Saturday 25 February 2017

The Birds & The Beats - Melbourne International Comedy Festival preview

When you're growing up, sex can be a curious and foreign concept. You may have a lot of questions but where do you go to source reliable and honest answers? Returning to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, with The Birds & The Beats, Grant Busé has you covered. While his previous show, The Late Night Sexy Show looked at the joys of sex, this show goes right back to the beginning with Busé's hilarious, educational and cheeky night of a sing-a-long sex ed. class.

"With The Birds & The Beats, I'm aiming to get a little bit deeper - pun intended - than The Late Night Sexy Show which was a celebration of feeling sexy and being comfortable in your own skin," Bus
é explains. "The more and more I did The Late Night Sexy Show, the more I saw a huge disparity between audiences with sexual openness, awareness and education. Some nights people had no idea about some of the terms I was talking about and the show transformed into an educational sex seminar. I also had a surprising amount of parents come up to me after the show checking if it was ok to bring their teenage kids along because of the positive body image themes. That kind of prompted me to look into the topic of sex education. In a way, The Birds & The Beats can be seen as a sequel to The Late Night Sexy Show."

"With this show however, I’ve really tried to step it up to the next level and have added beatboxing, a few more instruments and the element of looping to it, giving the show an old school hip hop/funk influence. I still have complete control over the flow but produce a much fuller sound and experience for the crowd. A lot of the show revolves around my experiences growing up and its effect on my adult life but I still make room for a dialogue with the audience. I try to make an environment where people feel can just shout out questions and be involved." 

"I talked to a lot of Australians from very different ages and walks of life in research for this show, and one thing always kept coming up: not a single person was satisfied with their sexual education. What’s really surprising though, is seeing how many parents still find it awkward to talk about sex with their kids. There’s so much humour in this subject but I think there is also some very important social issues that need to be discussed." 

Interestingly, the inspiration for The Birds & The Beats began through Busé's day-job as a teacher. "When I set out to create this show I had also started working at a special needs school. Turns out, this term I’m literally teaching sex ed.," he tells me. "It's a great experience that is really informing my view on the whole matter."  
"I went to an all boys private catholic school so my formal sex ed. was very minimal.  We had the 'reproductive system' in science class and that was it. I think sex ed. is too often taught in a very scientific, anatomical and quite frankly cold manner," Bus
é says. "Fortunately, my parents were pretty great at answering question as I raised them but I think I really learnt most about sex through watching TV and listening to hip hop music - hence the name of the show."

With his teaching career in mind, Bu
is keen to evolve his show into a child-friendly performance on sex and how to treat each other respectfully. "My aim is to make a student appropriate version of The Birds & The Beats for touring to schools. There are a lot of hurdles to cross before then so hopefully this season starts enough of a discussion about sex education that eventually one day I can make that happen," he says. "My childhood was very influenced by the dawning of the internet age and these days, a child innocently types ‘cream pie’ into Google and gets a graphic education they shouldn't get. We can’t keep our heads in the sand. The world is a very different place to when we grew up. Adults are no longer the secret keepers so it’s important we learn how to create comfortable and safe dialogue with kids."

And if there's one thing that Bus
é wishes he had known earlier about sex, it's this: "Stop trying so hard! Sex is an amazing way to express a connection with some one. That connection can be fleeting or everlasting but as long as you enter it with mutual respect and consent - have fun!”


Grant Busé in The Late Night Sexy Show
The one food I cannot live without is nutella. I don't buy it anymore because I used to keep a jar and a spoon next to the bed. I only eat it if it is given to me. By the way my payment for this interview is Nutella right? (no - Myron)

My most cringeworthy moment on stage was
when I was playing the villain in Fiddler on The Roof and people couldn't stop laughing because my fly was undone and I was wearing no underwear.

A movie that sums up my life is
a cross between Annie Hall, Once and Naked Gun.

How many seconds can pass before you can't eat food off the floor?
If it contains nutella I will do everything in my power to save it!

During MICF, I really want to sell out! If I can educate, enlighten and entertain people along the way too I'll be one very happy camper. Spread the joy!

Venue: Number 12 La Barre Electronique, 12 Bourke St, Melbourne.
Season: 29 March - 23 April | Tues - Sun 9.30pm
Length: 55 minutes 
Tickets: $22.30 Full | $20.30 Conc
| $15.30 Tightarse Tuesday and Previews
Bookings: MICF website 

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