Reviewed on Monday April 28

Laughter exploded across Newtown on Monday night as the Sydney Comedy Festival’s Cracker Night hit the Enmore Theatre’s stage.

Australian comedy veteran Bob Downe hosted the night with his usual flamboyance and loud-suit-wearing flair. He kicked off the evening and warmed the crowd with his rendition of ‘Pretty Woman’.

Being first up at a comedy gala can be daunting, but Cam Knight took it all in his stride. He also managed to kill with his impression of North Shore women at the races. Knight was followed by former triple j breakfast host Tom Ballard and his truly hilarious asylum seeker proposal involving CityRail.

The talented Felicity Ward (who you’ll definitely know if you pay attention to yoghurt commercials as much as I do) was up next and discussed the perils of engaging in tweet wars with sexist, conservative priests. Folllowing Ward, flailing funnyman Paul Foot rambunctiously presented his theories on men secretly disliking beer and the truth behind drunken punch-ups.

Ray Badran’s self-deprecating style was definitely a crowd-pleaser. Craig Hill gyrated his way onstage in a kilt and proceeded to engage in the old stand-up fallbacks of asking audience members where they’re from and making fun of place names. He did, however, redeem himself with his disturbingly accurate impressions of famous divas.

Local legend Dave Hughes finished off the first act with his criticisms of hipster beards and Jetstar, as well as burning the image of himself with a spray tan into the minds of everyone.

Following the intermission, Steen Raskopoulos graced the stage as a Greek Orthodox priest. He proceeded to review Gravity and discuss Nespresso intensities with audience members… all in a traditional Gregorian-style chant, naturally.

Next, The Axis Of Awesome rocked out with a Macklemore-inspired tribute to iPhones ruling our lives, while Frank Woodley utilised his physical comedy prowess to propose a Psychological Olympics.

The musical comedy continued with Jared Jekyll who wowed the crowd with beatboxing and a loop pedal. He also had an incredibly impressive ‘rope trick’ that it wouldn’t be fair to spoil. This relative newcomer is definitely one to keep an eye on in the future.

Sarah Kendall revealed all of our own secret thoughts about posh mothers who don’t discipline their kids, while larrikin Nick Cody taught us valuable lessons about going on holidays, such as how to not get seated near children on flights and how to accurately use a Thai toilet.

The truly amazing Rhys Nicholson proved that we’re not the only ones who use Facebook to judge arseholes from our high school days. Ronny Chieng wrapped up the evening by simultaneously exercising his lawyer and comedy muscles and proving he’s someone you don’t want to get into an argument with.

It’s rare to get a comedy gala that’s all killer and no filler, but Cracker Night certainly managed this achievement. The audience left with its funny bones adequately tickled whilst waxing rhapsodic about all of the comedians. The top picks of the evening would have to be Jekyll, Nicholson and Ballard – I can’t wait to see more from them over the course of the festival.

5/5 stars

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