Sydney Comedy Festival

Image Credit: Sydney Comedy Festival

This story first appeared on former NRMA site Live4 on April 16, 2014.

The Sydney Comedy Festival will take over the city for a month of laughs between April 22 and May 17. This year sees the festival mark a decade since it first launched, so in tribute, here are 10 reasons you should catch a show or two.

1. All grown up
The Sydney Comedy Festival started life in 2005 with a humble offering of 22 shows. This year highlights just how much it has grown, with more than 165 shows across 30 venues, and an expected audience of 110,000 people.

2. Global giggles

There’s a strong UK presence this festival season, with the likes of comedic geniuses Julian Clary, Stephen K Amos, Kevin Bridges, Paul Foot and many more performing. Eddie Ifft, Jeff Dunham, Reginald D Hunter, Mike Epps and Bob Saget (yes, he of Full House fame) are among the comedians representing the US.

3. Local laughs

While there are big international names on the bill, the Aussie contingent is more than plentiful too. Local talents include Frank Woodley, Lawrence Mooney, Sam Simmons, The Axis of Awesome, Gretel Killeen and oodles more.

4. A cracking start

The festival opens in fine style with local and international headliners playing The Gala at the Opera House on April 22. Cracker Night will see five shows happening across town over two nights – April 28 and 29 – at some of the city’s biggest venues, including the Metro and Enmore theatres.

5. Whale of a time

To celebrate its whale-inspired season of exhibitions, the Australian National Maritime Museum is hosting a free mini film festival on its rooftop on April 26. It will present all 21 episodes of cult comedy animation Beached Az, the story of a whale beached on the coast of New Zealand.

6. Get fresh

If you’re keen to see some new talent then check out the FRESH program. Featuring some of the country’s funniest emerging comedians, the festival lends these next-gen stars marketing and financial support to help kickstart their careers. The line-up features a swag of finalists, winners and newbies from RAW Comedy Sydney, Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are only $15.

7. A big bash

Birthdays call for parties and the Sydney Comedy Festival has a big one planned. Hosted by Australian funny lady Julia Morris, the 10th Anniversary Big Birthday Bash will bring together some of the festival’s best talent in a two-hour show at the Enmore Theatre on May 12.

8. On the road

Can’t make the festival? Then see if the Showcase tour is coming to your neighbourhood. Last year, the tour ran for 11 weeks and sold more than 10,000 tickets across 33 different towns and cities. In 2014, local and international acts from the festival will come together to tour from May–October in locations across Oz.

9. Frocking fabulous

There are a whole lot of ladies bringing the laughs to this year’s festival, including Jackie Loeb, Felicity Ward, Effie and more. But one of the highlight events is bound to be the all-female line-up behind Frocking Hilarious, which includes Judith Lucy, Fiona O’Loughlin and Denise Scott. The show, held on May 14 at the Enmore Theatre, will support ActionAid Australia’s work with women in need.

10. Hour of power

For those who like their comedy served short, sharp and fast, the festival closes on May 17 with 60 in 60, an hour-of-power that will see – you guessed it – 60 comedians each perform for 60 seconds over 60 minutes at The Factory Theatre.

For more information about shows visit the Sydney Comedy Festival.