Brisbane Comedy Festival Opening Night Gala Review @ Brisbane City Hall

Brisbane Comedy Festival Opening Night Gala
Elodie is an award-winning actor, director, playwright, and producer who enjoys her time onstage as much as her work behind-the-scenes. When she's not creating theatrical magic, she's reporting about the arts scene with her journalism and publicity prowess. Follow her adventures on Instagram at @el.boal.

Kick-starting the Brisbane Comedy Festival with hysterics, the 2019 Opening Gala proved to be a bigger hit than ever before.

With more acts, more jokes and more fun, those who ventured to Brisbane’s City Hall had a guaranteed night of laughs.

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Brisbane Comedy Festival, the variety show featured a spectacular line-up of Australia’s up-and-coming and well-loved comedians. Hosted by TV Presenter, Charlie Pickering, the evening gave a small sample of what can be expected at this year’s festival.

A sure-fire smorgasbord of clever comedy cuisine, the Gala had enough entertainment that suited a range of different taste buds – which ultimately satisfied all styles of humour.

As the opening act, comedy-duo Scared Weird Little Guys successfully warmed with witty musical covers. A great start to the evening, their Eminem inspired ‘Waltzing Matilda’ rendition was a show highlight that was quite unforgettable. Taking popular songs and dowsing them with musical hilarity, they had audience members bopping along to their revamped risky hits.

Bounding in next, was the energic ball of satire, Demi Lardner. Impersonating various stereotypes, she was dynamic, impressive and like the Energiser Bunny as she never stopped moving. A recent winner of various awards across the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Demi was a fresh act with contagious ‘oomph’.

Best Newcomer (2018) Danielle Walker followed with a variety of dirty stories about her life in the country and her father’s burial plans. Her incredibly dry sense of humour was unexpected, but landed with audience members, nevertheless. Clever contrasts between city and country life painted a bizarre picture of Danielle’s upbringing that was straight-forward, self-aware and a little bit sick.

Local Brisbane-boy, Damien Power, kicked off the second act with his self-labelled morbid routine. He was quick to tag himself as the least favourite son, highlighting his jealousy for his Indy Car racing brother, Will Power. His jokes built and intertwined cunningly; making pessimistic humour slightly relatable. Damien delivered lines straight-faced and to-the-point, and this demeanour was comical even as a standalone.

Vocal expert, Jan Van De Stool, pinned the Gala as an Eisteddfod competition that she was set on winning. Reflecting on her career in show business, her unpredictable venture as a medium and her extensive ego, Jan was certain she had the skills to beat other comedians.  Determined to be the best act of the night, she successfully ‘let it all go’, cementing her place solidly in the Gala line-up. In fact, Jan is powerful and had audience members exclaiming “what a voice”.

Nearing the finale, Mel Buttle returned to the stage with her cynical and self-deprecating style of comedy. She poked fun at dating and relationship downfalls, turning rather depressing moments into comedy gold. Mel was experienced and comfortable, even when reliving memories like co-parenting a rescue dog with her ex.

Closing the evening was one Australia’s best comedy exports, Felicity Ward. With her high-spirited personality, she touched on taboo topics like anxiety – once again, shedding some ‘light’ on the situation. Her energetic delivery made comedy silly, animated and general good fun.  Finishing her routine with chicken karaoke, Felicity marked herself as a light-hearted entertainer with much experience in her field.

As a host, Charlie Pickering was professional. Navigating the comedy waters, he flowed between acts with his political jests and current affairs quips. At times, he was easily upstaged by Auslan Interpreter Steve, but Charlie was quick to respond to improvised humour.

The Opening Gala was a well-constructed highlights reel of the Brisbane Comedy Festival. Designed to sell more seats to shows, it’s a great opportunity to see a range of different acts in the one spot.  

A great format for a sneaky bite of ‘what’s on’, the Gala night never disappoints. If the talent was anything to go by, this year’s Brisbane Comedy Festival is going to be one hell of a hit, with much to see!

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