Arts & Entertainment

Just For Laughs 2019

Nina Conti. Photo: Idil Sukan/Draw HQ

By Madison Behringer.

Returning to Sydney for its ninth year in a row, annual comedy festival Just For Laughs will kick off on October 28. Held at the Sydney Opera House and other various venues around Sydney, the festival features a live TV show, Just For Laughs Australia: Live hosted by comedian Nick Cody, an All-Star Gala hosted by Dave Hughes as well as a huge line-up of Australian and international comedians. 

Acclaimed comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short will be bringing their critically acclaimed comedy tour Now You See Them, Soon You Won’t to the First State Super Theatre on November 17 as part of Just For Laughs. Their celebrated comedy show redefines comedy as we know it and the iconic pair will be joined on stage by Grammy Award-winning bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers. 

British Comedy Award winner Nina Conti will be taking over the Sydney Opera House from October 28 for three huge nights of her stunning ventriloquism. In a spectacular feat of comedic prowess, Nina will be improvising every minute of her three shows, no doubt bringing to the stage audience members and taking over their vocal cords. Nina has performed Live at the Apollo, Sunday Night at the Palladium and has made her own BAFTA-nominated film – all featuring her breathtaking ventriloquism. 

The Just For Laughs All-Star Gala will be hosted by Dave Hughes on Saturday, November 2 and is an annual sell-out. Previously featuring guests such as John Cleese, Eddie Izzard, Danny Bhoy and Martin Short, the Gala has become the festival’s crown jewel event. Held in the Opera House’s Concert Hall, the All-Star Gala is set to sell-out fast. 

Returning for its seventh season this year, Just For Laughs Australia: Live will run across three nights, filmed live for The Comedy Channel. Hosted by Australia’s favourite comedian Nick Cody, two live shows will be filmed each night from October 31 through to November 2 from the Studio at Sydney Opera House. 

“I do two shows a night: Thursday, Friday, Saturday. I do my stand-up act at the top and then introduce the acts for each night. I’m the voice of the night! I’m so excited for it,” said Nick. 

With his comedy career booming and a new-born baby, Nick is packing as much comedy and family time into life as he can. As Australia’s new favourite comedian, Nick was the stand-out choice to host this year’s Just For Laughs: Live. 

“Each of the TV shows will be separate chunks, just because that’s how people are watching them. I’ll do six very different skits,” said Nick. “I’m approaching it like it’s a standard stand-up show. There’ll be cameras there but I don’t really mind. I’ll be honest, ever since I was there when my wife gave birth, and I caught my son, nothing else really bothers me at all. I couldn’t give a shit!”

Just For Laughs: Live will be aired from 7:15 pm (AEST) on The Comedy Channel on each of the three nights featuring comedians such as Cam Knight, Luke Heggie, Geraldine Hickey, Demi Lardner, Tom Ballard and more. 

Returning to her home town of Sydney from her life in the UK, Australia’s best-selling author and comedian Kathy Lette will be taking over the Seymour Centre on November 1 for her stand-up show Girl’s Night Out. Bestselling author of Puberty Blues, Kathy is bringing her psychological striptease to her Sydney audience. 

“It’s going to be really lovely, I’m looking forward to it. It’s really a big girl’s night out. You do know that when you go for a girl’s night out you have to be hospitalised from hilarity, don’t you? It’s a great male myth that women aren’t funny,” joked Kathy.

Although her audiences are mainly made up of women, Kathy always encourages men to come along and take a look at what women chat about when they’re together. 

“If I was a man I would definitely go where the women are… to hear what women are talking about when they’re not around. At my shows I always have a male sacrifice though, I get one man to come up on stage and cover him in whipped cream and lick it slowly off. Well, not really!”

Girl’s Night Out is the perfect opportunity to grab a friend, your sister or your mum and head out for a hilarious night of comedy. 

“I think if I had to narrow down my one goal as a writer it’s putting into words what women are actually thinking but not necessarily saying out loud. And that’s what my readers find liberating and comedically comforting,” said Kathy. 

Ready to bring Girl’s Night Out to her home town, Kathy said: “It will be so great to bring this show to Sydney because I always say that Sydney women are the best-kept secret. They’re so fun and feisty and fabulous so it’s going to be really lovely.”

“I am back in Australia a lot…I straddle hemispheres, really. I do a lot of straddling. If you’re in Bangkok, don’t look up!”

Oct 28-Nov 3. Various Venues & Prices. Tickets & Info:

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