Sydney Comedy Festival 2014 has kicked off in glorious style with the Gala at Sydney Opera House on Tuesday April 22.

Our host for the night, Dave Hughes, set the tone with his no nonsense observations on everyday life. Full marks to Hughsie for turning his three young children into such marvellous comedy fodder.

The first guest up was Matt Okine, who made me hate both tongs and flatmates in one deadpan fell swoop.

He was followed by Luke McGregror, whose painfully awkward worries made the whole audience want to reassure him that it will all be okay. Probably.

Rhys Nicholson minced into the limelight next, and, while he took a minute to warm up, he soon had us in stitches with his thin-lipped, camp style of humour.

Fiona O’Loughlin was up next, with her thoughts on going into an old persons’ home (yes, please) and the likelihood of her children marrying dickheads (high).

Smart Casual came onstage grating parmesan directly into their mouths (and beards) and ended with some classical guitar and rather odd physical humour.

The last act of the first half was Jarred Christmas, who reckons his parents dicked him around a bit in the name stakes, giving his opinions on the gay marriage law.

After the intermission, Greek Orthodox priest Steen Raskopoulos reviewedGravityfrom his pulpit above the audience. He also professed his love for Nespresso, and fist bumped a bearded guy, in true Orthodox priest style.

Paul Foot took the stage next and his act, which consisted of a series of words and meaningless insults, lost most of the crowd.

Milton Jones, armed with an errant eyebrow, rained one-liners down on us like candy, at such a pace that you risked missing one by laughing too long at the previous one.

Denise Scott also talked about being an older woman, but added thoughts on abstract art and the time she saw a video of a vagina smoking a cigarette in a gallery.

Reginald D. Hunter, the booming voiced American, teetered on the edge of controversy with the Oscar Pistorius case and the obligatory race comments, but kept it light enough to be side splittingly hilarious.

He was followed by Ronny Chieng, a man with whom you probably never want to argue but who you almost definitely want to see doing stand-up.

Last up was Tom Gleeson, complete with suit and little smirk, who stood on stage and vented about the ridiculousness of cafes to an audience that was just about weeping with laughter.

The whole night was a roaring success, and we left in physical pain from laughing so hard. There were a few standout stand-ups though; Dave Hughes, Ronny Chieng, Reginald D. Hunter, Matt Okine, Tom Gleeson and Milton Jones were my picks for the night, and I’m looking forward to seeing them over the next few weeks.

4/5 stars

Sydney Comedy Festival 2014 runs until May 17.

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