Spotlight On Emerging Comedians At 2016 Sydney Fringe Comedy

For those actively seeking their comedy fix, the Sydney Fringe Comedy is your one-way ticket.

The month-long event – which runs until 30 September – boasts 100-plus established and emerging acts keen to showcase their new material. “Over the 4-week period, we’ll run anything from 16-plus shows per night across a range of different venues in The Factory Theatre,” Sydney Fringe Comedy director Shane Smith says.

“It basically provides recognised artists with an opportunity to trial their latest material, and acts as a stepping stone for new comedians to finally breach that hour-long comedy slot.”

Syd Fringe Comedy.2
Sydney Fringe Comedy 2015

According to Shane, experienced acts will use the event to gauge their best work, taking it forward to larger, national comedy festivals in 2017. For the next generation of comedic stars, it’s often their debut, hour-long show. “You get an awesome combo of comics bringing brand new stuff to the table that they're looking to polish over the coming months, mixed with upcoming acts testing their aptitude on the mic,” he explains. “We even offer split-bill shows, if performers aren’t ready for that full-time slot.”

Renowned comedian Corey White kick-started his successful career at Sydney Fringe Comedy, having only taken the stage two or three times prior. “And then he went on the next year to win Best Newcomer at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and at the Sydney Comedy Festival,” Shane says.

“We've also had people like Tom Walker, who won best newcomer in Melbourne last year after two shows in Fringe Comedy, and Ronny Chieng has done shows here in the past, who’s gone on to be a presenter on The Daily Show.” Zanzoop conquered their first performance here, and comedians like Rhys Nicholson and Matt Okine have graced our stages as well.”

Syd Fringe Comedy.3
Sydney Fringe Comedy 2015

Now in its sixth year, Shane believes the calibre of talent has improved immensely since the initial launch. Plus the event is drawing an increasing number of applications, as well. “Sydney Fringe Comedy has definitely made its mark on the annual calendar of comedy festivals,” he says. “We opened applications in the first half of the year, and it has taken weeks and weeks to put the programme together.

“There’s no doubt the event is growing, in regards to the number of shows we’re presenting and the number of audience members coming to watch.”

Although the applications were primarily sourced from Sydney, some comedians are travelling from across the country to perform. “We even have international artists, including ‘Breakout Comedy Kiwi Edition’: three talented comedians from New Zealand.”

Ticket prices are actively reduced to draw more people to the event. “We do that to encourage crowds to come down and see multiple shows, to have a go, to branch out and see a comedian they’ve never heard of before or to watch somebody they may have previously witnessed doing an open-mic spot,” Shane explains.

He insists, you’ll be presently surprised at the high-quality standard of the performances. “The most fun way to approach the Sydney Fringe Festival is to flick through the guide, and see a random show on a whim,” he says. “There are some real gems in there, you'll watch some great stuff, and you never know: that new comic may go on to be a huge success in future.”

Sydney Fringe Comedy runs at The Factory Theatre until 30 September

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