Performer Spotlight: Callum Straford

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Callum Straford made his debut in the 2021 Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) and returns in 2022 with his show “Oops” which embraces our mistakes and failures.

Straford says: “In Oops, anything could happen. I want to make the show unpredictable and lots of fun. But most importantly, one that comforts the audience and says it’s okay to screw up from time to time. Or if you’re like me, all the time.”  

Focusing on mistakes / creating a show about mistakes seems like a brave move, so I was lucky enough to have a nice safe (mistake free!) interview with Callum prior to his show run.

1. Describe your show in 3 words: Wild. Unpredictable. Joyful. 

2. Let’s get to know you a little better…imagine you’re on a speed date – describe yourself!
I’m 23, a Melbourne boy born and bred. I’m on Centrelink (probably wouldn’t say that on a speed date) and I love performing and watching comedy. My love for music comes a close second. I’m an Arts Graduate, studied at Monash University. I’ve solo travelled to 11 different countries… the power of Contiki (I think it’s illegal not to say where you’ve travelled on a date, yeah?)! I’m passionate about what I do and I will always go out of my way for my friends and family… and sometimes even if I’ve just met you!

3. What excites you about bringing Oops to audiences during the 2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival? Audiences are in for an absolute trip. I’m so proud of what I’m setting out to achieve with this show and it’s been a genuine thrill to write and rehearse. As every performer will say, there’s nothing like performing material that you emotionally connect with. This show is very personal and it has made the material all the better and all the funnier. I’m presenting it with skills I have honed from my first MICF show in 2021, and it includes character comedy, musical comedy, mime, sound design, and much more. I hope audiences are going to have as much fun watching this show as I will performing it.

4. What was your inspiration (or main inspiration) for your show Oops?
Primarily, it’s my constant battle with perfectionism. That’s not just when I’m working on comedy, but how self critical I am when I forget my keys or drop a spoon – many people will relate to this. This show gives a big middle finger to our overly self-critical brains and we all have a great time. I also wanted to include things I love, for instance there is a sketch about The Beatles and a guy obsessed with sunscreen. I love The Beatles and I put on too much sunscreen. There’s lots of autobiographical moments in there, too. I connect and have personal experiences with every sketch and song in the performance. 

5. Your show is described as a love letter to ‘every mistake we’ve made’….just to pique our interest, care to be brave and share / describe a mistake for our blog readers?
I accidentally dropped my Airpods into the Yarra River last year. They were my first pair and I had only had them for a month or so. I sat down on the edge of a pier and they just slipped out of my pocket! It all happened in slow motion…. I can still see them, falling, in their case and plopping into the sewer that is the Yarra River. There are plenty of Yarra River jokes in the show, don’t you worry. I haven’t bought another pair of AirPods since...

Sitting down with Callum Straford has certainly piqued my interest and I’m looking forward to experiencing his show and reveling in his stories.

Oops runs from Monday 11th of April – Saturday 23rd April (excluding Sunday 17th) at a brand-new theatre in Bard’s Apothecary (7/24 Crossley Street, in Melbourne’s CBD). Bookings are essential and can be made here

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If you’ve scrolled down this far, here’s a treat for you from Tay Around Town – nobody is immune to mistakes (not even me) so here’s one from my own list! Back in the glory days of travel (pre COVID!) I was hastily booking some flights and misspelled my own name (!!!) and then had to suffer the indignity of paying $100 to correct my own name on my boarding pass *sigh*….on a different trip I miscalculated my landing date in London (hello jetlag!) and rocked up to the hotel a day/ night earlier than planned. Luckily the hotel had a spare room to sell me for that night….luckily London is a big city with many hotels too!

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