Comedians, Take Your Places - The Brisbane Comedy Festival Kicks Off For 2018

24 February 2018 | 6:20 pm | Staff Writer

'To be a part of it though, there’s a lot of pride and it’s almost embarrassing how proud I am.'

The Brisbane Comedy Festival may be one of the younger kids on the block but they make up for it in bold Queenslander pride and tenacity. The festival is celebrating its ninth year in 2018 with festivities kicking off last night (23 February) at the Brisbane Comedy Festival Gala.

The Music caught up with three of the Sunshine State’s proudest exports to get their thoughts on what the festival means to them and the Brisbane comedy scene as a whole.

Mel Buttle, the host of the Gala, is a constantly welcoming presence in the Brisbane comedy scene. When she’s not in Sydney doing her duty as co-host of The Great Australian Bake-off with Claire Hooper, you can find her acting as a quasi-mentor to the rising stars of the city.

"Its that thing of when you’re in Brisbane because you are so far away from Melbourne and Sydney, someone can be here and get really, really good and they still don’t quite know how good they are,"

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

"It’s kind of like when I met Becky, I thought she’s gonna be really good and it took her a while to believe it. It’s when they go away from Brisbane and they realise, “Oh I am funny, it doesn’t just work in my little hometown”. So that’s nice, being able to spot the next big thing," Buttle said.

The Becky that Buttle refers to is Becky Lucas, who cut her teeth on the local scene before moving to the Big Smoke of Sydney which led to an online series with Comedy Central, an ABC pilot and a brand new partnership with Sydney comedian Cameron James.

"We’ve called it Crispy & Peanut Industries, I’m peanut and he’s crispy. We legally did it, got the accountant just yesterday," Lucas excitedly said.

Despite shifting states, the comedian maintains that her rise through the Brisbane ranks is what helped with her success

"When you’re in Brisbane, you had time to develop and you find your voice quicker, in bigger cities they tend to use the voices of those around you," Lucas said.

"It’s a time to take risks and I just appreciated that time to figure it out here where no one is talking about the future or their career, they’re just doing it for the love of it."

"I love the Brisbane Comedy Festival, it's my favourite one to do because it’s often at the start of the season so the shows are a little bit rough but the crowds have such good energy, its kind of a perfect mix. Brisbane doesn’t really care who you are, if you’re funny, you’re funny and if you’re not they’re pretty honest."

Fellow Brisso expat Matt OKine agrees that there’s a magical energy that’s infused into the city.

"There’s something definitely in the water in Brisbane, I’m very proud of it and there’s going to be a whole new wave [of comedians] through soon,"

Since graduating from the city, OKine has gone on to do everything from breakfast host at triple j to writing and starring in his own Stan-backed television series, The Other Guy.

"There wasn’t a Brisbane Comedy Festival back then and I would have died to have it cause to have all these comics from around the world to come to Brisbane, it would have been a dream come true for a young comic," Okine said.

"To be a part of it though, there’s a lot of pride and it’s almost embarrassing how proud I am. We all have opinions on different comedy festivals and no one has a bad thing to say about Brisbane. Its very much one of the most liked festivals on the circuit and its so well run, it's just nice to be a part of it."

The Brisbane Comedy Festival runs from the 23 – 25 March, featuring 70 shows, in multiple venues around the city; for more information, head over to the official site.