Tomp Canks: A History of Six Silly Boys

Once upon a time, six silly boys auditioned to join the ensemble of the Improv Conspiracy. Among the auditionees, they battled for ten Harold Night spots and fourteen Fresh Blood spots. Many talented improvisers auditioned that day, and due to casting decisions based on talent, performance chemistry and diversity requirements; these six boys ended up being placed on a Fresh Blood team together. An all white, straight male team… To say it caused an awkward air to waft over the theatre would be an understatement.

The reasoning given for this particular casting was that the theatre wanted to remove them from other diverse teams so those teams would have more chance of growth. A fine idea, but it set the six into a position of feeling like they were the bad guys.

Determined to prove to the Melbourne improv community that they weren’t as high risk as they’d been deemed, the six pushed hard with their training under the guidance of coach Laura Buskes (a much needed female influence). By the end of their first week of training they had discovered their team name through an exercise where they smashed Tom Hanks and Top Cat together; and thus Tomp Canks was born!

Tomp Canks took to the stage for their debut using the slyfully chosen intro song (that would become identified with them in the Melbourne comedy scene): It’s Raining Men!

And to the surprise of everyone in attendance; they were a hit! Their wild pace, combined with a love of the surreal and reckless abandon won the audience over. Audiences flooded in every fortnight to see Tomp Canks have the most fun improv show available in Melbourne at the time. They roared with laughter as Canks cleaned for Mr Pomple, traveled to Croydon with a bunch of mistreated bus drivers, fell in love with a sentient tumour, headed to BI-LO for Milo with Barry Manilow, and iconically fought the feng shui minotaur. Nothing was impossible at a Tomp Canks show and they quickly built a fanbase.

Things were going so well for them that they often outsold Harold Night (for which they were the lead-in show under the Fresh Blood banner), and they were nominated for Best Harold Team in 2016 at the year end awards (becoming the first Fresh Blood team to receive this honour). Tomp Canks was a powerhouse.

Then it all started to collapse on itself

2017 brought changes. First off, the theatre chose a new member to join Tomp Canks. The theatre felt this new member was worthy of being on a team and so selected Tomp Canks as his home. But the new member was inconsistent with making training sessions and shows, so he never properly integrated into the team.



Harold Night teams were falling apart due to performers flaking on their responsibilities. Something had to be done to remedy the Harold Night problem and so it was decided that the Fresh Blood teams would be disassembled and repurposed to form a new Harold Night team while the remaining performers would form a new Fresh Blood team.



From the ashes of Tomp Canks…

Fuggtown was born as a new Harold Night team consisting of  four former Canks members. Meanwhile two other Canks left the Improv Conspiracy, and one went onto the new Fresh Blood team the Pool Cleaners. Tomp Canks was dead.

Until they got offered a brand new monthly show with popular indie team FEMMILY!


Hey FEMMILY! It’s Me, Tomp Canks!

From a team banished from playing with anyone other than straight white dudes, to a popular team now sharing a prime time double bill with popular all-girl group FEMMILY!

What a ride!


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