ADELAIDE FRINGE February 14 – March 16
Australia’s comedy season kicked off with the launch of the month-long open-access Adelaide Fringe Festival on Valentine’s Day. One of our favourite picks of the funny offerings is a return offender from last year – Wolf Creek: The Musical. With the release of Wolf Creek 2 imminent, writer/director Greg Maclean described Wolf Creek: The Musical as “the feel good torture porn show everyone will love”. Don’t miss this bloody funny return stint at The Producers Bar.
US comic Eddie Ifft kicks of a comedy fest tour in Adelaide with his new show Train Wreck, taking a swipe at celebrity road kill, crime capers and reality TV, as well as unveiling some of his own least finest hours in the Garden of Unearthly Delights. Also showing at the garden, Dave Hughes, who recently quit The Project to focus on stand-up in 2014, will bring his new show Pointless.
The Arts Theatre plays host to several of Australia’s most-loved comedians, with Denise Scott sharing her experiences of motherhood from the cradle to the empty nest in Mother Bare, while Hughesy’s The Project replacement Peter Helliar brings his riotous Totes Grouseballs for three nights only, so get in quick to secure tickets.
BRISBANE COMEDY FESTIVAL February 25 – March 23
The Powerhouse plays host to 50, mostly Australian, comedians in February and March. If you enjoyed the deadpan delivery of Ronny Chieng on the ABC’s It’s A Date, it’s well worth catching Chieng Reaction.
UK deliveries include Stephen K Amos with his new show What Does the K Stand For? which delves into his raucously funny childhood recollections, and Jeff Green’s All Guns Blazing. Something of a fixture on our TVs, with Spicks and Specks and Good News Week under his belt, he’ll take fire at our pollies as well as lampooning his own relationship.
Cheap laughs: Breakout Comedy showcases new talent in the shape of the 2012 Class Clowns winner Aaron Chen, Raw Comedy finalist Becky Lucas, Sam Campbell and Ray Badran. Courier Mail columnist and Ready Steady Cook obsessive Mel Buttle gets all foodie with Bring A Plate.
The Brisbane Comedy Festival has cheap Tuesday’s tickets for $20.
MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL (MICF) March 26 – April 20
For almost three weeks, the big daddy that is MICF brings together a host of national and international comedy stars in 478 shows across more than 100 venues, with the cheapest tickets for most events on Tightarse Tuesdays.
Greek goddess Effie is back, with actress Mary Coustos stepping into the shoes of Melbourne’s most-loved boofhead, copious hair gel intact. Looking For Love… And Child Support, sees an older Effie, still as loud and proud as ever, taking over the Yarraville Club and trying to pass off her immaculate conception. ‘How embarrassment.’
Dirty Laundry Live host Lawrence Mooney, a regular on Agony of Life, reveals all at the Melbourne Town Hall in his new show Lawrence Mooney is a Stupid Liar. Fast-approaching 50 and with a new baby on the scene, the underrated wise guy exposes all the lies men tell themselves to get through the daily grind.
Finding 2014 a hard slog without new episodes of Breaking Bad to look forward to? US actor/comedian Miles Allen’s One Man Breaking Bad zips through all six series (if you count 5.1 and 5.2) in one hour at the Kelvin Club, from Walter White’s first frantic imprisonment of a dodgy dealer in the basement right through to Heisenberg’s last stand in the desert, with Jesse, Walt Junior, Skylar, Saul, Gus, Hank and Mike in tow. That should fill the hole until Better Call Saul.
The boisterous comedy of Felicity Ward’s one-woman show The Hedgehog Dilemma scooped the Best Local Act awards at both the Perth and Sydney Comedy Festivals in 2012 as well as being nominated for the Barry Award for Most Outstanding Comedy at MICF. Expect big things from her new show The Iceberg.
Cheap Laughs: Best of the Edinburgh Fest gives you good international bang for your buck with Canadian star Tom Stade joining forces with the UK’s carl Donnelly and Kai Humphries in a triple bill of stand-up shenanigans from Scotland’s famous festival.
SYDNEY COMEDY FESTIVAL April 22 – May 17
Sydney’s younger comedy festival sibling turns 10 this year. You can have your laughs and make a difference too with Frocking Hilarious, an all-female line up of comedians that raised money for ActionAid, which empowers women living in poverty to stand up for their rights. Judith Lucy, Wendy Harmer, Claire Hooper and Gen Fricker are all on board.
US comedian Mike Epps (The Hangover) touches down in Oz for the first time this year, with his After Dark Tour taking over the Enmore Theatre, while one of New York’s finest, Wil Sylvince, also debuts his first solo show down under after last year’s tour alongside the Wayans Brothers. His explosive act garners standing ovations Stateside with a sharp, satirical bent. The UK’s Julian Clary brings his unique brand of camp with Position Vacant: Apply Within.
It’s been a good year for Nick Cody. He was one of the first Aussies to perform on US Network Comedy Central, he flew to Afghanistan to entertain the troops and faced down a bear in Alaska, but lists quitting alcohol for three months as the scariest thing that’s ever happened to him. His show Here’s Trouble fills in the details.
Cheap laughs: Local lad Rhys Nicholson has a wicked tongue and will regale audiences with his latest wisecracker Eurgh. Which is worth a look for the name alone.
PERTH COMEDY FESTIVAL May 1-18
There’s a cracking line-up way out west too, with LA-based Aussie comedian Sam Simmons returning with his new show Death of a Sails-Man, which posits him lost all at sea following a terrible accident while windsurfing. Not that he’s actually any good at windsurfing. He is good at making us laugh, though.
Adam Hill’s trusty sidekick Hanna Gadsby has been making waves all of her own in the last few years and will be touring the country extensively during comedy season, with a stop-over at Perth’s Astor Theatre. We love her caustic wit so we’re looking forward to seeing what she’s got to show off in The Exhibitionist.
Heavy metal drummer and comedian Steve Hughes is jetting in from the UK with his new show While It’s Still Legal, with a healthy does of social commentary on drugs, colonialism and political correctness gone mad, as well as a furiously foul mouth. South African comic Urzila Carlson follows up a sell-out season at last year’s MICF with her solo Perth debut The Long Flight To Freedom.
After a year of globe-hopping stand-up, including supporting Aziz Ansari, emerging talent and Triple J Breakfast regular Matt Okine, nominated for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, brings his solo show Happiness Not Included to the Astor Lounge, focusing on the stuff that makes the world go round: money.
(More details for the Perth Comedy Festival will be revealed in the coming months.)