Beatâ€™s Guide to
International edy m o
" ..absolutely rips along." Herald Sun
Thu 30 Mar - Sun 23 Apr 8:15pm (7:15pm Sun) CHINESE MUSEUM (7:45PM Mondays - TOWN HALL)
BEATâ€™S GUIDE TO THE 2017 MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL PROUDLY PRESENTED BY THATCHERS ENGLISH CIDER
BEATâ€™S GUIDE TO THE 2017 MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL PROUDLY PRESENTED BY THATCHERS ENGLISH CIDER
“one of Australia’s funniest stand-ups.” The West Australian
Sydney Morning Herald
Fresh Fringe (UK)
Host of the hugely popular The Comedian’s Comedian podcast
“A charming, expert stand-up” – SUNDAY TIMES UK
★★★★ “She’s a machine.” – NOW TORONTO
★★★★ - THE LIST UK
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016!
UR Z IL A C A R L S O N
★★★★ - EDFEST MAG UK
CANADIAN COMEDY AWARD WINNER!
UNACCEP TABLE THE GREEK CENTRE 8:15pm (7.15pm SUN)
TAXI RIVERSIDE, FED SQUARE 8:30pm (7.30pm SUN)
MELBOURNE TOWN HALL
8:15PM (7:15PM SUNDAYS)
TICKETS FROM COMEDYFESTIVAL.COM.AU 4
BEAT’S GUIDE TO THE 2017 MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL PROUDLY PRESENTED BY THATCHERS ENGLISH CIDER
‘THE OUTRIGHT KING OF LIVE COMEDY’
THE TIMES UK
8:20pm (8:45pm Sundays) “REINVENTING AUSTRALIAN COMEDY” HERALD SUN
★★★★ “Funny, erudite and ef fortlessly delivered.” – The Scotsman, UK
The Greek Centre 7:15pm (6:15pm Sundays)
ACMI, BEYOND 7PM (6PM SUNDAYS)
BEAT’S GUIDE TO THE 2017 MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL PROUDLY PRESENTED BY THATCHERS ENGLISH CIDER
Contents 8 A Chat with Melbourne International Comedy Festival Director Susan Provan 10 Josh Glanc: manfül Gillian Cosgriff: 8 Songs in 8 Weeks 12 Demi Lardner: Look What You Made Me Do Ivan Aristeguieta: Juithy 14 Dara Ó Briain: Live Eli Matthewson: The Year of Magical Fucking 16 Alice Fraser: Empire Becky Lucas: Little Bitch 18 Urzila Carlson: Unacceptable Dracula’s Cabaret: Resurrection 20 Stephen K Amos: World Famous Emily Tresidder: Not Your Ex 22 Daniel Sloss: So? Rhys Nicholson: I’m Fine 24 Neel Kolhatkar: #ObjectifyNeel Paul Foot: ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Piglet 26 Cait Johnson & Gearard McGeown: Mucho Relaxo Melbo Romesh Ranganathan: Irrational 28 Greg Burns: Best Of The Edinburgh Fest Phill Jupitus: Juplicity 30 Nath Valvo: Not In This House Phillip A Mayer: Table 17 32 David O’Doherty: Big Time Steve Hughes 33 Nic Sampson: Has Fallen Down A Well James Acaster: The Trelogy 34 Arj Barker: Organic Tessa Waters: Fully Sik 35 Ben McCarthy: Nevermind Liza Treyger: Headliners 36 Luka Muller: Lucky Kuah Jenhan: Perfect Stranger 37 Anne Edmonds: No Offence, None Taken Jason Byrne: Propped Up 38 Matt Okine: We Made You Nick Cody: On Fire 39 Jimeoin: Renonsense Man Abandoman: Life + Rhymes 40 Damien Power: Utopia: Now In 3D! Giant Dwarf Presents 41 Simon Taylor: Spectacular-ish Ahir Shah: New Order 42 Soap Josh Earl & Daniel Tobias: Josh Earl’s Festival Geraldine Quinn: Fox Poncing Watson: Go To Hell! 44 Chris D’Elia: Live Des Bishop: Grey Matters DeAnne Smith: Post-Joke Era Stuart Goldsmith: Compared to What 45 Amanda Jane Pritchard:Swipe Left for Love The Sparrow Men: Murder on the Pacific Diamond Darien Brown: Lumourous Darren Lever: Man Vs Wildlife v2.0 46 Michael Shafar: Jewish-ish Sammy J Hero: Complex Christian Lutz: Living The Dream Dom Chambers: RanDom: Modern Comedy Magic 47 Michael Chamberlin: Life In Moderation Troy Kinne: #Nofilter Yianni Agisilaou: The Un-Pinchable Pink Pen Impro Melbourne: Grand Theft Impro 48 David Quirk: Cowboy Mouth Emma Mary Hall: Ode to Man Lawrence Mooney: ...Like Literally Madame Elbac: An Evening With Madame Elbac 49 Bec Somers: An Evening of Total BS Impromptunes: The Bachela-la-la Matt Kilpa: Songs in the Key of Awesomesauce Hayley Tantau: Cindy Salmon’s Empowerment Hour 50 Ancient Pickle: The Life of Spies Tash York: These Things Take Wine Uncle Nath: Dads Have Feelings Too Tim Batt: Ladies and Gentlemen 51 Anthony McCormack, Phoebe O’Brien & Stephen Porter: Shut your Juicy Mouth Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience Shush. Please. A Conversation Unfit for a Funeral Tino Merino: You Haven’t Changed A Bit 52 Sean Murphy: Ghost Jam! Dilruk Jayasinha: The Art of the Dil Highlander Comedy Showcase Sam Simmons: A-K 53 Comedy Compass: 2017 Comedy Festival Hubs 54 Feasts & Funnies 55 Special Events
Becky Lucas On why Melbourne International Comedy Festival is better than performing to a bunch of grizzly bastards in the outback.
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is the best time of the year. But comedy isn’t always this fun. I recently did a run of gigs in the outback and they did not go well. From the minute I stepped off the plane, the promoter Kevin started bemoaning the fact that he couldn’t get Wil Anderson or “anyone good” so he was stuck with me. A promising start. He drove me straight from the airport to the ‘venue’ which was basically just a big shed, 15/11/2016 AKA a place where people can shout the ‘C word’ undercover.
You can probably already tell that I was not well received. After every joke a big group of men drinking beers would stare at me, then swat at a fly that had landed on their top lip. As I told my last joke, some lucky punter struck it big on the pokie machine and the sound of coins falling into the metal tray reverberated throughout the silent and bored crowd – gleaning a far bigger reaction than my entire set. Kevin just watched on with his head in his hands.
cORE A massive thanks goes out to Beat Magazine’s 2017 Comedy Guide sponsor, Thatchers English Cider. So head down to the bar and knock back a few when you hit the town for what’s shaping up to be one hell of a festival.
What I’m trying to say is, all year comics do terrible things for money and stage time and MICF is the place where we get to share the jokes and stories we’ve been working on all year to bring you our best shows yet, so pick out a few comics and get amongst it! Becky.
Editor: James Di Fabrizio Sub-editors: Meg Crawford, Gloria Brancatisano, Jacob Colliver Advertising: Kris Furst, Georgia Spanos
Beat Magazine’s coverage of the 2017 Melbourne International Comedy Festival doesn’t finish with this guide.
Contributors: Jacob Colliver, Joanne Brookfield, George Hyde, David James Young, Nick Mason, Phoebe Robertson, Declan Harrick, Augustus Welby, WHITE. nEGATIVE Meg Crawford, Natalie Rogers, Tom Parker Illustration, design, art direction, all round magazine maker-person: Michael Cusack Published by Furst Media 3 Newton Street, Richmond, 3121 (03) 9428 3600 email@example.com © 2017 Furst Media Pty Ltd. No part may be reproduced without the consent of the copyright holder.
Got a show in the comedy festival this year? Let everyone know through Beat. Advertising packages can including editorial, reviews, giveaways and more. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (03) 9428 3600.
BEAT’S GUIDE TO THE 2017 MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL PROUDLY PRESENTED BY THATCHERS ENGLISH CIDER
PREVIEW PRICES THIS WEEKEND BROWSE 100S OF SHOWS AT COMEDYFESTIVAL.COM.AU RICHARD GADD MONKEY SEE MONKEY DO WINNER – EDINBURGH COMEDY AWARD BEST SHOW 2016
'FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS MEETS 8 MILE. NOTHING SHORT OF GENIUS.'
‘Strong, courageous, painfully funny’
‘The riskiest, oddest and most memorable of the lot'
★★★★ THE TIMES
LIAN AUSTRAUT! B E D
30 MARCH – 23 APRIL THE FAMOUS SPIEGELTENT ARTS CENTRE MELBOURNE
30 MARCH – 23 APRIL ACMI, FED SQUARE
30 MARCH– 23 APRIL FORUM THEATRE
‘Boundless creativity and technical mastery’
‘Big laughs… it is hard to resist her zest for life’
RECOGNISE. REPRESENT. RESET.
TWO-TIME EMMY NOMINATED WINNER – SOUTH AFRICAN COMIC OF THE YEAR AS SEEN ON ABC TV’S ‘THE WEEKLY’
His three award-nominated shows in a limited Festival season!
30 MARCH– 23 APRIL MELBOURNE TOWN HALL
2 WEEKS ONLY!
4 – 16 APRIL MELBOURNE TOWN HALL
CHECK WEBSITE FOR DETAILS
THE ART OF SCAMMING THE SCAMMER ‘Ingenious... One to watch’
SWITCH ON AND TUNE IN FOR HIGH DEFINITION COMEDY FROM AUSTRALIA’S FRESHEST FUNNY-MAKERS!
‘Veitch is ahead of the curve’ The Guardian
‘INTROSPECTIVE... FUNNY AND ENGAGING... PLENTY OF LAUGHS’
‘A wicked sense of humour... I laughed my ass off’
The New York Times
The most watched talk of 2016
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
MENA NAT DA (WA)
Edinburgh Festivals Magazine
30 MARCH– 23 APRIL MELBOURNE TOWN HALL
30 MARCH– 23 APRIL MELBOURNE TOWN HALL
#festivalclub comedy up
30 MARCH– 23 APRIL ACMI, FED SQUARE so you think you can sketch
#MICF haus party
THE PLACE TO SEE THE WHO’S WHO OF COMEDY LETTING LOOSE ON STAGE AND THE DANCEFLOOR!
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30 MARCH– 23 APRIL TRADES HALL 10 comedians for 10
TOM CASH MAN (NSW)
#youhadtobethere late, late entertainment
MAX WATT’S ï NIGHTLY ’TIL LATE SWANSTON STREET (OPPOSITE MELBOURNE TOWN HALL)
DOORS OPEN 11.15PM (10.15PM SUNDAYS)
TIX AT THE DOOR
1300 660 013
A Chat with Melbourne International Comedy Festival Director
Aunty Donna Big Boys
Aunty Donna have taken the world by storm with their unique brand of surreal sketch comedy. They’ve amassed over 131,000 subscribers, 17.5 million hits and a legion of fans on their YouTube page – but it’s the stage where their madcap energy really explodes. Prepare for a night of ridiculous, unadulterated fun as Mark Samual Bonanno, Zachary Ruane and Broden ‘Manbeast’ Kelly guide you through a series of bizarre tangents and unforgettable characters. Big Boys will run Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) at Max Watt’s. Tickets are $25-35.
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been delivering laughs to audiences for three decades. Whoever’s been running the show must doing something right – right?
Luke Heggie Rough Diamanté
As a purveyor of harsh truths, Luke Heggie is blunt as a hammer when it comes to dealing with the banality of the world. Tough but fair, he offers his deadpan perspectives on the day-to-day stupidity that secretly annoys us all, and shows us that we don’t have to put up with it anymore. Laugh along with the relatable, no-nonsense winner of 2010’s Raw Comedy competition. Rough Diamanté will run Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 at The Chinese Museum (except all Monday sessions, which play at Melbourne Town Hall). Tickets are $22 - $29.
