There’s a new stand-up comedy venue in Melbourne, and it’s ‘south of the river’! It’s the ‘Rubber Chicken‘, and it aims to be Australia’s first comedy hub.
Those familiar with Melbourne’s comedy scene will recognise the names of comedy disruptors, Ben Horowitz and Morry Morgan. Since 2016, the duo have been helping build Melbourne’s stand-up comedy industry, first with their stand-up comedy school, The School of Hard Knock Knocks, then with their monthly comedy room, Punchlines Comedy Club. More recently the duo have collaborated with Melbourne film production company, Mezzanine Films. Their six-part comedy-drama, ‘Is This Thing On?’, is a factual reality show that follows ten newbie comedians who get coached in stand-up comedy by some of Australia’s most iconic comedians.
But their latest venture into bricks and mortar puts Ben and Morry literally on the map. Their venue, which was formerly The Water Rat Hotel, is at 256 Moray Street, South Melbourne. And while Google does label this address as a ‘Comedy Club’, the two founders emphasise that it’s more than that.
Says Morry, “The Rubber Chicken is a hub for comedy. We run comedy workshops, host open mic tryout nights, as well as produce professional shows upstairs in our 120 seat theatrette. And the public bar downstairs is a hangout for comedians and comedy lovers alike. If you pop in for a beer, you’ll certainly see some famous faces.”
The Rubber Chicken also boasts its own restaurant, called Ching’s, after its head chef, Ching (Jon) Chan. Jon has run six restaurants in Melbourne and Hong Kong and his menu mirrors the fusion of both cities. Interestingly, Jon and Morry are high school friends and have known one another for over 30 years.
The timing of The Rubber Chicken’s opening on February 26 couldn’t be more perfect. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, which was cancelled in 2020, starts this year on March 24, and the Rubber Chicken has been selected as an official venue. Ben and Morry’s stand-up comedy school, The School of Hard Knock Knocks, is once again producing ‘The Best Of’, only this time, they’re doing it in their own venue. Once again, the school’s funniest graduates over the years are picked to perform, with six different acts per night. In 2021, the School of Hard Knock Knocks will be producing 16 shows, running from 6.30 pm to 8 pm. Comedian Lewis Spears will be performing his own show, ‘Back in the Trenches‘ at the Rubber Chicken from 8.30 to 9.30 pm.