The Shambles with Sos, Valvo & Lynchy – Live At A Ballroom : Interview
Cult comedy trio, The Shambles with Sos, Valvo & Lynchy, return to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with a brand new show, “The Shambles – Live At A Ballroom“, which see’s this hapless trio peddling their wares in Trades Hall’s New Ballroom from April 6 to April 18.
WATCH OUT FOR | COMEDY sat down with the former C31 personalities, who talk all things comedy, stints in commercial Radio and TV, as well as explaining just what the hell is behind that name?
For the uninitiated – how did you come up with the name?
We [Sos & Lynchy] were doing a radio show when we were in high school back in 2002, and were basically tossing up between the name “The Shambles” (which we’d always heard Tony Martin from The Late Show say) or “The Lou Carpenter Project” (because, at the time, Lou Carpenter was always coming up with some crazy GET RICH QUICK scheme on Neighbours… the most recent one being clear toilet seats with fish inside them).
The choice was an obvious one…. and then we went back to The Shambles.
So it had nothing to do with Wikipedia’s definition of the phrase?
Wikipedia says “The Shambles” has something to do with ye olde England and throwing meat on the street… which is ironic, because on most Saturday nights, you will find at least one of us throwing up meat in the streets.
In your own storyteller’s way, tell us the why’s, when’s, whats and how’s of your trio’s history… from the early beginnings, to getting together at Community TV station C31, being in a Ballroom, world domination, botox?
For many years we were made to believe that Sos, Valvo & Lynchy were born as Siamese twins. We were saved only by the gracious and unselfish souls at Today Tonight who paid for, filmed and edited the whole “de-siamesing” thing into a nifty four minute package that would air in between a story about “Dicko losing 40 pounds” and “Shonky Mechanics”.
Of course, the music playing over the top was Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings”, which is slightly embarrassing, as it was sitting underneath Midler’s actual wings that got us into that three-person-in-one mutated predicament in the first place.
However, now we understand that Lynchy and Sos met in a High School Cooking class (in which Lynchy sliced off the top of Sos’ finger while making something called “Pot-onions”). They then did a demo for SYN FM in Year 10, it sucked, Valvo (who is two years older, despite the heavy use of plastic surgery and robotics on his face) joined in the fun and from there they did 30 one hour episodes.
That lack of professionalism led to making a demo tape for C31 in Melbourne (on a camera Valvo’s dad “Won” in a raffle… we say “won” only because his Dad is Italian… and there is no such thing as “Just Luck” when it comes to Italians and competitions run by people they know).
From there, “The Shambles with Sos, Valvo & Lynchy” TV show aired across Melbourne, then Sydney, Perth and eventually New York (straight into the dorms of stoners). Then we took a break and did our own thing (Valvo did some hosting and producing work at Nova FM and Joy FM, Lynchy pops up from time to time on Channel 10s “The Circle”… he’s the one “without a vagina”).
Then we got super lazy and started doing comedy fests, as it meant we only had to get out of bed for one month per year (we also just like the fact that by doing so, we can sleep in the one bed, like in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, and have our poverty stricken family members feed us and clean our clothes in a giant boiling pot).
This year, we took it one step further… doing a limited run of 2 weeks only of the festival. Take THAT Charlie Bucket!
Define what The Shambles is?
The Shambles is pretty much all of our favourite forms of comedy (Micallef, Conan O’Brien, SNL, The Office, Steve Martin, The Late Show) meshed into one undefinable and highly unprofessional package. We’ll call that package “Derivative”.
What are your earliest memory of The Shambles?
Most of our memories can’t be discussed due to pending legal trials in all states except Wyoming. However, the ones we do remember involve writing meetings at our homes as teens, with Sos’ mum coming into the room every five minutes asking “AN-FON-Y, HAVE YOU OFFERED YOUR FRIENDS SOME CAKE?!?”
Who inspires you – who are today’s gods and goddesses of shambolica?
Stupidity inspires us, people who don’t get offended inspire us, fun inspires us. If we aren’t enjoying it, then the audience won’t, so it’s all about keeping it fun and silly.
But we love trying to make the strange and weird accessible to teens and families, at the moment Lynchy and Sos are really into Human Giant (starring Aziz Ansari), then theres stuff like Conan O’Brien and Steve Martin who just exude fun and silliness. No pretence or underlying messages about “that damn government”, we’re just idiots doing things.
What are some of the most shambolic aspects/traits of each of your trio?
We are notoriously lazy. For example, this interview is actually being completed three years after the deadline.
Lynchy tends to be an over-stressed pessimist about every aspect of the show, Valvo is overwhelmingly positive that everything will turn out ok, and Sos is so happy to be neutral and let things pan out he could actually be declared legally dead.
But all those traits balance each other out and result in, what we hope is, a show that we actually remember to turn up to.
Most shambolic life experience so far – why so?
It’s been a pretty weird and wonderful ride the last eight years or so. From going to the Arias and trying to catch a cab home with drunken Youth Group band members and a winner of Big Brother, to catching a cab (that crashed into a brass bands tiny car) from the Gold Coast airport to Brisbane because we couldn’t be bothered walking across the street and finding out what time the bus came, to leaving a show in a beach-side town arts festival minutes after for fear of having to face the ENORMOUS and ANGRY audience member who fell off the stage during a skit….
It’s all been life experience, it’s all be pretty good – even when it’s been bad.
Most shambolic relationship so far – why so?
Lynchy once, after becoming paralysed, joined a space-age group in which he replaced his own disabled body with that of Sam Worthington’s, who then proceeded to have “pony-tail” nookie in a forest with some blue chick with no nipples. That was one WEEEEIRD day.
Most shambolic song- why so?
Are these actually real questions, or are you simply putting the word “Shambles” in front of other words? It’s that sort of laziness that could very well have you ending up being the fourth Shambles member.
Name some of the key shambolical themes of this year’s show- in some detail please?
We don’t really have themes, we’re really too lazy for that. We just try to keep the show fast, and stupid and fun. It should just feel like your mucking around with your mates… but asshole mates… the sort that would charge you $20 to spend the weekend with them.
What is thrilling to you about playing in a Ballroom?
In reference to that earlier question – Lynchy would say the fear of such a large room being empty, Valvo would suggest that it’s the chance to play in front of our biggest crowds yet, while Sos… well, he is probably asleep right now.
What do you love about a live atmosphere rather than a television studio?
If a joke or character doesn’t work live – you can make it work straight away by adjusting the act to the audience second by second. TV, however, you just have to sit back and wait for the hate mail / offers to appear on “20 to 1”.
And for those who aspire to get in touch with their inner shambles – what wisdom, what insights can you offer?
If Sos’ mum offers you cake… you say yes gosh-dammit!