The Best Medicine
It’s time to dig your funny pants out of the closet and make sure they’re pressed and ready for a few big nights out in November when the Sunshine Coast Comedy Festival comes to town! John Caruso finds out more.
It’s been a challenging time and I’m sure that we could all do with a laugh – after all, they do say it is the best medicine. There is nothing like seeing comedy live, it is a thrilling ride and made even better when in intimate settings, preferably with booze being served.
Despite the threat of snap lockdowns and changing restrictions that are becoming part of the modern-day milieu, some brave soldiers have stepped up to put together a side-splitting lineup of some of Australia’s best comedians to dish out the giggle dosage we need.
When I spoke to the Sunshine Coast Comedy Festival director Tim Loydell and executive producer Rebecca Chandler, I discover this comedy caper is actually serious business.
“It’s important to make sure that the festival aligns with what we’re trying to do here on the Sunshine Coast which is about building community events that celebrate the unique arts culture and lifestyle we have,” Tim says.
“We’ve set up Near North Festivals which is the entity behind the Sunshine Coast Comedy Festival and we’re looking at engaging audiences across the coast from Caloundra to the hinterland and north to Noosa.
“We’re even extending invites as far as Gympie with our Laughable Competition which is for emerging comics and supported by Festivals Australia.”
A range of stalwarts from the comedy scene that have been performing for many years will be part of the festival this year including Wil Anderson, Fiona O’Loughlin and Tripod as the headliners.
“The inaugural Sunshine Coast Comedy Festival was run last year in the thick of COVID craziness, just to give people a laugh and it was a big success,” Tim says. “We were very lucky with our timing, escaping lockdowns and we sold about 1,700 tickets. This year we’re hoping to sell around 3,000!
“We had fewer venues in 2020 however we were spread from The NightQuarter in Birtinya to the SolBar in Maroochydore through to The J Theatre in Noosa. This year we’ve expanded the number of venues, with our more popular headliners at The Events Centre Caloundra and Venue 114 Kawana; The Banana Bender Pub at Aussie World and at the comedy club at SolBar.
“We’re also doing a destination experience which is a comedy cruise on The Catalina in Noosa, and we’re working with the guys from Creative Tours & Events Sunshine Coast to do two separate comedy craft tours which will be craft brewery tours with a comedian as the host; and there’s also a sunset comedy cruise with Saltwater Eco Tours out of Mooloolaba.
“It’s important to have these festivals here on the coast; Visit Sunshine Coast and Visit Noosa are both supporting it and we need that support to put something like this on,” explains Tim.
Rebecca explains that her role as executive producer is to book the talent which sounds simple but I guess it’s like making the perfect comedy cocktail – it could go very wrong.
“I think what a lot of people don’t understand about the role is how important it is to group acts together that are complementary of one another to create a powerful dynamic and an interesting show,” she said.
“That takes a lot of work, a lot of research and a lot of time to fit those pieces together.
“It’s like working on a big puzzle and it’s incredibly rewarding when it all comes to fruition and it has with this festival. It’s such a great lineup of incredible acts all of whom I’ve had the privilege of knowing for a long time. They’re diverse, they have a unique voice and they’re incredibly good.
“It’s important for us, as a local arts-based organisation, that locals come out and support this. We’re trying to do something for the local community by bringing humor and comedy to the region and I feel that this is more important than ever before,” says Rebecca.
Indeed it is. I had better get to the tailor so that my pants can be let out in time.
Sunshine Comedy Festival
November 11 to 14, 2021