Comedians Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs will bring Women Like Us to GC Laughs Festival.
Comedians Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs will bring Women Like Us to GC Laughs Festival.

Funny mums bring new laughs to festival close to home

AS the passing years will change the way our lives look, and the hilarious circumstances peppered throughout them, so too, have they shaped the way two Byron Shire comedians reflect on their world on stage.

Mullumbimby-based Ellen Briggs and Mandy Nolan recently performed their 140th show under the Women Like Us banner.

And as they’ve unveiled similar shows showcasing other female comedic talent, the pair will perform new material at the GC Laughs Festival on the Gold Coast.

Much of their work so far has drawn upon their shared but unique experiences of being mothers.

As their offspring grow up and head out into the world, their changing realities are shaping an evolution in their comedy, Briggs said.

“We’re trying to sort of debunk all those messages about how women should be, what they should say, what they should talk about and how they should look,” Briggs said.

Before, they were poking fun at themselves in a way that was often delivered through the lens of child-rearing.

“Now, we’re looking at like as mothers of children 19 or 20 years old,” she said.

“That in itself is hilarious because we still think we can relate to them.”

Briggs said while her children still get a mention in their shows, she’s always run things by them to ensure no lines have been crossed.

“They don’t care, they really couldn’t care less.

“What they think is funny and what I think is funny is very different.”

Women Like Us features comics Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs
Women Like Us features comics Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs

The pair performed at the first GC Laughs Festival and Briggs said it was great to see the event, now in its second year, support comedians so close to home.

“It’s a fantastic festival,” she said.

“There really is such a diverse range of shows to see. It’s a really strong Australian line-up from really young comedians like Becky Lucas to seasoned professionals.”

She said the organisers were “very supportive of people who don’t have huge profiles”.

GC Laughs Festival co-directors, Josh Armstrong and Craig Ivanoff, said they were excited to bring the festival back this year.

“We are still reeling from the success of our inaugural GC Laughs (last year),” Ivanoff said.

“7000 tickets were sold, and it was clear that the Gold Coast embraced a stand-alone comedy festival.”

Armstrong said this year would be “bigger, better and somehow, even funnier than the first”.

“We have some of the best and most unique performers in Australia and from around the world back on stage for a wild week at HOTA,” he said.

Other talents will include Australian comedians Joel Creasy, Becky Lucas, Heath Franklin’s Chopper and Gen Fricker.

UK’s James Veitch and Mark Watson, South Africa’s hilarious Dusty Rich and Scotland’s finest, Larry Dean will be among the international names.

New Zealand’s Jeremy Corbett will host The Absolutely Mint Show – a gala night featuring some New Zealand’s best, including Melanie Bracewell and Ben Hurley.

Nolan and Briggs will perform a one hour show, each taking half the timeslot, at the festival, which runs from March 14 to 21.

Visit for more info and tickets.