Best of Australian stand-up comedy comes to town

Joel Creasey, the youngest comedian in the festival this year, is also known as the Acid Tongue Prince. -- PHOTO: THE SUBSTATION
Joel Creasey, the youngest comedian in the festival this year, is also known as the Acid Tongue Prince. -- PHOTO: THE SUBSTATION
Anne Edmonds has not yet decided if she would be playing her trusty banjo during her show here, while Luke McGregor (above) will definitely be making jokes about his red hair. -- PHOTO: THE SUBSTATION
Anne Edmonds has not yet decided if she would be playing her trusty banjo during her show here, while Luke McGregor (above) will definitely be making jokes about his red hair. -- PHOTO: THE SUBSTATION
Anne Edmonds (above) has not yet decided if she would be playing her trusty banjo during her show here, while Luke McGregor will definitely be making jokes about his red hair. -- PHOTO: THE SUBSTATION
Anne Edmonds (above) has not yet decided if she would be playing her trusty banjo during her show here, while Luke McGregor will definitely be making jokes about his red hair. -- PHOTO: THE SUBSTATION

Five top Australian comedians will be here next week for a comedy festival

Joel Creasey was studying political science in university before he dropped out to become a stand-up comedian.

"I was obsessed with the television show Commander In Chief at the time and I wanted to be Geena Davis. I was told that it was an unrealistic goal," he says, in mock disbelief. The actress played the first female president of the United States in the 2005 TV series.

The 23-year-old, who grew up in Perth, is not the only Australian comedian who made a drastic switch. Luke McGregor sat behind a desk for seven years as a senior performance analyst, while Anne Edmonds was once a government employee working in the mental health industry.

The three are now among the hottest acts in Australian comedy and will be here next week for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow.

The festival is in its 28th year and this roadshow version sees the five biggest acts in Australian comedy taking the show outside of Melbourne and abroad.

Rounding up the five are Ronny Chieng and Harley Breen, regulars in the Australian comic circuit. At the roadshow, each performer will put on a 20-minute act with Breen doubling as host.

Presented by The Substation arts centre for the 10th year in Singapore, the festival has been a consistent hit with the local audience.

"We've had a very warm response to the festival over the years. Last year was our best-ever year, with more than 90 per cent of tickets sold," says Ms Emily Hoe, general manager at The Substation.

This year's show promises to deliver the laughs and this time the big shoes are filled by some young talent.

The baby of the group, Creasey only burst onto the scene in 2010 at the tender age of 19, but has since staged multiple solo shows. He even opened for American comedienne Joan Rivers on Broadway last year. Rivers is known for her acerbic wit on E! Entertainment Television's cable television programme Fashion Police.

A self-professed Rivers fan, the openly gay Creasey is happy to follow in her footsteps, adopting the moniker "Acid Tongue Prince". It was first used in a scathing review of one of his shows and he felt it was an apt description.

"The joke's on them," he quips.

For McGregor, 31, stand-up comedy only became a viable full-time option in the past one year. Before that, he had only performed at gigs on the side while holding down his regular job.

The Tasmanian-born comedian, whose red hair stands out against his pale, freckly skin, capitalises on his awkward countenance, telling tales of social experiences gone wrong.

"For example, for a long time I didn't know how to leave a conversation at parties without insulting the person I was talking to. So I'd just stay there till they left," says McGregor. His act also draws from his bad luck with the opposite sex.

If not with women, he is definitely a hit with audiences. McGregor took home the Best Newcomer award at last year's festival in Melbourne, after staging his first solo show there.

Having to pare down their one-hour act to just 20 minutes will be a challenge for the comedians. McGregor says that he will try to infuse some elements of local humour and also remove slang that people outside Australia would not understand.

"I might take out words like 'struth', which is an exclamation that you might say if you lock yourself out of your car," he explains. "Struth" is an Australian slang word which is a contraction of the term "God's truth".

For 36-year-old Edmonds, she will have to decide whether to bring her trademark banjo on stage.

Hailing from Darwin, the comedienne has created a special brand of stand-up, which incorporates personal stories, character comedy (usually parodies of people living in middle Australia) and self-composed ditties on Steven, her trusty banjo.

"I might sing," teases Edmonds, who is the only woman in the show.

What she can promise is an element of surprise. Edmonds is known for infusing some risque content into her act.

"I like to make people believe that I'm nice and then shock them," she says, her tone deadpan.

Another person who aims to shock is Creasey. For his upcoming act in Singapore he says to "expect some very tight jeans, big coiffed hair and scandalous stories about my life and my mum". His mother and her wine-loving ways often feature in his act.

"I've created a monster. She pretends like she doesn't like it but she loves it. She has fans," says Creasey. Looks like the acid-tongued prince has some competition for the throne.

nabilahs@sph.com.sg