Ryan Withers, 27 ("but my face just turned 15") ... surreal verbal riffer. Click for more photos

Send in the clowns

Ryan Withers, 27 ("but my face just turned 15") ... surreal verbal riffer. Photo: Marco Del Grande

  • Ryan Withers, 27 ("but my face just turned 15") ... surreal verbal riffer.
  • The Cloud Girls: Jennifer Carnovale and Madeleine Culp, both 26 ... a roller-coaster of absurdist characters.
  • Telia Nevile, 33 ... quirky, angst-filled Poet Laureate.
  • Tessa Waters, 28 ... exquisitely dexterous physical hilarity.
  • Smart Casual: Nick and Ben Mattick, 30 and 25 ... whimsical, narrative-based musical comedy.
  • Anne Edmonds, 32 ... sweet and sharp musical- and character-based comedy.
  • Vachel Spirason and Stephanie Brotchie, 25 and 26 ... poignantly hilarious physical whimsy.
  • Jennifer Wong, 30 ... smart word play and elegant cheek.
  • Lori Bell, 27 ... a smart stand-up and ukulele-playing bi-curious grandma.
  • Luke Heggie, 36 ... sharp, sardonic and understated.

Cover star Ryan Withers relocated to Britain and, with fellow 2011 Next Big Things Carnovale & Culp (the Cloud Girls), debuted at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Slow Clap (Vachel Spirason and Stephanie Brotchie) won Best Comedy at last year's Auckland Fringe, toured to London and the Edinburgh Fringe and won awards and five-star reviews for new show Truth at this year's Adelaide Fringe and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF).

Telia Nevile scored a five-star review at this year's Adelaide Fringe and a storming season in The Bedroom Philosopher's High School Assembly at the MICF.

Unleashed ... Lori Bell as Granny Flaps.

Unleashed ... Lori Bell as Granny Flaps.

Tessa Waters debuted A Little Bit of Standing up and a Little Bit of Falling Down, sparking rapturous praise at the MICF. Anne Edmonds inspired similar acclaim with My Banjo's Name is Steven. Smart Casual starred in a certain fast-food chain's TV ad and pulled in plaudits for new show Broken Dreams.

Jennifer Wong unleashed Ouch & Other Words at the MICF, with the Sydney Comedy Festival and Perth International Comedy Festival to come.

Lori Bell's R-rated alter ego Granny Flaps unleashed more filth in Loose Lips at the Adelaide Fringe before scandalising star gala Politically Incorrect at the MICF.

Luke Heggie garnered praise with more dry observation in Master of None at the Adelaide Fringe and scored a nomination for Best Newcomer at the 2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.