Alex Ward Quiet
Returning from Perth Fringe World and Brisbane Comedy Festival, Alex Ward brings her debut solo show Quiet to Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Quiet is a show that acknowledges life is full of certainties and uncertainties. For example, it was uncertain when growing up how straight Alex’s parents could get her teeth, but it was certain they would subject her to as much pain as necessary to achieve their goal. Alex is a Melbourne-based stand-up comedian and is currently achieving her life-long dream of being brave enough to live outside her home state of Queensland. Catch her living that dream at the Forum Theatre - Carpet Room from Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). $17 - $22. 8
Look no further than Festival Director/CEO, Susan Provan, who earlier this month was recognised for her incredible work and inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women. “I got an e-mail from Rich Hall saying, ‘I heard you were made a knightress,’” Provan laughs. “I view it as not just something for me but something for my industry and my world. I regard it as a bit of a gong for all of us.” Each year, it takes a team effort to bring live comedy to the masses. If you’re curious as just how much work actually goes into staging a festival of this magnitude, Provan can tell you all about it. “It’s non-stop,” she explains. “We roll from one straight into the next and some things are in planning for more than a year. There’s already stuff bubbling away for 2018. We’re focused on the festival from the conclusion of the preceding one.” Clearly Provan and co. take this business of comedy pretty seriously. When it comes to measuring the success of any given festival season, there’s a focus on one thing in particular. “There’s a lot of pressure from the media every year to get ever higher ticket sales – an ever-higher attendance – whereas, in fact, our focus is on sustainability,” says Provan. “I’m happy if the average number of bums on seats per show has gone up a bit rather than the overall ticket sales, because that indicates the health of all the shows.” Festival patrons are spoiled for choice this year, to say the least. As ever, the festival branches out far beyond your traditional stand-up comedy. “There’s so much in the program that is more narrative, sketch, more physical or musical,” explains Provan. “Obviously Frank Woodley, everybody knows him for his ridiculous, crazy physicality. In terms of music, there are people such as Geraldine Quinn, who is amazing and has been doing great work in Australia for so long. She’s a huge talent. There’s Abandoman, who are coming out from Ireland for the first time. They’re Irish hip hop improvisers. Watson are amazing. They’re a great mob to go and take a look at.” Of course, the festival celebrates diversity in more ways than one. As Provan reveals, there are certain cultural considerations in putting a festival program together. “It’s definitely a priority,” she says. “I guess
we do engage in a bit of positive discrimination in trying to make sure that the program does reflect the diversity of our community and our world. It’s an open program for Australians, so anyone can be in it. We don’t program that. But in terms of the overseas artists that we bring in, we do try and make sure that we have quite a diverse representation. “We try and promote diversity through the venues that we do actually operate and run and in the developmental programs that we run – things such as Class Clowns, Deadly Funny, Upfront and the series of various live podcasts that we put on our website, all kinds of things like that. We do make sure that we are basically showing the world as it is, which is very diverse.” Something else Provan has sought to address is gender, which remains a hot topic in the world of comedy. “My world has an equal number of men and women in it. I’m not interested in a stand-up lineup that has only men. You want that mix of voices that actually represents your world and has something to say; something familiar in terms of your environment. We are quite focused on that issue.” Of course, for all the work that goes into making a diverse, varied program, there’s just no pleasing some people. Curating an amazing comedy festival can be a thankless task. “Every year there’s social media posts saying, ‘Why didn’t you have...’ and they’ll rattle off this big, long list of artists,” says Provan. “I go through it in my head and go, yep, tried them. Sometimes I feel like responding and saying, ‘Do you think I didn’t try to get them?’ If anyone knows that they’re amazing, it’s me. I think people often don’t realise how hard it is. You can’t just ring up everyone and expect them to drop everything and come over.” If it happens to be that your favourite comedian isn’t touring this year, Provan has the perfect solution. As ever, she prescribes an open-minded approach. “It’s worth having a look and going to see half a dozen things you’ve never heard of. I always say this – go see half a dozen people you’ve never heard of. It won’t cost much and you’ll very likely find some people that you will then follow as their careers develop. It’s really worthwhile.”
“Go see half a dozen people you’ve never heard of. It won’t cost much and you’ll very likely find some people that you will then follow as their careers develop.”
By Nick Mason
NO FILTER TOUR
LIVE ! "HIS SET IS A MASTERCLASS IN INTELLIGENT, NO-FRILLS STAND-UP" - THE GUARDIAN
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Lawyer-turned-comedian Josh Glanc has earned praise from his peers and audiences alike for his wonderfully eccentric theatrics. Sweeping up as the winner of Best Comedy in both 2017’s Perth and Adelaide Fringe festivals, Glanc is now excited to welcome Melbourne to the frenetic world of manfül. Liam Ryan Well That’s Disappointing
Following a series of sold out shows at last year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Liam Ryan is back with his fastpaced, energetic style of humour that has landed him several comedy awards throughout his career. Liam Ryan will be inducing laughs at The Upstairs Lounge at Little Sista from Tuesday April 11 to Sunday April 23 every night excluding Monday. Tickets are $15.30 - $23.30.
“My first show, I had lots of characters doing different sketches,” Glanc says. “One of the things that I wanted to do for this show was just have one character for the whole show and give that a try. I’ve always really enjoyed those character comedy shows where you can kind of invest a bit in learning about someone and you don’t have to reveal too much too quickly.” The character in question is hyper-masculine American Dicky Rosenthal, who wants to transform dweebs into “real men” with his life-changing creation: Manfül. His compulsion to pitch the product leads him down some strange paths, forcing him to reveal his true nature and personality with a host of surprising results. Glanc reveals that he took pride and a lot of effort to build his surreal character, and hopes the hyper-reality of Rosenthal rouses some important observations. “The show, in some ways, is quite personal,” Glanc says. “It wasn’t that personal at first, and then I did it during Melbourne Fringe. Afterwards, I went about redeveloping it because it was kind of skimming the surface of some of these issues – it wasn’t really hitting them as much as I would have liked. It became a bit more personal. It’s definitely commenting on what it means to be a real man and
what it means to be a real woman. “I think it’s relatable to everyone, but I’m definitely trying to make some comments about this pressure – what it is in contemporary society to be a man, the blurring of those lines and how it impacts our identity. Does it matter? The show’s really about my insecurities. That’s effectively what the show’s about.” Glanc loves the art of performance and creation, blurring the lines between theatre, comedy and stand-up. Toying with interaction and improv, he adapts with the atmosphere, weaving bizarre worlds from both the extreme and his own. “I’m still learning what I want to be as a performer and what interests me,” Glanc says. “What’s interesting about this show is that it’s so different from my first – my first show was a one-man sketch show. In some ways I could have done that again, another version of that, but I wanted to do something completely different. I wanted to do a character comedy with a story – a clear beginning, middle and end. Although it’s not like a theatre piece, there’s a story and the audience walks out feeling like they’ve gone through something. That was really important for me to try, and I really enjoyed that. But now I’m starting to miss all the characters, so I don’t know, you know? It’s still early days. I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s nice not to be able to define myself.”
“I think it’s relatable to everyone, but I’m definitely trying to make some comments about this pressure – what it is in contemporary society to be a man, the blurring of those lines and how it impacts our identity. ” Venue: ACMI - Games Room
Dates: Thursday March 30 Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 55 minutes Tickets: $18 - $27 By Jacob Colliver
Gillian Cosgriff Jeff Green Honestly
UK radio and TV host, best-selling author and award-winning comedian Jeff Green is back with his new show that’s drenched in relatable honesty about aging, marriage and being a parent. From Thursday March 30 to Sunday April 23, Jeff Green will be performing at Greek Centre, Parthenon and Supper Room, Town Hall. Tickets are $22 - $32.
Frenchy Frenchy Unleashed
After rising to social media fame through his videos full of unapologetic social commentary, an inappropriate sense of humour and general tomfoolery, it’s hard to imagine what Frenchy could have been holding back. His success and brutal honesty has landed him sell-out shows across Australia and the UK. Frenchy will be hitting the stage at Athenaeum Theatre Two from Wednesday March 29 to Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). 10
8 Songs in 8 Weeks
There’s nothing like a deadline to get comedians writing their shows. That inexorable opening night is one hell of a motivator. However, acclaimed musical comedian Gillian Cosgriff decided to take that up a level and set herself a goal of writing a new song every week for eight weeks straight in preparation for hers. “I write one song a week, every week for eight weeks. Each song has to be finished by midnight on Sunday of that week and I have to provide photo evidence of the lyrics on social media – otherwise I’ll just lie and say I did it,” says Cosgriff. When she performs 8 Songs In 8 Weeks at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, it will be her fourth time presenting her “crazy songwriting experiment”, having first hatched the idea back in 2013. “For this volume of the project, I started writing in the last week of November so the eight weeks was up by the time I did the first season in Perth,” she says. “I’ll be playing those eight songs at MICF, but rest assured they won’t be getting polished up or edited beyond their original forms. Melbourne will be hearing them just as I wrote them,” she says. Cosgriff – a singer, musician, comedian and actor – wrote the songs under all kinds of circumstances, from squeezing in one on her only spare weeknight in one week to using the time on the red-eye flight from Perth to Melbourne on another. “I have the whole week but depending on what else I have on the amount of time differs,” she says. She’s no stranger to songwriting, having graduated
from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and winning the 2013 Melbourne Fringe Best Cabaret Award plus a Green Room Award for Best Original Songs for her second show, This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. For 8 Songs In 8 Weeks, she’s taken an interactive approach to finding her inspiration for the songs. “Generally I’ll have the seed of an idea and then I ask people for their thoughts or suggestions based on that – although sometimes it ends up being a completely different song,” she says. “A good example is week six of this project where I asked people for weird things their brains came up with while they’re trying to fall asleep. Things like, ‘Why do we have eyebrows? What do birds do when it rains?’ That became a song called Night Thoughts. The songs are about all kinds of things.” She’s back at the Butterfly Club, her usual Melbourne haunt. “I love doing a show at The Butterfly Club,” says Cosgriff, who later this year will be appearing in Eddie Perfect’s new play, Vivid White. “Every MICF they name their cocktails after the shows they have programmed and this year mine is called the ‘Gillian Just B’Cosgriff ’. I assume it’s a vodka with Berocca, garnished with Pringles – my MICF dinner of champions.”
“I asked people for weird things their brains came up with while they’re trying to fall asleep.”
Venue: The Butterfly Club
Dates: Wednesday March 29 Sunday April 9 Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $25 - $32
By Joanne Brookfield
BEATâ€™S GUIDE TO THE 2017 MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL PROUDLY PRESENTED BY THATCHERS ENGLISH CIDER
Look What You Made Me Do
Joel Creasey Poser
As the acid-tongued crown prince of Australian comedy, Joel Creasey has performed to packed venues in New York, Montreal and Los Angeles. Creasey’s 2016 show sold out across the nation, and he has forged himself a prominent kingdom across the Australian media landscape. Be it in comedy galas, panel shows, comedy series or reality television, his distinct brand of razorsharp wit is not to be missed. Poser runs Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) at Max Watt’s. Tickets are $25-$39.
Jacques Barrett Is Particuly Good At This
Jacques Barrett is an experienced circuit regular, delivering sharp and poignant social commentary between laughs. His latest show is for anyone who’s ever felt the sting of wounded pride and the blow of tall-poppy syndrome. An international headliner, Barrett has performed in South East Asia, South Africa, Romania, Prague, Switzerland, Estonia, Finland and spent a full 12 months on UK comedy circuit. Is Particuly Good At This runs Saturday April 1 – Monday April 3 and Saturday April 8 – Monday April 10 at European Bier Café, Imperial Hotel & The Upstairs Lounge at Little Sista. Tickets are $20.
