If you don’t already, you really should know comedian Josh Earl

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Sam Taunton brings a commendable set of jokes, gags and pointed statements.Credit:

Fresh and enthusiastic, and only a few years into acting, he radiates charm when talking about hot air ballooning and going to therapy.

Finding out that his girlfriend has murderous intentions, hating Apple stores and tracing the unenviable traits of old Australian men all add up to the relatable joke that works beautifully.

Taunton is rewarded with a big chuckle when a gentle rebuke from a guy sitting near the stage turns into a roast.

And there’s a wonderful lesson in how to spot a passive-aggressive phone message.

Rising Star Ruminations are pleasant and invigorating dishes, delivered with relaxed confidence. Dona Demaio

Best friends and real life couple Col and Fil from Woah, Alyssa!.

Best friends and real life couple Col and Fil from Woah, Alyssa!.Credit:

Wow, Alyssa! Ah, Alyssa! 4 ★★★★
The Westin Two, until April 23

After a Golden Gibbo nomination last year, real-life couple Col and Fil are back with the fourth installment of their late-night hijinks.

The duo leap chaotically from one insane sketch to the next with a fast pace and exuberant camp energy.

Whether it’s the open nature of their relationship and the hardships it entails living in a one-bedroom apartment (including a sharp dig into Melburnian’s penchant for polyamory), stories of getaways and double standards on Grindr , or vanity settling into a deadly car crash, no stone is left unturned or feels too embarrassing or graphic for them to mine for a laugh.

The sprinkling of direction from Mark Bonanno (of Aunty Donna) is evident – ​​the chemistry and tightness between the two is remarkably stronger than on previous outings.

A very solid nightcap to end your evening (or warm you up for the Festival Club after). Tyson Wray

Cancer, Evil Siblings, and a Giant Talking Fish: Danielle Walker.

Cancer, Evil Siblings, and a Giant Talking Fish: Danielle Walker.Credit:

Danielle Walker, Nostalgia ★★★★
Hotel Victoria, until April 24

A great festival show will leave you with a slip in your stride and a new take on at least one word. Danielle Walker’s passive-aggressive deployment of the word “hysterical” in a dynamite anecdote about a possible ax murderer still has me laughing 24 hours later.

Walker presents a scrapbook of stories about his tough and ready Townsville family, including a bunch of gorgeous anecdotes about his charismatic grandfather. His refreshing regional take on Australia includes a searing comment on how we view death based on geography: “You city dwellers outsource your death to the country.” Oooft.

She manages to blend tales of cancer, evil siblings and giant talking fish into a very satisfying narrative full of very ‘Strayan’ acts like: “Suck shit, Ryan, LOSER!”

Once it engages the crowd from the start and cuts its closing story for more emotional impact, this incredibly likeable comic will have a patriotic home run on its hands. Mikey Cahill

Annie Louey flirt with death ★★★½
Melbourne City Hall, until April 24

To perform in front of a standing coffin is a daring staging. God knows how those who share Annie Louey’s room at the festival’s town hall feel about seeing her backstage every night.

Annie Louey finds the funny side of death.

Annie Louey finds the funny side of death.Credit:

But that’s the crushing crux of this show: death. We’re all going to die, and Louey knows that more intimately than most – opening with the story of his father’s funeral attended by former Melbourne Lord Mayor John So.

As Louey recounts his time working at a funeral home, there are scintillating insights into superstitions around meeting your maker, and a demonic depiction of the linguistic connotations of the tonal way the Chinese language spells out numbers.

There are sections that drag a bit, but luckily there are no other deaths on stage.

The finale is absolutely brilliant – but can’t be shared without spoilers. You will have to find out for yourself. Tyson Wray

Steph Tisdell, Baby Beryl ★★½
Melbourne City Hall, until April 24

Steph Tisdell brings boundless energy to her

Steph Tisdell brings boundless energy to her “non-show show.”Credit:

When Steph Tisdell says she hasn’t written a series, apparently she’s not kidding. Tisdell shares her authentic self, telling stories about personal growth, family, school days, and mental health. Revealing that humor helps her deal with shit, she urges the audience to shout stuff during her “non-show”.

A good chunk of time is spent playing talk show host. She easily gets the gossip from a willing audience who joined the empathetic comedian on stage for a full reveal.

The guests’ story of her daughter’s boyfriend having to be officially kicked out of the family home ends up unexpectedly fascinating, while the resort to childish penis jokes takes on a shocking note.

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With boundless energy, Tisdell comes across as vulnerable but scattered. On purpose, apparently. Donna Demaio

Damien Power, Love thy neighbor ? No thanks ★★★★½
Melbourne City Hall, until April 24

Using bitterness as a comedic construct, Damien Power delivers one of the sweetest and most acerbic performances at this year’s festival.

Always the smartest guy in the room, Brisbane-born Power has kept himself busy during the pandemic, delivering an observational anthropological fire on the ridiculousness of modern life. The grinning assassin hurls anti-feel good mantras like “Regret, Revenge, Resent” amidst truth bombs at man’s best friend: “You know dogs can smell tumors?”

Power’s tireless approach to his craft rocks the crowd when he breaks the fourth wall and points to “hyper-sexualized” audience members.

The writing of jokes about sex therapists named Chantelle, rival stepdads, and scathing reviews from standing peers elevate this show to a holy place. Power makes us feel like we’re in for an hour-long personal prank full of rogues, I-can’t-believe-he’s gone sideways – what more could you ask for? Mikey Cahill

Fan of wacky collages: Emma Holland.

Fan of wacky collages: Emma Holland.Credit:

Emma Holland, dreamer in the mist ★★★
Melbourne City Hall, until April 24

Emma Holland is someone you want to date. She’s naturally funny, super crazy, and really loves (checks notes) collage.

This underrated craft features prominently on his show, a surreal hour about his privileged Anglican upbringing, David Blaine and his French doppelganger, which functions like a Greek choir. I have to genuflect at one of his best lines “Anglican school is like Catholic school but for sexy kids.”

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It would help the pacing of her show if she used her sarcastic look (as much as we love it) sparingly, making us crave that mean look.

In my opinion, Holland has the best koala-based pun of the festival (I gave you a hint 19 words ago) and a very bright future once she leans into her strengths, hires a playwright, and will draw his weakest jokes. Mikey Cahill

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