Take the classic 'tonight show' format, cut it in half and stage it in a backyard shed, and there you have 'Dave's Shed Show'.
Few things are as iconically Australian as the good old backyard shed. From home brew to power tools, we've found all sorts of practical uses for the humble shed. Dave Lawson on the other hand, uses his as a TV studio to stage his very own 'tonight' show.
What started as a self-made YouTube series six years ago is now being produced for the live stage at Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) as 'Dave's Shed Show Live'.
“I'm hoping it's just like when we film it in the shed,” Dave says in the lead-up to the MICF premiere.
“When we film it in the shed most of the audience is made up of friends who are around on the day, and everyone has a great time. I'm hoping the 11 o'clock time slot will be conducive to people being in a good mood on Friday and Saturday night. I'm not sure what that's going to mean.”
'Dave's Shed Show' has traditionally been filmed in front of a live studio audience in Dave's actual backyard shed using only the bare essentials, not to mention Dave's less-than-satisfactory skills as a set builder.
For MICF, Dave says he's aiming to use as much of his original set as possible.
“We're doing it on stage but we're just going to take all the bits an pieces that we need to from the shed, so my sign, my desk and the band plinth, which we all made together. I've got no real carpentry skills but I may have to reinforce the desk because it's just made of a few bits of pine from crates.”
As for the 'band plinth', it's been constructed using 'repurposed materials' Dave 'found' around his house i.e. the palings he stole from his neighbour's fence.
“Actually, the fence is missing still, so we just wander through each other's backyards,” Dave laughs.
“It's actually been really helpful when I'm filming the show because my neighbour – we get along well – but he lets me unload the gear and bring it through the hole in the fence that I've made. He brought up the other day if we want to look at getting another fence put in, but we'll worry about that after the comedy festival.”
Joining Dave on stage in Melbourne is his regular crew of onscreen colleagues form the series: Mark Wilson of Aussie rock band Jet as the band leader/entire house band, Ryan Shelton as (in Dave's words) “little baby cash boy”, and Stephen Curry in the role of Wormy the hand puppet.
“Stephen Curry was my first-ever guest because I didn't have any guests six years ago; he just lies under the desk now as my worm puppet,” Dave says, not a using a euphemism.
“I made Wormy out of two bra cups, a couple of googly eyes and felt,” he continues, making Agro seem crude by comparison.
Guests for 'Dave's Shed Show Live' include Ronny Chieng, Hamish Blake, Urzila Carlson and Sam Pang.
In the pantheon of great tonight show hosts – your Johnny Carsons, Graham Kennedys and such – Dave sees himself nestled right next to Dave Letterman.
“It's me and Letterman up the top,” he says. “I'd like to be in the top 35 at least, up there just below Rove.”
'Dave's Shed Show Live' is on at Melbourne Town Hall 5-6 April and 12-13 April.