This is the biggest Sydney comedy festival ever, every year the choice and diversity of shows gets bigger and better, and making a decision on what to see gets ever more daunting. Yikes. Before you panic buy tickets for Ross Noble for the fifth year straight, let me gently suggest via the limited medium of blogging a few outsider alternatives to the theatre and arena fillers we all know rather too well.
These are Australian based acts I have to the most part seen perform first hand over the years. Indeed, most have featured at The Comedy Lounge or at least been repeatedly recommended by mates in comedy circles. A couple of these shows I was lucky enough to see recently at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. So here you go (in 1st name alphabetical order not preference, names click to comedy festival site).
Alasdair Tremblay-Burchall - Canadian born Melbourne based comic whose talent as a stand up got him a gig as a writer for Shaun Micallef. Here's a review for the show he's bringing up to Sydney. He is an act that all my Melbourne based comedy mates recommend so I'm looking forward to seeing his show in Sydney.
Alice Fraser - I've seen Alice develop into a rather fine act these past four years. Her show is very personal, she is always warm and funny, the prefect balance between levity and brevity and with a banjo thrown in, you can't go wrong!
Bart Freebairn - Insightful, disarming and the right kind of silly, this Melbourne based Queenslander dude is proper funny. I'd describe Bart's delivery as a velvet fist, soft to the touch but capable of punching you quite hard in the laugh glands, but never in the face, he wouldn't want to damage his soft, dandy knuckles, or your face. Did a great job MCing at The Comedy Lounge not long ago and is headlining in May.
Corey White - Corey performed this show back during Sydney fringe and the unfinished edit on offer then got rave reviews from everyone I knew who saw it. In Melbourne the finished article has him up for a potential best newcomer nomination. Looking forward to finally seeing it in Sydney.
Damien Power - One of the first shows I saw in Melbourne this year. His social, political and personal insight is just always bang on. This show tackles some big issues such as our flawed belief systems and Damien's own personal battles with mental health. Oh yeah and it is fucken hilarious with a couple of brilliantly weird moments thrown in to boot. If you want to see something philosophical and funny. This is the show.
Eric Hutton - Eric has long been established in Sydney as a potent headlining act. His anecdotal yarns have a greater socio-observational angle which always packs a hefty comedic punch. Let his smooth James Earle Jones style baritone massage you into laugh submission. You won't regret it.
Jen Carnovale - I've seen Jen perform a lot around town since she got back from London a couple of years ago. Her struggles with shit jobs and her disdain for certain members of the general public always make for top fun laugh times. She has a talent for act outs that always add a great element to her stand up. Well worth checking out.
John Cruckshank - John is a Comedy Lounge stalwart and favourite. This is his debut solo show. He is an established headliner now on the Sydney scene, and pretty soon this likeable, wry and clever jokesmith is gonna blow up. Go see his debut show, brilliantly titled "The Pleasure Avalanche". At the moment, in Sydney, it's hard to think of anyone who slays as consistently as the "Shank".
Rebecca De Unamuno - Expert comedy improviser which makes her superb with crowd work, Rebecca is always a joy to watch. High energy, affable and brilliantly inventive this show combines stand up with her top notch skills as an improviser. One of the best hosts in Sydney, her solo shows are always top notch fun.
Sam Campbell - Woah mumma. The only show so far at the Melbourne comedy fest that got a five star review from that shit rag The Herald Sun. For once they get something right! Sam is a very unique funny man. Very inventive, he looks like a cheeky boy which means he can do whatever the fuck he wants. And you'll love him.
There were so many more that could have made this list and I found it agonising to narrow it down, hopefully those I left off take solace in the fact that I'll probably be the only person to read it... and of course there will be more recommendations during the festival.