Current Issue #488

Laugh Local: 12 of the Best Local Comedians to See this Fringe

Laugh Local: 12 of the Best Local Comedians to See this Fringe

You might not know it, but Adelaide’s comedy scene is bursting at the seams with hilarious home-grown talent. Skip those big arena comics this season, and take a recommendation or 12 from fellow comedian Duncan Turner.

Listen. Fringe is an open-access festival. You want to see local talent, but the only barrier to entry as an artist is having a spare 300-ish dollars for registration. They can’t all be nines, and not wanting to see amateurish garbage, you do what any reasonable person in your position would.

Rather than gambling a chunk of your cheque on what could be a delightful hour of ground-breaking standup, but could equally be a nightmare of tortured puns and barely-concealed misogyny, you buy tickets to see that dude you saw on the telly that one time. And who could blame you? No one wants to see a bad show! It’s cool, I get it; you went with the safe option.

But hold the damn phone, reader because here’s that golden and shining young God Duncan M. Turner to take you by your pig-ignorant hand and guide you, Christ-like, to the finest local comics who (let’s be honest) need your money more than those smug, successful “career” comedians. The bastards.

Lewis Dowell – Sweet Baby Coconut


Lewis is like an alchemist of despair. I don’t know how he makes sadness so delightful and cute, but he does. His writing is top-tier and his delivery is so sweet and charming that if he weren’t a flesh-mountain I’d pinch his cheeks and coo.

Tickets via

Vaughan Henderson – Hendoism


Hendo is a bloody goose. A real silly bird. 100% galah.

He’s small and quick and friendly, his jokes are absurd and playful and his shows are always full of bizarre and hilarious sound-cues that come out of nowhere. He makes me laugh into my nose and one time I saw him hop off stage like a frog because he was angry. Who expresses anger like that?

Tickets via

James Donald Forbes McCann – Deplorable


See this show. Thank me later. James is like a comedy killdozer; singlehandedly and simultaneously destroying/improving everything that falls under his treads. His demeanour and delivery is high-energy insanity and his material is indulgently reprehensible, like how I tell my friends I’m vegetarian and eat big steaks.

He used to run a uni magazine and contributors submitted their pieces by leaving printouts in the Tibetan Book of the Dead in the Barr Smith Library. It had three issues and I think he ended up dating two of the people who appeared on the cover. The third cover was a picture of him, so go ahead and make that three for three.

This is all true.

Tickets via

Alicia Norton is One Beer Weird


Total champ. Makes this show up on the spot with the audience as co-authors. I haven’t seen it yet, but I walked past her room the other night and the laughter was crazy loud.

I like watching Alicia watch bad comedy because her face does this bizarre expressionless fury that I’m sure casting directors look for when they’re casting for complex antiheroes with dark pasts.

Tickets via

Nick Huntley and JooYung Roberts – Sweet ‘N’ Sour


I think Huntley’s the sweet, because he’s got this weird bogan spirituality that’s just beautiful to watch. He goes on these long digressions that are as precious and delicate as a fern unfurling. I don’t pretend to understand his process, but it gets results dammit! He’ll probably be famous one day.

JooYung is a deceptively cute little monster who’s so dark and analytical that I fear his brain, but it’s funny so I guess it’s worth it. Perhaps not for him (I sure wouldn’t want to carry all that around with me) but jeez he makes me laugh.

Give him a cuddle from me after the show, yeah?

Tickets via

Brad Hollis – Goodboy Intuition


Brad is a numerologist/spiritual guru/sports journalist/comedian. He might be a character, but I can’t tell. He is definitely one of the most creative acts I can think of.

Tickets via

Frehd the Clown: Stripped Bare


Frehd has been in this game forever and had the strangest life. We were on in the same room in Perth Fringe and people left her show crying and laughing and one night everyone got naked and danced with her on stage. I don’t think that’s mandatory, but it’s comforting to know it’s at least welcome. This is one of those comedies that probably has a dramatic arc and an actual purpose. A big hearty bowl of recommendation from this old wretch.

Tickets via

George Glass – Scientology: the Musical


This is the Adelaide sketch group responsible for Abbott: the Musical. I’m inconsolable because we’re on at the same time so I won’t get to see a show that’ll probably become mythical. Every time I see these guys on a bill I get all tingly because they’re absolutely cooked. They had a song about a dumpling maker that I never got to see, but they explained it to me and I still laugh out loud whenever I remember it.

Please see this show, request the dumpling maker song, bootleg it, and email it to me at

Tickets via

Patrick Carl – Radicarlised


Pat has the life energy of several lesser men crammed into his body. He’s a monstrous party animal of the sort thought extinct since Byron. I think he’s immortal because nothing else can explain how he hasn’t died yet.

His material is 50% outrageous boister and 50% laser-focused wit. A few years ago he turned the worst gig I ever did into a standing-ovation triumph and I’ve never forgiven him for it.

Tickets via

Demi Lardner – Look What You Made Me Do


Demi thinks I’m a total cretin, but also did the funniest god-damn set I’ve seen in ages at the Producers Late Show the other night. So go see Look What You Made Me Do.

Just don’t mention my name expecting a discount.

Tickets via

Wudidonga Arts Revue


Kel Balnaves, Leigh Qurban and Timothy Moriarty have made some sort of absurdist Australian Gothic sketch show that I couldn’t explain to you if I tried. Or if I did, some surprises would be ruined that you really do deserve to see. It’s as weird and grimy and occer as a bingo night at a central-coast RSL.

I took a date to this show last year (in its previous incarnation as the Grotesque Arts Revue) and they hated it so much that they outright told me I needed to pick better dates. They were right, but for the wrong reasons. This show’s hilarious and my date’s sense of humour was fundamentally inferior. I’ll pick a better one next time and we’ll see Wudidonga and laugh at the same bits and buy a dog together.

Tickets via

Pat McCaffrie – Democracy Doesn’t Work


Pat’s a news-junkie who sweats comedy when he’s coming down. He won a weekly award for best comedy last year and writes for Shaun Micallef. Political, but never boring. Guaranteed good night.

I think he eats spite, but he’s also a beautiful starchild with a gentle soul whom I love dearly. We’re all complex little beasties aren’t we?

Tickets via

Duncan M. Turner is also a local comedian and has a show about how the world was supposed to’ve ended by now.

It’s called The Ends Is Nigh and it’s on at The Producers from March 4-19.

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