Newcastle set to host international comedy festival

LANGUAGE WARNING. Al Del Bene will perform at the Newcastle International Comedy Festival.

The Civic Theatre will be one of the venues to host the inaugural Newcastle International Comedy Festival, with Newcastle City Council (NCC) kicking in to make it happen.

The man behind the event, Newcastle comic and comedy promoter Andrew Milos, said the city was ready to host a major comedy event.

“Every major city in Australia has a comedy festival,” Mr Milos said. “Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, even Canberra has one now. I am quietly confident it will be something special.” 

Twenty national and international comics will descend on the city to deliver shows at The Civic and other CBD venues. The city’s light-rail would connect all the venues participating in the event. 

Mr Milos is currently “head-hunting” talent for the festival, to be held from May 25-27, 2019. 

“They will all be well established comics who are doing it professionally,” Mr Milos said. “I have a high standard for what I want it to be.” 

IN IT FOR LAUGHS: Andrew Milos will launch the Newcastle International Comedy Festival. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

IN IT FOR LAUGHS: Andrew Milos will launch the Newcastle International Comedy Festival. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

Los Angeles-based comic Al Del Bene is confirmed. The Star can also reveal one of the biggest names in Australian television and comedy is set to emcee the event. This emcee will be named later in the year.

Mr Milos grew up watching comedy in venues in Sydney. His uncle, Richard “the Dickster” Kaminski, was a headline comic in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s. 

“I did comedy on and off. I thought I would just give it a shot, with mixed success,” Milos said. “But I started meeting people. 

“Because I knew how comedy rooms run, I wanted to start one here in Newcastle.”

He established Big Dog Comedy in 2016. Based on its success, many shows sell out, he believes Newcastle will support a comedy festival. 

Mr Milos said the city had produced some strong comedic talent, including Rhys Nicholson and Cameron James.

“They have to go straight to Sydney or Melbourne and that’s why you never really hear of them,” he said. “There was no comedy rooms here for them.” 

The festival will follow on from Sydney Comedy Festival and Mr Milos hopes the timing will help attract talent to Newcastle. NCC awarded the event a $15,000 grant. 

This story Bringing the laughs first appeared on The Star.