Sydney’s Best Comedy Nights and Where to Find Them
January 27th 2017
Image by Comedy Lounge
Amazing live comedy may be one of Sydney’s less-applauded strengths, but with a variety of weird and wonderful venues mixed in with stand-up institutions, it’s time the scene got a bit more attention. Comedian Aaron Chen gives us the low-down on where comics go to catch great, offbeat gigs in Sydney.
Giant Dwarf’s roster has everything from highbrow political satire (Nailed It!) to absurdist smut (Fancy Boy), alongside Sydney’s best musicians and comedians doing earnest covers of their favourite songs (Under Cover with Gen Fricker). Right in the heart of Redfern, the comedy venue has made itself responsible for fostering boundary-pushing, edgy alternative comedy in Sydney, hosting some of the world’s wildest and weirdest acts.
Three years on from being opened by The Chaser group (Chaser’s War on Everything, The Hamster Wheel), Giant Dwarf is still delivering some of the spiciest zings. “We’ve had everyone from Julia Gillard to Paul Dempsey,” General Manager Nikita Agzarian flexes on behalf of Giant Dwarf. “During the Sydney Comedy Festival we had 1000 people a night coming to the venue every weekend.” The venue functions differently to other stand-up venues in Sydney. While showcasing some of the best comedians from around the world, journalists, politicians and musicians also get thrown into The Chaser’s anarchic vision of comedy programming. It is one of the hottest venues in Sydney right now and you are dumb and a sucker if you don’t catch a show.
Giant Dwarf runs comedy shows pretty much every week, including Sydney Comedy Festival shows in April/May 2017. Find out more here.
Wolf Comedy prides itself in providing inclusive performance and viewing spaces, while showcasing comedians from diverse backgrounds. In true wolf pack style, members Bish Marzook, Shubha Sivasubramanian, Kara Schlegl and James Colley refuse to talk about Wolf Comedy as individuals. In their always-egalitarian style, they told me: “We found that that small step of saying ‘just try not being a jerk!’ can make a world of difference.”
This value shines through in the comedy nights they host. Each month, you’ll get to see a buffet of the hottest alternative comedians side-by-side, often with a headliner you won’t get to see anywhere else. They’ve featured acts from Barry-award Winner Zoe Coombs-Marr to viral idiot Aaron Gocs, showcasing a huge spectrum of what genius means. “Every comic who has performed at Wolf has remarked in some way or another on how unusually warm and welcoming it feels.” Sick.
Wolf Comedy runs the last Thursday of every month at Knox Street Bar, Chippendale. Find out more here.
The Comedy Store
I spoke to comedian Becky Lucas about her favourite comedy venues to perform in, and it’s no surprise we wound up speaking about Sydney’s Comedy Store. Known for her brash, irreverent comedy, honed in clubs across Australia, the Comedy Store is an obvious home for Lucas. “I think comedy should be accessible to everyone… the idea of being able to connect to people who I wouldn’t normally socialise with is exciting,” she says.
In not trying to foster a specific demographic, the Store finds an audience of punters from all across Sydney. There are buck’s and hen’s nights, young families, after-work drinks and groups of uni students often all in the one audience. This means the bill is really diverse, too. You get total weirdos like Sam Campbell alongside the best club comics in Australia. Meanwhile, the best international acts drop in to do sets pretty often.
Comedy Store runs regular shows every Thursday-Saturday at Fox Studios. Find out more here.
Bonus Picks from Becky Lucas
Over and above the Store, Becky tipped us off on a few more comedy rooms that are making their name in a thriving Sydney scene.
“Sydney is full of great venues at the moment. I will drop anything to perform at Cafe Lounge in Surry Hills on a Monday night.” Good on you, Sydney.
Comedy Lounge is on Monday Nights at Café Lounge in Surry Hills. Find out more here.
A Mic in Hand is every Thursday at A Friend in Hand Hotel, Glebe. Find out more here.