Just for laughs … when we need them most

Brisbane Comedy Festival is coming to the rescue with plenty of laughs at a time when we could do with more humour in our lives

Apr 17, 2024, updated Apr 17, 2024
Sophie Bannister performing Brisbaret at Brisbane Comedy Festival 2023 ... the show is back for the festival in 2024.

Sophie Bannister performing Brisbaret at Brisbane Comedy Festival 2023 ... the show is back for the festival in 2024.

With the world in the state it is right now, there couldn’t be a better time for Brisbane Comedy Festival to offer some comic relief.

The festival will take over a range of venues in the river city for a rollicking month from April 26, with shows at Brisbane Powerhouse, The Tivoli, the Princess Theatre and The Fortitude Music Hall.

From familiar comedian stalwarts such as Wil Anderson, Effie, Peter Helliar and local Mel Buttle to emerging talent in shows such as Aboriginal All Stars, Are You Pulling My Leg and Brisbaret, there’s a variety of laughs on offer from classic one-person standing shows to spontaneous musicals paying tribute to Brisbane idiosyncrasies.

Sophie Bannister is the producer and creator of Brisbaret,  a chaotic variety night at Brisbane Powerhouse on May 12, that celebrates musical comedy in all shapes and sizes from drag to burlesque and spontaneous  mock tributes.

“All of our performers, all `Bris-lebrities’ as we like to call them, you just add Bris onto the start of any word and it’s a Brisbane version,” Bannister says.

“In between myself and my co-host Thien Pham, we create our own musical comedy, which we play in between, and games as well. A lot of our material is based around what it’s like living in Brisbane.”

She says the show will be “overtly Brisbane”.

“For instance, we had an act who was impersonating a Jacaranda tree and what that’s like when they’re in bloom in Brisbane,” Bannister says. “We did one about the Brisbane Metro, the new bus line that they’re opening, and we personified the Brisbane Metro as this sexy lounge singer.”

Bannister travels all over Australia in her various guises as a writer, performer and producer, from singing as a choral member of Australian Voices to acting as a music and drama workshop facilitator, particularly in the disability sector.

She’s thrilled that Brisbaret took off at last year’s comedy festival – so much so that it’s returning for a second go at putting a musical mock on Brisbane eccentricities and exploring our shared humanity.

Also part of the festival is Are You Pulling my Leg, on May 24 and 25, showcasing some of Australia’s funniest comedians with disability and chronic illness.

Alexandra Hudson is one of the performers in the line-up, starting her career in mid-2020 with her particular brand of uncensored humour that challenges people’s ideas of her and of disability more broadly.

The Northern Rivers-based artist is coming straight from gigs at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, enjoying using her wry observations of awkward encounters to break down audience assumptions about what people with disability are capable of.

“A lot of what I talk about is my own experiences,” she says. “They just know it’s funny and there’s just not a better feeling than performing to people who understand your experience.

“I just love being a part of it because there’s no awkwardness in the audience. A lot of it is just making fun of how people perceive me and taking advantage of their misconceptions. That’s kind of what my comedy is about.”

This article is republished from InReview under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

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