Locally Grown Funnies bring Punchlines to Pako

Highton comic Luke Massey in a pre-COVID gig and, inset, Richard Stubbs. (Supplied)

By Luke Voogt

Laughter will return to Geelong West as stand-up veteran Richard Stubbs joins a motley bunch of Geelong and Ballarat comedians in Punchlines on Pako next month.

“He’s a bit of a legend of Australian comedy,” said Highton comic Luke Massey, who looked forward to again performing with Stubbs.

“I used to watch him when I was younger.”

Stubbs’ rise to fame began with a try-out routine of his anecdotal stand-up at Melbourne’s Last Laugh comedy theatre in 1983.

He would go on to perform across Australia and in major cities worldwide including Montreal, Los Angeles, London and New York.

Stubbs spent decades on TV and longer still on radio. He still works at 3AW, which he joined in 2016 as he made a return to stand-up comedy.

“I’ve been lucky enough to perform alongside him a few times and he’s just next level,” Massey said.

Massey made his own comedy debut a year after Stubbs’ return, after watching mate and Ballarat comedian Tim Young in action.

“Tim and I work together out at the Geelong refinery,” he said.

“He might not look like a firefighter but he is. He’s got a really big head so if there’s ever a fire, we’ll get behind it.

“I went and watched him one night and thought I’d love to try it.

“The first time I did a 10-minute routine, I brought the house down. I thought, ‘this comedy thing’s easy’.

“The second time I got up and did the same routine, not one person laughed for the whole show. And it was in a café I owned with my partner! I thought, ‘maybe it’s not so easy’.

In April 2017 Young held an impromptu comedy night, which he called Locally Grown Funnies, with a group of local comedians at a Ballarat bar.

The group were keen to perform again and appreciative of the chance to do stand-up outside of Melbourne, so Young decided to make the nights a regular fixture.

The group eventually became known as Locally Grown Funnies and expanded into Geelong.

“I jumped in to help the Geelong side,” Massey said.

He looked forward to getting onstage again after a 2020 locked down at home with his two teenage children.

“A lot of material comes from them because they’re always mucking up at something or I’m mucking up in front of them,” he said.

“Especially during COVID – both of them nearly got expelled from home-schooling!”

Massey joins Geelong comedians Sarah Maree, Tosh Walker, Stevie Stix and Sharon Andrews, alongside several Ballarat comrades and Stubbs in Punchlines on Pako.

“Everyone’s going to bring their A-game,” he said.

“This is our first major gig post-COVID.

“Comedy is not a medium that transfers well to the internet, you have to be in the room.”

The four-hour show kicks off at 6pm at Geelong West Town Hall on May 1. For details search ‘Punchlines on Pako’ online.

“I’m really excited to get back into it and hopefully we have a few more shows coming to Geelong shortly,” Massey said.

“We’re looking forward to seeing as many people as possible and trying to get a bit of comedy back to the town.”