One of my all time favourite events every year is the Perth Comedy Festival. I mean, who doesn’t love a month of laughter and introspection. Well, here we go again. First up, Phill Jupitus, Rhys Nicholson and the Festival Gala night.

The Festival Gala Night

Even before the lineup is out I try and find out the date for the Gala night. These nights act as a tasting plate for what’s to come. Every time I go to one I find someone new to check out. This year was no exception.

I’d seen Tahir on his television shows and on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, so when he bounced on stage as the MC I thought I knew what to expect, I was wrong. Aside from being a perfect MC, his own pieces were hilarious and in a refreshing change they didn’t rely on screaming or swearing for impact. He simply told interesting, funny stories about everyday events like taking the bins out and crutchless knickers. Listening on was like riffing with a friend. I highly recommend checking out his shows.  Tahir introduced 12 acts of varying styles. The standouts for me were:

  • Craig Hill (Scotland). The ever reliable, prancing, kilted Scott who I’ve seen many many times. You can be guaranteed a good night out with Hill, so it was no surprise that he closed out the first half brilliantly leaving us all wanting more. Job done.
  • Jimmy McGhee (UK). In his clipped, proper British accent McGhee regaled stories such as older lycra-clad male cyclists tap dancing their way through cafes to order a latte or seeing your mothers face pop up on Snapchat, and fatherhood. New to me, he’s someone I will be looking up for sure.
  • Craig Quartermaine  (Aus). Also new to me. He used personal stories to give a refreshing take on what it is to be an Aboriginal comedian. Entertaining and thought provoking.
  • Aaron Gocs (Aus). With his mullet flowing he provided original insights into being a divorced Aussie dad. The struggle is real.
  • Cassie Workman. Trans comedian, Workman peppered her comedy with moving insights about being trans. Amongst other insights she provided the perfect answer to people who say “words can’t hurt you”.
  • Nazeem Hussain (Aus) who closed the show was just as good as I’d seen him on the televison.

Also on the bill were: Sean McGlochlan, Simone Springer, Colin Ebsworth, Mike Goldstein, and Lawrence Leung

Phill Jupitus (UK) Sassy Knack

As the audience filed into the Regal Theatre there was a man sitting on stage with his back to us playing fantastic music. It was a different start for a show. Once on stage Jupitus set about telling us two stories. That’s it. Just the gentle retelling of two stories. The topics were, his being presented with a Doctorate, and his move from Essex to Scotland. Oh and the odd reference to puffins. Jupitus displayed the effortlessness of a seasoned performer with the humility of a newcomer. A brilliant night presented by a lovely man. Proof it’s all in the delivery. Even though he thought it unlikely, let’s hope he comes back soon.

Rhys Nicholson

At the other end of the scale was the rapid fire delivery of Nicholson who covered so many topics in his one hour set. It was a case of strap in and try to keep up. Just some of the topics covered were; bullying, drugs, ageing, children, dogs, sex parties, and coasters. It was pleasing to note the focus was not confined to gay stories which can sometimes be the case. Stories based on online feedback that he’d received reminded the audience to be careful what you post, as he’s not afraid to name.

There were several moments of audience interaction, one involving retained belly buttons that he’ll no doubt incorporate into future shows. Amongst the laughter were some deeper messages – that “people talking about gender issues are not the ones with the issues, people with issues are not talking about it”; or that little boys should not be told to “act like men”. 

It was fascinating to watch his style as he wandered the stage, flicking the long microphone cord around, reminiscent of a smooth 1950’s style comedian. It’s easy to see why he has won so many awards. A brilliant evening was topped off by the packed Heath Ledger Theatre singing happy birthday to his partner.

The annual Perth Comedy Festival includes a series of special events and showcases. From stand-up to sketch, satire, improv, musical, absurdist, theatre, magic and kids comedy. The 2019 Festival runs from 22 April to 19 May in venues across Perth. For more information go to Perth Comedy Festival.

Other acts I recommend based on previous experience are: Cal Wilson, Fiona O’Loughlin, and Paul Foot

Glennys Marsdon
Most kids grow out of asking ‘but why’, Glennys didn’t. So she trained as a psychologist and established The Customers’ Voice, consumer psychology consultancy in 2000, where she researches why we do what we do. After losing her partner in 2005 she understood the importance of making the most out of life, and began The Ponder Room blog, to help people do just that. By ‘having a go’ she now has a monthly column in a magazine, three non-fiction books published, been nominated for a Telstra Business Women’s Award, and profiled by US internet guru Seth Godin in a worldwide competition about people making a difference. She firmly believes in living a positive life and following your passion.