On Friday the 13th of March, 2020 I was on assignment for Scenestr magazine at the Brisbane Comedy Festival. I was there to see famous stand-up comedian Dave Hughes.

Earlier in the week the World Health Organisation had labelled the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic. Italy hit with several cases had shut down the country to having people only going to work. France shut down children attending school.

Friday morning the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had been urging people to attend the weekend football. By afternoon he was saying that come Monday no large crowds of 500 or more could gather in public.

A member of his cabinet, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton had tested positive for the virus. The Formula 1 in Melbourne had been cancelled as had the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Wall Street had seen the biggest falls in stocks in one day of trading since the crash of 1987.

Heading into the weekend there was no doubt we were about to experience an economic recession, see our country shut down travel, business and events as much as possible. The most vulnerable in our community to the disease are also the most vulnerable to the pressures that will come to supermarket stocks, health care support or temporary employment.

We’re in for some rough days ahead and so it was some comfort to find quite a few people out at the Brisbane Comedy Festival ready to laugh and to see Dave Hughes a stand-up as recognisable and reliable as any stand-up in this country.

Hughesy made us laugh, laugh about the virus, laugh at ourselves, laugh at him and laugh at our lives. It was a nice reminder of how we need to face the days ahead. With support for our fellow humans and with a sense of hope and optimism. It was a privilege to attend and you can read my review here https://scenestr.com.au/comedy/dave-hughes-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2020-20200316

Karen and I caught up with some friends beforehand and enjoyed our beloved snack bar menu pizzas from the Powerhouse. Then we were off to the Powerhouse Theatre, the largest venue at the Powerhouse reserved for big stars, like Hughesy, to perform.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

The following Monday, the Brisbane Comedy Festival was cancelled. In addition to big name comedians, there are a lot of shows and acts there that run on the smell of an oily rag with performers who sometimes work other jobs during the day. Such cancellations are going to provide them with significant challenges in the weeks ahead too but I know we all want to keep each other safe.

I hope you’re safe, I hope you are able to get toilet paper in your part of the world, I hope we treat each other right and help each other in the weeks ahead. I’ll try me best to do so.

-Lloyd Marken


  1. Solid review as always, Lloyd. It seems he is a well-known face in your country, but I have never heard of him. I enjoyed the clip though. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Thank you Pete, it’s funny how that goes sometimes with national stars. It’s good to see his humour travels well even if his career has not. It’s weird for me to think Billy Connolly didn’t crack America until 20 years after everybody knew him in Glasgow. I hope you’re taking care. I think I wrote this on Monday so that reflects where my head was at with COVID-19.

    1. You too Don. You and yours take care. You’ve got a big brood and I wish them all the best. Your paratrooper nerves are going to come in handy in the days ahead.

      1. Thank you, Lloyd. I hope that both you and your wife can work from home and that you keep blogging. I know live entertainment and 1st run movies are out of the question, but heck, review TV shows for ua.

  2. A pleasure to read your well-written narrative, Lloyd, and hear about the pandemic from your side of the world. Sending warm wishes your way, my friend.

    1. Thank you Jet. It has certainly been interesting times. Goodness knows you’ve been through a lot the past couple of years. I wrote it about a week before it was published. The speed of how this has changed things is pretty fast. I do look back and wonder if it was wise to be there that night but was the beginning of everything changing that Friday. I’m now working from home and hoping as many people can get to. You and yours okay?

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