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Sorry, who? The Spinoff’s incomplete guide to the Comedy Fest’s international lineup

Spinoff Comedy editors Sam Brooks and Natasha Hoyland have a pretty good handle on the local comedy scene but were stumped by a few unfamiliar faces in the comedy festival programme. So they did some self-directed research and ended up finding a handful of new favourites.

Sam’s I-Watched-The-Helpful-Comedy-Festival-YouTube-Links List

Rhys Nicholson

Rhys Nicholson is a gay comedian. That’s enough for me. That should be enough for you. Gay men are funnier than most people, because they’ve had to be. They’ve done the work.

Beyond being gay, which I restate should be enough for you to see him, he’s wickedly sharp and pretty overtly political. He’s very much in the vein of “This is what the world thinks. This is why it’s funny, and also why it’s shit!” And honestly, I’m sick of seeing comedians throw whatever the hell they want on and get on stage. Rhys dresses for the occasion and he performs. See this man.

Tessa Waters

Tessa Waters is a genius. Her show was one of the literally dozens I saw in the two-week blur that was my Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year, and even at 2pm I could tell she was something special.

When you hear the word ‘clown’ you roll your eyes and think of either a roving murderer in the forest or a guy who went to France for a year and now think he’s god’s gift to art. Tessa Waters shakes up whatever negative perceptions you might have of clowning. She commits to whatever she’s doing, physically, mentally, emotionally, comedically. She will make you laugh or die trying.

The clip below is peak Tessa, and I’ve watched it maybe ten times and each time tried not to piss myself laughing:

Lou Sanders

There are lazy comparison points for Lou Sanders. You think Amy Schumer, you think Sarah Silverman, you think of any female comedian who has made you think that women aren’t the nice things you were brought up to think women are. And Lou Sanders is comparable to all those things, but she’s also very much her own thing.

There’s a self-deprecation to her that is honestly closer to self-harm than it is to self-deprecating. She’s so biting, she’s so dark and so goddamned honest both with and to herself. If you’ve ever thought that you were the worst person in the world and thought that fact was hilarious, Lou Sanders is for you.

Natasha’s I-Didn’t-Know-Who-They-Were-So-I-Googled-Them-And-Clicked-On-The-First-Video List

Adam Hess 

The first video that came up when I searched for Adam Hess was 48 minutes long, and I absolutely cannot deal with that, so I clicked on the next one down, a video of him appearing on Comedy Up Late during the 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. His style seems to be snappy one liners, and I’m all about that. I’ve followed him on Twitter for years and he’s absolutely hilarious, but I didn’t know he was a stand up comedian.

Now looking at his profile, it’s quite obvious and I don’t know how I missed such an important and obvious detail. Also I feel like an asshole now because his pinned tweet is him explaining that he turned down a £700,000 DVD deal to put his stand up show (that 48 minute long video that I didn’t watch!) on YouTube for free. So maybe go and watch that, because it’s probably good!

Paul Foot 

I wasn’t aware of Paul Foot before opening this year’s comedy fest programme, but I’m so glad that I decided to investigate. This guy is a genius and a new favourite of mine. He reminds me of an elderly James Acaster in mannerisms, I don’t know why because he’s not even that old, but regardless it’s a compliment because James Acaster is one of my favourite comedians of all time. This food allergy video is fantastic and that type of comedy is right up my alley: funny and obvious but not yet pointed out life observations. 

I usually book tickets at the very last minute because I’m terribly unorganised when it comes to planning nights out because I hate leaving my house, but this is the only show that I’ve booked tickets to so far because he’s only on for one night and I didn’t want to miss out!

Nazeem Hussain 

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Nazeem Hussain from friends who had previously been to his shows, yet I have never once made it out to one myself. I watched this video and he’s now definitely at the top of my priority list. As someone who doesn’t really drink and often feels like they’re obliged to, I really appreciated and related a lot to his jokes about not drinking – yeah, yeah, I know, “what the fuck is wrong with me” blah blah blah wah wah, go chug a beer, I don’t care. The stigma around drinking is crazy and I rarely have people to back me up on that, so it’s nice that I now have this video for future reference. So yeah, maybe I won’t attend your house party, but instead I’ve gotten aboard the Nazeem Hussain online video train and I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to get off.

Book tickets to see these shows and a whole lot more here.

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