Comedy isn't a straight line. It's a squiggle, it's a curl, it's the freedom to get silly and explore weird themes. Like teeth, for example, which is the basis of Comedy students Jett Bond (Bonding With Jett Bond) and Aiden Willcox's debut show at Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Big Tooth. We caught up with the up-and-coming duo to chat getting invited on-stage with Aunty Donna, Collarts support, and what it feels like to be making moves in the comedy scene.
How would you describe your show?
Jett Bond: Weird. Very weird. It's sketch-based. It's not your two stand-ups on a stage.
Aiden Willcox: It's like a hybrid of sketch, narrative, and character.
JB: Extravagant musical comedy. There's songs. It's a show for teeth, about teeth, by teeth. And somehow you will learn about teeth throughout the show.
AW: But if you leave with one fact, that's the fact we planned to give you. I wouldn't come if you were only looking for education.
AW: They're grubby. They're kind of gross and they're just a bit unsettling. But they're also cute and small and funny. They're these little stones we carry around with us at all times.
JB: Everyone's got them. They're everyone's connected experience. That's how I came on board.
What was the process like for creating and planning the show?
JB: A lot of it was going away and being like, where can we take things? What can we talk about to deal with this specific topic? We'd go into a room together, get it up on its feet and start playing with it.
Aiden Willcox (left) and Jett Bond (right).
AW: For a good couple of months, I was chucking ideas at Jett and Jett was chucking ideas at me. We had a good, solid list of ideas we were going to try. When we got on the floor, we scrapped at least 90% of them. And we realised that isn't right for our skillsets, and our bodies, and what we can actually, realistically, achieve.
JB: We just played with some things and then words, and phrases, and movements would come out and it would just put us on the floor with laughter. And now, even when we do it again and again, we still lose it. Hopefully, for people seeing it for the first time, they also get that initial reaction we had when coming up with it.
How has being Collarts students helped you prepare for the show?
AW: We used one of the Collarts rehearsal spaces.
JB: As many days as we could be in the black box at George St campus. It's a rehearsal room that has full microphone setups, lighting, and sound. We had the Comedy cohort, just sitting in on rehearsals, giving us notes, and helping us with the tech. It's a very supportive environment and they've helped us more than they know. There are very good people here at Collarts on the student level, and when you get to teachers as well.
AW: Like Head of Comedy Andrea Powell. The constant support from Andrea has been spectacular.
JB: Even our previous teachers, that we don't currently have classes with, are so supportive as well, which is mind-boggling to me.
You were also invited to participate in the Opening Gala alongside Aunty Donna and more. What was that like?
AW: Broden [Kelly, Aunty Donna member and Collarts lecturer] sent us a text. He said, "Do you boys want to be in our opening number for the gala?" And I deleted his number after that. I haven't seen him since.
JB: Don't contact me again! [laughs] No, we got the message at the same time and of course, we immediately said yes. It's crazy because we saw the Oxfam Benefit at the same theatre the week before, and we were thinking to ourselves: Oh, one day we're going to be on this stage. Little did we know that was going to be a week later.
How did it feel like to have your show alongside some of the biggest names in comedy, nationally and internationally?
JB: Our names in the same book as some of those people is just insane to me. Everyone's so kind and supportive in the comedy world.
AW: It's really cool. When I saw the festival booklet come out, I went and I bought it that morning it got released, because I used to look at these as a kid. It legitimises you in your own brain. It's beautiful.
What's great about being weird?
AW: It's fun to break the form and do things that no one else wants to do. Or even to see stuff that works and then going, now I can't do that. So, ideally, while you can never be a hundred percent conceptually original, I would like to reach a point where I can break enough of those forms where people could see me as an independent artist. You know what I mean? 'This is new.'
JB: I like the exploration, the adventure, the weird places that you can go, and the eclectic nature of it all. You can talk about anything, anywhere. You can make a 55 minute show about teeth. Why not? I just love putting my eggs in all the baskets.
Lastly, do you have any other MICF recommendations for readers?
- Hot Department - Open For Business
- Jude Perl - Participation Award
- Blake Everett & Oliver Coleman - Dig Their Own Graves
- Aurelia St. Clair - Woke 2.0
- Zoë Coombs Marr - Agony! Misery!
Jett Bond and Aiden Willcox performing Big Tooth at Club Voltaire.