Tom Ballard Problematic
Winner of the inaugural Pinder Prize and nominated for Best Show at both the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year, Tom Ballard is back with his scathing intelligence and hilarious social critique. Ballard investigates the likes of outrage culture, political correctness and race relations with a thoughtful eye. Find him at Melbourne Town Hall’s Supper Room from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $24 – $34. 12
When Demi Lardner speaks with Beat, it’s not too long after she’s just had her head flushed down the toilet by a housemate. She’s in Adelaide, performing as part of the Fringe Festival there, sharing accommodation with a group of other performers. “They went out so I put all their clothes in the fridge. That’s kind of what I do when I’m home alone, rearrange everyone else’s stuff,” she says. She didn’t just stuff them into the fridge, however. They were labelled and neatly stacked, she says. “I put all of his modesty clothes, which are his shirts, in the top shelf and then leggy shirts, which are pants, on the second shelf and then all the shoes on the bottom. And he was none too happy,” she says of how that went down when one returned. “He picked me up and literally flushed my head in the toilet, so good times, good friendship,” she says with a laugh. While she calls the fridge stunt a “newie” (“I was kind of proud of myself for getting it done so promptly”) she says she usually just blows up photos of herself and sticks them on the walls. “A huge picture of me staring at them while they sleep, sometimes dressed like a clown. Sometimes it’s a picture of me and my dad. That’s kind of my thing.” Lardner says the toilet flushing has been the most dramatic reaction she’s had to a prank so far. “He did it very calmly with no words, just picked me up, tipped me upside down and gave me my just desserts.”
She says driving the sharehouse shenanigans is the fact she’s mid-season and “going insane and trying to get it out in as creative a way as possible”. Lardner, known best as a stand-up, who last year was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and won Best Newcomer at the Sydney Comedy Festival, is shifting gears with her latest solo show Look What You Made Me Do. Inspired by “all of the step Dads I’ve had in the past and how weird and nuts they’ve been,” Lardner is playing a 46-year-old man trapped in his own basement, on the phone to a life insurance agent. “It’s more sketchy and not really stand-up,” she says. “It’s really odd, so sometimes it takes a couple of minutes for people to adjust to me yelling and handing them jars of my breath and stuff. It’s really fun though.” Working behind the scenes with Lardner on this show as director and co-writer is Aunty Donna’s Mark Bonanno. “He’s maybe a bigger weirdo than me, so it’s been really cool,” she says. “I love standup, but I’ve always felt more like a weird little actor-y boy than a stand-up so I’m having a lot of fun with this show. It feels like what I was supposed to be doing all along.”
“He picked me up and literally flushed my head in the toilet, so good times, good friendship.” Venue: Melbourne Town Hall Backstage Room Dates: Thursday March 30 Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 55 minutes Tickets: $18 - $26
By Joanne Brookfield
Each year, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has its share of feel-good stories. Reflecting upon the most recent season, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better story than the rise of Venezuelanborn comic Ivan Aristeguieta. It started with a golden opportunity to perform at The Gala. He seized the moment, slayed the rather enormous room, and his popularity promptly exploded. Aristeguieta went on to enjoy a sold-out season at the festival, even adding two shows towards the end of his run. “It was a good pat on the back. You can go, ‘I’m doing the right thing, I’m on the right track.’ Finally I’ve made some money in the festival season. There’s a lot of investment for many years just to be a better comedian, and to get people to know you. To build up your audience and to get better so you get opportunities like playing the Gala.” Savouring every second of his charmed run, Aristeguieta cottoned onto another perk of his newfound success. “The joy of, ‘Oh my god, I’m not worrying about flyer-ing anymore.’ That was just beautiful.” Ultimately, Aristeguieta was crowned Best Newcomer at the 2016 Sydney Comedy Festival about a month later. But in case you’re worried it may have gone to his head, Aristeguieta is as grounded as ever. “I don’t use it to rest on,” he says. “I actually use it as a challenge, because when you have that sort of award and a sell-out season, people expect for you to be better the next year. I use it as motivation to give a better show. I don’t want the people who recommended my show to be disappointed that their friends didn’t like it the year after. It’s motivation to be better.”
Aristeguieta prides himself on honing his craft. He was able to do just that, touring with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow on consecutive occasions. “I’m so grateful. I’ve been to all the states, all the main cities, all the major towns in each state,” he says. “When you take things to small towns, they’re not that used to having stuff every day of the year, they’re grateful and thank you for coming and there’s a lot of love after the show.” Travelling across the country with the Comedy Festival Roadshow has been perfect in more ways than one for Aristeguieta, a comic renowned for his expertise in dissecting the peculiarities of Australian culture. His new show, Juithy, will see Aristeguieta bite into a meaty subject. “When you think you’re in a bad place and you complain about it and get to a better place, you see people who’ll complain about the better place,” he explains. “When I came to Australia – a place that is ten times safer and more liveable than my country – I see Aussies complaining, because you always complain wherever you are and you want it to improve. So, there’s a lot of jokes about complaining and accepting good things and bad things.”
“I don’t want the people who recommended my show to be disappointed that their friends didn’t like it the year after. It’s motivation to be better.” Venue: ACMI - Studio
Dates: Thursday March 30 Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 55 minutes Tickets: $20 - $32 By Nick Mason
Dara Ó Briain
The Stevenson Experience Identical As Anything
Identical twin brothers Benjamin and James Stevenson are back for another round of musical hilarity. In 2016, the pair sold out comedy and fringe festivals in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Perth with their witty tunes and sharp, brotherly barbs at each other. They’ve been nominated the last two year’s running for Best Comedy at Perth’s Fringe World festival and they’ve been seen on Channel Ten, ABC and the Comedy Channel. Identical As Anything runs Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) at the Victoria Hotel. Tickets are $18-$25.
Superwog Fake It ‘Til You Make It
Superwog are internet superstars. Regularly gracing the YouTube Comedy Charts, brothers Theo and Nathan Saidden have gathered a whopping 115 million views and more than 635,000 subscribers, becoming one of Australia’s most watched channels. Their last tour Talk Shit Get Hit sold out shows across Australia, and they’re ready to bring forth the energy of their sketches to the live realm once again. Fake It ‘Til You Make It will run Tuesday April 4 – Sunday April 9 at Melbourne Town Hall. Tickets are $39.90 - $44.90.
Tommy Little & Gossling Heartbreak & Hilarity
Two performers from two different worlds share their tales of love gone horribly wrong. Comedian Tommy Little and musician Gossling tell stories and sing songs about awkward moments - like fake public proposals for free beer and the intricacies of filming sex scenes with a television star. A bittersweet look at why love never runs smoothly, you can witness something special at The Famous Spiegeltent from Saturday April 1 – Sunday April 2, then Saturday April 8 – Sunday April 9. Tickets are $35. 14
Irish comedy icon Dara Ó Briain is set to return to Australia for the first time in over a decade. Not only that, but he’s locked in to play a second night at one of Melbourne’s finest venues, Hamer Hall. The hilarious silver-tongued stand-up finds himself pleasantly bewildered by it all. “It’s amazing, because to some extent, the question is, why? What have you possibly seen me in?” Aussies might be familiar with Ó Briain thanks to the likes of panel shows Qi and Mock The Week. For the unacquainted, a quick YouTube search will yield hours of hilarious viewing. Of course, there’s plenty of amateur phone footage, but Ó Briain is largely unphased. “I’m never sure of how much damage that stuff ever does. People always go on about being taped on a phone in a gig. I never see that anywhere. I’m sure if Beyonce was doing a new material night, that might appear places,” he muses. “But for us, it actually doesn’t do us any harm at all.” Besides, Melbourne fans can expect something completely different to whatever they find online. “I think with stand-up, and particularly for those who like to mess around on the night with improvisational stuff like I do, clips of these gigs are promises that, if you go along, something strange might happen on your night as well,” he explains. “They end up working as more of an ad than a spoiler. I’ll make sure that there’s stuff that even if you know the routine, the routine will be built on a lot of audience messing around, so what happens
will be unique to that night anyway.” The spontaneity of a performance is as important to Ó Briain as it is his audience, as he’s not necessarily such a novelty in other parts of the globe. “It’s hugely important because it’s all very well to get yourself psyched up for the first time in Melbourne or the first time in Oslo, but it’s not going to be the first time I’ve been in Middlesbrough or Woking.” To some extent, Ó Briain hits refresh with every show, with a sizeable chunk of his stage time spent differently each night. “The whole thing is just better when there’s a lot of fresh things happening,” he says. “It’s always in the moment. I’m a great advocate of the phrase. People always say it as an excuse for a story that didn’t work, whereas I think it’s a celebration of the fact that some stuff was just in the moment. A thing will occur that won’t occur on any other night. I think it’s a great phrase for stand-up.”
“It’s always in the moment... People always say it as an excuse for a story that didn’t work, whereas I think it’s a celebration of the fact that some stuff was just in the moment. ” Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall Dates: Tuesday April 4 & Wednesday April 5 Duration: 120 minutes
Tickets: $69.90 - $79.90 By Nick Mason
The Year of Magical Fucking
Eli Matthewson was the first to admit he wasn’t too crash-hot the first time he tried his luck with stand-up. Luckily, the New Zealand native isn’t known for his lack of resolve, with the last few years seeing him blossom into one of the country’s brightest young talents. This rapid rise has seen Matthewson twice nominated for a Billy T Award, which recognises New Zealand comedians with outstanding potential. Indeed, this potential has been on full display in his home country for years with the comedian owning acting and writing credits on Jono and Ben and Funny Girls, as well as being a regular contributor on both 7 Days and The Edge. Above all else however, it has been stand up that has come to define Matthewson, and for good reason. The Christchurch native’s latest show, The Year of the Magical Fucking looks to build upon his already formidable reputation in the stand-up world. And apart from having arguably the best named show of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Matthewson’s latest effort will look to explore some important issues. “Millennials are having less sex than our parents,” said Matthewson. “We are on our phones too much and clearly we are ignoring the bigger picture.” While this bigger picture may present itself as an awkward proposition to others, Matthewson
sees it as a chance to inspire. Of course, just from this it would be easy to pigeonhole the comedian as an easy-going and fun talent, and while both are true, they also undermine the challenges Matthewson has faced in getting to where he is today. An openly gay comedian, he has experienced a somewhat different path to relevancy than some of his contemporaries. “I was worried my first show was too gay,” he says. “I dated a few girls before I came out, and some of my experiences with them were quite terrible as you can imagine. One of them was obsessed with fairies, so much so that she had toy ones all around the house.” The brilliance of the Auckland-based comedian is in his ability to make light of the uncomfortable, yet to ignore the story behind the joke would be to ignore the greater plight. “I’ve tried to lessen my gayness with some of my other shows, but I’ve reached a point now where I feel I should be as gay as I want to be,” says Matthewson. “I don’t have to be a gay comedian, I can just be a comedian. It doesn’t have to be an issue – it’s just me.”
“I’ve tried to lessen my gayness with some of my other shows, but I’ve reached a point now where I feel I should be as gay as I want to be” Venue: Forum Theatre Carpet Room Dates: Tuesday April 11 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 55 minutes Tickets: $18 - $22
By Declan Harrick
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From inter-personal relationships right through to international politics, power and revenge play out every day of our lives. For comedian Alice Fraser, she’s playing with these ideas in her latest solo show Empire.
Alex Williamson Make The World A Banter Place
After gaining a huge following on YouTube, Alex Williamson has been selling out comedy shows across Australia and the UK for years, no doubt thanks to his dark wit and knack for banter. You can catch Williamson at Athenaeum Theatre from Tuesday April 11 to Sunday April 16. Tickets are $20 - $29.
Late Night Letters And Numbers
The only thing better than the awkward, nerdy humour that Letters and Numbers brought to our TV screens each night is this live remake which contains less brains and more booze. Host Nick Caddaye will be joined by a team of comedy whizzes for what is bound to be the most hilariously nonsensical game of wits you’ll see. Catch it at Melbourne Town Hall in the Powder Room on Monday April 3, 10 and 17. Tickets are $25.
