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I’m so excited to have learned the Sydney comedy scene seems quite strong in Australia, as the past two comedy shows I’ve been to have featured full houses and lots of laughter throughout. This past weekend, I attended my first stand-up show at Happy Endings in Kings Cross, an intimate underground 65-person theater with a stylish lounge up top where attendees can drink and chat before the show starts.
I went to a “happy hour” there, an hour-long show that featured three stellar Aussie comics: Sean Woodland, Ray Badran and Chris Radburn. After getting a drink (the bar is cash only) and waiting in the lounge for about 15 minutes after show time, the theater was opened to attendees, who were ushered in party by party and given seats. Everyone had a great view of the stage, and many were near tables, allowing patrons to set their drinks down.
I wouldn’t say there are many significant distinguishing characteristics between the stand-up comedy styles of Aussies versus Americans, though I have discovered, I tend to “Wooo!” a lot more than Australian audience members. This difference was blatantly pointed out in the warm-ups for a live talk show I attended in Australia, when the audience was told to “cheer and clap like Americans” in order to convey excitement during the show. While I’m used to participating and cheering if a comedian asks a question I can relate to, in Australia, I haven’t witnessed that as much.
Despite the more subdued audiences in terms of cheering (there is still lots of laughing), the stand-up comedy was relatable in Australia, as Woodland told a killer party story involving Sinéad O’Connor, Badran had engaging weight loss anecdotes, and Radburn hysterically talked about fatherhood. What I did think was interesting was that every single comic mentioned America in their set. After hearing a joke from the door lady about “stupid Americans” directed towards my party before entering, I found the remarks about my home country interesting, as always, here in Australia.
From the chill lounge experience up top, to the excitement of the underground show, to the cozy feel of the comedy club combined with the personal ushering to your seat, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and high-quality talent at Happy Endings. My only suggestion for improvement would be to swap the curtain dividing the club from the lounge to a door. As soon as ticket holders for the following show started congregating in the lounge, their laughter and talking could be heard downstairs, which was a bit distracting from the show. Otherwise, I can’t wait to head back and see more entertaining Aussie comedy.
For more information on Happy Endings, head here.