Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

By Sam Gillespie

A group of local comedians are bringing their monthly Open Mic Night to the Ambassador Hotel today, June 30, and are inviting the community to have a crack.

The event has run on the last Friday of the month for over two years, giving locals a platform to expand their performance skills while offering Mackay an alternative for their Friday night’s entertainment.

Mackay Open Mic Comedy Group formed after a course was hosted by comedians Anna Brennan and Mandy Brown, where they met and began their monthly shows.

Brenden Hayles and Michelle Byrne had both always wanted to perform stand-up but weren’t seeing many opportunities in Mackay until then.

“I learnt the structure of a joke, understanding how to interact with a crowd and working with material on the spot,” said Mr Hayles.

“It isn’t just about getting up in front of a mic, there are a few processes with your writing and timing,” added Ms Byrne.

“We learnt so much and we got to put it into play at the end of our course when we put on our first show; we all felt like we’d hit the big time.”

The group has been hosting open mic nights ever since, rotating their roles from emcee to headliner, and inviting out-of-town guests to mix up each show.

On Friday, Ms Byrne, who had been hosting friends’ events for six years and had always been told she was funny, will bring her relatable brand of comedy to the stage as emcee.

“We cruise through the day without looking back and having a laugh,” she said.

“It’s true, laughter is the best medicine and it’s great for your health.

“These days, I think we need to find that funny side of things because we’re all too serious.”

Mr Hayles will also perform alongside headliner Deanne from Nth Queensland, with the invitation open for anyone else to come up and crack a gag.

“Anybody can have a go,” Mr Hayles said.

“You can come and do five minutes and try your best dad joke.

“We always encourage people to come up.”

The pair urge anyone who’s ever considered themselves a comedian to have a try, promising a safe, non-judgemental space full of laughs.

“We can laugh at ourselves, we can laugh with each other,” said Ms Byrne.

“Hearing the laughter in the room, especially if you’ve got that one person who has that odd laugh, it’s a nice pat on the back.

“You never know, it might be just the thing that you keep wanting to do.”

WHAT: Open Mic Night

WHEN: Friday, June 30 from 7:00pm

WHERE: The Ambassador Hotel Lush Bar

TICKETS: $10 at the door

Michelle Byrne will emcee Friday night’s Open Mic Night. Photo supplied

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