Amos Gill Sorry, But It’s True
Amos Gill’s back from a recent series of performances in the USA to deliver his brutally honest comedy. Known for his performances on SBS’s Stand Up At Bella Union and ABC2’s Comedy Up Late – as well as a presenter of Adelaide’s hit107 breakfast radio program Cat & Amos – he’s scored multiple award nominations (including MICF’s “Best Newcomer” in 2014) for his infectious style that refuses to hold back. Sorry, But It’s True runs from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 at the Greek Centre ( Mondays at Melbourne Town Hall). Tickets are $15-$25. 16
“I’m interested in the way the discourse has gone recently with groups that have been traditionally marginalised taking power in various forums,” says Fraser. “I think there used to be an old-fashioned way of looking at power – that it was a great duty which came with privilege. What they used to call noblesse oblige. I feel like we’ve thrown that away in favour of a narrative where everyone who was historically powerful was a baddie, and everyone who has been oppressed was a goodie. I feel like that’s both oversimplifying and not a useful template for going forward with new power dynamics.” Sydney-born Fraser, another in the long line of lawyers-turned-comedians, first started standup when she was living and working in New York. “After a while, revealed preference began to indicate that one of those two pursuits was taking up a lot more of my interest and brain-space and giving me a lot more happiness,” says Fraser, who when not touring calls Melbourne home. Along the way, she’s also been a part of the Cambridge Footlights, was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Sydney Comedy Festival and has written for satirical news radio show A Rational Fear and ABC TV’s The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife Fighting. Her previous two shows, Savage and The Resistance, earned her glowing reviews and sold out venues when she performed them around Australia, NZ and the UK. Throughout, she hasn’t shied away
from tackling difficult issues. The former was about the death of her mother. “Savage dealt with how you write a comedy show at the same time as being confronted with wrenchingly difficult tragedy,” she says. “Whether you can be funny about or around those subjects, and how you make people laugh enough that they’re willing to look straight at things they’d usually turn their eyes away from.” The Resistance was inspired by her childhood, being raised Buddhist by a lapsed Catholic and a recovered Jew in a crumbling house owned by her Holocaust survivor grandmother. “It was about how to be a good person,” says Fraser. “My grandmother – who was a wonderful, generous Holocaust survivor – and all of the broken people she gathered around her with her generosity, while at the same time they were all completely mental,” says Fraser. For fans of Fraser, Empire, which will be a mix of stand-up and song, will have some “family resemblance” to those two previous shows. “It’s about personal accountability, and in the same way as the two previous dealt with the narratives we build around ourselves, this one also unpacks a bit of that, and gets into some quantum physics, some Disney villains and some slightly uncomfortable, but hilarious, stories.”
“I feel like we’ve thrown that away in favour of a narrative where everyone who was historically powerful was a baddie, and everyone who has been oppressed was a goodie.” Venue: The Chinese Museum - The Jade Room (level 3) Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $15 - $27
By Joanne Brookfield
Little Bitch Prior to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival starting every year, every comic that is performing has to assign their latest show for the festival with a name. Some go for puns, others for boastful, exaggerated titles. For Sydney-based comedian and writer Becky Lucas, however, only one name was ever really going to suit her 2017 festival show; a name which may well be the single best of the lot. Enter, Little Bitch. “I had a few others going,” she says, “but they’re long lost to my Twitter archive now. I think Little Bitch was always the clear front-runner, although I didn’t set out to have it be a real theme of the show. “It was more or less just a way to let people know I’d be having a whine about whatever I felt like. If they were put off by the title then it was probably for the best. Over the last couple of times I’ve performed it, though, there’s been a story that’s sort of vaguely emerged that is keeping with the little bitch theme.” Lucas has been exceptionally busy of late. Not only has she been busy with her sharp, acerbic and bitingly funny stand-up, the world of acting has also come calling. Lucas was recently featured in the ABC comedy Fancy Boy, playing the wife of a politician at the head of a bizarrely-specific independent party; and more recently was brought in to perform in a sketch with YouTube comedy group Skills in Time. Entitled We Punched A Nazi, the sketch explores the Richard Spencer controversy of a few months back with hilarious results. “It was really fun to do,” says Lucas. “I thought the concept was really fun and new. This idea of making comedy in this new world of the internet
where everyone is a fucking pain in the arse and when there’s no one in the right or wrong.” Lucas makes particular note of the action sequences in the sketch, to which she was entirely new. “For lack of a better term, it kind of showed what a girl I am,” she says sarcastically. “I had absolutely no idea how to hold a gun, or throw a punch. I think there’s even one shot we left in where I miss Greg [Larson]’s face entirely.” Perhaps the biggest project Lucas has on the horizon at present is The Other Guy, a show Lucas has been co-writing with fellow comedian, musician and former triple j presenter Matt Okine. Having recently turned in the scripts, their Stan-exclusive series will begin filming shortly after both Okine and Lucas finish their initial festival runs. “It’s been awesome writing The Other Guy with Matt,” says Lucas. “It’s a huge undertaking and I’ve never written on a show from conception to finish, so it’s come with its challenges – especially alongside writing a new hour of stand-up. I’m proud of what the show is, and I’m really excited to see it come together.”
“It was more or less just a way to let people know I’d be having a whine about whatever I felt like. If they were put off by the title then it was probably for the best.” Venue: Victoria Hotel - Acacia Room Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $20 - $27
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Unacceptable Very rarely, an interview will derail entirely. Interviewees can sometimes be reticent or occasionally even hostile. In the case of Urzila Carlson, however, things comes to a grinding halt because she’s so goddamn hilarious. The Opening Night Comedy Allstars Supershow
Melbourne International Comedy Festival kicks off with an absolute bang, as we usher in the festivities with a star-studded night of international comedy luminaries. A show jam-packed to the brim with the cream of incredible performers, The Opening Night Comedy Allstars Supershow is the ultimate in hilarious nights out. Don’t miss your opportunity to witness the unveiling at the Regent Theatre on Wednesday March 29. Tickets are $58.95 – $183.35. Susie Youssef
Stand & Deliver
If you’re after a great day out with the family, or you know some kids that love a laugh, Stand & Deliver presents a whole host comedy especially for the 8-12 year old comedy fan. Hosted by the hilarious Susie Youssef, the show provides some of the best stand-up, musical, sketch and physical comedians in a special even filmed for ABC ME. Come on down to The Famous Spiegeltent from Friday April 21 – Sunday April 23. Tickets are $16 – $20. Mel Buttle
Class Clowns National Grand Final
Stand-up, sketch, musical and physical comedy – you name it, and this one-ofa-kind competition has seen it. Now, a collective of teens from the future of comedy have gathered to show the world what they’ve got. Hosted by 2016 Class Clowns Winner Lauren Duong and the hilarious Mel Buttle - with special appearances from sketch group Aunty Donna and the UK’s Josie Long – catch Class Clowns at Melbourne Town Hall’s Main Hall on Friday April 21. Tickets are $15 – $18. 18
“Every time you ask someone that question you could emotionally scar them to a point where they’re just going to snap and rip your head off one day and shit in your lung,” she says, and with that, I’m pretty much on the floor laughing, incapable of sApeech. It’s not one of my questions she’s referring to, just to be clear. We’ve been talking about the many things she finds unacceptable – which is what her latest Melbourne International Comedy Festival Show is all about – and she’s delivered this punchline with the timing and precision of the professional she is. Since “accidentally” starting stand-up almost ten years ago (her friend Leon Fisk basically tricked her into an open mic spot saying it was a work thing she had to do) Carlson has been on the up and up. Born in South Africa and now calling Auckland home, where she lives with her wife and two kids, she’s sold out every solo show she’s performed in New Zealand since 2009. She’s also won Best Female Comedian at the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 NZ Comedy Guild Awards, as well as the coveted TV3 People’s Choice Award two years in a row at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. In Australia, she’s equally as popular, selling out runs in festivals around the country. “It’s weird,” says Carlson. “Every time I walk out on stage and people are sitting there I’m like, ‘For me?’” Her profile in Australia, has certainly been helped by regular appearances on television shows such as Have
You Been Paying Attention, Spicks and Specks and spots on Comedy Up Late and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Galas. Which brings us back to her new Melbourne Comedy Festival Show, Unacceptable. “Unacceptable is such a powerful word. You can stop arguments with it,” she says. This time around, she’s tackling everything from the minutiae of everyday life through to bigger issues. “There are some big things that have happened in my life that I find unacceptable that I talk about, that effect everyone in the community and the world really,” she says. The show will touch on a few of the topics she also discusses in her recently released memoir Rolling with the Punchlines, such as having children. “In Unacceptable I talk about how we’ve got the two kids and we struggled to get to the point where we’ve got the two kids,” she says. “There are so many pressures,” she says of the way social situations can get out of hand on the topic of parenting, especially with insensitive questions asked of childless couples. “It’s none of your damn business.” But if you persist with the unacceptable questions and someone shits in your lungs, well, Urzila Carlson did warn you.
“Unacceptable is such a powerful word. You can stop arguments with it.” Venues: Melbourne Town Hall - Supper Room & Melbourne Town Hall - Main Hall Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $25 - $35
By Joanne Brookfield
Resurrection Vampyric folklore is fit to burst with badass babes kicking butt and taking names. Bram Stoker gave us the archetypal Brides of Dracula, and it’s even possible that Dracula himself was based on real life ‘Blood Countess’, Elizabeth Báthory. Anne Rice – literary badass – gave us Akasha, AKA Queen of The Damned, the progenitor of all vampires. And way back in 1997, Joss Whedon’s Buffy Summers kicked the crypt door wide open and drove Mr. Pointy through the cold, undead heart of the patriarchy. Now there are three new names to add to this formidable Army of Darkness: Rachel Trainor, Lakota Vella, and Emma Lee Clark. The trio is appearing in Dracula’s new stage show Resurrection. It’s a flashy, kitschy production that brings together Dracula’s most requested acts of the past decade, revamped with slap-face costumes, retro-now songs, mesmerising special effects and serrated edge comedy. No act too audacious, and no heel too high. Remember the pure, unadulterated joy of watching the Scooby gang break into musical numbers about bunnies (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Once More, With Feeling, 2001)? This cabaret show gives that fan favourite a run for its money. Rachel Trainor’s favourite act is a piece called My Blood, in which she gets to showcase her skills behind the drum kit. “I think that having a woman drummer is a talking point for people,” explains Trainor. “A lot of people are surprised to see women on stage playing instruments in a rock setting.” It’s an empowering experience for Trainor and one she hopes she can pass on to the next generation of performers. “I always get people telling me they
can’t wait to tell their daughters about a show that features women musicians so prominently,” she says. “That’s the best thing, when what you do inspires younger girls to play music and perform. It’s a great feeling.” Lakota Vella is a self-taught musician and guitargun for hire. Dracula’s marks her first foray into the world of musical theatre. Vella has embraced the opportunity with vigour, immersing herself in the macabre aesthetic and it’s characters: “I’ve been called a vampire since I was a teen because I mostly wear black and my role models are Elvira (Mistress of the Dark) and Morticia Addams,” she explains. “Also, my music taste could be considered quite morbid. I have a thing for doom metal and anything with dark, brutal guitar riffs.” Emma Lee Clark joins the cast after a recent stint performing in the musical Cats at the London Palladium. “I still go to dance classes and work on my singing daily,” she explains. “I believe that you can learn a lot from the people you work with and that there is always room for improvement no matter how good you are.” The ladies will join Dracula’s deliciously androgynous MC, Stuart Reeve and circus cabaret performer, Connor Sweeny in a season that spans the duration of the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
“That’s the best thing, when what you do inspires younger girls to play music and perform. It’s a great feeling.” Venue: Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant Dates: Wednesday March 29 - Saturday April 22 (bar Sundays and Mondays) Duration: 120 minutes Tickets: $89 - $119
By George Hyde
Somerset’s picturesque Mendip Hills lend character to this county of England, and nestled at their feet are our pride and joy – our beautiful orchards. With apple varieties such as Dabinett, Somerset Redstreak and Porters Perfection, it is here that the journey starts to lovingly craft our ciders, inspired by the countryside around us, and the heritage and values of the Thatchers family.
Stephen K Amos
Cameron James ‘88
In his debut comedy hour performance, Cameron James will weave an eccentric world of amusement and oddity. James already has quite a calibre behind him – he’s opened for Akmal and Dave Hughes, and was handpicked to perform at Splendour in the Grass. James also hosts podcast Mike Check, where he vows to continuously watch every Mike Myers film on repeat until they make a fourth Austin Powers – you have to admire that dedication. ’88 runs Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Wednesdays) at Trades Hall. Tickets are $15 - $25.
Greta Lee Jackson Red Flag
A regular performer in both Sydney and Los Angeles, Greta Lee Jackson is fast earning a well-deserved recognition as part of hilarious comedy group Skit Box, creators of ABC’s Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am. In Red Flag, she takes the audience through a journey exploring the eccentric decisions we make and why we so often choose to avoid the warning signs on the path – speaking from her own personal experiences. Red Flag runs Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 9 (bar Wednesday) at Trades Hall. Tickets are $15 - $25.
