chatfield draws short straw on comedy tour

PERTH VOICE cartoonist Jason Chatfield’s on a fun-filled and partly disastrous tour of US’s corn syrup-soaked mid-west, and he’s cartooning every bump in the road along the way.

The Perth-born comic moved to New York a couple years back and when he’s not scribbling toons for our letters page, or Ginger Meggs, Chatters pursues a career in stand up comedy.

But it’s a hard slog in New York where there are eight comedians for every resident, so “tired of waiting for things to magically happen for us in our comedy careers, Tristan Smith and I went and phoned a bunch of clubs in the mid-west and booked a week of road gigs for October. A bunch of them said yes”, Chatfield told the Voice.

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Hilarious shambles

Their “Half-Ass Comedy Tour” was a hilarious shambles from the start.

“After driving 12.5 hours from New York to Indianapolis, [we] hurled our stiff, crumpled bodies into the bar to find they’d just decided to cancel the gig. Off to a flying start,” he reported.

After checking into a bug-infested hotel that barely earned a single star, they almost got a decent nights sleep but “were awoken at 8am by a giant black gentleman banging on our window telling us he needed the chairs in our room because he aimed to replace them with new ones.

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“He didn’t explain why, or why indeed he had to do this at [8am] while we were in the room sleeping, but we weren’t keen to argue with him”.

They did have a decent show in Indiana and his touring buddy Tristan performed so well he got two applause breaks (when people clap so hard you just have to stop for a bit, a highly coveted sign of approval for comics).

“But then the next comic got an applause break saying the “N” word… then [Tristan] didn’t feel very good any more,” Chatfield said.

They headed on to Missouri but the comedy club there had a few problems: “When we got to the show we discovered the audio system made all the comedians sound like they were yelling underwater and we could only make out vague, monotone vowel sounds. Perfect for jokes. Obviously we did real good.”

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From there it was off to Muncie Indiana, where they opened to an empty basement. The headliner then got up and offered a baffling performance by singing over some serious songs on a tape player to a couple of people who’d wandered in.

But Russellville, Indiana, was an unexpected success, as they weren’t expecting a remote town of 300 people to have much of a funny bone.

“The show was epic,” says Chatfield.

“The whole town came out and we performed to a full smoke-filled house of big laughers.”

And while they called it the “Half-Ass” comedy tour, the famed calorific mid-west cuisine has definitely given him a full arse.

“I had burgers for breakfast, lunch and dinner one day,” he says, and one night while playing pool trying to pull a ‘behind the back’ shot he says; “I crushed my iPhone with the enormous weight of my new Mid-Western arse.”

The whole illustrated tale with all his scribblings done from the passenger seat are online at bit.ly/halfasscomedy

by DAVID BELL

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