Lockdown list recommendations with Bec Charlwood & Ben Kochan

While in varying lockdowns and restrictions around the country we’ve been turning to our screens for comfort, burning through the pages of books and blasting our favorite tunes to get us through these “unprecedented” times. Comedians are in the same boat, with few opportunities to do what they do best – stand on a stage and make you laugh! If you feel like you’ve come to the end of your lockdown list, check out these suggestions.

Bec Charlwood & Ben Kochan

WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING?

Bec:

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Yeah the world is a bit shit right now, but is it over run by demons and vampires and is it your duty to vanquish all of them? No. Which is why I’ve been enjoying watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer. With a very easy to follow format, every episode hot teen encounters demon, hot teen destroys demon, hot teen still has homework to do and the boy she likes won’t call her back. It’s a reliable series to make you feel safe in unprecedented times. With over 100 40 minute episodes available on Stan you can watch for hours on end to soothe your ever chattering anxiety.

VERONICA MARS. If you’re like me change is scary and also we’ve had enough of it for the time being so why not dive straight into Veronica Mars. Its’ the diet version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer but instead of a Vampire Slayer she’s a detective. Each ep centres around a similar format: hot teen encounters a crime, hot teen solves crime, hot teen still has homework to do and the boy she likes won’t call her back. All 3 Seasons are available on Stan too! Let’s hope this is all over by the time you get through all that!

Ben:

Not only am I bad at reading but I’m also bad at starting new TV shows or watching new movies. I usually watch the same movies I’ve seen over and over again and watch YouTube clips of NRL shows. Sorry, I’m not great at giving recommendations. I did recently watch an old Jim Gaffigan special on Netflix called BEYOND THE PALE. I used to listen to this as an album as a young pre-teen when I first started listening to comedy and it’s so good. Him and Brian Regan were my absolute faves when I first started getting into stand-up, some of their early albums are just perfect.

My girlfriend made me watch THE GODFATHER because she’s Italian and I’d never seen it and I’ll say this, it was good, no arguments here, it was pretty good, not sure what else to say about it. Then I made her watch ROCKY because she’d never seen it and watching it I also realised I’m not sure if I’d seen the whole thing, I think maybe I’d only seen the end and I reckon Rocky was also very good.

WHAT ARE YOU READING?

Bec:

I always say “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it by picking up a book.” So I’ll throw in a third recommendation here for the reunion season of VERONICA MARS that was released last year (Also available on Stan).

Ben:

I struggle to read, especially for long periods of time, that’s why I like a book with a lot of chapters. I read 3 pages and then I’m flicking to see when the next chapter comes. I actually had my eyes tested and was told my eyes don’t focus very well and that’s why I find it hard to read so I got these glasses and let me tell you, it didn’t make a difference at all. I can focus on one in every 14 books and finish it in a respectable amount of time. The last book I did that with was NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney. Usually if something is a million copy bestseller there’s a better chance I’ll be able to get through it.

I tried to read the other book Sally Rooney wrote, CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS, and I have struggled to get through it. I’m sure it’s good, it’s probably my fault.

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO? 

Bec:

CRIMINALAs a young woman it is my duty to have a rolodex of every serial killer ever stored in my brain, so that I never get murdered by one. But when I need to take a break from listening to every true crime podcast I listen to Criminal. Not your regular run of the mill true crime podcast, Criminal is about stories that happen around crime eg. how to sell a house that’s haunted, or an interview with a woman who cleans crime scenes. It’s all tied together in a soothing bow by the host Phoebe Judge who has a voice that feels like a hug in your ear.

THIS IS LOVE. So at this point in time you’re probably thinking “Hey Bec, maybe your anxiety isn’t to do with the pandemic maybe it’s because you only seem to watch and listen to things about demons, murder and other things crime adjacent.” Well maybe you should shush and instead of talking listen to this beautiful podcast all about love. And no, not romantic Romeo and Juliet kind of love, it’s about all kinds of love! I highly recommend an ep. called “Michael and Rozelle” about a guide dog, get your tissues out and get ready to heave and sob like you’ve never heaved and sobbed before to this beautiful podcast!