Tommy Little Good Talk
Ten years after Tommy Little debuted with his very first solo show Call Me, the comedian has become a juggernaut of Australian entertainment. Currently hosting Comedy Channel’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? Australia, Little’s hilarious antics and anecdotes have seen him selling out festival runs around the world, including a whopping 10,000 seats at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Catch Little at the Forum Theatre’s Downstairs from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $25 – $37. 20 BEAT.COM.AU
British stand up Stephen K Amos is a Melbourne International Comedy Festival regular and former guest on shows such as Spicks and Specks and Thank God You’re Here. These days, the London-based comedian feels right at home in front of Australian crowds. But despite being a regular visitor with a stable fanbase, he never arrives overconfident. “Every audience is different,” says Amos. “The show here is not particularly Australia-heavy. It’s a story about things that I’ve experienced in the past, so whether they connect with an audience is another thing. But if I see something while I’m here that’s very newsworthy then yes, I’ll bring it on.” Amos is known to comment on various serious subjects – from perverse social media habits to racism and sexual identity – while keeping the overall experience feel good and inclusive. “I genuinely believe that we’ve all got a story to tell,” he says. “In my personal life I’m a very positive person, I try and find the good in people. I also know that when people come to a comedy show, they’re coming for comedy first and foremost. So [I try to include], within that experience, some very important topics that mean something to me or maybe have a different take on things. “One of the big stories I was reading about that happened in Australia last year was the sale of Golliwogs at shop in Toowoomba. And so now that’s been a big part of this current show because for me that’s quite an important issue. And it may enlighten or it might infuriate people, but that’s the risk I’m going to take.”
Amos is coolly aware of the comedian’s primary obligation – to provide humorous, rollicking entertainment. However, by speaking out on topics of social and political significance, he hopes his show World Famous will potentially influence viewers’ opinions. “At the end of the day, this is the one job in the world where we really value freedom of speech. I can say anything I like at my shows and I have nobody there to censor me. People can challenge me, but no one’s there to edit me. “If I’ve got a room full of 1000 people in front of me, I can’t assume that they’ll all have the same sensibilities or the same political views that I have. So if I can present a comedy show and pepper within that some of my own views. If I can make somebody think at least, then job done.” It’s been a dramatic couple of years for global politics. There’ll be no shortage of comedians referencing the rise of Donald Trump and the chaotic Brexit ordeal at this year’s festival. Such events are unlikely to feature in Amos’ routine, though. “Unless my take on it is completely original and completely left field, I might not even go there. I think people might be a bit sick to death of [Trump and Brexit] and I don’t particularly want to go to a comedy festival and every comic I see is touching on the same subjects.”
“At the end of the day, this is the one job in the world where we really value freedom of speech. I can say anything I like at my shows and I have nobody there to censor me.” Venue: Athenaeum Theatre Dates: Thursday March
30 - Tuesday April 18 (bar Mondays) & Sunday April 23 Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $36 - $54.90 By Augustus Welby
Not Your Ex
For Emily Tresidder, life has conveniently unfolded so that her show has been almost writing itself over the past six months. After spending nine months touring festivals last year in both the UK and Australia, Tresidder decided to move to Melbourne in October After first performing sketch comedy for a few years with ensemble Not Suitable for Drinking, Tresidder made the move into stand-up three years ago. Her debut show, Absolutely Ridiculous, performed at Fringe World and Adelaide Fringe in 2015. Last year’s Crazy Is was a far more international effort, performing across Australia and having a full run in Edinburgh. “I did the full month of Fringe there at Gilded Balloon which was amazing. Such a great experience; it was literally unbelievable at times. I was selling out over there which is mental because there’s so many shows at that festival,” she says. This year, she’s decided to scale back touring to give her more time to work on the content of her latest Melbourne International Comedy Festival show Emily Tresidder Is Not Your Ex. “It will be a debut for Melbourne,” she says. “Last year I did a lot of festivals. This year, I really wanted to be able to take the time to live, so that I could have more experiences and have more to work with.” It was never intended to be a show about relationships. Originally, she just liked the title. “But then when I was actually writing the show, it was like the universe provided, and the last six months of my life were very tumultuous in terms of relationships.
Then it actually morphed into this show about my exes, co-incidentally,” she says. Unlike Crazy Is, which she says she was very clear about when writing (“I knew exactly what I wanted it to be, I knew what I wanted the arc to be, I knew what I wanted it to look like in the end”) her new show came about very differently. “This year I set myself a different goal where I was like, ‘Don’t lock yourself into anything story arc-wise or concept-wise and just go for gold and see what happens’. It’s been really fun exploring that and just basically creating something from nothing,” she says, describing her style as anecdotal. In her last show, she tackled darker themes of mental health but says she has decided to make Not Your Ex “a lot more fun and light, and a bit silly” which is also reflecting where she’s at herself now. “I actually have Crazy Is to thank for my lighter, brighter place because touring that show was amazing. I had such a great time and I think that really helped me to get to where I am now. I’m feeling happy. I’m feeling positive. It’s good.”
“Last year I did a lot of festivals. This year, I really wanted to be able to take the time to live, so that I could have more experiences and have more to work with.” Venue: Imperial Hotel
Dates: Thursday March 30 - Saturday April 22 (bar Sundays) Duration: 55 minutes
Tickets: $15.30 - $25.30
By Joanne Brookfield
Josh Wade Me, Myself & Cunny
A brutal and unflinching caricature of bogan culture, Cunny is the uncouth and crude counterpart of comedian Josh Wade. Cunny’s shocking attitude has earned him over one million online followers – but what of his creation? With a sold out national tour and MICF run in 2016, Wade returns with an audio-visual spectacular to discuss the uncomfortable social elements that led to his alter-ego’s birth. Me, Myself & Cunny runs Friday April 7, Saturday April 8, Friday April 14 and Saturday April 15 at The Lithuanian Club. Tickets are $30.
Jared Jekyll Young, Dumb & Full Of Pun
With a powerful energy and a keen passion for hip hop, Jared Jekyll defies convention. Wielding an arsenal of beatboxing, rap, absurd humour and a couple of magic tricks, Jekyll unleashes a frantic world of controlled chaos onstage to blow his audiences away. It’s this unique concoction that’s seen him open for the likes of Tom Green, Ari Shaffir and even DMX. Young, Dumb & Full Of Pun runs Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Monday April 3 and Monday April 10) at the Victoria Hotel and Melbourne Town Hall. Tickets are $15 - $25
Puppetry Of The Penis
Almost two decades ago, Puppetry Of The Penis exploded into a bizarre cultural phenomenon, selling out shows internationally. Having been hosted in over 35 countries and performed in six different languages, Las Vegas has delivered their interpretation of the twisted art of junk-origami to Australian shores. Buckle up for the likes of the Eiffel Tower, the Loch Ness Monster, the Pelican and the iconic Hamburger. Puppetry Of The Penis runs Saturday April 1 – Sunday April 9 (bar Monday April 3) at Crown Casino’s The Palms. Tickets are $45.75 - $81.30, with dinner and show options available. 22 BEAT.COM.AU
“I’ll break you up,” declares acclaimed comedian Daniel Sloss, in what must surely be the most ballsy sales pitch for a show this festival season. “If you’re in a relationship, I’ll break you up. I did this show in Edinburgh, then I toured it around Europe and, officially, I can confirm I’ve broken up 45 couples. At the time of speaking, 45 relationships I’ve ended.” Sloss takes a sledgehammer to so-called love in his new hour, So? – and, as the Scotsman reveals, he’s more than qualified to do so. “I’ve been in relationships where I wasn’t in love and I was like, ‘Oh God, it’s obvious we’re not in love.’ What’s the best way to hide this? Post about it constantly. Hide it in plain sight. If you convince the public, you’ll convince yourself. That’s also how I convinced myself I was funny,” he laughs. “I talk about relationships: why people get into them, why I get into them, why they fail, why mine have failed,” Sloss explains. “I’m not a person who denies the existence of true love but I am a person who calls bullshit on the 80 percent of relationships that are not true love – relationships that are built out of fear, out of self-doubt and the indoctrination of how we pitch relationships to young adults all over the world. “You can say I sound bitter all you want, but I’ve broken up 45 couples. That’s 90 lives saved. And I don’t have a Nobel Peace Prize. It’s bullshit if you ask me.” There’s a charming authenticity about Sloss – a
quality that not only comes across in conversation, but in his comedy. It’s why he’s a hit wherever he tours, from Europe to the US. Starting out as a teenager, it took Sloss some time to find his voice. “I did what I call ‘porridge comedy’. We all agree that porridge is good for you, it’s healthy and it’s filling. But there’s nothing to it. It fills you up and it doesn’t do anything other than that. I was 18 – who gives a fuck what an 18-yearold thinks? Obviously the same still stands. Who gives a fuck what a 26-year-old thinks? Now my stand up is more based on my opinion.” For Sloss, it’s not about being wrong or right. It’s about his audience enjoying a top evening. “I love the fact that, if you disagree with me – which most of my audience do – they still laugh. You don’t have to agree with what I say to enjoy my comedy. I’m very aware of how stupid I am. I’m not a politician. I’m not there to get your vote. I’m there to make you laugh. Whether I make you laugh because you find me ridiculous or you agree with me, to me we’re all still in the same room and having a laugh together.”
“I’ve broken up 45 couples. That’s 90 lives saved. And I don’t have a Nobel Peace Prize. It’s bullshit if you ask me.” Venues: Taxi Riverside, Melbourne Town Hall - Main Hall Dates: Thursday March 30 - Saturday April 22 (bar Mondays) Duration: 75 Minutes Tickets: $22 - $32
By Nick Mason
“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t mean a lot,” admits comedian Rhys Nicholson of last year’s surprise Barry Award nomination. Of course, the nod came as no surprise to anyone who had seen his terrific 2016 show, Bona Fide – but truthfully, Nicholson himself never saw it coming. Not even an invitation to the awards ceremony gave it away. “One of the directors of the festival came up to me at the bar,” he recalls. “I was already past the point of drunk where I was kind of like, ‘What?’ I didn’t really understand. It hadn’t occurred to me that maybe that’s what was going on. “I thought, I’m not up for the Gibbo and I’m not up for Best Newcomer or anything. I thought he was just trying to fill seats. I was like, ‘No, fuck off, I’m not doing that.’ It took one of the other directors to be like, ‘No, you need to come tomorrow.’ I thought, ‘This is bullshit.’” He soon learned that his show had indeed been declared one of the best shows of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. For Nicholson, it was a case of persistence paying off. “When it opened in Brisbane the month before, I did hate it in the first week. Not Brisbane, but the show. I wasn’t happy with it at all and thought it was the worst piece of shit that I’d ever thought of. Then we did a bunch of work on it and it clicked in and I was suddenly having a lot of fun with it.” From there, Nicholson never looked back. “I was very happy with the show, I was quite proud of it and I knew that because I performed it for almost six months straight and usually I’m angry at a show by about the third month,” he jokes.
Nicholson’s new show, I’m Fine, is slowly revealing itself. “It kind of seems to be – and this sounds so fucking douchey – about people’s expectations and obsession. I mean, in all my shows I seem to talk about anxiety because it’s a big part of my life but I think anxiety is all about obsession and what people expect of you,” he explains. “But there’s also a story about me blowing a guy at a public tennis court. So, you know, it’s all about the spectrum.” Meanwhile, fans of the festival’s Lip Sync Battle may rejoice: it’s coming back, with Nicholson returning as host. “I’ve got to think about what I’m going to do. I focus on that more than I think I focus on my show the week before, because if you fuck it up, you look like an idiot. “I can fuck up my show as many times as I want – people don’t know the next night,” he muses. “Make sure you print that, that’s the headline – ‘Rhys Nicholson can fuck up his show as many times as he likes, people will keep coming.’”
“I can fuck up my show as many times as I want – people don’t know the next night” Venues: ACMI - Cube & Melbourne Town Hall - Supper Room Dates: Thursday March 30 Sunday April 23 Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $22 - $30
By Nick Mason
#ObjectifyNeel Neel Kolhatkar believes that brown men need to be sexually objectified more and he’s asked his sizable following on social media to oblige. “Pretend I’m the Ganges and get your dick dirty in my filthy wet banks” is one of the examples he gives of the response his hashtag #objectifyneel has received so far.
