“Filthy silly”: Hot Department make their triumphant return to the stage with ‘Open for Business’

“Filthy silly”: Hot Department make their triumphant return to the stage with ‘Open for Business’

Words by Joanne Brookfield

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Purveyors of the most glorious filth, surrealism and laugh-out-loud-until-you-hurt hilarity, Hot Department are destined to be major international comedy stars.

Calling themselves a “sexually dysfunctional comedy duo with deep trauma and a validation addiction”, what is most remarkable about Honor Wolff and Patrick Durnan Silva, apart from their glaringly obvious talent, is the alchemy of their on-stage relationship.

Their chemistry is undeniable – a unique treasure in a creative partnership such as this. So, how did they first meet?

“We sacrificed a lamb and then pledged our allegiance to Satan,” Wolff says.

“And then we kissed,” Durnan Silva adds.

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The truth is, they met studying theatre at university in Ballarat.

“Yeah, we’re trained actors,” Wolff quips. A mutual friend introduced them at an O-Week party and they hit it off instantly, bonding over a shared love of the character Kenneth from 30 Rock.

“I was like, ‘It’s going to be the best night ever, we’re going to have so much fun’ and then Honor said, ‘Ok, I’m going to talk to other people’ and just left,” Durnan Silva remembers.

“My goal for O-Week was to meet as many people as possible, so I just floated around and I was much more of a socialite than I am now, or have ever been. It was just that one week,” Wolff clarifies, adding, “I don’t even remember meeting you, actually.”

Durnan Silva bursts out laughing, which is a common occurrence as they revel in entertaining one another during our interview at Captains of Industry in Melbourne.

They’ve also entertained awards panel judges, winning Best Ensemble in Cabaret at the 2020 Green Room Awards, where they were also nominated for Best Writing and Best Production in Cabaret.

In 2019, they won the Melbourne Fringe WA Tour Ready Award and were also nominated for Best Comedy for their sophomore effort, Poopie Tum Tums. Their debut show, Cull, won Adelaide Fringe’s NZ Tour Ready Award, and toured extensively around Australia.

Cull was all about how we were going to cull all our Facebook friends. Poopie Tum Tums was about how we were going to quit comedy and do theatre. All these things come from our experiences but they’re also tongue in cheek,” Wolff says.

For this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival they are presenting Open For Business, which was inspired by government messaging during the pandemic.

“The idea of it is the fact that after COVID, we’ve been told that being a comedian, or being in the arts, isn’t that plausible so we – as well as doing comedy – we need to open a business,” Wolff continues.

“Which is something we aren’t interested in doing at all,” Durnan Silva adds.


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What they are interested in doing is more of their inimitable sketches. They say that Open For Business takes some of the darkness of Cull and mixes it with the “filthy silly” clowning of Poopie Tum Tums.

“This is a nice meeting of both,” Durnan Silva says.

“And there’s definitely going to be fluid on stage,” Wolff adds. “Fluid and nudity.”

Which is Hot Department’s business as usual, then.

Hot Department performs at Melbourne International Comedy Festival each night from now Sunday April 18 (bar Monday April 12 and Saturday April 17). Grab tickets to the show here.