When it comes to Australian comedy, most people think of Melbourne
's renowned international festival. Well, Sydney
has stepped up to the plate too and it all started with a few small gigs in Newtown back in 2005. Now the Sydney Comedy Festival has grown to become a festival in its own right, bringing in hordes of local and international acts to entertain the Sydney
crowds. Jason Dundas caught up with a few of the people whose job it is to make us laugh.
The Chinese Gardens in Darling Harbour is a popular Sydney venue but for the very popular Umbilical Brothers the gardens provide the perfect backdrop to reproduce the slapstick from Chinese kung-fu films. The pair, Shane Dundas and David Collins, have been performing together since 1988 after meeting at acting school. After about a week of mime classes the pair had found their niche.
Jason was lucky enough to get a hasty lesson in mime and audio-acrobatics from the comedy duo. The Umbilical Brothers started stand-up to "supplement their acting careers", but since then have gone on to become a global comedy phenomenon with the majority of their shows are now complete sell-outs. The Umbi's will be one of 300 acts in the line-up at this year's festival.
If you're searching for first-class comedy in New South Wales, Newtown and the inner west has quickly become the hub of the Sydney live comedy scene.
The Enmore theatre in Newtown is one of the venues for the festival. Many legends have graced the stage at the Enmore, including the Rolling Stones, Divinyls, Jeff Buckley and Queens of the Stone Age have all been there. It is also a favourite hang-out for another Sydney comedian, Wil Anderson.
Wil agreed to take Jason on as his comedy protégé for the afternoon. After a few quick tips, Jason was left to entertain a vast audience the 1499 empty seats of the Enmore. Unfortunately, there was no laughter to be heard from the one lone audience member and comedy master, Wil. Jason took Wil's advice: "When there's no laugh, drop the mic and run!" It may be a few years before Jason headlines the Sydney Comedy festival, but until then, there are plenty of brilliant comedians to keep you satisfied.
Acts at this year's festival include Tim Minchin, Danny Bhoy, Adam Hills, Dylan Moran, Shane Warne the Musical and Julia Morris.
Other Sydney Comedy Festival venues include The Metro, The Factory Theatre, The Comedy Store and the Sydney Opera House. Visit www.sydneycomedyfest.com.au for dates and further information.
Darling Harbour in Sydney
and the Enmore Theatre in Newtown.
Chinese Garden of Friendship admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children under 15 years and concession and $15 for a family of two adults and two children.
The Umbilical Brothers "Don't Explain" costs $39.90. They will be at the Enmore Theatre on May 1, 2009 and the show kicks off at 7.15pm.
The Sydney Comedy Festival will run until May 17, 2009.
Prices correct at April 30, 2009.
For further information
Sydney Comedy Festival
Ph: (02) 9519 9231
The Enmore Theatre
118-132 Enmore Road
Ph: (02) 9550 3666
Chinese Garden of Friendship
Southern end of Darling Harbour
Ph: (02) 9240 8888