James Veitch Dot Con
James Veitch has delighted audiences worldwide with his mischievous mission: to reply to suspicious time-wasting emails and turn the tables on the would-be scammers and spammers. Veitch’s antics have earned him global adoration, and his TED Talk on the nature of his quest is the fastest to reach over two million views in living history. Catch him in his Australian debut at ACMI’s Cube from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $26.50 – $33.50.
Loyiso Gola Dude, Where’s My Lion?
The two-time Emmy-nominated Loyiso Gola will be coming to Australia for the very first time. A regular correspondent on ABC’s The Weekly with Charlie Pickering, Cola’s razor-sharp take on global affairs has made him a household name in South Africa, where he won the 2014 South African Comics’ Choice Award. Don’t miss Gola when he plays Melbourne Town Hall’s Powder Room from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $26.50 – $34.
Larry Dean Farcissist
After a successful 2016 as part of MICF’s New Order, the endearing and affable Larry Dean returns to perform his Melbourne solo debut about love, emotionally detachment and many complications of both. A natural storyteller, Dean’s collected accolades like the 2016 Amused Moose Comedy Award and was the 2013 Scottish Comedian of the Year. Catch him at Melbourne Town Hall’s Cloak Room from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $26.50 – $33.50. 24 BEAT.COM.AU
“I have been overwhelmed with how good the responses have been. I knew my female fans had it in them,” he tells Beat from Adelaide. “If you were a curry I’d shove you in my mouth and let you burn up my asshole,” is another example he gives of what he considers to be one of the best. With almost 100,000 followers on Instagram and Twitter combined, and with some of his YouTube clips having had millions of views (other clips of his have to settle for only being seen hundreds of thousands of times), there’s plenty of people out there happy to play along with his hashtag. Kolhatkar is also touring this provocative idea in his latest stand up show #ObjectifyNeel, which he’s bringing to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. So why does he think brown men need to be sexually objectified more? “It stems from the racial stereotype of brown men being nerdy, not masculine, reserved and small,” he says. “I challenge the idea with my jokes and exploration of the topic. I try to make others see it in the same light I do and offer hyperbolic farfetched solutions to evoke some degree of thought and reconsideration about the topic.” The 22-year-old Sydneysider is also tackling other topics in the stand-up show. “I talk about race
in a modern sense, racial privilege, offensiveness – those kind of things,” says Kolhatkar. “My discussion of youth is based upon my experiences as a young person; what we go through, our trials and tribulations in today’s world. I talk a lot about our current political and cultural climate; how it’s so vicious and divisive. My big aim in comedy is to not let my personal views get in the way of being able to make fun of all sides of the debate.” Inspired by Russell Peters and Chris Rock, Kolhatkar started doing comedy when he was 15 as part of Class Clowns and he says he’s been lucky enough to be doing this full time for the past four years now. His success on social media has played a big part. “My social media really took off a couple of years ago when I made some scathing and frantic videos about similar topics I explore in this show,” he says. “They had a large element of shock value. It’s your direct line of communication with your fans and followers. You can be yourself, create exactly what you want to create without any advertiser or outside influence. That’s a powerful thing in comedy. And you can also ask people to objectify you.”
“My big aim in comedy is to not let my personal views get in the way of being able to make fun of all sides of the debate.” Venues: Taxi Riverside, Federation Square (Tuesday to Sunday) and Melbourne Town Hall - Cloak Room (Mondays) Dates: Thursday March 30 Sunday April 23 Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $23.50 - $29 By Joanne Brookfield
‘Tis A Pity She’s A Piglet In town to spruik his new show ’Tis a Pity She’s a Piglet (an examination of a concept he’s coined “literal surrealism”), Paul Foot is everything you’d hope. He’s all wide-eyed and mulleted, mod strides and razor sharp ties, treading the line of eccentric geek goes cool AF. He’s smart, impeccably courteous, funny, awkward and weird, all of which culminates with him pretending to be a deer and getting up in our grill in order to demonstrate how his fear of fawns developed. An Oxford mathematics graduate, UK comedian Foot’s humour is clever and wordy without being snotty, while remaining psychedelically absurd. It’s not uncommon for Foot to spend half a show introducing what’s yet to unfold, and occupying the rest with surreal musings that sometimes escalate into rants, even if it’s at the cost of disturbing the audience. Take his character Penny, for example, which sees Foot morph into a deeply unbalanced hairdresser from Streatham who lures the audience in with an invitation to ask her personal questions. “Penny has to go too far, that’s the whole point,” Foot says. “It seems to have some sort of impact on people, but it is quite disturbing. All the time it’s treading that line, and I suppose that’s what makes it work, that line of, ‘has Paul actually gone mad?’ That’s why at the end I say, ‘Entertainment there from Penny,’ and people are relieved. ‘Oh, Paul really
is alright, he’s hasn’t had a nervous breakdown.’” In a way, Penny is representative of Foot’s approach to life. Balance is not really his forte; take it to the limit or do nothing at all. “A friend of mine who’s a creative person says you can burn yourself out,” he muses. “I say, ‘Great, bring it on. I think it’d be fun.’ When one is really busy, you feel intensely alive. But one tends to feel intensely alive at both ends of the spectrum. “You can also feel it when things are very unbusy. I once stayed at this cottage, which was like having a retreat. I came out and spoke to the man who owned the main house and I said, ‘Oh, have the bins gone out yet?’ and he said, ‘I think they’ve gone out, so there’s no point taking a bin out’. Anyway, I said, ‘Oh well, it’s worth a look, just in case they haven’t taken them out’. So then I had to walk for ten minutes to the end of the drive way, because it was on massive grounds, and discovered that the bins hadn’t been taken out. Then I walked ten minutes back and said, ‘Actually the bins haven’t been taken out,’ and he said, ‘Well you might as well take them out’. So I had to walk back. It was 40 minutes of doing almost nothing in a very inefficient manner and I felt totally alive then too.”
“When one is really busy, you feel intensely alive. But one tends to feel intensely alive at both ends of the spectrum.” Venue: The Famous Spiegeltent at Arts Centre Melbourne Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $30 - $38.50
By Meg Crawford
WINNER BEST COMEDY Fringe World Perth 2017
WINNER BEST COMEDY Adelaide Fringe Weekly 2017
THE GREATEST NEW LIFE-CHANGING PRODUCT
JOSH GLANC ACMI - FED SQUARE 30 MAR - 23 APR (7.15PM Sundays)
Cait Johnson & Gearard McGeown
Mucho Relaxo Melbo
Anh Do The Happiest Refugee Live
Returning by popular demand for one night only, beloved comedian Anh Do presents his incredible story in The Happiest Refugee. Based on tales as written in his autobiography, Do uses a combination of stand-up, stories, photos and filmed pieces to retell his family’s inspirational struggle as they fled from Vietnam in 1980. In equal turns hilarious and deeply moving, The Happiest Refugee runs Wednesday April 5 at Regent Theatre. Tickets are $54.90 - $59.90.
What’s better than sharing a great laugh with a friend? Good pals Cait Johnson and Gearard McGeown are an exceptionally funny duo, teaming up in a split bill to take on the Comedy Festival with their show Mucho Relaxo Melbo. With their perfectly meshing styles, the pair are keen to weave their light-hearted atmosphere together for the first time in Melbourne. “Both Gearard and I are really excited about it,” Johnson says. “We’ve done fringe festivals and Sydney Comedy Festival together before, but this is obviously the biggest in Australia, so it’s pretty cool to be there doing it.” Johnson and McGeown met each other five years ago when they were both starting out on the comedy circuit. Johnson wrote short stories before her stand-up career, meeting McGeown in places like Sydney’s Laugh Garage and the RAW Comedy open-mic competition. Ever since, they’ve been doing shows together everywhere. McGeown has been featured on the likes of FBI Radio, 2day FM, triple j, and ABC TV’s The Checkout. Meanwhile, Johnson has performed in venues as diverse as shipping containers, living rooms, stairwells and bowling club bistros. “I did well on my first gig, so I did it again,” Johnson recalls. “I didn’t do so well on my second gig, but I liked the first gig so much that I kind of just kept doing it. Gearard and I became friends
from the outset. I think we’d only ever done a couple of gigs each when we first met. We then did a lot of open mics and that sort of stuff together. I think that helped in terms of doing a show together – we know each other’s style and how we work pretty well.” Considering her first full solo show Good Grief at last year’s Sydney Fringe to be a “real highlight” of her journey, Johnson is excited to tackle this year’s Comedy Festival head-on. With a diverse range of comedy interests and tastes, she’s keen to catch shows from Josie Long and the Judith Lucy / Denise Scott double bill, amongst many more. Originally from Sydney, Johnson moved to Melbourne six months ago. Though initially only knowing two or three comics and a couple of family friends, Johnson has found the local scene exceptionally accommodating. “It’s been very friendly. Super, super friendly,” Johnson laughs. “I find comedians are pretty supportive of each other. I guess because it’s a strange thing to have in common with someone, because not many people do it. You can bond over that. People develop cliques and little communities through comedy, which is really nice. Melbourne in particular has been good, because when I first moved here, I was initially a bit hesitant moving to a new state. I wasn’t surprised by how nice everyone was, but just really pleased that everyone was welcoming, offering gigs and introducing me to other people. It makes it much, much easier.”
“I did well on my first gig, so I did it again. I didn’t do so well on my second gig, but I liked the first gig so much that I kind of just kept doing it.” Venue: Tasma Terrace
Dates: Monday April 10 Saturday April 22 (no shows Friday April 14 - Monday April 17) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $15 - $20
By Jacob Colliver
Comedians Against Humanity
Hosted by the Edinburgh award-winning Yianni Agisilaou, Comedians Against Humanity is a no-holds-barred free-forall based on the popular party game Cards Against Humanity – and it promises to be every bit as shocking and hilariously horrible. With a different lineup every night, audience members harnessing fistfuls of offensive cards challenge a host of comedians to create some completely improvised shenanigans. Limits will be tested and boundaries pushed. Enjoy. Comedians Against Humanity runs every Friday and Saturday of the festival at the Athenaeum Theatre. Tickets are $22-$26.
Ash Williams Back In Business
After selling out his first comedy gig then moving to L.A. to broaden his horizons as a comedian and actor, Ash Williams is back on home soil and back in business. Despite Williams’ success across the pond, he’s brought a score of crazy stories of misfortune and failure home with him. Ash Williams will be hitting the stage at Fort Delta from Tuesday April 11 to Saturday April 22 (bar Mondays and Sundays). Tickets are $15.30 - $25.30. 26 BEAT.COM.AU
Romesh Ranganathan has taken the UK by storm, gaining acclaim for his blunt charm and witty world observations. Now, he’ll be bringing his best when he embraces Australia for the very first time with his show Irrational. “When I was teaching, I thought I’d just do it as a laugh. You know, like those loser teachers that have got a hobby,” Ranganathan jokes. “I just started doing it as a thing to do in the evenings – instead of drinking heavily, you know, just doing comedy. I did it, and this gradually started to escalate. I started to get offered more gigs, and started getting offered paid work, and then an agent got interested. It happened almost by accident. It wasn’t like I was running away from teaching or anything. I was thinking of those things working alongside each other, but then it got to the point where I had to make the choice.” Growing up watching comedy, Ranganathan’s incredible rise began just five short years ago, starting his career in comedy while he was a mathematics teacher in Crawley. Immediately garnering attention, he was nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Comedy Awards for his debut Rom Com and the prestigious Best Show Award in 2014 for Rom Wasn’t Built In A Day. Ranganathan has since performed on the likes of Live At The Apollo, Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week and The Jonathan Ross Show. “I get very excited about taking a contrarian viewpoint,” Ranganathan explains. “Exploring what isn’t accepted thinking of something. I’ve been guilty of saying things that I don’t agree with just because
it’s not what everybody else thinks. I’m one of those guys that’s never watched Breaking Bad because people think it’s brilliant. Y’know, one of those idiots.” Ranganathan also holds a huge passion for hiphop. The host of comedy and rap podcast Hip Hop Saved My Life, Ranganathan used his incredible improvisational skills to perform freestyle rap and made it to the finals of the UK Championship competition. He modestly asserts, however, that comedy is his true realm of mastery. Through all the ups and downs of his career, he’s maintained the thrill of the comedic challenge. With the world now at his feet, there’s no looking back. “I was dropping my son off at nursery, and we were just pulling out of the carpark,” Ranganathan recalls. “The producer of a show phoned me and said, ‘Hi, is that Romesh?’ I said, ‘Yeah’, and he said, ‘We were just wondering if you’d favour doing Live At The Apollo’. Mate, I absolutely flipped out. I had started shouting. I tried to be cool on the phone, because you don’t want to sound too desperate. That was an amazing buzz – and in all sake, to be completely honest with you, we really needed the money too. That was a big moment.”
