Sure, we all like to laugh – but sometimes you want something more specific. Established acts? Up-and-comers? Open mic? Let us direct you where you wanna go.
The rest of what's on
This is our round-up of the best shows – local, interstate, international – going this month. If you're after a casual drop-in kinda thing with short sets, see our hit list of the best places to see comedy in Sydney. Feel like giving funny a go? Or want to see newcomers eat fear, and veterans panic as they trial new jokes? See our guide to the best open mic nights in Sydney.
Alice Fraser's latest show, Empire, expands on the themes explored in Savage and The Resistance: family, her strange upbringing, and the moral complexity of contemporary life. As she told us in 2015, “How do you get someone to stare for an hour into the abyss? You pack it full of punchlines, get enough laughs per minute that they feel good about it, and call it a comedy show.” Seems to be working. Fraser, who famously ditched law for stand-up, had her breakthrough in 2015 with her show Savage, about the death of her mum. Having honed Savage over the previous 18 months around Australian festivals, she took it to Edinburgh and had the chief comedy reviewer at the Scotsman raving about “a truly extraordinary show” with “wonderful chunks of musical surrealism, feminism, religious philosophy and tragedy.” She has one of the smartest perspectives on comedy in Australia.
Australia will get two chances to laugh (and cringe) with Jamie Morton this year when the My Dad Wrote A Porno star brings his podcast down under. What would you do if you found out your dad wrote a porno? Would you ignore its very existence? Would you bring it up with him? Or would you, say, create a podcast with two of your friends and read out chapters to the wider world? Let’s just say, Jamie Morton made the right decision. The My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast is like a filthy book club, where listeners get a section of the devilishly funny Belinda Blinked erotic novel dissected by the author’s incredulous son and his friends James Cooper and Alice Levine. Jamie’s 60-year-old father (who – no joke – penned the book under the moniker Rocky Flintstone) was sincere in his approach to later-in-life self-publication, but the resulting novel is a trainwreck of clumsy and weird descriptions of sexual situations, with a vague plotline about the goings-on in the super sexy world of pots and pans sales. Basically, it’s a disaster – but a disaster filled with spit-take worthy prose. Launching in 2015 with readings from Rocky Flintstone's first book, the series has been a runaway success, boasting 50-million-plus downloads worldwide. After the release of Belinda Blinked 2 halfway through last year, the My Dad Wrote A Porno team has decided to take the show on the road with a series of talks and live readings hitting Australia between May and August. On Saturday May 27 Jamie will sp
Sydney comedian and Theatresports champion Susie Youssef (Owl Eyes On You; Check Youssef Before You Wreck Youssef) presents her fourth sorta-stand-up show at this year's Sydney Comedy Festival. Be prepared to be thoroughly charmed by her mix of family anecdotes, character work and intense likeability.
Local stand-up Rhys Nicholson is gay and grew up in Newcastle – so expect a little sass, this guy can take care of himself. He's also extremely funny, if you like your comedy cutting and observational – with the odd cum joke. As Rhys said to us ahead of his 2015 Comedy Festival show, Forward, "My stage persona is a little bit ignorant, but then I try to mix it with smarter stuff. My favourite thing to do is build up and let people think I know what I’m talking about and then... cum joke.” His latest – seventh – show, I'm Fine, is a follow-up to the 2016 Barry Award-nominated show Bona Fide. No pressure.
This Melbourne comedian's character creations and lively, dirty and often surreal ruminations on modern life have made her a cult following. Her YouTube pieces with spoof group True Australian Patriots didn't hurt either. She's also a favourite with peers, winning the 2015 Piece of Wood Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Her latest show – No Offence, None Taken – is structured as a series of thoughts Edmonds is sharing with a friend during a sleepover. Expect things to get dark.
He took out two major awards at last year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival (Director's Choice and Best Newcomer) and now Tom Walker is hitting his hometown stage with his freshly Barry Award-nominated show Bee Boo. Honing his skills on international stages at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and locally on the set of the Comedy Channel's Whose Line Is It Anyway? Australia, Walker smashes together absurdist humour with quick wit and relatable tales.
January is our favourite month of the year thanks to Sydney Festival. The three-week celebration of summer in the city includes 150 events across theatre, dance, circus, music and arts. This year is festival director Wesley Enoch’s first program and he’s brought with him a renewed focus on new Australian work, a deepening of our connections to country and languages, and lots of accessible public art. In fact, there are 73 free events on the program. Enoch is stretching the reach from the CBD to Parramatta, where there’ll be circus shows rotating in the big top at Prince Alfred Square. Plus, there are 16 world premiere performances and 14 Australian exclusives. Multipack tickets go on sale from October 27, and single tickets are available from October 31. Take a look at our top ten picks of the program, which all take place between January 7-29.
Aunty Donna are on fire. Halfway through their new show Big Boys, the usually-silent DJ/sound engineer Tom Armstrong says a single word, and the entire audience erupts into a thunderous standing ovation. The room feels like a powder keg, where at any point the packed crowd might storm the stage. It could be partly because the trio – Broden Kelly, Mark Samual Bonanno and Zachary Ruane – have spent years racking up over a million views on their absurdist YouTube sketch series, and the audience can’t quite believe they’re seeing the comedians live at last. But it’s mostly because the three funnymen have an incendiary presence on stage and a relentless, quick-fire approach to presenting sketch after sketch, all accompanied by a banging soundtrack from Armstrong. They storm the stage and open with their crazy ‘Everything’s a Drum’ rap, unafraid to be self-deprecating, dirty and gloriously ridiculous. A few moments of audience interaction – designed to provoke discomfort before subverting the joke back on themselves – are less effective than when the trio fully commit to insular sketches, which have been their MO since they first formed as students at the University of Ballarat’s Arts Academy in 2011.Audience members (including this reviewer) were doubled over with laughter in a particularly bizarre sketch about a 52-year-old mum berating her sons for failing to help her catch salmon for their large pet bear. Other gems come in the form of jokes at the expense of fragile masculin