Last year, one of my favourite American comedians, Hannibal Buress, toured his stand-up to Australia, and at 1am on a Friday night in Sydney he tweeted, “Hey Sydney, who did this? This shit sucks.”
I’ve never met Hannibal, but I was embarrassed. It felt like when you take a friend to a restaurant you picked, and the food sucks. And then the restaurant owner kicks you both out without letting you look at the dessert menu, and builds a casino on top of your car.
I wanted Hannibal to love Sydney, because I love Sydney. I love Sydney, because I grew up in Newcastle, and to us Novocastrians (or ‘Children of Silverchair’), living in Sydney was the dream. But since making the great Pacific Highway migration in 2011, Sydney’s reputation for being a party-free zone has grown. I’m gigging in Melbourne this week, and let me tell you, in the great Victoria vs NSW war, the Melburnians (or ‘Children of Jet’) know they just nuked us. At this point it’s hard to tell what hurt more – Baird’s lockouts, or that Jayden Rodrigues’ “cool night out in Sydney” video included two arcades, an empty cinema and seeing Aladdin The Musical.
Look, Sydney’s nightlife may be dead, but there are still plenty of ways to party in the city of dreams. The following is a guide to making your own fun in the city that banned it.
1. Do the Drive Thru loop
Eat an entire McDonald’s meal by ordering one item at a time and looping through the Drive Thru for your next item. Start with the fries as an entree, then move up through the burgers, drinks and desserts. If you pick a busy Maccas, like Stanmore, you could have up to two hours of fun in ‘the loop’, and trust me, you’ll be lovin’ it.
2. Scroll through Stan looking for “the right movie”
Plumb the depths of each category. Get right to the bottom of the ‘action adventure’ section – when you hit Steven Seagal sequels and Korean dance-fighting movies, you’ll know you’re only halfway there. Then after two hours of this, decide it’s too late to start a movie, and just put on Seinfeld again.
3. Look through an ex’s Instagram feed
It’s not stalking. You’re just checking they’re not doing better than you. I recently got followed by an ex, Emma, and wasted a good hour looking at pics of her and her new boyfriend, Ben. This wasn’t a very healthy experience for me. Then I dove in and scrolled Ben’s feed for a while. He has a very large collection of bongs. This felt better.
4. Own a dog
The most fun thing you can do is to buy a dog, and just play with your dog. My landlords won’t let me have one, so instead I just watch dog videos. Sometimes I bundle all my unwashed clothes together and pretend it’s a Staffie named Lemon. This is a very healthy experience.
5. Get into an argument your parents
Shoot Mum a text asking why she threw out your Year 12 Drama assignment. You don’t actually want it, but she doesn’t know that. A few well timed passive-aggressive texts could kick off a fight that, if you play it right, will take the rest of the night.
If none of this helps, move to Newcastle.
What’s funny this week?
Comedyish, Giant Dwarf, Wednesday February 1. A great lineup of comedians from TV and radio doing all-new material.
Powerbomb Comedy, Staves Brewery, Friday February 3. This brand new room has a very fun, playful vibe. Plus it’s at a brewery, so, beers.
Phuklub, The Chippo Hotel, Sunday February 5. One time in this room I saw a comedian covered in tomato sauce set fire to a laptop.
Cameron James is a stand-up comedian. You can follow him on Twitter at @iamcameronjames, or in the streets.