THE FLANNEL PANEL Sorry not sorry

Comedy trio The Flannel Panel are dressed up and ready to go at Fringe World 2022, bringing their “hilarious and unapologetic” show to Rubix Bar from Friday, January 14, to Sunday, January 30. KWANWOO HAN caught up with Jimmy Kuratz, Tim Kershaw, and Gareth McKean to find out how their comedy partnership grew from a shared love of telling jokes as they see it without apology or accuracy.

Congrats on bringing The Flannel Panel to Fringe 2022! How does it feel to present?

Jimmy: It feels great!

Tim: We’ve been working this show for like almost two years, so I’d say we are just excited to really deliver something we’ve worked so hard on.

Gareth: A privilege. With so much chaos in the performing arts area at present stage performers are blessed to be able to do their craft.

Jimmy: We’re ready!

How did you start performing in comedy? Was it something you always wanted to do?

Gareth: Just a  dream come true, had no idea about Open Mic venues and at 48, grabbed the opportunity and never looked back.

Jimmy: Just one day I got it in my head that it was just something I gotta do, I just had this real gut feeling that this is something I wanted to do.

Tim: Ahhhhh… look five years ago my life was going so badly at that point I thought why not. My life was going terrible so I started doing comedy.

A redneck from an Iowan trailer park. A conspiracy nut from Victoria. A Queenslander from Ipswich. You’re all from such different places. How did you all meet and then create The Flannel Panel?

Gareth: Through the scene. We connected as we all share a passion for writing and testing the boundaries. We believe in letting the audience make up their own mind.

Jimmy: We are all non-conformists… I guess… in comedy… and these guys were the only other guys I saw here that weren’t afraid to do edgy comedy.

Tim: We all love the same style of comedy! Both Jimmy and Gareth made me laugh on the scene, and they were great blokes … and we became great friends.

You guys have been performing together for a while, and have travelled across the region recently together. How would you describe your friendship, and how do you keep it going?

Tim: Friendship great!

Gareth: Supportive. Collaborative. Honest. All three of us park our egos and work hard on making sure that each of us reaches our potential. And we make each other laugh, a lot.

Jimmy: effortless really … we all get along, we can all take advice, and it’s easy! It’s way funner to do this with your mates than by yourself.

Like I mentioned before, The Flannel Panel has been on a regional tour recently. Is there a place that stood out to you? Not necessarily a favourite, maybe something significant that comes to mind that’s linked to the place?

Jimmy: The Swinging Pig, Rockingham when five meth head bikies tried to beat us up, or Collie crowdwork, we destroyed so hard to such a rough audience – that’s when I thought we hit the next level. The real stuff.

Gareth: The regional experience was simply the best. A stand out? Wagin was extraordinary, with our first shoey and massive crowd interaction. To be honest though it all started in Bridgetown. That was our first taste of the road together. We all wanted more.

Tim: And I would say the first show we did at Shamrock Hotel, Greenbushes, that’s when I really felt like we had actually done something! It just had everything that was coming – rock star accommodation, free drinks after, and a great show that we nailed.

Since you’re a trio and working together when performing shows, there must be extra steps to consider. How do you plan shows?

Tim: I just let Jimmy do it.

Gareth: Three votes, healthy debate, fairness of time. We each share a different skill, from booking, marketing and logistics. Everyone contributes, and we don’t let money interfere with our friendship.

Jimmy: If it’s about who goes where on the night, we’ll have a  conversation in the car or a conversation before the show because we are all capable of either opening the show, headlining or controlling the middle of the show.

Tim: In terms of the actual show setup, Jimmy doesn’t let us touch anything so me and Gareth usually check the pub and grab a few beers.

Jimmy: We’re team players! I love seeing the other guys crush the headline spot, because that’s the easiest.

The year has been newly born, and if the world grants us mercy, great things can come up. Should we expect something from The Flannel Panel?

Gareth: New material is our highest agenda. We’d also like to see more towns and if possible take our show nationally.

Tim: Yeah, we were just happy to actually be able to do something, with the way the world is, it’s been just great to keep pursuing our goals and have a great time, when we know a lot of people around the world haven’t been able to.

Jimmy: We’d like to take our show nationally. We still have six regional shows before the end of March and then we would like to go to Tasmania and then to Brisbane.

And to finish up on a funny note. Describe the other two in five words or less. Please keep it PG.

Gareth: Jimmy is relentless, that man makes a million phone calls to get one regional show.

Flannel Panel: Gareth is emotional, social butterfly, child-like, and hilarious. Tim is loose, spiritually chaotic. Jimmy is worry wart, aspergers, and surprisingly boring.

The word we agree on about each other is relentless.

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