COVID has put lots of new Perth businesses to the sword, but it looks like The Oasis Comedy Club could have the last laugh.
Launched six months ago in a dusty, unused room on the first floor of The Brisbane Hotel, the club has gone from strength-to-strength and is now booking major stand-up acts like Rove, Fiona O’Loughlin and Randy Feltface.
“If there’s any plus side to the pandemic it brought a bunch of great West Aussies back home like Rove, who popped down one night unannounced and loved the vibe right from the get go”, says Oasis co-founder Brendan Maloney.
“He then came through for a proper headline weekend in December and is back again next month.
“He’s still certainly got his legions of fans: We had a front row of girls in last time with homemade ‘What the?’ visors, and the time before that a bloke with a Rove portrait tattooed on his leg.
“I think Rove and others feel right at home on stage at Oasis and may even get a little bit more loose and risqué than you’re used to them being.”
Is being a risqué comic viable in 2022, when more and more stand-ups are being criticised for their ‘offensive’ material and some are held to account for gags they told decades ago?
“I think it just makes comics have to work a bit smarter,” Maloney says.
“I’ve certainly seen some audience members get offended for what I’d perceived as a fine joke – and other jokes absolutely kill which I thought were a bit on the nose.
“I think if a comic goes out there deliberately to try and offend then that probably doesn’t fly in 2022, but I think you can definitely still try ‘edgy’ material – see Damien Power who we had over in November who recently pitched a TV show to HBO, or Andrew Wolfe who we have on almost every other week.”
The Oasis Comedy Club would never have happened if Maloney and co-founder Pete Sharkey hadn’t fallen in love – not with each other, but with WA women.
The pair were running comedy nights in Melbourne when they fell hook, line and sinker for two sandgropers, and both ended up getting married and relocating to Perth five years ago.
“We thought we’d only be here a year, but Pete and I fell in love with the city,” Maloney says.
“Last year we decided we wanted to run a room together and the fantastic room upstairs at the Brisbane Hotel had lay dormant since the first big covid lockdown.
“Our opening weekend was a huge success, we flew in Sydney’s Sam Campbell – winner of Australia’s biggest comedy prize – and he gave the crowd the most memorable set of their lives – certainly was mine.
“The next week though our hard border was back up and that obviously curtailed a lot of our plans on bringing interstate acts in, and the following weekend we had another short lockdown, closing up shop altogether for a couple of weeks.”
Thankfully the club has been able to draw on a wealth of local talent like Aves Robins, who won WA’s RAW competition last year.
“I’d think she would be one of the favourites for the RAW national final, she’s got a pretty unique voice and and has a lot of fun with it,” Maloney says.
“Blake Richardson came second in that competition, and his trained acting skills from WAAPA give him a better stage presence than most people that’ve been in the game a hell of a lot longer.
“Roz Evans, Kate Sophia Willoughby and Brian Shields can all hold their own against much more experienced comics too.”
The club also do weekly open mic nights and feature new acts from around town.
For more info and tix go to oasiscomedyclub.com
by STEPHEN POLLOCK