Tuggeranong Arts Centre have teamed up with Canberra comedy stalwart Chris Ryan to create a night of comedy specifically for Tuggeranong locals so they can kick back, laugh and relax close to home.
With the inner north having long been known as the spiritual home of Canberra’s stand-up scene, the establishment of Club Sandwich Comedy follows Smith and fellow Canberra comedy favourite Tom Gibson having successfully run a monthly room at Beyond Q Bookshop in Weston Creek for some time now.
“It’s been pretty much sold out; it’s the best, and we’re getting regulars now who weren’t big comedy fans before,” Ryan says.
Off the back of that, venturing further into the suburbs is a no brainer for Ryan.
“I’m a suburban family person, and I don’t like to drive to Civic or Braddon for everything, I’d rather see live entertainment in my neighborhood if I can.
“Canberrans love having a local comedy night because it makes the logistics of travel, parking or even assembling a crew of mates or workmates that much easier,” she says.
With their first night scheduled for 15 February 8pm, Ryan hopes Club Sandwich Comedy can draw enough of a crowd to become a monthly fixture.
“People love the idea of rocking up to their neighborhood shops and being able to see a live comedy show, and I hope they feel that way about our Tuggeranong Arts Centre gigs.”
“People like ownership, having the thing they’re going to in their own backyard,” Gibson adds.
Alongside Ryan and Gibson, their line-up features esteemed local comics Benny Eggmolesse, Frances McNair and National RAW Comedy finalist, Tim Noo; who will all add a bit of sauce to the sandwich.
With a thriving local comedy scene that continues to grow, Club Sandwich Comedy presents another outlet for Canberra comics to hone their craft.
“Lots of people go to comedy when there’s someone high-profile, but a bit like music, it’s often better when it’s someone who’s not well known, but is still producing something interesting and original,” Gibson says.
“What we’re hoping to do is build our audience here, and bring comedy to people who’ve never thought to do it,” Ryan adds.
“We want new performers as well as new audience members, and I think all of us comics as performers love to opportunity for a new room because we’ll have new audiences.
“We’re always looking to build and diversify our comedian line-up, and get newcomers because it’s exciting to get new and different voices,” she says.
Gibson says that for audiences, seeing local comedians comes with a sense of familiarity based on shared experience.
“We know the audience, and while not all of our material centres on Canberra, we still live the same lives, and so with a cross of demographics it allows for a greater connection.”
A born-and-bred Tuggeranong boy, Gibson says he’s proud to bring stand-up to his home patch.
“I was raised in Tuggers, Kambah, 2912. I don’t need to get it tattooed, it’s tattooed on the inside,” Gibson jokes.
“Tuggeranong people are proud, this is their patch and they own it, and it’s good. They own all the flaws along with the good stuff like the Hyperdome, or South.Point as it’s now known.”
Alongside running local rooms, both Smith and Gibson are looking forward to staging their one-hour comedy shows at The Street Theatre during this year’s Canberra Comedy Festival in March.
They will also travel to Melbourne together to perform at Australia’s mecca of stand-up, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, shortly after.
Club Sandwich Comedy will take place at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre on Friday 15 February 8pm; tuggeranongarts.com