The Comedy Store
It’s been a while since my last visit to The Comedy Store, which once was the only game in town for stand-up comics. Having performed there when it was at its original venue in Margaret Lane, and training corporate clients to perform stand-up comedy, every visit to “The Store” is as much a pilgrimage as an evening of entertainment.
To its credit, the management is strong on promoting younger comics, and the policy is paying off because there is so much talent gaining notoriety in Australia and internationally. On the night that we attended, there was only one comic that I had seen before.
The MC for the evening was Greg Sullivan, a heavy-set, bearded man with a neat haircut. He apparently lives in Mullumbimby near Nimbin, the home of Mardi-Grass. Enough said. Sullivan adopted a more subtle approach to people sitting close to the stage. It was more a fireside chat than a comedian picking on “victims”. His gentler-than-usual rapport with the audience made for a refreshing change.
Then came Xavier Michelides and Michael Chamberlain. Katie Burch, a grand finalist in RAW 2014, is a nasal-voiced mother of two young children. I’m not normally a fan of comedians who talk about their kids in their routines, but Burch is an extraordinary talent who is thoroughly entertaining. Alex Wasiel is a self-effacing carer of an older woman and her stories and self-conscious persona are quirky and engaging with a unique brand of funny, so it came as a surprise when I found out that, before comedy, she was a media lawyer and defamation litigator.
Bearded New Zealander Ben Hurley convinced us all to join his campaign to “Bring back the bush!” This is another extraordinary talent who crossed “the dutch”.
The headliner was Rhys Nicholson who couldn’t possibly be more openly gay; he makes Richard Simmons seem rugged. It’s been a couple of years since I saw the thin, neat, bespectacled, sartorially-dressed Nicholson perform, and since then he has been the hit of the Edinburgh Comedy Festival and has also enjoyed success in other parts of the world. He was excellent last time, and with more experience under his belt, Nicholson’s rapid-fire delivery and asides have lifted his game even higher.
There are many fine comedy venues in Sydney, but I’ll keep returning to the original Comedy Store.