Happy consuming! 😀 xxx

Ben:

I’ve been listening/watching a few TINY MUSIC DESK episodes where they get a musician to play music at a tiny desk. LIANNE LE HAVAS did one recently and she is awesome, NORAH JONES also did one and she is one of my favourites.

I’ve also recently started listening to CHET BAKER and his album CHET BAKER SINGS. He’s an old Jazz crooner type and put the album out in 1956. The lyrics are so innocent I love them. He’s like “Ohhh perchance to catch a glimpse of a lady in a hat.” Not to get into a hot stand up bit but music lyrics now are different!

In terms of podcasts I’ve become obsessed with TIM DILLON and his podcast THE TIM DILLON SHOW, he’s so so funny and I heard in a recent episode he said he’d been doing stand up for about the same time as me which upset me because I would like to be as funny as he is.

I listened to NICK NEMEROFF’S stand-up album, THE PURSUIT OF COMEDY HAS RUINED MY LIFE. He’s a Canadian stand-up who used to come and do some shows in Australia every now and then. The album was really funny and made me want to put out an album too. Like I said earlier I used to listen to stand-up albums when I first started listening to comedy and I think it’s the best way to consume comedy. And I feel weird about saying consume comedy but I was going to say it’s the best way to listen to comedy but then that’s obvious because it’s the only way to listen to comedy, so sorry about saying consume comedy.

Still need more for you list? Check out the below recommendations from comedians Damien Power, Nikki Britton and Sam Taunton.

 

Damien Power

WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING?

I am watching A LOT.

I am obsessed with Stanley Kubrick so I re watched THE SHINING and EYES WIDE SHUT.

Bit of Kubrick trivia for the nerds: A Clockwork Orange was actually a low budget film, shot for $2 million. After the epic and incredibly expensive 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick wanted to prove to the studio he could shoot a low budget film. It would be like Christopher Nolan shooting The Dark Knight then following it up with Memento.

On the TV series side of things I did love FARGO. It holds up compared to the original and incredible movie by the Cohen brothers.

There is a new HBO series out called I COULD DESTROY YOU. Tone wise it feels like a 30 minute comedy but skillfully tackles a very serious and heavy theme. It’s received a lot of critical acclaim.

WHAT ARE YOU READING?

I read a great book called SEROTONIN BY MICHEL HOULLEBECQ. It’s an amazing encapsulation of everything that’s wrong with society right now. Having said that, it is very depressing so maybe not a good one for right now.

On an uplifting note, MEDITATIONS BY MARCUS AURIELUS (the Roman Emperor). This is a book of stoic philosophy. It makes any other self help book seem like popcorn. This is a book to read to feel great and be a better person.

This may not be for everyone but as part of the job I read a lot of screen plays. If you’re ever interested in understanding more about screen writing or scripts, read ALIEN the original movie by WALTER HILL. It’s probably the best example of screen writing I’ve come across. It’s a lot of fun to read.

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO? 

PET SOUNDS BY THE BEACH BOYS. Can’t get enough of this album. It was the inspiration for Sgt Peppers. The Beatles really wanted to top the experimentation and use of new recording technologies by the Beach Boys.

Anne Edmonds put me onto a Stevie Wonder album he released in 1976 called SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE. Apparently this album and the ones that followed were the result of him being free from his recording contract. The results are pretty amazing.

I hope this all gives you something to dig into during lockdown!

Nikki Britton & Sam Taunton

WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING?

Nikki:

Glad you asked.

THE FAREWELL is such a great film! THE GREAT on Stan is the best kind of bonkers. I watched CASABLANCA for the first time ever and I don’t usually like a black and white movie, but what a fool I’ve been! This is delish! Mindy Kaling’s NEVER HAVE I EVER on Netflix is delightful. SCHITTS CREEK Schitts Creek Schitts Creek Schitts Creek. YEARS AND YEARS on SBS On Demand is heavy, but brilliant and I would give Emma Thompson a kidney if she asked, so…

Sam:

LITTLE ITALY

My housemate and I watched this movie after scrolling through Netflix for 45 mins trying to find something we hadn’t seen. It has a 13% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, funded by Screen Canada and stars Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) doing an incredibly bad New York accent and confirming what we all knew: he truly is the worst actor alive.

