The Sexy Detectives make sketch comedy in all kinds of ways – for video, in a podcast and of course, live. They’ve been LA Comedy Fest finalists and Rottofest Funniest Shorts winners, and this year, they’re bringing Mono Logs to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. We had an illuminating chat to Dave and Mike of the Sexy Detectives (Luke is AWOL in Brisbane looking after his child).
Many comedians hone their stand up shows at comedy rooms – did Mono Logs go through the same process, despite being a slightly different format?
Dave: Not exactly, though we’ve definitely taken sketches into stand up or comedy rooms, performed them, and then taken lessons about how to improve them even further. But before the comedy room comes the writing room.
Mike: Yeah, we run a writing room set-up. One guy brings in a script, and the other two – we’re usually a trio, though only two of us are down in Melbourne for the Melbourne Comedy Festival on account of Luke insisting on prioritising his newborn – and the other two give a whole whack of notes.
Dave: The writer will then go away and work at draft two, then we repeat. At some point, we have a sketch! After the battering that each script gets we generally have a pretty good gauge on whether it will work in front of an audience or not.
Dave: Yeah. There’s one sketch we loved about a man buying a fridge, with the joke being that he insists it has to be “human-sized” for reasons the salesperson is comically oblivious to. We loved that. It never quite went gangbusters though. Then there’s the opposite, like the sketch Large Margin, which is in this show.
Mike: That’s the one that Luke, our third member, hated – he still hates it – but we convinced him it was worth putting on.
Dave: Luke was wrong.
Mike: I guess the lesson is that comedy is subjective.
Dave: The lesson is that Luke is often wrong.
You performed Mono Logs at Melbourne Fringe last year as well. How has your show changed and developed since then? Will people who went to the show last year be able to enjoy this season?
Dave: This is season number three for Mono Logs. After the Fringe last year, which was just Mike and I because Luke’s newborn was more newly-born, we had a great run at the Wonderland Festival.
Mike: Each season’s honed the show further. For this run we’ve tightened the production up all ’round. We’ve swapped this sketch with that. We’ve polished up all the sketches and got them running a little tighter. A little funnier.
Dave: There are four or five new sketches in there that haven’t been performed in Melbourne before, so there’s definitely that extra something for those that saw the Fringe run and liked what we were putting down. Which was 100% of our Fringe audiences, I can only assume.
Mike: Yes, please come again. We mortgaged our houses. Some guy wants our kneecaps.
Dave: We have to bring home money to feed Luke’s newborn.
You’re influenced by Rowan Atkinson – can you speak more about that? What would you talk to him about?
Dave: Rowan Atkinson is my comedy spirit animal. His live show from the late 80s/early 90s is still my favourite sketch comedy. Our stuff tends to be of a similar feel; character-based, a little bit theatrical, a little bit smart while being a little bit dumb.
Mike: Mono Logs is packed with, funnily enough, monologues – so it is reminiscent of Rowan Atkinson Live in that sense. Dave does five or six monologues across the course of the 50 minutes, and the rest of our two-person material sort of weaves in around that. So if Dave’s doing Rowan Atkinson, I guess that makes me the other guy from Rowan Atkinson Live. The coked-up Angus Deayton.
Dave: As for what we’d talk to Rowan Atkinson about? From all reports he’s actually a bit of a serious guy, as some comedians are. He doesn’t do any of the stuff anymore that really made his name – the sketches, the Blackadder, the Mr Bean. So I don’t know if he’ll want to talk about any of that, which is unfortunately what I’d want to talk about. But I hear he’s big into sports car racing. I’m not, but I can pretend.
Mike: We could talk to him about Angus Deayton. “Is it true he was coked out of his head during your live show?”
Like a lot of comedians now, you’ve kind of dipped your proverbial comedy toes into several mediums, including live comedy, radio and video…what’s the next big thing for you?
Mike: Look, if you’re offering us a television show, we’d take it.
Dave: Sure, that’d be a lark.
Mike: First up, though, I think we’d just be happy be a successful touring act. It is so much fun coming down and performing in Melbourne, or in Adelaide for the Fringe, or to any of the other festivals. Live performing is where you get that real buzz. To do that in big huge theatres would be pretty grand.
What makes the Sexy Detectives so darn sexy?
Mike: Willpower. Self-actualisation.
Dave: Sock-darning prowess.
We know that you’re the best sketch group on Earth, but who comes second and third?
Mike: Firstly – thank you. It’s not said often enough. Secondly – I nominate Ben Elton Live from Planet Earth (RIP). Or more seriously, Mr Show, who are reuniting this year!
Dave: That’s as good a second and third as any.
What are your top picks for this year’s Comedy Festival?
Mike: So many. We’re going to check out as much sketch comedy as possible for one. There’s a show called The 5pm Sketch Showcase which is on nearly every night. That’ll be a good guide. Also – Aunty Donna, Steen Raskopoulos, The Pajama Men…
Dave: Yes, Pajama Men. As for improv, see Quiet Achievers – improvised mime! Our Brisbane improv pals are putting on a show called Double Date. And definitely check out Lliam Amor’s Revenge of the Ronin, which is on at the same time as us but you should totally see it the night after you’ve seen ours, which is incidentally the night before you see us for the second time.
Mike: Damien Power is a stand up from Brisbane I’d recommend. And everyone just assumes Corey White is gonna win best newcomer right? Pretty sure that was one of Daniel Andrews’ election promises.
Dave: I am maybe most sad that we will miss ex-TISM member Damien Cowell doing what seems to be a night of karaoke. He starts the day after we leave. Sing Greg! The Stop Sign!! for me, Melbourne. Unless he doesn’t bother to play any TISM songs.
Mike: Solo artists never play the hits that made them who they are.
Dave: No, they really don’t, do they? Just come and see us; we’ll pop a TISM song in our pre-show music.
Mike: They don’t really, do they? Just come and see us instead, Melbourne.
Go see the Sexy Detectives’ show Mono Logs from the 25th March (preview) until the 5th April, at Pleasance House Comedy. Tickets are $10 to $20 and you can get them from the Comedy Festival website. For more information, check out the Sexy Detectives’ website.