Carlton’s Makedonka Stoilova started stand-up comedy when she lived in Los Angeles in 2014 just because it was something she “always wanted to try”.
She signed up for an open mic at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood and the rest, as they say, is history.
‘‘I blacked out in my first set and don’t remember how it went but I went on to perform at Burbank Comedy Club, Comedy Store - Hollywood and did a comedy sketch show at the Second City in Hollywood,” Ms Stoilova recalls.
She is now just three weeks away from making her debut at the Sydney Comedy Festival but admits it has been a winding journey since she first dipped her toe into the world of comedy in LA.
When she returned to Australia comedy took a back seat and she readjusted to life back home. After a couple of years of inactivity she finally got back on the comedy bike and started doing open mic nights before entering the RAW Comedy competition in 2017.
Although she didn’t make it past the heats, she was invited to perform at the Sydney Fringe Comedy Festival.
“I got given a 45 minute now woman show - I was terrified and exhilarated then terrified some more,” Ms Stoilova said.
“Thankfully it went well and when applications opened up for the Sydney Comedy Festival I thought I’d try my luck and here I am – three weeks away from my second one woman show and first at the Sydney Comedy Festival.
‘‘I’m absolutely beside myself to be in a festival with so many amazing funny people - from established comedians to the upcoming fresh faces.
‘‘It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of something that focuses on Australian talent. I can’t wait to see the other performers crush it on stage!”
Ms Stoilova’s show “Adulting” focuses on growing up and becoming an adult.
“I’m at an age where friends are starting to get married and have children and it’s normal,” she says.
“People are making career choices and saving money to buy ridiculously overpriced property.
“I grew up in a time where technology advanced so rapidly that I’m stuck between my memories of my disc man and getting my first iPod!
“We have so many more choices than our parents had - so many more opportunities and lifestyles, so it’ll delve into those generational shifts as well.”
Ms Stoilova says the whole process of “growing up” is strange.
“You become a teen at 13, then in some countries you’re considered an adult at 18 and some others at 21. But the truth is no one really knows what they’re doing - they’re all experiencing life for the first time!”
Ms Stoilova said her routine features stories about her life as your average, every day 27-year-old.
“I talk about my family a lot – I’m from a big Macedonian family so there is plenty to talk about,” she said.
“I also talk about things that have happened to me like bad dates, meeting a really odd person on Tinder or missing the train.
“It’s relatable stuff. I am not a crude comic, I admire comedians who can pull that off and of course I find it funny but I have younger siblings and I think about them when I am performing.”
Ms Stoilova, who grew up in Ambarvale and settled in Carlton after returning from the US, said she still finds performing terrifying.
“You just never know how the audience will respond because humour is so subjective,” she said.
“It’s a fun show that I have worked really hard on.
“Adults will understand it too because we’ve all been through the stories I tell.”
Tickets for Stoilova’s Sydney Comedy Festival performance, “Adulting” can be purchased through Ticketek.
Also performing at the festival is Turrella’s Ciaran Lyons.
Lyons grew up in Perth and moved to Sydney in December 2015 after landing a gig with Triple J.
He has performed at the ABC Comedy Bites Gala, hosted Triple J’s summer breakfast and was part of the Sydney Comedy Festival Showcase Tour.
Lyons is confident and likeable as the stories flow on topics such as his love life, radio career, family and poking fun at mature-age students.
The Sydney Comedy Festival 2018 program is filled with more than 210 side-splitting shows delivered by a smorgasbord of comedy stars from April 23 to May 20.
Sydney Comedy Festival director, Jorge Menidis, said the for the 14th festival was a ‘‘comedy behemoth’’.
‘‘Following the 2017 fest, we set a brief that was simply to make it bigger, funnier and unmissable, and that is exactly what I believe this year’s Festival delivers. ’’
Kicking off the festival in grand style will be the Gala where across three big nights and four venues, a line-up of hilarious performers will provide a taste of the big laughs on offer throughout the Festival.
Bursting at the seams with overseas talent, the Festival will welcome international comics including Urzila Carlson (RSA/NZ), David O’Doherty (IRE), Jason Byrne (IRE) Daniel Sloss (SCO), UK stars such as Ross Noble, Stephen K Amos, Jonathan Pie, Paul Chowdhry and Jamali Maddix; as well as US performers Michael Che, Shawn Wayans and Ari Shaffir.
Australian crowd favourites joining the 2018 line-up include Kitty Flanagan, Aunty Donna, Matt Okine, Tom Gleeson, Cal Wilson, Fiona O’Loughlin, Joel Creasey and Lawrence Mooney amongst many others.
An exciting line-up of 12 emerging comedians and potentially the next ‘big things’, will make up this year’s FRESH program.
Tickets available from sydneycomedyfest.com.au or by calling 9020 6966.