This year has been something of a comedy epiphany for me. This time last year I wrote this post
about musical comedians to watch. I intended to write a follow up of non-musical comedians; problem was I couldn’t think of ten people. It was at that moment that I realised my comedy bias might have gone a little too far. This year I’ve opened my eyes to the joy of straight standup. I’m still a sucker for a funny person with a uke (or a piano or a guitar or a one-man-band) but I’ve come to appreciate funny people simply doing their thing, unadorned.
So here’s that list, a year late. These are ten of my favourite up-and-comers. Keep an eye out for them at a comedy night (or festival) near you.
Astute readers will recognise the name Matty B, which I good because more people should. I’ve seen Matty B preform dozens and dozens of times and the jokes never get old. I’m yet to drag someone along to see him who didn’t rave about it afterwards. There’s a surreal joy in his material that’s infectious.
Last year I saw Dave Warnake’s show for one reason – because he reads this blog. I’m glad I took that punt because I loved it. It was a well-polished and finely crafted show. His show this year (Facty Fact, a life comedy gameshow) was so good we saw it twice. His material is enthusiastic and passionate. He’s just really good fun.
I’m still not really sure how I heard about Micheal Hing but when Breakout Comedy was in Newcastle, he was the person I wanted to see. His solo show in Melbourne felt so relaxed and unpretentious. There’s a real sense that he’s playing off the audience, adapting the material for the room. Plus anyone who can be that good when they’re that sick (he had a serious cold when we saw him) definitely has talent.
We saw Andy Matthews after seeing his spot as part of These Kids are Good.
He gave us 70c for being not-shit audience members, meanwhile dealing masterfully with one of the worst audience members I’ve ever encountered. His own show (shared 50/50 with Tony Besselink, also great) was straight, clever standup. Plus he came third in Raw Comedy this year. He’s clearly on the rise.
Sullivan and Bok featured among our top shows this year and for good reason. The Sullivan half of this show was delightful. She was surreal and baffling but so much fun. The little I know about the comedy scene in Hobart suggests it’s a far cry from the scene on the mainland but if it can produce quality like this, that’s not a bad thing.
The other 50% of this wonderful duo, Lauren Bok’s material was, as their flyer declared, smart. She was witty and relaxed. One of the best things about this pair was the way they wove their vastly different styles of comedy into a single coherent whole. Watch out for both of them, together or apart.
I first encountered Tom Walker at TiNA when someone made me be on a panel with him. He was kind enough to do a spot at Adventures in Comedy-Land and watching him leap about the stage (and into the audience) was amazing. Tom Walker did not do a MICF show this year but he is doing one in Sydney. Someone should go see it then tell me about it.
Laura Davis is that rare entity – a comedian who’s show I saw based on the flyer alone (said flyer had lollies and a teabag attached, it was pretty great). Her comedy is endearing. She invites us into a personal, slightly melancholy world and makes you want to be her friend. I didn’t get to see her show this year (it didn’t start until we’d flown out) but everything I’ve heard suggests it was even better.
There’s something wonderfully manic about Ben Jenkins. He’s more a jack-of-all-trades than a straight-out comedian but he does, nevertheless, make me laugh on a regular basis. He was great at Adventures in Comedy-Land. It felt like he picked the audience up and ran with them. I have a feeling he might start creeping onto our television screens a lot more in future.
Tom Ward thanked us about five times for coming to These Kids are Good. We did say we were coming when he flyered us but he seemed genuinely pleased that we actually showed. He’s nothing like his character on Please Like Me, for one thing he has a beard, but his comedy is easy and cheerful. I’ve only seen him do that very short spot but I’m hoping he does a full length show next year.
When I started writing this list last year, Matt Okine was pretty high on it. Since then he has, among other things, sold out a ridiculous amount of his shows at this year’s comedy festival. I’ve liked Matt’s stuff since I accidentally stumbled across The Future Machine and it’s great to see that he’s well on his way to becoming a household name.
Clearly Hannah is much too famous for this list but I can’t stress enough how good her show was this year. She seems to be going from strength. Keep your eye on her, I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.
Apologies for the abysmal lack of hyperlinks in this post. I’m currently without home internet which makes it a little tricky. You’ll have to get your Google on.