Sunshine Coast Comedy Festival – Anisa Nandaula Prepares For A Solo Stand-Up Festival Gig

Anisa Nandaula Anisa Nandaula Image © Kim Grimley

Amid these times, festivals and promoters are being challenged to inspire and entertain audiences through robust and innovative models, and this year’s Sunshine Coast Comedy Festival (SCCF) is delivering the goods.


Launched in 2020 amid the first year of COVID, the Sunshine Coast Comedy Festival returns in November, celebrating the best in comedic talent, hand-in-hand with iconic coast experiences.

From taking over the NightQuarter for one massive opening night Comedy Gala, to hosting back-to-back shows every day at the dedicated Comedy Club, Solbar, SCCF is delivering a plethora of lights, mics and side-splitting stand-up right across the region this year.

It just wouldn’t be summer with a daytime programme full of unmissable events either, so schedule some time with friends to make the most of these highlights!

Have brunch with Fiona O’Loughlin at Rococo in Noosa, board the historic ‘Spray of the Coral Coast’ for Sunset Stand-Up in Mooloolaba, cruise the Catalina on the Noosa River or take an award-winning Craft Brewery Tour, paired with your very own (full bodied) festival host.

With three competition heats and one massive grand final event, emerging comic competition 'Laughable' is a hugely popular event with the winner taking home $500 cash and a spot at next year’s festival. 'Laughable' 2020 winner Anisa Nandaula (also a nationally-recognised spoken word poet, playwright and author) is returning to feature at her own Solbar event for the first time this year. We spoke with her about the festival ahead of the event.

What are you looking forward to about being part of Sunshine Coast Comedy Festival?
This is my first year of doing comedy and Sunshine Coast Comedy Festival will be my first official comedy festival performance. It’s a lot of firsts for me and I am excited to be on stage and most importantly learn from the experienced comics around me.

What’s your favourite thing about the Sunshine Coast and its comedy talent?
My favourite thing about the Sunshine Coast and its comedy talent is the kind community it has created. I have learnt so much from the experienced older comics on the scene who welcome me with open arms and openly share advice with me. This kindness, generosity and making of space has been integral to me becoming a better comic.

Craft Comedy SCCF
Craft Brewery Tour

You’re nationally recognised for your spoken word poetry. What was the transition from this to comedy like?

The transition from being a poet to being a comedian was very scary for me. Mainly because in stand-up comedy you know instantly whether or not you’re good or bad because the crowd tells you. This was the scariest thing for me but also the biggest opportunity because I was able to see my weaknesses instantly and work on them. Comedy has a constant feedback loop between performer and audience; it’s like having a living, breathing editor. Poetry got me use to standing on stage but comedy is teaching me that standing on stage is one thing, but being yourself is another.

Are there any surprising similarities between the two which you weren’t expecting?
The similarities that are present between comedy and poetry are learning how to command silence and use silence as an instrument. As a new comic, silence isn’t what you want to hear, ever! But my slam poetry brain reminds me silence means people are engaged. So it can be just as powerful. The biggest similarity that I wasn’t expecting is that being a comic and a poet require the same work ethic. Constant writing, editing, performing and repeat.

What do you love most about comedy?
I love that I get to bring joy to someone’s day. I also love that I can engage people in discussions around race and politics without making them feel attacked, but welcoming them with warmth into the discussion.

What do you think makes it so effective?
I think that comedy is so effective as an art form because it is not a solo craft. Doing stand-up comedy is like being a conductor in an orchestra. You have jokes and punchlines that you read and they make the audience respond a certain way. Laughter is music which means the performer needs the audience as much as the audience needs the performer. Everyone plays their part.

Catalina NoosaRiver SCCF
Cruise the Catalina on the Noosa River

What’s the #1 thing you do to try to ensure that your comedy is received as positively as possible?
The main thing I do to make sure my comedy is received as positively as possible is to be conscious about the way that I structure my jokes. So I re-write one joke in 40 different ways and I look at which angle would be most enjoyable and fun for an audience.

You’re the current 'Laughable' champion. What advice do you have for those competing in this year’s iteration?
The advice that I would give is that a competition is just a single day. My goal wasn’t winning the competition, it was putting in the work every single day, to write, perform, get up on stage and learn from more experienced comics. Whether you win or lose, it's irrelevant. Focus on being the best you can be on that day and then no matter what happens, be the best you can be on the day after that. Just keep consistently trying your best; that is the win.

What has been your go-to boredom killer in lockdowns?
I am lucky enough to live in Queensland so lockdowns haven’t been that long. My main go-to has been watching trash TV on Netflix. I’m ashamed to admit I watched 'Love Island' and finished it in two days.

Sunshine Coast Comedy Festival takes place from 11-14 November. Anisa Nandaula plays Solbar 12 November.

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