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Rhys Nicholson performs at the Sydney Comedy Festival Gala
Photograph: Supplied/Sydney Comedy Festival

Our guide to Sydney Comedy Festival 2023

Some of the world's best international acts are back for this year's Sydney Comedy Festival

Written by
Alannah Le Cross
Alice Ellis
Caitlyn Todoroski

Get ready for the rib-tickling of your life, because Sydney Comedy Festival is rolling into town once more from April 24 to May 21. This year sees the welcome return of international acts, including some newcomers who will have you in stitches.

The laughs are spreading across a bigger footprint than ever before – there will be 245 shows across venues including Newtown's Enmore Theatre to the Factory Theatre in Marrickville, the Pavilion Performing Arts Centre in Sutherland, the Concourse in Chatswood, Parramatta's Riverside Theatres and more.

As ever, there's a jam-packed line-up of funny folks on offer. So much so that Sydney Comedy Festival director Jorge Menidis is calling it a month of "unbridled hilarity". You can expect laughs of all shapes and sizes, from musical comedy to stand-up acts.

With comedians coming from around the globe to entertain us in additonal to a swathe of local jokesters, we've pulled together some of our top reccomendations below.

Our top tip: If you don't know who you want to see but you want a guaranteed funny time, check out The Galas – that way you'll get to see 12 to 15 acts, including some of the big names, in one go. Or, grab tickets for an hour-long 6pm show at the the Metro in the city straight after work one day, and still be home for dinner. 

We'll be heeding the advice comedian and cabaret sensation Reuben Kaye gave us: "Go and see art made by people who don't look like you who don't think like you, because it is the only way that we will really truly change the world".

Find out more about the festival, program, and buy tickets here.

Want to grab a bite to eat before you laugh your socks off? Check out the best restaurants in Sydney right now.

Top Aussie comedians at Sydney Comedy Festival

Chris is never more busy than when she has to do her tax. That’s when she inspects her lounge room, picking up large crumbs by hand, asking "what is the key to happiness?" What’s the difference between a good decision and a phase? Why do women now have the eyelashes of a camel? Chris has moved, physically and metaphorically, so there’s a bit going on. Thoughts will be served with signature dry snark, targeting those who deserve it. A journalist and a mum, Chris has carved out a place as one of the most exciting new voices on the Australian comedy scene.

Busy is coming to Enmore Theatre from May 4-7. Grab a ticket for $24 over here.

Cal Wilson is a household name, as seen on Spicks and Specks and Have You Been Paying Attention?, she is also the new co-host of The Great Australian Bake Off. And she's coming to the Sydney Comedy Festival to prove that she's still got it.

For all intensive purposes, it’s the little things that annoy Cal. Incorrect grammar. Overconfident inaccuracy. Crocs. But is it worth getting worked up over bad parking and loud eaters? Is it possible to turn annoyment into enjoyment? This is a show about little annoyances and letting things go.

Suppoably is coming to the Comedy Store on Friday, May 5. Snag a ticket for $39 over here.

Up-and-coming comedians at Sydney Comedy Festival

Aurelia St Clair
Photograph: Supplied | Aurelia St Clair

Aurelia St Clair

This Melbournite is not afraid to call out the audience, society, herself and the barista who gave her whole milk instead of oat milk in her double shot iced latte. Non-Dairy Presenting is a feel good comedy hour for lactose intolerant people as well as those who just pretend to be. This show is for anyone who's been offered chicken after telling their parents they're vegetarian now, it's for queer dog parents, and folks who can't fathom life without their emotional support water bottle.

After a near sold-out run at the Melbourne Comedy Festival in 2022, now is your chance to get read by Aurelia IRL.

Non-Dairy Presenting is playing at the Factory Theatre on May 10 and 12 at 8.10pm. Snag a ticket for $24-28 over here.

John Glover
Photograph: Supplied | John Glover

John Glover

John Glover is on a farewell tour to his worst self and all his past regrets: a misplaced dedication to my church (boring!), that time he auditioned for Big Brother (double boring!) and not hitting on more of his straight friends (you never know!). Having been described as chaotic-neutral and equal parts sassy yet sweet, John is a two-time RAW Comedy State Finalist, regular performer with Improv Theatre Sydney and in Osher Gunsberg's show NTNNNNN. 

John Glover Must Die is his debut solo comedy hour, and it hits Sydney Comedy Festival after a run at Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2023 and sold-out run at Sydney Fringe Comedy Festival in 2022. Osher himself is even on record as saying it's "a gloriously funny mix of perspective and vulnerability" and "wrong for all the right reasons".

John Glover Must Die plays at the Loft at Enmore Theatre on April 27 and 28 at 9.30pm. Nab tickets for $25 over here.

Anita Wigl'it
Photograph: Supplied | Anita Wigl'it

Anita Wigl'it

The kooky Kiwi queen who lit up our screens on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under and Drag Race: Canada Vs the World is coming to town with her tell-all one-woman show. Over a fabulous hour Anita wil share life stories, told in hilarious anecdotes and interspersed with dazzling shows. You’ll travel back in time to 1989 when a little boy with a big personality was born, then follow him as he grows up into the drag queen we know today.

Funny Gurl! is playing at the Factory Theatre on May 17 and 19 at 9.30pm. Show tickets are $25, or you can combine it with a VIP Meet and Greet for $55. Find your tickets over here.

Performing at Sydney Comedy Festival for the first time, Australia’s premier comedian named Jack Wright (so we're told) is one of the Festival's Fresh picks (all tickets under $22!). With rude words galore guaranteed, Jack presents his debut solo show She's Like the Wind for anyone who has ever dressed up as Patrick Swayze as a joke and then immediately regretted not having cooler hair or a bigger chin. 

She's Like the Wind is coming to the Factory Theatre on May 17 and 19, and you can snap up a ticket for just $20 over here.


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