Three men and a guitar

It's easy to tell when a comedian's joke has fallen flat. Instead of roars of laughter, there is complete silence, except perhaps for an awkward cough and the far away chirp of grasshoppers.

Luckily most comedians can recognise these signs and are able to move on to a different joke quickly.

Musical comedy act Tripod isn't so fortunate.

"The thing about songs is if they're not going well, other stand-up comedians can shift out of a routine that's not going well, but with songs you have to see it through to the end," Yon, one of the trio along with Scod and Gatesy, says.

Yon (known as Simon Hall to his family) can still remember a performance a few years ago where their show finished on a sour note.

"We wrote this song a couple of years ago and it was like 'thanks for coming, we're here doing this show because we have to put food on the table' and I think the audience were a bit offended that they'd paid money to see the show and we were saying it was just to eat. It was almost too honest."

But the trivial aspects of life are the trio's bread and butter. In their upcoming show, , the group reminisce about the long loading time of early video games and contemplate the difficulties of doing a BAS statement.

"What I like about that song is there is always only about three people in the audience that actually run a small business, so it's fun watching everyone else get alienated," Yon says.

He says Men of Substance is mostly about 'fessing up to getting older as all three men enter their 40s and celebrate more than 16 years together.

While they didn't set out to be a comedy band, Yon says it didn't take long to become addicted to the laughs their antics got.

"We started by doing what we thought were interesting versions of other people's songs, we weren't writing jokes, but sometimes you find yourself enjoying getting the laughs and then once you're getting a certain number of laughs, they become addictive.

"So then if you do a gig and you're not getting laughs, it's hard not to feel like a failure."

Working with the same guys for so long has at times been trying. Yon compares it to marriage.

"Sometimes it's sweet, sometimes it's difficult," he says.

"But this one was easy in a way, even when we first did it back in Melbourne, it was good then. I really like this show, I think it's either our best or our second best one yet."

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