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Gerard McCulloch first took to the comedy stage in 1993, winning Victoria’s inaugural Campus Comedy Competition with deadpan delivery, a guitar, and a pseudonym. ‘Theodore Pyke’ soon became a regular around Melbourne’s comedy scene.
‘Theodore’ and the straight face disappeared as Gerard began to play with comedy conventions and flirt with character. This led to his debut solo show, An Englishman, An Irishman and a Scotsman Walk Into A Documentary. A ‘behind the scenes’ with the three famous jokesters, it won the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Barry Award for Best Newcomer in 2000.
“A highly intelligent and consistently hilarious deconstruction of the history of jokes … one of the best shows in the festival.” – The Age
In MICF 2001, he let a series of characters loose with Uncorked!, including ill-fated American satirist Hank Ruby, who remains a cult favourite at Festival appearances.
His autobiographical 2002 show, Gerry of Arabia, told the story of a suburban Aussie kid who studied Arabic, travelled in the Middle East, and accidentally became a political satirist.* It won Best Comedy at Melbourne Fringe that year, and more critical praise when remounted at MICF 2003.
“A whistlestop tour of the Middle East … often very funny, always engaging and clearly heartfelt.” – The Age
In 2004, he revisited old friends with a new and slightly renamed An Englishman, an Irishman, and a Scotsman – Exposed!, which sold out every night of MICF 2004, and was an official sellout at Edinburgh Fringe in 2005.
“An incredibly well constructed script keeps the pace varied and continually adds new surprises…” – Chortle
“With layers of comedy that run much deeper than would appear possible from the material, this is a real comedy gem.” – The Stage
Just A Few Notes, which relived his time in an ill-fated a cappella group, was nominated for the Barry Award for Best Show at MICF 2005.
“McCulloch’s impeccable comic timing and his well-written narrative are enough to keep the audience enthralled … I can’t recommend this show highly enough.” – Rabelais
In 2006, at the inaugural Golden Guy Fawkes Awards, Gerard’s tongue-in-cheek call for Victoria to secede from the Australian Commonwealth earned him 28 years’ hypothetical jail under then-current anti-sediton laws. Luckily for him, authorities did not press charges.
From 1998 until 2004, Gerard appeared weekly on 3RRR-FM’s Breakfasters program variously as guest co-host, a comic ‘Poet Laureate’, and most notably as a light-hearted foreign affairs commentator.
Devoting his energy to his TV work in recent years, Gerard regularly directs and script-edits Festival shows for others. In 2011 he was an ‘Outside Eye’ mentor to Bron Batten’s show Sweet Child of Mine, which won Best Experimental Performance at Melbourne Fringe.
While his popular weekly comedy night Comedy Manifesto is currently in hiatus, Gerard continues to dabble in Melbourne’s comedy scene just enough to get in to shows for free on the nights he’s not on.
*Gerard holds Commerce and Arts degrees with Honours First Class in Arabic, and has travelled extensively through the Middle East. He once wrote a 20,000 word thesis entitled ‘Prior Knowledge of An Arabic Dialect and Performance in Modern Standard Arabic’. It wasn’t very funny.