Laugh laugh laugh away

Englander Gordon Southern and Tassie lad Anthony Morgan are two of the many star comedians congregating for the Big Joke laugh fest in Bangalow from next Thursday.

From Valentines Day next Thursday, February 14, until Sunday, February 17, Bangalow hosts The Big Joke Comedy Festival. This is one of only a handful of regional comedy festivals in this wide, serious land. Festival director and Byron comedian Mandy Nolan has created a program which provides three nights of worlds best comedy.

I have drawn on the Montreal, rather than the Melbourne Comedy Festival, for inspiration in creating the format, Mandy said. Take our Thursday, February 14 show for example My Funny Valentine. Hosted by Vanessa Wagner it features three times Logie winner and host of It Takes Two, Julia Morris.

Shes joined by Lola The Vamp (a burlesque performer who recently supported Nick Cave), Amelia Jane Hunter who performed to rave reviews in Edinburgh this year and comedian/hula harlot extraordinaire, Tina Trash.

Then theres Einstein Factors Peter Berner, Nick Sun and Joel Ozborn in a show called Think Thank Thunk.

The Big Joke also welcomes Anthony Morgan, who emerged from retirement this year to accolades at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. A comedy veteran, Morgan was best known for his appearances on the Big Gig and as Andrew Dentons roving reporter. He is joined by global raconteur Jonathan Atherton and UK comedian Gordon Southern in a show on Friday night, February 15, called Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

Theres a late night smokin Burlesque Show with 15 students of La Lola Salon, an exhibition of gurns (funny faces) by international photographer Jules Ober and a fascinating conversation with headline comedians titled The Night I Died where they share their most brutal memories of gigs that didnt go so well and how they survived it.

Cracked Eggs is The Big Joke Breakfast featuring emerging female voices.

Seven comics go head-to-head in a comedy debate that tackles a crucial issue Bigger is Better, and the audience gets a serve of the finest gender bending comedy on offer with Amelia Jane Hunter as Keith Flipp, the story of a twin who vanished in utero and now appears one week every three months in a grungy drag queen bar. (?!?)

The Big Joke also offers clowning, circus and cartooning workshops for kids and has numerous small, child-friendly performances.

For program and ticketing info check the website

For enquiries phone Mandy on 6687 1303 or 0422 701 680.

Freebie: The Echo has a double pass to Mad Dogs and Englishmen with Jonathon Atherton, Anthony Morgan and Gordon Southern (worth $75) to give away to some lucky reader. To go in the draw to win phone 6622 2888 between 10.15 and 10.30am mext Monday, February 11, and tell us if an Englishman, a Scotsman and an Aussie went into a bar, who would drink the most, sledge the others and then pay for the drinks.

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