The Chaser needed a home. Or, more accurately a place where it could bring all its interests together in one place. “There were all these people we thought were great and wanted to work with more and we were doing a live event that was growing really quickly,” says Julian Morrow, co-founder of The Chaser. “So we wanted to get a place where we could both make our TV shows and work with other awesome folk.” That space is Giant Dwarf.
It’s hard to believe there’s anyone out there who doesn’t know them, but in case you missed it, The Chaser is a satirical comedy group that has been bringing its unique form of socio-political ridicule and gonzo journalism to Australian television for 10 years. But the opening of a performance venue such as Giant Dwarf was never part of the original plan. “It doesn’t make any sense,” says Morrow. “If we sat down and wrote as a business plan what actually happened – no one would have taken us seriously and we wouldn’t have taken it seriously.” Now The Chaser is providing Sydney with the goods; a local hub of carefully curated events.
“It’s all about the people we are invested in,” says Giant Dwarf general manager Nikita Agzarian. An extensive roster of young thinkers and writers lead the way with creative shows that return on a monthly basis. “A. H. Cayley from Confession Booth, Eddie Sharp – they’re going places,” says Morrow.
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These are shows that have been on rotation around town for a while now – but they were always in weird locations on a Monday night upstairs where no bands were going to play. “There wasn’t a place for these guys to grow and be nurtured,” says Agzarian.
Confession Booth, by A. H. Cayley and Matt Roden, reveals on stage the deep, dark secrets of writers, musicians and comedians. Cayley also hosts Backchat on FBi 94.5, the political hour; “The amazing thing about Confession Booth is how involved the audience gets. It still blows Matt and me away,” says Cayley.
Maybe you’ll want to try your hand at erotic fan fiction, the monthly celebration of filth, pop culture, vagina metaphors and excellent writing. Or other recurring shows such as the Bear Pack – touted as, “The next Hamish and Andy,” – Cut and Paste, A Rational Fear and TOD Talks. Chaser fans can have their cake and eat too by booking tickets to The Chaser’s Empty Vessel where Chris and Julian host a Q&A with different guests.
It’s a most flexible space, too. While the hall is spacious, the seats have been moved and curtains installed to create an intimate setting for the launch of Angus and Julia Stone’s album launch. Sarah Blasko is due to play an intimate gig for Refugee Week.
“It’s been really nice to have all these really cool things happening around Sydney that hopefully can cross-pollinate a bit by happening in the same spot,” says Morrow. “We’re trying to exploit the talents of young people as a retirement plan. But that’s a less interesting story and at the moment far less likely as well.”