Live Business Breakfast: Variety Australia, Twilio Presents ‘Best Australian Comedy Tour’

Live Business Breakfast: Variety Australia, Twilio

Australia’s premium youth publisher, The Brag Media, presents Variety Australia and Twilio’s inaugural Live Business Breakfast, June 13 at Sydney’s 12-Micron. On the morning, seven special awards will be handed out for excellence in live entertainment.

Variety Australia now unveils the shortlist for one of those categories, Best Australian Comedy Tour.

Comedy is a funny business. When times are tough, punters need a laugh. When the going is good, laughter is good. In 2023, three of the pressing topics among concert promoters in Australia was the price of grass (that is, turf for stadiums. Not the stuff you smoke), the renaissance of country and the rise of comedy.

Silly stuff is serious. 

In 2023, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival reported its largest paid audience in its 37-year history. Across the fest’s 639 shows (comprising 7,418 individual performances), organisers reported 638,100 tickets sold. Total attendance was 735,857. In total, comedy fans had access to 167 performance spaces across 122 venues.

Need more? Jim Jefferies’ forthcoming tour is a growing beast. That’s a tale for another day.

Australians clearly love a giggle. Three recent tours made us laugh our collective heads off.

Jimmy Carr

Jimmy Carr’s Terribly Funny tour (Bohm Presents):

Jimmy Carr had them rolling in the aisles for his “Terribly Funny” tour of 2023. If Carr’s wit can be grueling, the Brit displayed the stamina of a marathon runner, lapping the country for 89 shows in Australia, according to Adrian Bohm, whose Bohm Presents presented the run.

“Terribly Funny” contained jokes about all kinds of terrible things, the blurb told us. Carr loves telling them (his roast of Pete Davidson leaves scars), and we love hearing them. The “Terribly Funny” tour kicked off May 2019 in the British Isles and paused for the pandemic, before sweeping into these parts.

Dave Chappelle Mathieu Bitton

Dave Chappelle national tour (Live Nation):

Dave Chappelle, funnyman, screenwriter, Netflix star and agent provocateur took his show to the biggest rooms in the land last year, with a national arena tour.

Along the way, the award-winning American comedian sold out the country’s biggest arenas, Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena (22,000) capacity and Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena (15,000), adding extra shows to cope with the demand. 

Live Nation Australia, which has notably invested in its comedy activities in recent years, produced the tour. The 2019 recipient of the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Chappelle also headlined shows in Perth, Wollongong and Brisbane.

Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart’s Reality Check tour (Live Nation):

What he lacks in stature, Kevin Hart more than makes up for at the box office. The U.S. comedian and film star filled arenas on his “Reality Check Tour” in 2023, which visited east and west coasts and was produced by Live Nation.

The Emmy and Grammy-nominated Hart headlined multiple shows at Qudos Bank Arena (an extra date was added following a sell-out), and stopped by Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena and RAC Arena.