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Comedy aims to make us laugh, but it’s not all sweetness and light. Humour can be a way of taking control over the dark side of life: for the comedians who write the jokes and the audiences who relish them.
The ‘sad clown’ cliché is often true, with high-profile comics increasingly coming out of the closet about their struggles with mental health, partly due to an increased awareness and acceptance. Can seeing the world from a skewed or outsider perspective make humour easier, even if it makes life harder? When we joke about mental health, is there a line between catharsis, or boundary-pushing, and offence? Join host Tom Ballard, Lawrence Mooney, Mark Watson and Sarah Kendall as they peek out from behind the red curtain to share their insights.
Tom Ballard is a comedian, writer, broadcaster, actor, philanthropist and philanderer.
In 2009 he became the youngest person ever to win the Melbourne International Comedy Festival's Best Newcomer Award. Since then he's co-hosted the Triple J breakfast show for four years, won an ARIA, supported the likes of Wil Anderson, Stephen Merchant and Danny Bhoy, roasted Jimmy Carr and even filled in for Tony Jones on ABC TV's Q&A .
While all that's very impressive, you should also know that Tom has quite bad eczema, is scared of going to the gym and can not cook anything at all.
Since bursting onto the scene at the 2001 Edinburgh Festival, Sarah Kendall has performed at many of the world’s leading comedy festivals — including Montreal, Kilkenny, Edinburgh, Melbourne and Hong Kong. Her work there has helped her to win and be nominated for many of the industry’s most prestigious stand-up comedy awards.
Lawrence Mooney is a stand up comedian with 18 years of experience.
Mark Watson is one of the most celebrated comedians on the international circuit. He has been awarded and nominated for numerous awards, including Best Newcomer at the Perrier Awards, the Panel Prize at the If.comedie Awards, the Barry Award at the Melbourne Comedy Festival (nominee) and the Time Out Critics Choice Award.
Mark has also regularly appeared on Australian screens on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Mock the Week, ABC TV’s Would I Lie To You and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.
The Wheeler Centre is delighted to partner with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. No jokes.