Canberra Comedy Festival 2018: is funny the new sexy?

Canberra Comedy Festival 2018: is funny the new sexy?

If online dating profiles are anything to go by, it seems there's one thing almost everyone is looking for: a GSOH. (That's a ''good sense of humour'' for those who haven't at some point bought a ticket on the endless torture carousel that is online dating.)

Being tall, good looking, smart and wealthy is sure to get you a look-in more often than not, but a quick wit and knowing your way around a good joke seems to be what really ticks boxes.

Nazeem Hussain is at the 2018 Canberra Comedy Festival with his new show,No Pain No Hussain!

Nazeem Hussain is at the 2018 Canberra Comedy Festival with his new show,No Pain No Hussain!

So is it easier to find a date if you're a comedian - someone who makes a living off making people LOL? Some of the comedians heading to the 2018 Canberra Comedy Festival weigh in.

Nazeem Hussain


"The butt of my jokes tends to be me, and how pathetic I am. I doubt that's attractive to anyone," says Nazeem Hussain. For the Aussie comedian, who last year did a stint on Channel Ten reality show I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!, being the funny guy growing up meant he had "little shame. I'd find myself playing the middle man for guys too nervous to ask girls out, and vice versa. I was a good salesperson for my friends looking for love. Always the bridesmaid - never the bride."

It may not have helped out in his dating life, but humour has helped Hussain out of a tough spot. "I once cut a guy off in traffic, and he was rightfully pissed off. He looked tough, he had tattoos and everything," he says.

"He caught up to me, stopped at the traffic light next to me, wound down his window ready to yell, but then recognised me. He said, 'OMG it's you! I love you bro, you're hilarious! Where are the hidden cameras?'. He then asked if we could have a selfie, which we did across the cars, and he laughed as he drove off. That incident has since given me confidence in traffic I never knew."

Show details: No Pain No Hussain. Saturday March 24, 7pm. Canberra Theatre Playhouse.

Yianni Agisilaou

Humour also helped British comedian Yianni Agisilaou out of a tight spot.

"I once talked myself out of a mugging by making the guy laugh," he says. "Well, I didn't talk myself out of it. I reduced the cost to me of the mugging from my phone to the contents of my wallet, which were £22.50. A significant discount, I think you'll agree."

Show details: Teaching A Robot To Love, Friday March 23, 8.15pm, The Civic Pub.

Stephen K Amos.


Stephen K Amos

Stephen K Amos has been a regular on the international comedy circuit for more than 15 years - so does a sense of humour make you more attractive?

"They do say that laughter is the best medicine, but if you have diabetes I would try aspirin first. Or is that insulin? I don't know, I'm not a qualified doctor, which is, by the way, what many of my friends are really looking for on a dating profile - dentist and lawyer will also do nicely," he says.

"Life's a beautiful tapestry and laughter is just one part of the jigsaw puzzle that is needed to fall in love with a total stranger."

But Amos believes there are benefits to making people laugh - sometimes. "Laughter can be a great distraction tool when asked a difficult maths question in front of the whole class at school. Some people also say that bullies can be disarmed with laughter. I say it can make the situation 10 times worse and leave you with a wedgie. Coming from a large family, it was certainly one of the tools needed to survive and get noticed. With so many siblings, can you imagine sitting at the dinner table, when your mum leans to your brother and points at me, asking 'who's that?'

"Laughing through a university interview was also not one of my finest hours and I was told I would never be allowed into Oxford. However, it did give me a great routine, that I told on stage 10 years later, when I was paid to perform at the same university's graduation ball."

Stephen K Amos: Bread & Circuses, Thursday March 22, 7.30pm, Canberra Theatre.

Canberra comedian Chris Ryan.

Canberra comedian Chris Ryan.

Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan's comedy has seen her regularly perform around town and earned her a stint on breakfast radio, but it can't get the Canberran what she truly wants. "I am a 44-year-old mother of two. I don't want to be attractive - I just want a nap," she says.

