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Byron Shire
June 13, 2021

Interview with Mell and Zara from the Byron Comedy Fest

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Get Your Ha Ha on! Byron Comedy Fest is Here!

After a year under a COVID-19 hiatus, The Byron Comedy Fest is back! Next Thursday sees this fledgling event open the doors to its second weekend presenting all that is fabulous and funny. Set on the Byron beachfront at the Byron Surf Club and styled as a classy bespoke beachside speakeasy, this event is the creative lovechild of besties Zara Noruzi and Mell Coppin. ‘We love comedy and we love this town’ says Zara, who believes a beachfront comedy festival is a no- brainer. ‘We are going to be able to attract big names in comedy in upcoming years because everyone wants to come to Byron! Our lineup this year is incredible.’

The girls have never wanted a massive festival. ‘Small is beautiful’ says Mell Coppin adding that the two were committed to the boutique genre from the start for their event. ‘It’s imperative to create sustainable events. We are taking a kilo of plastic out of the ocean with every ticket sold with the help of our partner The Hidden Sea. We have offset the whole festival via Our Trace. We are donating the proceeds of one of our closing shows to The Byron Bay Care Farm.’

Good news for punters, the festival is also registered as a NSW Dine and Discover event so you can use your vouchers!

The event kicks off on Thursday 13 May with Karl Kruszelnicki – it’s sold out but you can catch a second go at Dr Karl’s show on Saturday 15 May at 2pm. Friday 14 and 15 see the return of the Best of British, headed up by UK legend Dan Willis – this is a chance to see some international comedy courtesy of internet sensation Rory Lowe and Dublin’s stand up genius, John Flynn. Dave O’Neil and Glenn Robbins’ show is sold out (you can see them on Saturday when they’re part of the Modern Love Panel), but there are still tickets to see the star of The Block, from a few years back, Andy Saunders, as he dishes the dirt alongside Ting Lim. Later that evening Rebel Lyons presents her missive on monogamy: Same Penis Forever.

Saturday comedy kicks off with Yoga & Giggles, then a Slapstick workshop for kids hosted by UK clown and stuntman Alex Frith – this is a great way to keep the kids busy while you grab a bit of downtime on the beach or have a late brekkie – and they get to present a micro show to parents at the end!

Madeleine West is running a Theatresports workshop for kids, which culminates in a Sunday show. This is an intensive dive into some dynamic comedic training. Saturday also sees ABC’s Adam Zwar present Modern Love – a panel featuring Dave O’Neil, Glenn Robbins, Jean Kittson and Fiona O’Loughlin giving their low down on love.

The Queen of Comedy, Fiona O’Loughlin, is back at her best with her popular festival solo show on Saturday at 7.30pm, and later that night, at 9pm, Dave Callan presents The A–Z of Dance, complete with backup dancers! You have never seen comedy like it! Finally – jokes you can dance to!

For those up late, Mandy Nolan presents The Best of the Fest – an hour of comedy power with some of the surprise stars of the festival.

Up and early Sunday morning is No Eggs for Breakfast – when Mandy Nolan hosts a chat about life beyond fertility, how do we stay relevant and dangerous without killing ourselves in the process? Sunday arvo see’s Mandy Nolan’s latest Funny Kids present their new killer routines, and from 3.30pm it’s Rebel Bingo. So, from the Theatresports show at 11.30am onward it’s full family programming until the closing show with Zoe Coombs Marr and this year’s winner of Melbourne Comedy Festival’s Best show, Geraldine Hickey, at 6pm.

It’s been a tough year for performers and for events. Get out, support the industry and enjoy some laughs. You’ll feel good for weeks!

Byron Comedy Fest. Small. Hilarious. Sensational. 13–16 May at The Byron Surf Club. byroncomedyfest.com

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