Just for laughs

HI CAL: Comedian Cal Wilson is bringing her act rich in jokes to Nowra this month.

HI CAL: Comedian Cal Wilson is bringing her act rich in jokes to Nowra this month.

Why did the comedian cross the road? The best answer to that riddle will be provided on Saturday, June 28 when the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow comes to town.

A highlight of the Nowra calendar, the festival sees the stars of Australia’s biggest comedy festival hitting the road and making their way around the continent.

This year it will be Cal Wilson, Tom Ballard, David Quirk, ElbowSkin and Ivan Aristeguieta providing the laughs on the Nowra leg of the tour.

Comedian, broadcaster and actor Cal Wilson came across the Tasman in 2003 and has gone on to become one of our most popular comedians.

She is a perennial favourite on television shows and has appeared on Spicks and Specks, Good News Week and Thank God You’re Here.

Her comedy career began in New Zealand in 1990 where she was a founding member of the Court Jesters improvisation group. Wilson was part of the NZ team that won the World Theatresports title in Los Angeles in 1994.

In 1997, she received the inaugural Billy T Award, New Zealand's most prestigious comedy award recognising comedians with outstanding potential and was judged Best Comedian 2000 by Metro Magazine.

However, like all great New Zealand talent, Australia has claimed her as its own and Wilson has made Melbourne her home for the past 10 years.

Wilson has appeared three times at the prestigious, invitation only, Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, and had a successful season of her one woman show Jekyll and Bride at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

In 2001 Wilson won the Best Newcomer Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and has performed right around the country as part of the MICF Roadshow.

A highlight for her in 2011 was appearing with Stephen Fry and Alan Davies on live stage tour QI Live.

She was subsequently invited to the UK to be a guest on two episodes of the BBC television series.

On radio Wilson has co-hosted with comedians Akmal Saleh and Dylan Lewis.

Tom Ballard began performing in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Class Clowns competition when he was in high school.

CLASS CLOWN: Tom Ballard has never recovered from losing a comedy competition in high school.

CLASS CLOWN: Tom Ballard has never recovered from losing a comedy competition in high school.

He never won and the experience has left him with an overwhelming sense of inadequacy and bitterness and he’d rather we all just moved on.

Ballard was a national finalist in RAW Comedy 2006 and, based on that performance (which featured a joke about his small penis), he was offered airtime on triple j.

In 2009, along with his silly friend Alex Dyson, Ballard took over the triple j Weekend Breakfast shift, as well as performing his debut solo stand-up show, Tom Ballard Is What He Is.

For those who like their comedy so dark it’s burnt, David Quirk’s material travels between the profane and profound, often finding comedy in our darkest moments.

Since then, Ballard has performed at the invite-only Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and at comedy festivals, fringe festivals, theatres and comedy clubs all over Australia.

On the small screen Ballard has appeared in Good News Week, Spicks’n’Specks, Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight, Can of Worms, This Week Live, The Circle, triple jtv and The Drum.

For those who like their comedy so dark it’s burnt, David Quirk’s material travels between the profane and profound, often finding comedy in our darkest moments.

The Melbourne-based stand-up comedian and actor is a regular presence on the Australian and international comedy circuit.

In addition to his numerous successful solo shows, David has co-created and performed in two award-winning collaborations: The Incident (2010 Winner Golden Gibbo Award Melbourne Comedy Festival), a bromantic comedy with Sam Simmons, and more recently Bunny written by Benjamin Cittadini and performed with Craig Peade (2011 Winner Melbourne Fringe Festival Brisbane Powerhouse Innovation in Theatre Award).

Ivan Aristeguieta had a successful comedy and radio announcer career in his home country Venezuela.

Two years ago he and his wife migrated to Australia and Aristeguieta took on the challenge of doing comedy in a second language.

With only a few months doing comedy in English Ivan was hand-picked by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival to participate in The Comedy Zone.

Aristeguieta’s comedy is insightful, witty and creative. His personality is fresh and friendly and has already captivated comedy club audiences and corporate audiences around the country.

Melbourne musical comedy duo ElbowSkin has been entertaining crowds around Australia and the world since 2003.

Their cheeky brand of musical comedy has seen them featured on Channel 7's AFL Gameday, The Beer Factor on Channel GO! with Tom Gleeson and Tommy Little and ABC's Time of Our Lives.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow is on Saturday, June 28.

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