WILD RIDE: Byron Comedy Festival founders, producers and directors Zara Noruzi and Mell Coppin are looking forward to seeing their hard work come to fruition from May 17-19.
WILD RIDE: Byron Comedy Festival founders, producers and directors Zara Noruzi and Mell Coppin are looking forward to seeing their hard work come to fruition from May 17-19. Christian Morrow

Serious funny business

WHAT were they thinking? Start a comedy festival, they said. How hard can it be?

For Byron Comedy Festival directors Mell Coppin and Zara Noruzi, establishing a brand-new comedy festival in a brand- new venue from the ground up turned out to be a serious amount of work - but also a serious amount of fun.

The first thing the pair did was consult Mandy Nolan, the North Coast's comedy matriarch and mentor.

"We asked Mandy to tell us straight up the three reasons why we should not start a comedy festival but she said no, it was a great idea,” Ms Noruzi said.

But they soon realised the actual comic performances were the tip of the comedy iceberg and they could wind up being so busy they might miss the performances.

"One thing we know for sure is that whatever happens the story of organising our own comedy festival from scratch will make a great comedy routine should either of us ever decide to become performers ourselves,” MsCoppin said.

"And we are looking forward to transforming the Byron surf club, probably the most picturesque venue in Byron, into a comedy club.

"It will be a top night out. There will be Chesterfield couches, Stone and Wood beer and Brookie's Gin doing drinks and Cafe Bugus Byron Bay are doing the food.”

The festival is on from May 17-19. Along with an impressive international and national line-up of comics, there are also a bunch of community events.

There will even be a Saturday morning laughter yoga session with Meredith Yardley.

Nolan herself will run a stand-up comedy workshop for children this weekend before the festival proper, taking two groups - eight to 12 and 13 to 17-year-olds - through a crash course in stand-up.

They'll be performing their first five-minute routine on Sunday, May 19, at the festival. No pressure.

Joel Salom will team up with his famous Australia's Got Talent electric dog Erik, and his real dog, in a show especially created for the festival called Talking Dogs.

Aussie comedy legends Glenn Robbins, Dave O'Neil, Peter Rowsthorn, Dave Thornton, Nikki Britton and Mel Buttle will also be there, along with the best of the Brits Jeff Green, Bob Franklin and Dan Willis.

For more go to www.byron comedyfest.com.