Review: Sydney learns to laugh again as the Sydney Comedy Festival kicks of at The State Theatre

Gabi Bolt performs on stage at the State Theatre Sydney.

The Sydney Comedy Festival Gala at The State Theatre was a sneak peek of some of the acts which will form the line-up of this year’s festival. With talent from around the world, each act was given 5 minutes to impress the crowd enough to get you to buy tickets to their show and provide a hint of the hilarity the festival has to offer.

Nikki Britton MC’ed the evening and hands down garnered some of the biggest laughs. Her jokes about what it’s like to be a single, childless woman in your mid (to late) 30s were hilarious. Disclaimer – I am a single, childless woman in my mid (late) 30s so I was clearly her key demographic. When she discussed men’s strange and disproportionate pride in their genitalia and referred to a man’s penis as a “hairy meat chandelier” that hangs in front of their asshole, half the crowd became very uncomfortable, and the other half (myself included) doubled over in laughter. Her skill at riffing off the crowd and her ability to read the room made her one of the best acts of the night.

Nikki Britton performs on stage at the State Theatre Sydney.
Nikki Britton, Sydney Comedy Festival Gala, State Theatre Sydney. Photo: Brett Hemmings

Scottish comedian Larry Dean’s tale about his partner instructing him to fart in a corner and not in their bed was comedic gold, as was Lloyd Langford’s awkward retelling of the time he went to ‘check out’ the parent’s room at Myer – without his child. Rhys Nicholson entertained the audience explaining how he and his partner achieved nothing during COVID lockdown except a drinking habit – a sentiment that was weaved throughout the evening by many.

Larry Dean performs on stage at the State Theatre Sydney.
Larry Dean, Sydney Comedy Festival Gala, State Theatre Sydney. Photo: Brett Hemmings

If there was one takeaway from tonight’s performances’ it’s that observational humour still kills it with the crowd and, as Larry Dean discovered, fart jokes are still funny. But apparently joking about female masturbation is still considered a taboo topic for some, especially when it comes from a woman. Speaking of women, they really stood out tonight and it’s exciting to think about the laughs they will bring to the rest of the festival.

Kirsty Webeck’s anecdote about first aid responders was surprisingly accurate, Floyd Alexander-Hunts advice to couples really struck a chord (a violin chord to be exact) and Gabi Bolt’s (header image) ode to children everywhere through her song ‘Thank Fuck You’re Not Mine’ was both catchy and laugh out loud funny.

The Sydney Comedy Festival Gala is like being given a box of chocolates but without being told what you’re going to get. Some you love, some you hate, some make you wish you’d never opened the box in the first place, but at the end of the day – it’s still chocolate. And after 2 years of dieting, we could all use a little chocolate in our lives.


The Sydney Comedy Festival runs until 22 May 2022 across various venues.

For more information and to book head to the website.

Reviewer attended event on 26 April.

Header image credit Brett Hemmings

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