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British Comedy

Tim & Graeme to appear at Sydney's World's Funniest Island Festival in Oct
10/07/2009 00:00 GMT

Posted by lisa

More details at last about Tim & Graeme's return to Australia, as reported in today's Sydney Morning Herald (at

Comedy castaways
July 10, 2009

Cockatoo Island is about to host a weekend of wall-to-wall laughs, writes Elissa Blake.

An ambitious new comedy festival is aiming to turn Cockatoo Island into an annual laugh extravaganza. It plans to feature dozens of local and international acts ranging from burlesque, street theatre and student reviews to renowned comics, a controversial musical and even a clever remake of Mad Max with overdubs.

"This is a festival for a city with attention deficit disorder," cackles John Pinder, director of World's Funniest Island, the "world's first all-day, all-evening comedy festival", which takes over the Sydney Harbour venue on October 17-18.

"We know Sydney is a city that wants things to happen right now and be over by Monday morning. So this will be like a rock festival, only full of hilarious comedy."

World's Funniest Island will feature more than 200 international and local comedians performing in 18 venues over two days. One of the headline acts will be legendary British comedian, actor and author Alexei Sayle, best known as the students' landlord in The Young Ones, for the spoken word hit 'Ullo John! Got A New Motor? and a minor yet memorable role in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.

"Alexei Sayle is one of a pantheon of great British comedians," Pinder says. "They had a little show in a London strip club and Alexei would host the show saying, 'Hello I'm an alternative comedian and I'm non-racist, non-sexist and not f---ing funny!' Then he'd have a string of jokes that are totally unprintable," Pinder says.

Sayle will perform two shows at the World's Funniest Island. One is based on excerpts from a selection of the comic novels he's written over the past decade. The other will be an "Evening With Alexei Sayle", with anecdotes from his time with The Young Ones and the Comic Strip Club. "He's older and balder now but still incredibly funny," Pinder says.

Some of the other early acts announced include British comedy legends The Goodies' Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden in a show hosted by The Chaser's Andrew Hansen (see box), stand-up comics Wil Anderson and Fiona O'Loughlin and radio stars Merrick and Rosso.

The controversial new comic musical Beaconsfield: The Musical, a hit of the Melbourne Comedy Festival, is also part of the line-up. Other musical acts include the

a capella choir Spooky Men's Chorale and Die Roten Punkte, an outrageous - allegedly German - rock act. There will also be a whole venue dedicated to all-day student revue-style comedy sponsored by the University of Sydney.

At the end of each night, Mad Max The Remix, a crazy one-hour comic cut-up of all three Mad Max films by performer Eddie Sharp, will screen with overdubs by a team of live actors. The story follows Max, the greatest dancer of all time, on his quest to join Miss Tina's prestigious Bartertown Dance academy.

More headline acts will be announced on July 14 when the website goes live (worldsfunniest with more to be announced in the coming weeks.

Cockatoo Island, which has already played host to the Biennale of Sydney and the Nick Cave-curated music festival, All Tomorrow's Parties, will be crawling with street performers, musicians and stand-up comics during the two-day festival. There will be more than 60 market stalls, 20 food outlets and 15 bars. The festival is an all-ages event with children under five allowed in free with an adult, there will be over-18 wristbands to purchase alcohol and some shows will be adults only.

Ferries will run in three shifts in the morning and late at night with punters being asked to nominate their preferred departure time (from Circular Quay or King Street Wharf) at the time of ticket purchase.

"If you come early there will be a breakfast gala showcasing a potpourri of performers that you can choose to see again later in the day," Pinder says. "Then there will be a big bang of headline acts around midday and peak shows mid-evening. Everyone will be out by 1am at the latest and they can come back the next day and do it all over again."

A group claiming to be not a comedy act is riotous Die Roten Punkte. Brother and sister Otto and Astrid have been stunning audiences throughout the world with their high-energy Ramones-meets-the Cure tomfoolery. "Our manager keeps booking us into comedy festivals but ve are real rock and roll," Otto insists in his flamboyantly German-accented English. "Sometimes ze people are laughing but ve don't mind. Ve are playing at ze end of both nights unt ve just vant people to rock out, ja!"

October 17-18, 10am-midnight, Cockatoo Island, one-day pass $120, two-day pass $210. One ticket offers access to all shows on that day. Tickets on sale July 20.

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