O’Neil’s Drysdale stand up debut

Dave O'Neil. (Supplied)

By Luke Voogt

The Sphinx, the ‘Nash’, Geelong Darts Club, Corio and Geelong West footy clubs – Dave O’Neil has played them all in 30 years of comedy.

“Wow, I am Geelong,” he exclaimed, as he reeled off a host of other local pubs and clubs he had appeared at over the years.

But his upcoming gig, Live…ly, at the Potato Shed this month, is set to be his first stand up venture at both the venue and in Drysdale.

“I didn’t realise the Potato Shed was in Drysdale, so that’s good to know,” he said.

“I love performing in new places – you know they haven’t heard your jokes before.

“I don’t do many theatres – theatres are more for big names like Carl Baron and Kitty Flanagan.

“But this is a small theatre, so I can do this one. I think because of COVID restrictions they’re limited to less than 100 – so I could possibly sell this one out easily!

“Doing pubs and footy clubs, people do get a bit distracted. In a theatre they’ve got nothing else to watch except you, so it should be great!”

O’Neil heads down to the Shed on March 27 with long-time stand up comrade Brad Oakes, and impersonator and musical comedian Fred Rowan.

“It’s a whole two hours of comedy,” he said.

“I can’t really do two hours by myself, and it’s good to have someone to drive down with.

“Brad Oakes is often my support act because he’s larger than me.

“So when people say ‘the fat bloke was pretty funny’, they could be talking about either of us. Expect a few fat jokes.

“Because he doesn’t have a partner or children, I use him as a support act because he offers a different perspective to me.”

Rowan, on the other hand, will offer a different perspective on music legends such as Sting and Paul Kelly.

The musical comedian of 28 years loves poking fun at society while imitating the distinctive and amusing styles of certain singers.

The Potato Shed show will be O’Neil’s second recent Geelong gig, after performing for parents at St Joseph’s College just hours before Victoria’s snap lockdown began last month.

“The show at Joeys was so good,” he said.

“I had such a ball doing that, and that was outside on an oval with bats flying overhead.

“Geelong crowds are always fantastic; they turn up to listen and have a good time, compared to crowds in Melbourne and Sydney – they’re a little bit more blasé.”

Cats champion Cameron Ling was a bartender at the event, much to the delight of “recent Geelong supporter” O’Neil.

“I grew up in a Collingwood household and I rejected that as a child,” he said.

O’Neil instead followed the Bulldogs while he lived in the western suburbs.

His teenage daughter is a mad Cats fan and, until last year, she would watch the footy with her grandmother, also a Geelong supporter.

But her grandmother, O’Neil’s mother-in-law, died mid last year after a battle with motor neuron disease, known widely as MND.

“I took over the mantel of watching the footy with her,” O’Neil said.

“It was really something to look forward to during COVID-19.”

The Cats provided plenty of entertainment during 2020 as they fell just one half of football short of a premiership.

So O’Neil this week made a special offer for players Gryan Miers and ‘Super’ Tom Hawkins.

“They can get in for free,” he said.

Live…ly begins at the Potato Shed at 8pm on March 27. Details: www.geelongaustralia.com.au