"The most attractive thing I can do for my partner is a non-essential chore he hasn't got around to, like wash the windows.

"If my comedy makes others find me attractive there's something wrong with them. How can talking about all of my flaws and the baffling imbeciles of the world be hot?"

Show details: Grey Matter. Thursday March 22, 7pm. Big Band Room, ANU School of Music

Cameron James

Cameron James admits he's well and truly attracted to humour himself: "There's nothing hotter to me than a funny woman. I love to laugh". But when it comes to the other way around, he's not so convinced it helps.

"I do think women are attracted to a funny guy, but you know what I think they're more attracted to? Abs. All my girl friends say they love a laugh, but then end up with dudes with abs. And the rules are you can be a good comedian or have abs, never both."

Even without abs, a good joke can get you out of a punch up. It might even increase your social media following.

"I once got out of a fist fight thanks to comedy. A guy heckled me and I made fun of him during the show. Then afterwards he followed me to the car park and tried to fight me. The Beatles were playing on the pub soundtrack and before he got a hit in I said, 'I never thought I'd get my ass kicked to Yellow Submarine', and he burst out laughing. We're friends on Facebook now."

Show details: Chilled Out/Fired Up, Saturday March 24, 8.15pm, The Street Theatre.

Benjamin and James Stevenson from The Stevenson Experience.

Benjamin and James Stevenson from The Stevenson Experience. Credit:Monica Pronk

The Stevenson Experience

When trying to attract a new partner, Benjamin Stevenson, one-half of Canberra comedic duo The Stevenson Experience, doesn't think a sense of humour is always a good thing.

"Everyone wants a sense of humour, but what they really want is superannuation and a mentally stable partner. It probably works against you, in the end, if you have to always be 'on'. Besides, you can get a laugh by going to watch a comedian, you don't need to date them. Stick with a boring but healthy retirement plan," he says.

And it turns out a funny bone isn't only unhelpful for dating, it can also prove problematic if you find yourself on a television game show.

"I'm not proud, but I was on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire last year. It's actually super stressful - Eddie's talking at you and the clock is ticking. So, naturally, I blurted out a joke about ISIS. That was promptly edited out of the show," he says.

"And if you want to know if I won a million dollars, come to the show."

Show details: Spot The Difference, Saturday March 24, 8.30pm, The Street Theatre.

John Hastings

But it's not all bad. John Hastings' new show Audacity is all about falling in love with the woman of his dreams. It might just be the oxytocin speaking, but the loved-up Canadian is far more positive about the effect of a good sense of humour.

"I think a sense of humour is totally attractive. Would you rather head to the bone zone with someone who makes you laugh or some lecturer who speaks with the rhythm of a dial tone? I think we say 'must have sense of humour' because 'don't be a creep' does not really help separate the cool from the creeps," he says.

Show details: Audacity, Friday March 23, 8.15pm, The Street Theatre.

Luke Heggie.

Luke Heggie.

Luke Heggie

So do we actually really want a good sense of humour after all? Luke Heggie thinks we're all liars.

"Barely anyone is prioritising GSOH above looks and cold hard cash and yet there they are, saying they want someone with a good sense of humour. By 'good' they generally mean 'my'.

''You don't often see movie-star-looking muscle men - with their eyes too close together like chickens, as has become the norm in modern Hollywood - attempting stand-up comedy, because they've never had to say anything funny in their lives, and people will laugh at them anyway.

"They're not to be trusted. I've always maintained that my good sense of humour and my positive can-do attitude has, if anything, held me back in life. On the whole, people are no-good, self-serving grubs."

Show Details: Tiprat, Saturday March 24, 8.30pm, ANU School of Music, The Big Band Room

The 2018 Canberra Comedy Festival is on March 19-25 at Canberra Theatre, The Street Theatre, Civic Pub and the ANU. For the full program and tickets, see

Jil Hogan is an food and lifestyle reporter at The Canberra Times.

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