A year or so ago, when the iPad was released, there was a brief period in which a small number of well known local comedy groups, well, two local comedy groups – Working Dog and The Chaser – released their own apps. Now with smart phones and tablet computers to be found in every second person’s bag, including our own, we assumed there must be stacks more Australian comedy apps to download. Well, we’ve looked high and low, but the answer seems to be: not really. Maybe it’s the cost of development versus low returns, or just that it’s easier to make comedy for other media? Post your wild and crazy theories below. Meanwhile, here’s our (half-arsed) comprehensive guide to the mobile laughs we found for our iPhone 4:
Radio Stations: A number of Australian radio stations can by accessed via their own apps which allow you to listen live and access material pulled-in from their websites (such as videos, photos, news, podcasts). The ones most relevant to comedy are the apps from Barry digital radio, the Triple M network and the ABC. All are free and worked just fine when we tried them out.
Ethel Chop: This low-fi soundboard-style app allows you listen to short excerpts from Ethel Chop’s rantings…and that’s it. A little pointless, but free.
A-List Comedy: A-List Entertainment manage and/or produce acts like Tripod, Akmal Saleh and Kitty Flanagan. This free app allows you to see bios of all their artists and get listings of their upcoming gigs. There’s also an interactive element where you can leave comments about the artists and gigs, sign-in with your Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare account, and make friends with other users of the app. Users get points for doing various things, although it’s hard to tell what, if any, rewards you get for accruing them. In terms of making use of the possibilities of the mobile web, such as combining social media and location-based elements, this app gets points for actually bothering.
Adelaide Comedy: The team at Adelaide Comedy aren’t content with running a number of rooms in Adelaide, they’ve got a website, podcast, vodcast, YouTube channel and now this free app which aggregates all their online content in a mobile-friendly way. It’s nowhere near as advanced as the A-List Comedy app, but if you’re in Adelaide and want information about comedy gigs when you’re out and about it’s no doubt quite handy.
The Chaser: With this app (which costs $0.99) The Chaser kinda go back to their origins with the old The Chaser newspaper, by serving up heaps of spoof news stories and padding things out with some videos, photos, and other bits and bobs. Surprisingly, for an app which has the potential to be a local rival to The Onion or The Daily Mash, there doesn’t seem to have been any new content added for months, which is a bit of a missed opportunity.
Jetlag Travel: Available in Lite (free) or paid-for ($1.99) this app builds on Working Dog’s spoof travel guides Molvania, Phaic Tan and San Sombrero by bringing other fake holiday destinations to life. The Lite version offers guides to Gastronesia and Boguslavia; an upgrade gives you another 10 or so more. The guide to each country is fairly basic compared to the book versions, but they’re fun to browse through. Also, it seems there will be more Jetlag travel guides added to the app at some point – it will be interesting to see if you have to pay a further upgrade for these.
Beached Az: The inevitable app of the cult series will set you back $0.99. It allows you to download and watch all the episodes, DVD extras and trailers, and there are also character profiles to browse, a soundboard, wallpapers and a game where you have to flick crabs off the beach with your fingers. We didn’t mind the game, and if you’re a fan of the show the other stuff probably has some appeal, but as we’ve noted before, Beached Az isn’t really our thing.
Also firmly in the “for the fans” category are apps based on Angry Boys and Spicks & Specks. These cost $1.99 and we drew the line at paying for them, but the iTunes Store descriptions indicate that the Angry Boys app is quite similar in structure to the Beached Az app (i.e. there’s a game where you have to save Blake’s balls from getting shot), and the Spicks & Specks app allows you to play Spicks & Specks on your very own phone. They both got good ratings, so if like either show they may be worth spending $1.99 for.