City's comedy scene gaining momentum

BELLY laughs ring out through Launceston venues with vigour and regularity.

The city is enjoying a boom in stand-up comedy, says comedian Stewart Bell.

Bell, who has been performing stand-up comedy since 2011, also works behind the scenes in setting up regular events, including Fresh Comedy.

There are at least three regular comedy nights in Launceston - including Fresh Comedy, as well as Uber Comedy at Dickens Ciderhouse and monthly nights at Country Club Tasmania's Tonic Bar.

Bell said that when he began his foray into the scene, there were "few local comics".

"There had been Triple J Raw Comedy heats in the past, but these were now held in Hobart due to a lack of interest in Launceston," he said.

Now, comedy in Launceston is a regular fixture in social calendars, with events at all venues drawing packed audiences. The state winner of 2014 RAW Comedy was the city's own Kerri Gay.

Bell said the tipping point came in 2012, when Fresh Comedy - the brain child of David Bakker and Tim Logan - began to gain momentum and more local comics stepped onto the stage.

Acts such as Hannah Gadsby, Tom Ballard, Heath Franklin's Chopper, Sammy J, Randy, Felicity Ward and Sam Simmons have visited Launceston in the past two years to perform at Fresh.

"Comedy in Tasmania is in a great place at the moment - we have a diverse range of talented acts," Bell said.

"The scene is also very supportive and a healthy competition exists that helps foster creative development. We have a history of Tasmanians achieving great success in the industry - Josh Earl, Hannah Gadsby, Luke McGregor to name a few. I'm sure that will continue."

Bell said Launceston was "edging closer to Hobart", where there are more than six comedy rooms churning out the laughs.

"We hope to see the scene continue to grow," he said.

"There is a lot of shit in the world and comedy is a release. People want to laugh."

Right ingredients for three-horned laughter attack

LAUNCESTON comedian Stewart Bell will be joined by Hobart's Jono Mastrippolito and Chris Menezies in a three-horned laughter attack.

They'll line up as Triceratops Comedy, to be hosted by JJJ RAW Comedy state finalist Matt Young.

In fact, all the performers are RAW Comedy state finalists, except for Menezies, who made it to the national finals.

Mastrippolito hosts Empire Comedy in Hobart, and his friends say his head looks like a broccoli, but he doesn't let it get him down.

Cloud Comedy's Menezies likes to keep things dark and mysterious, while home-town hero and Fresh Comedy host Bell lists "Michael Bolton" under his interests.

If you part with $5, you can see the trio as Triceratops Comedy on September 5 at 7.30pm at Fresh Cafe in Launceston.


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