“I just started doing it as a thing to do in the evenings – instead of drinking heavily, you know, just doing comedy. ” Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, The Pavilion Dates: Wednesday April 19 Sunday April 23 Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $46.90
By Jacob Colliver
Best Of The Edinburgh Fest
Ruby Wax Frazzled
As an Oxford graduate armed with a Master’s Degree and a lifetime of experience on stage, there are few on this Earth that can make studying mental health as entertaining as Ruby Wax. Wax will lead a hilarious but engaging journey in search of wellbeing with a show based on her number one bestselling book A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled. Find her at Art Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 2. Tickets are $35 – $42.
Jenny Eclair How To Be A Middle Aged Woman (Without Going Insane)
The first woman to win the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Award and star of the internationally-successful Grumpy Old Women, the legendary Jenny Eclair has spent over 30 years crafting novels, radio plays and stage shows that delight the world. In her latest exposé, Eclair turns her wicked wit and fierce observations towards the fight of middle-age. Find her at Art Centre Melbourne’s Fairfax Studio from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 16 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $29 – $38.
Kieran Hodgson Maestro
Kieran Hodgson’s outstanding musical ability collides with a hilarious story of love and the creation of a symphony. Recounting a tale that began in 2003 after hearing the works of Gustav Mahler, Hodgson has garnered critical acclaim and nominations for Best Show at both the 2015 and 2016 Edinburgh Comedy Awards. Marvel at his talents when he plays Melbourne Town Hall’s Cloak Room from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $26.50 – $33.50. 28 BEAT.COM.AU
Every year, Best Of The Edinburgh Fest offers a carefully curated selection of comedians from participants in Scotland’s prestigious Edinburgh Festival Fringe and transports their charm and wit halfway across the world to Melbourne. It’s an annual tradition, and for Greg Burns, it completely changed everything. “It had a profound effect on my life, because it was the Best Of The Edinburgh Fest that bought me for the first time to Australia, which is now where I permanently live,” Burns says. “I had such a great time when I first did it, I’ve ended up living here. It’s been a big thing for me. I’d never really been to Australia before – or really thought about it before. Then that opportunity arose and I took it.” British-born Burns had so much fun performing in Australia that he would often come over for several weeks at a time and perform runs of the clubs. Falling in love with the sunburned nation, he’s now been living here since July last year and it’s been a whirlwind of excitement. Throwing himself into the comedy scene as soon as he could, he now hosts Mornings on radio station Nova FM. “I’d always loved watching comedy when I was a kid and it was on TV, but when you’re a kid and you live in a reasonably small town in England you just see comedy as something that famous people do,” Burns recalls. “I think it was my eighteenth birthday, and I went to a comedy club in North London
called Jongleurs. It was pretty much for my birthday, and it was the first time I saw stand up. I saw people like Alan Davies way before he was famous or on TV and I realised, ‘I can’t believe there’s a whole world, there’s a whole scene of these people coming up through the ranks’. The live artform was even better than anything that I’d seen on TV. Then I became a massive comedy fan. I was a punter going to as many shows as possible. It’s one of those things that I couldn’t not do anymore. It became a compulsion. I had to do it.” Burns will join forces with Scotland’s Stuart Mitchell and Wales’ Lloyd Langford to unleash a barrage of laughs, in a performance that he can’t wait for. Describing his excitement as “waiting for Christmas in September,” Burns is focused and enthusiastic, keen to deliver his unique and hilarious perspective on the world – including Australia itself. “You’ve got to know the sport,” Burns laughs. “Of all of the things, that’s the one thing you don’t want to muck up. I’ve taken it very slowly and very honestly. I’m more confident about the celebrities and the people on the TV, because you’re not going to be crucified if you get Richard Wilkins and Karl Stefanovic mixed up. If you get the different teams mixed up, or you say someone’s playing something else – I know that is a very bad move. I’ve yet to get my full colours in that one.”
“The live artform was even better than anything that I’d seen on TV. Then I became a massive comedy fan. I was a punter going to as many shows as possible. It’s one of those things that I couldn’t not do anymore. ” Venues: Forum Theatre Downstairs & Melbourne Town Hall - Lower Town Hall Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Wednesdays) Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $27 - $36.90 By Jacob Colliver
Phill Jupitus is a master of many realms. As an actor, performance poet, cartoonist, musician, improvisational comedian and podcast host – as well as a regular guest on QI and Team Captain on Never Mind The Buzzcocks for 19 years – he’s gathered an incredible and eclectic skill set. Having just finished performing in the recent stage musical run of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jupitus is ecstatic to get back into the wonderful world of stand-up. “The looseness of it – the freeform nature of it – is what appeals to me,” Jupitus says. “That is always how the comedy evolves. It’s almost a sort of improvisational mess, that then starts to achieve density, and weight, and shape, and form. It’s just through doing it repeatedly. That’s what I’ve always liked, is that in these gigs, different thoughts will come to you because you’re a human being on stage and your mind is working. “I did a show years and years ago about Star Wars that started out as a five-minute routine,” Jupitus recalls. “Just five minutes of gags about Star Wars, that within a month was a 20-minute set just about Star Wars. Within six months, it was a one hour show just about Star Wars. The last time I did it, after a UK tour, it was longer than the film Star Wars. I was doing a comedy routine that was longer than the film it was taking the piss out of. That to my mind, defines how I work. You’ve got to be constantly squeezing every idea and notion. Find the new in what you do.”
Describing his latest show Juplicity as “low energy chaos,” Jupitus will be heading to Melbourne this Comedy Festival season with a multitude of incredible stories from his life. Maintaining that comedy comes from truth, Jupitus loves the thrill and freedom of the stage. Feeling his “performing brain” taking over while weaving a tale, he often finds himself shocked at what he’s capable of when locked into the ethereal mindscape of improvisation – but he finds his own surprise to be half the fun, too. “I am personally willing to sacrifice myself for the entertainment of strangers,” Jupitus laughs. “There’s something I talk about in this bit that I’m going to be doing in Australia that I can’t believe I’m saying these words on stage in front of strangers. It’s a true story about my childhood, my mum, and something she told me that is so personal and harrowing, I find myself thinking, ‘Why are you saying this to these people? I’m sure they liked you’. The audience reaction is somewhere between openmouthed silent horror and a whiplash, like when you get in a car shunt. I’m not going to spoil it by even telling you what it’s about. If you want to know my horrifying personal secret, then come and see me.”
“You’ve got to be constantly squeezing every idea and notion. Find the new in what you do.” Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, The Pavilion Dates: Wednesday April 19 Sunday April 23 Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $46.90
By Jacob Colliver
“Crammed full of laughs”
“Flawless... and I mean flawless!”
Dads Have Feelings Too Uncle Nath is an endearing suburban dad who enjoys football, BBQs and sobbing into his pillow at night.
“He’s the every man...And he’s a bloody ripper.” Newcastle Mirage Magazine
April 19,20,21 - The National Theatre 6.30pm - 20 Carlisle St, St Kilda. Tix from comedyfestival.com.au. unclenath.com
Book tickets now! 31 March-9 April ‘17 The Aegean, 19 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
1300 308 193 torquaysuitetheatre.com MICF Beat Magazine Ad 122 x177.indd 1
TRE, GREEK CENSTREE T 168 LONSDALE
MARCH 30TH – APRIL 23RD TUESDAY – SATURDAY 7.15PM SUNDAY 6.15PM
Not In This House
Richard Gadd Monkey See Monkey Do
An openly-frank discussion from a very personal place, Richard Gadd has amazed audiences with his original take on mental illness and contemporary masculinity. Using humour to shatter traditional stereotypes and confront harsh realities, Gadd’s work was awarded Best Show at 2016’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards and launched him onto the world’s stage. Witness Gadd’s lauded performance when he takes to ACMI’s Cube from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $26.50 – $33.50.
Andy Zaltzman Plan Z
As star of internationally-renowned satirical podcast The Bugle, Andy Zaltzman turns his razor-sharp mind toward untangling the clustered, complex mess of global politics. The Winner of the Melbourne Comedy Festival’s 2007 Piece Of Wood Award, Zaltzman’s Plan Z revolves around solving all known problems, ever, with his plan to end all plans – before we end up ending everything. Catch him at Melbourne Town Hall’s Powder Room from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $27 – $35.
Josie Long Something Better
Three-time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee and brave optimist Josie Long has charmed audiences with her winning enthusiasm and clever perspective. With Something Better, Long pushes through the immediately-bleak outlook of the world and finds salvageable glimmers of hope in the carnage of modern politics. See Long at Melbourne Town Hall’s Lower Hall from Thursday March 30 – Monday April 3, Saturday April 15 & Monday April 17 – then at Swiss Club from Tuesday April 18 – Sunday April 23. Tickets are $28 – $36. 30 BEAT.COM.AU
“That’s what I like about my shows. I’ll talk some cute little story about my mum, and then five minutes later I’m balls deep into a guy in a story. I like that. I never want that to change about my show,” says Nath Valvo. Last year, judges of the Edinburgh Fringe comedy awards panel also liked that about the Melbournebased stand-up and nominated him for the Best Newcomer award. “It was my first ever Edinburgh and it’s like boot camp for comedians,” he recalls. “I really experienced the gamut. Everything from a cancelled show because of zero sales to a great night; kind of doubting your voice as a comedian and then, all of a sudden, this nomination comes. It’s crazy and it made the final week better than anything I could have hoped for, so that was cool.” It topped off a big year for Valvo, who also performed on The Melbourne Comedy Festival TV Gala, hosted the ABC’s Comedy Up Late program and recorded his debut TV stand-up special for ABC2. “You’re not allowed to be happy with yourself in comedy so I’m supposed to say jokes and be really negative about it, but I had a really good 2016. I had a really fun time and the show hit a nail with a lot of people,” he says of Tongue in Cheek. For this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, he’s back with Not In This House. “As usual, I cover the gamut,” he says of the shows content. “I always have – probably annoyingly to most people – a lot to say about a lot of different things. This year is definitely reflecting on being 33. A lot of my friends
I grew up with, my siblings, just everyone that is in my life – that new phase has really kicked in with babies and houses and I’m just not there yet.” he says. The show will also cover some relationship topics, now that he’s three years into his relationship with boyfriend Cody. “I’ve found some really great things to share – some very intimate, full on bedroom details, which is going very well.” The show is once again directed by his longtime collaborator Sean Lynch. The pair first began performing together in sketch group The Shambles, with Lynch now working behind the scenes directing Valvo. “The writing is all me, and I think that’s an important thing to do because you don’t want to lose your voice,” he says of their creative relationship. The show will blend stand-up with some audience games and audio gags. “There might be a couple of die-hard stand-up lovers that don’t like that kind of thing, but I actually love it and I embrace it. It makes my shows different,” he says.