LONG STRANGE TRIP

This is a doco series about The Grateful Dead and it’s so good! It goes into detail about Dead Heads, the counter cultural movement surrounding the band, and the inception of the band all the way to Jerry Garcia’s death from eating too much McDonalds (lol it was definitely the heroin that killed him). Can’t recommend enough!

HOW ABOUT PLEASURES JUST FOR THE EARS?

Nikki:

ZOO by Connie Shi. She speaks for so many of us in this gentle little rumination. BUT maybe limit yourself to 3 plays per day mates, yeah? Promise? Self-care is key atm. It’s good to feel seen, but it’s a slippery slope.

When you’ve scooped yourself off the floor after that humdinger, chuck on ONCE BITTEN on ABC Presents, or wherever you get your podcasts, for a big ole’ laff. (I feel like I’ve set up a dynamic where I am tormentor and saviour with these last two paragraphs, so I’ll talk to someone about that but still, do give them a crack).

And obviously, OH HELLO: THE P’DCAST. But I’m sure you’re already across that.

Sam:

DUSTY IN MEMPHIS by Dusty Springfield

One of the best records of all time. Sometimes I sing and play guitar very loudly to ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’ and my neighbour doesn’t like it and bangs angrily on my wall. I think that’s why he does all that early morning whipper snipping. We do not like each other.

JULIA JACKLIN 

Julia is the best Australian artist of the last 10 years and that’s a fact no one can deny. Her two studio records are constantly in my top played lists on Spotify. Once I sat next to her in the Virgin Lounge (an airline that used to exist) and after 25 minutes built up the courage to talk to her. This was the conversation:

Sam: Hi! I just wanted to say I looooove your music!

Julia: Thanks! *boarding call for her flight*

Sam: …..

Julia: *Julia leaves the lounge*

That’s the only time we’ve met.

WHAT ARE YOU READING?

Nikki:

I’ll be honest, like most things since March, I have failed to see many books through to completion. But, I can tell you what not to read: Do not read your 5 year plan from 2015/16. If it’s anything like mine, there’s some gaping chasms between the achievement of dreams and your current position, and fuck all time to do anything about it before the end of 2020. Let that go. And definitely burn anything that might remind you of where you might have been, or what you might have been doing had that bat not had such a nasty cold in December. Best to limit the “if only” at this point.

But do read PHOSPHORESCENCE BY JULIA BAIRD. (Yeah, Mike Baird’s sister! Weird.) The blurb on the back seems very hopeful. I can’t promise it ends well as I have not read much past the first chapter but there is some truly lovely imagery so far.

Also, do read this article

Ignore the bits that don’t apply or appeal, but I hope it conveys the feeling that without you, the audience, there is no me, the performer. I will never take for granted the magic created when we assemble. For now we wait, but hopefully not too much longer, until our being together can make us, us again. Smooches to you all.

Sam:

EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE by Dolly Alderton

Like most people at the moment I’m in a deep personal crisis so have been reading self-help books aimed at millennial women.

Everything I Know About Love is a quick/blog-like read that teaches you little-to-nothing about love but makes you deeply concerned for sweet Dolly due to the sheer volume of stories involving pubs and bottles of wine.

THE PSYCHOPATH TEST by Jon Ronson

I hadn’t read this in years but I thought I’d crack it back open as I’m midst of a fight with my neighbour who keeps using his whipper sniper at 7:30am (which to me is TEXTBOOK psychopath behaviour). Unfortunately, Jon Ronson has very little advice for domestic disputes.

ENJOY THESE RECOMMENDATIONS AND WE HOPE TO SEE YOU IN AN AUDIENCE SOMETIME SOON!