Wollongong Comedy Club's Stu Macpherson offers open-mic

Local comedian Stu Macpherson on stage at the Wollongong Comedy Club in the basement of The Builders Club. Picture: GREG ELLIS

Local comedian Stu Macpherson on stage at the Wollongong Comedy Club in the basement of The Builders Club. Picture: GREG ELLIS

It happens twice a month but it is one of Illawarra's best kept secrets.

Many of those who know about it keep coming back for more.

Some wait for major headline acts but word-of-mouth has seen the Wollongong Comedy Club steadily grow.

Many regulars are keen to support those starting out with the open mic component of each evening.

But rising stars making a name for themselves as support acts around Australia also feature on each bill.

The comedy club runs twice a month in the basement at The Builders Club and is managed by Wollongong comedian Stu Macpherson and his partner Shane Moon.

Tickets are only $15 and the audience generally gets to see at least three different acts.

Macpherson is arguably Illawarra's only home grown comedian and is becoming more widely known since working as a MC at other functions, such as the recently introduced comedy dinner nights at Seacliff Function Centre.

By day he is a mild mannered public servant who works in a government office in Burelli Street, Wollongong. Making people laugh is a gift he found he had when he was very young.

He is simply known as Stu and has performed in many places over the last decade.

His first major solo show was at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2012.

Macpherson officially started in comedy 11 years ago and has fine tuned his craft over time.

"It was something I always wanted to do," he said.

"I must have been about 34 when I first started and I wish I had done it earlier because now I have family commitments."

Macpherson had not realised there were so many comedy rooms in Sydney when he was younger.

Many are open mic rooms where people can get up without having any experience.

"Most of the paid comedy work I get is in Sydney," he said.

"And I have done a four week show in Melbourne Comedy Festival in 2012.

"It was an amazing experience but it is not something you can do all the time. For someone like me it is an expense rather than a money-making venture."

Macpherson said one of his goals was to find more local comedians. And raising the profile of the local comedy club was one way of doing that.

"Ninety-five per cent of people in Wollongong still do not know we are here," he said.

"There is always one spot for what we call an open-mic if anyone wants to give it a try."

Macpherson said the Wollongong Comedy Club had actually been around since 2006.

"Martin Henchion started it," he said.

"He is a comedian from Ireland. He started it with his wife [Alice Grant] and we first looked after it when he went overseas for a while. Then two years ago he wanted to focus more on performing than administering, so we took over."

Macpherson mostly MCs because it is hard to come up with brand new material every two weeks.

He said many people would not know how much work goes in to preparing a routine.

"New material is always hit and miss," Macpherson said.

Comedy ideas came from many places and he has learnt from experience to write down the specifics as soon as he has one.

"We always try and mix the show up with very different comedians," Macpherson said.

The Builders Basement was originally a nightclub and then a sports bar. It is a dark room that has a similar atmosphere to what people find at comedy clubs in major cities.

The stage with its black and red curtain and single stool looks right at place. The tables have candles and old vinyl records as coasters.

Comedy club nights are on the second and last Saturday of every month and when they get big names they get up to 200 people.

Further information and upcoming shows visit wollongongcomedy.com.

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