The latest crop of standup comedy initiates have polished their puns and are getting ready to bring out the big gags when they pop their comedy cherry at the ACE Virgin Sacrifice at the Byron Bowling Club on Monday.
This latest group are as diverse and surprising as ever. There’s an author, an artist, a motivational speaker, a handyman, a teacher, a journalist, a singer, an aged-care worker, an unemployed Kiwi comedic aspirant, a guitarist and our very first upholsterer!
Over the last six weeks we have been digging deeply into their memory banks, going through formative childhood years, broken relationships and failed dreams to perform a comic autopsy. We have found out just what makes these people tick, and most importantly uncovered their onstage comedy personas.
Often referred to as the ‘dark arts’, standup comedy is one of the fastest-growing genres, with people asking themselves the big question: am I funny? It turns out that a lot of people are funny. Very, very funny. Mandy Nolan has been teaching comedy for 10 years, with almost 1,000 graduates to her credit. While a very small number go on to become comedians, the rest use the skills in their professional lives to enhance their communication and public speaking.
Graduates who rank in the comedy hall of fame are Hannah Gadsby, who won Melbourne International RAW Comedy Competition in 2006, and Ellen Briggs and Sikim Wan, who were both national finalists in the aforementioned comedy competition in the years to follow.
It’s a tough game, and Mandy firmly believes that a standup comedy course gives you a headstart that was simply not available when her career started. ‘I had to learn on my feet. It was excruciating. I teach my students in six weeks what took me about six years to learn! You can’t fast-track onstage experience, but you can teach people how to avoid the obvious mistakes and encourage them to trust in their comic voice.
Mandy Nolan is the MC of the ACE Virgin Sacrifice at the Byron Services Club’s Pandanus Lounge on Monday 11 June (Comedy Queen’s Birthday!) at 8pm. Tickets are $10/15 at the venue or can be booked on 6684 3443. Doors open from 7pm.