Who to see at the Brisbane Comedy Festival in 2018

25 January 2018

Brisbane Comedy Festival is back – this time filling stages across three venues with an epic line-up of more than 70 great Australian and international comedians. The city’s sides will be split when this festival rolls into town from 23 February to 25 March. 

A comedy fest spanning four weeks? That’s a heck of a lotta laughs - to help you narrow down which shows, we’ve compiled this list of hilarious highlights as a guide.

Get dressed up and hit the town to find yourself laughing hysterically to topics you never thought could be funny by people who could not be funnier as they tackle the tough questions, such as  – what the heck is “Cougar Juice”?, what frustrates a matador the most?, when’s the best time to have a vasectomy? – and everything in-between.

1. Try before you buy at the Brisbane Comedy Festival Gala

Brisbane Comedy Festival Gala at City Hall

Instead of trying to pick between individual shows, get a taste for a few at the annual gala held on the very first night of the festival, 23 February. Local comedian Mel Buttle will host a set of crowd favourites including Matt Okine, Luke Heggie, Becky Lucas, Demi Lardner, plus surprise 

2. Laugh with a pack of international acts

Stephen K Amos at Brisbane Comedy Festival

Jim Gaffigan is kicking off his anticipated Australian and New Zealand tour with this Brisbane debut, Jeff Green is celebrating 30 years on the circuit with a special show, plus catch Irishmen Jimeon and Des Bishop, Canadian DeAnne Smith, Englishmen Stephen K Amos, Scottish star Daniel Sloss and American Rich Hall. Phew. Around the world in eight comedians!

3. Catch household names

Matt Okine at Brisbane Comedy Festival

You see them on your TV screens, and now it’s time to catch them IRL (that’s in real life for those that rarely frequent the internet). Household names on their way to Brisbane include Akmal, Wil Anderson, Dave Hughes, Joel Creasey, Lawrence Mooney, Matt Okine, Nazeem Hussain and Tom Gleeson, alongside comedy queens Fiona O’Loughlin, Mel Buttle, Celia Pacquola, Becky Lucas, Gen Fricker and Zoë Coombs Marr. Boom!

4. Sneak in after hours for late night laughs

After Hours at Brisbane Comedy Festival

No need to rush home on Friday and Saturday nights - late-night revellers can stay for cheap-as-chips giggles at the adults only variety show After Hours. Held from 10pm at the Brisbane Powerhouse, festival acts as well as local comedians will be trying out new material at these performances, or bringing back old favourite gags. 

5. The ladies have it

Move over boys, there is an abundance of hilarious women to be seen in 2018. Don’t miss out on acts including Cal Wilson, Alex Ward, Demi Lardner, Becky Lucas, Mel Buttle, Gen Fricker, Gillian Cosgriff, Fiona O’Loughlin, Jude Perl, Urzila Carlson, Danielle Walker, Celia Pacquola, Rama Nicholas, Rose Callaghan, Deanne Smith and Zoe Coombs Marr. Then there is 90’s sitcom special, Yada Yada Yada and local trio The Travelling Sisters.

6. Keep it local 

The Travelling Sisters at Brisbane Comedy Festival

Local comedians Mel Buttle, Alex Ward, Damien power and Matt Okine are always welcomed back to the stage with laughing audiences. Don’t miss the chance to support these home-grown talents. Then of course there is ‘Brisburned’, a love/hate sketch comedy about this city, and a series called ‘Live & Local’ placing fresh faces on stage slinging epic one-liners. The Traveling Sisters are another Brisbane trio on the rise.

7. Are Kiwis funnier than Aussies?

Their accents certainly are, right? Of course we’d say that as Aussies ourselves. At the festival be sure to catch beloved Kiwi comedians Cal Wilson and Urzila Carlson.

8. Is truth funnier than fiction?

Cool Story Bro at Brisbane Comedy Festival

A special guest comedian will share personal stories, before Brisbane’s best improvisers will remix them into a one-of-a-kind show that you’ll never see again. It’s called Cool Story Bro, and it’s on for three Saturday evenings only.  

9. Spectate the competitive Queensland Theatresports 

A show also based on audience suggestions, Queensland Theatresports will improvise and perform for the audience’s approval but also as part of a competition of wit. Every Friday and Saturday night of the festival, this free performance includes teams using their quick thinking to fight their way up the leader board to see which team will be crowned champion. It’s totally free to watch too.

10. Catch the Class Clowns

Wondering what the next generation of comedians will offer? Teens can register and perform at this year’s festival to vie for a spot in the national grand final. Well-known comedians Josh Thomas, Joel Creasey and Tom Ballard all participated in the Class Clowns comedy competition, so catch the next big thing now.

11. Go on, Convince Me

Convince Me! at Brisbane Comedy Festival

Who doesn’t love free performances, especially when they involve comedians and a diverse range of cultural brains? A free series of comedy debates will be held at the Powerhouse with all welcome to witness where the topics go. These clever debaters might be able to convince themselves about the topic of choice, but can they convince you?

12. Free, free, free

It’s hard to say no to a show so light on the wallet – as part of the festival, so beside from The Queensland Theatresports™ and comedy debates at Convince Me!, drop into the Brisbane Powerhouse to watch Livespark and Knock Off  while the festival is on.

13. Support these Brisbane debuts

Taking the stage for the first time in Brisbane, catch musical comedy identical twins The Stevenson Experience, Townsville-born stand-up newcomer Danielle Walker and erotic novelist and gender-bending storyteller Rama Nicholas.

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