A variety show without the variety but double the show, The Comedy Zone is a fun-filled hour and a half with five of Australia’s best up-and-coming stand-up comedians. MC Tom Cashman is the hilarious glue that keeps this string of mismatched comedians together.
Seemingly underprepared in all the best ways, Cashman lights up the stage with his exuberance and ability to riff off the audience. He segues between acts with all the bumbling, comedic grace of a giraffe learning to walk: it’s hilarious to watch and you don’t want to see him fall.
Each of the acts were great in their own right, with Nat Damena taking both first slot and the stage by storm. While technical difficulties didn’t allow for Damena’s full set, what was seen was instantly a highlight of not only the show but also potentially the festival itself. It’s obvious that this up-and-comer won’t be up and coming for long.
With more energy than a raging bull, Tim Hewitt goes over the top with his extremely loud style of comedy; he needn’t have a microphone at all. His voice could be heard from the very back row of a not at all small room with ease. His humour is very based in Australian culture, some of which flies over the heads of any Canadians in the audience.
Next up is Rohan Ganju whose jokes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you like shocking one-liners and uncomfortably awkward stage presence then he’s your man. His zingers, as offensive as they might be, accompanied by his delivery and helpful tips on how not to get murdered, are funny enough to be forgiven.
In the final slot is Danielle Walker and she ends the show with a bang. Walker’s brand of stand-up comedy is unlike anything you would expect. She’s like the bride of Chucky, only with less murdering and more hilarious jokes. It’s incredible to see what she comes up with and her chuckle-laugh combo that punctuates many of her bits cements this unhinged but completely enthralling persona that she portrays on stage.
This show is the best place to see these comedians before they become too famous and you can’t afford to go and see all of them in the same comedy season. It’s a great blend of stand-up styles so there’s easily something for everyone no matter what you’re in to.
The Comedy Zone is on until 23 April at Trades Hall. Tickets are available online or at the Festival hub.