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The joke s on those who missed show
The West Australian London stand up comedians Gordon Southern, left and Jimmy McGhie with Perth International Comedy Festival director Jo Marsh. The festival wraps up at the Astor Theatre in Mount Lawley this weekend. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Some of the world's best comedians and their audiences will have the last laugh when the Perth International Comedy Festival wraps up at the weekend.

British comedian Gordon Southern said he had taken a heckler's advice and was returning home after his final show at the Astor Theatre tonight.

Southern has been touring Australia's comedy festival circuit for the past three months with his show spanning the history of civilisation in one hour.

"This is the last hurrah for my liver," he said.

The self-described "word clown" is among more than 50 acts to have rolled through the Astor Theatre and other Mt Lawley venues since the festival began on May 1.

Although Australian audiences were generally benign, he had one woman heckler on Thursday night tell him to go back to England.

"I wasn't sure if she was an unpleasant person or a really pushy travel agent, encouraging me to go home," he said.

One of Southern's gags, about Shakespeare's breakfast, has made The West Australian's list of the festival's best jokes.

He said the key to a good joke was the element of surprise.

The real joke has been on people who didn't turn out to see what has been the best collection of comedians in Perth at one time.

Festival director Jo Marsh said she was happy with how audiences had responded to more risky programming.

"What's working best is the strange and the unusual content," she said. "The straight stand-up shows are not necessarily hitting the mark.

"The content has just been a little bit wild and wacky for a few shows and people have gone crazy for it."

She cited the offbeat acts of British comedians Craig Hill, Jimmy McGhie and Paul Foot, Australian Brendon Burns and the Pajama Men from the US.

Another highlight was a standing ovation for comedy-cabaret act Bob Downe, on his first Perth visit in nine years.

Marsh hailed the festival a success, with attendances expected to reach nearly 40,000. She was proud the event had become a fixture on the world comedy circuit in just its second year.

Tonight's acts include Stephen K Amos, Dave Callan, Joel Creasey, Tom Gleeson and Hannah Gadsby. The festival ends tomorrow night with award presentations at a gala finale hosted by Peter Rowsthorn at the Astor Theatre.