“You’re not allowed to be happy with yourself in comedy so I’m supposed to say jokes and be really negative about it, but I had a really good 2016. ”
Venue: ACMI - Studio
Dates: Thursday March 30 Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 55 minutes Tickets: $20 - $32
By Joanne Brookfield
Phillip A Mayer
This Comedy Festival, the Gippsland-based Here There & Everywhere Theatre Company will be returning to the big smoke for a hilarious take on wedding survival, Table 17. For director, writer and actor Phillip A. Mayer – creator of 2016’s comedy-drama Couples – it’s an exciting and refreshing tale that pokes fun at the chaotic minutiae involved in a couple’s big day. “In the heat of a moment, an argument can happen,” Mayer says. “They’re explosive and emotional, but when you sit back and analyse it with the benefit of hindsight, they’re actually quite amusing. You think, ‘Why did we even argue about that, over such a small issue?’” Newlyweds John and Sarah are about to celebrate their union, but a chaotic handful of wedding attendees – including old friends, a sleazy cousin, a disapproving sister, a judgmental aunt, philandering bosses and both timid and wildly inappropriate uncles – will eventually plunge the seemingly happy couple into a myriad of outrageous complications. The further the day goes on – and the drunker the guests get – the bigger the inevitable fireworks become. “Table 17 is very much based on real-life experiences,” Mayer says. “Every one of the characters are inspired by real people. Of course, I have changed the names to protect the not-soinnocent. I’ve been married and divorced myself, I’ve been the MC at numerous weddings, I’ve been a best man, and also just a general ‘watcheron’ of weddings. I’ve seen a lot of interesting things happen. I’ve heard affairs that have happened with
best men and brides that have actually been revealed on the wedding day. I’ve heard arguments that have happened between family members; people that feel disgruntled because they’re not put in the right place or they don’t feel like they’ve been put on the right table close enough to the action. Obviously, alcohol always plays a huge part in these sorts of things. Weddings and funerals, there’s always alcohol at them – and you’ll always find your black sheep, your estranged family members.” Nominated for over 30 awards throughout the 2015 One Act Play Festival circuit, Table 17 won Best Original Play, Best Comedy, Best Ensemble, Best Director and multiple Audience Favourite awards. Mayer stresses the importance of artistic clarity and passion, praising the cast for their textured, nuanced performances. Considering comedy his “great love”, he appreciates the instantaneous buzz of an audience’s laughter, weaving his works with that energy and atmosphere in mind. “The examination of the human condition is my major focus as a writer and director – telling stories that reveal character and reveal a part of ourselves,” Mayer says. “I love that audiences associate with these characters. They’re real situations. I think that’s really important. Awards are all well and nice – it’s lovely acknowledgement from your peers and adjudicators – but at the end of the day, if we’re making audiences laugh and people are talking about what we’re doing, that to me is success.”
“In the heat of a moment, an argument can happen... but when you sit back and analyse it with the benefit of hindsight, they’re actually quite amusing. You think, ‘Why did we even argue about that, over such a small issue?’” Venues: The National Theatre & Southbank Theatre, The Lawler Dates: Thursday April 6 - Saturday April 8 (Southbank Theatre, The Lawler) Wednesday April 19 - Saturday April 22 (The National Theatre) Duration: 65 minutes Tickets: $25
By Jacob Colliver
‘I was shocked and I wrote the f***ing thing’ IRVINE WELSH ‘Seventy-five of the most intense, funny, and moving minutes of theatre I have ever experienced ★★★★★’ BOX DUST (UK)
‘Unapologetic, brutal, a masterpiece … ★★★★★’ REMOTEGOAT (UK)
‘Fresh, funny, grim and glorious’ THE LONDONIST (UK)
‘A truly captivating piece of theatre ★★★★★’ ADELAIDE THEATRE GUIDE
‘An off the rails, porcelain bus ride ★★★★ ’ LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE
‘Will either leave you feeling queasy or utterly enthralled ★★★★ ’ ADELAIDE NOW
‘Is it too early to claim that this is just about the pick of the Fringe? Maybe, but if it is then f***ing sue me’ ADELAIDE REVIEW
★★★★ THE AGE
THE ADELAIDE ADVERTISER
THE UPSIDE DOWN NEWS
Andrew Kay and Associates presents the King’s Head & In Your Face Theatre’s production of
Based on the novel by IRVINE WELSH
3 WEEKS ONLY!
Adapted by HARRY GIBSON
22 MARCH - 13 APRIL
fortyfivedownstairs BOOK NOW comedyfestival.com.au #trainspottinglive
trainspottingliveaustralia.com WARNING: this production contains nudity, coarse language, violent and sexual themes and imagery, heavy drug / needle use, haze effects, strobe lighting and simulated smoking.
In association with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Blow Up Cinema will be presenting a double feature, showcasing both a documentary and a mockumentary (or, if you will, rockumentary) of great importance to the comedy world. The cult classic This Is Spinal Tap will delight with its quotable timelessness, and American: The Bill Hicks Story will reveal intimate details about the uncompromising comedic icon to many. ACMI’s Cinema 1 on Wednesday April 19. Tickets are $13 – $27. Daniel Fernandes
Bengaluru Comedy Festival Showcase
Showcasing the finest from India’s premier comedy festival, the Bengaluru Comedy Festival Showcase is a rare opportunity to experience the country’s sharpest humorists. Embrace the likes of hit social commentator Daniel Fernandes, co-founder of East India Comedy Sapan Verma, NDTV Rising Stars of Comedy’s Sumit Anand and 2013’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival Special Guest and RAW Comedy India Winner Neeti Palta. Catch them at The Forum Theatre’s Upstairs from Thursday April 20 – Sunday April 23. Tickets are $22 – $33. Dave O’Neil
With the gargantuan lineup of awesome acts this year, it’s understandable that you may feel a little overwhelmed by choice. Why not sample a platter of some of the best acts on offer? Hosted by Lindy Burns and Sami Shah, Comedy Bites is a free two-hour radio broadcast on ‘Festival-Eve’ that will feature snippets from over 20 local and international comedians. Head on down to The Comedy Theatre or listen in on ABC Radio on Tuesday March 28 at 8pm. 32 BEAT.COM.AU
David O’Doherty has been performing his unique brand of Casio-wielding comedy for around 18 years. He has seen a lot of changes in the world around him since his last show, David O’Doherty Will Try to Fix Everything. His new show, Big Time, is his chance to let audiences escape from that for a little while – at least, that’s what it was to begin with. “It’s a weird time in the UK,” says O’Doherty. “The UK has left the EU, so all of the stability that came post-war has been completely thrown into jeopardy. No one knows what’s going to happen next. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if the currency collapsed or something like that. Everyone will be walking around with wheelbarrows filled with money in order to pay for milk. When I started writing this show, there were jokes about Pokemon Go and selfie sticks. Now, no one gives a shit about any of it. The vibe is just constantly like, ‘We might die!’ There’s no Pikachu to be found in this show.” Comics like O’Doherty know better than anyone about the catch-22 that arises when attempting to perform comedy in hard times. Do you disconnect entirely from it in order to keep the performance as an escape; or do you hold up a mirror through your medium and remind audiences of the world outside? O’Doherty’s solution is to do both – but within reason. “The interesting part is in the tension, and how you figure it out,” he says. “I love making stupid jokes more than anything, but you have to put it in the right context for people.
Humans have always responded to bleakness by laughing. You know that bit in Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, where they come up from the bunker and everyone’s dead? They just start laughing, because they don’t know how else to process it. It’s an integral part of human nature. It’s what we do. There’s definitely a place for stupid jokes and for laughing in times like this.” “It’s anyone’s guess exactly how Big Time will end up by the time that O’Doherty arrives in Australia for his umpteenth Melbourne International Comedy Festival. All we know is that O’Doherty will still be standing, laughing at the wreckage in Dresden. “I’ve been getting a roll of carpet tape and writing ‘hopefully’ in big letters behind me on stage,” he says. “The first night of the tour was at this beautiful music hall, and it was really hot that night. The lights obviously didn’t help, so over the course of the show the lights melted away the glue in the tape. Hope was literally collapsing behind me. At the end of the show, only the E and the F were left in the middle – and they had melted into a shape that one could only describe as a swastika. Naturally, the tone of a show changes pretty drastically when you go from a symbol of hope to a symbol of hatred.”
“When I started writing this show, there were jokes about Pokemon Go and selfie sticks. Now, no one gives a shit about any of it. The vibe is just constantly like, ‘We might die!’ ” Venue: Forum Theatre Upstairs Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $32 - $39.70
By David James Young
Steve Hughes For a time, Sydney-born and Manchester-based Steve Hughes was one of the most sought-after drummers in the world of Australian heavy metal. Having bashed skins for acts like Mortal Sin, Slaughter Lord and Nazxul, Hughes could well have spent the rest of his days behind the double kick drum were it not for one small distraction – the fact some people found him funny. Hughes first tried doing stand-up comedy in the mid-‘90s. The rest, as they say, is history. Since then, Hughes has put down the sticks for the most part; taking on audiences across the globe with his irreverent, world-weary take on stand-up. It brings him back to Australia this April as a part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival – a festival to which he is no stranger. “I did it for the first time in about 2009,” he says. “It’s been really good to see how my shows have grown over the years – it’s kind of grown with the festival itself, in a way. It’s just like anything that you work on, really – you just strive to get better and every year shows that bit of improvement. You keep practicing and it keeps getting stronger. It’s been great to see comedy expanding nationally on the festival front – Brisbane’s festival is great; Sydney’s is working out well. Even Adelaide’s got one now.” Hughes’ show is untitled at the 2017 festival, which has been done for two main reasons. The first is that Hughes’ brand of comedy is practically name-synonymous at this stage – if you know the name, you know what you’re in for. Furthermore, Hughes’ 2017 hour doesn’t relate back to a particular
theme or concept – it’s about as traditional a standup comedy show as you can get within the context. “My shows always tend to come about in pieces, bit by bit,” says Hughes. “It’s very difficult to write toward an entire hour in a single block – you just go one thing at a time, trying to bring it together. They always tend to get better when you start performing them on stage, anyway – you pick up on more and more stuff that you want to talk about.” Okay, we’ll bite: What does Hughes want to talk about? “I’ve been talking about this era we’re in,” he says. “This era of the social justice warriors, and this era of outrage where everyone is fighting. Saying that you’re offended by something seems to be the way to immediately shut down a dialogue. It’s a strange scenario that’s developed in the western nations – these countries that claim to be the freest in all of the world, having had enlightenment for 500 years, that people should be free to express themselves however they see fit. It’s like what Voltaire said – ‘I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend your right to say it.’ I’ll be looking at all of these mass freakouts in America, especially.”
“Saying that you’re offended by something seems to be the way to immediately shut down a dialogue. It’s a strange scenario that’s developed in the western nations.” Venues: Melbourne Town Hall - Main Hall & ACMI - Beyond Dates: Saturday April 1 (Melbourne Town Hall) & Wednesday April 19 - Friday April 21 (ACMI - Beyond) Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $35 - $44.50
By David James Young
Has Fallen Down A Well
Dave Thornton Onwards & Upwards
Effortlessly cool with a captivating presence, Dave Thornton has graced television screens as co-host of Channel Ten’s This Week Live and radios on FOX FM. In Onwards & Upwards, he analyses the huge leaps and bounds that have been happening in his life of late. In the past year alone, he’s bought a house and had a kid - and you’ll get to be hear all about it. Thornton will be performing at Max Watt’s from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $25 – $37.
Off the back of sold-out runs across Edinburgh Fringe and an acclaimed London season, Trainspotting Live makes its way to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, promising an explosive take on the iconic story. Following a circle of friends living through the heroin boom of the ‘80s, the 75-minute stage adaptation recreates the passion and controversy of the original and brings it to life with an immersive production – capped off with the notorious ‘Worst Toilet in Scotland’ scene that has to be seen to be believed. Pro tip: don’t wear your best clothes. Seriously. Catch it at fortyfivedownstairs from Wednesday March 29 - Thursday April 13. $34 - $45.
Cal Wilson Things I’ve Never Said
Cal Wilson is a master entertainer. With a magnetic personality and an astute sense for the hilarious, Wilson’s become an integral element of Australia’s entertainment landscape, including her appearances on Whose Line is it Anyway? Australia and Have You Been Paying Attention?. In Things I’ve Never Said, she’ll be doing just that – tackling a range of important social and political issues close to her heart, and not caring who knows it. Catch Wilson at the Swiss Club from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) and Melbourne Town Hall’s Powder Room on Monday April 10. Tickets are $25 – $32.
Australians have always liked to laugh at Kiwis, and it seems some of them have taken the hint and are running with it. Nic Sampson is one such Kiwi. From his world debut as the Yellow Power Ranger in Power Rangers Mystic Force, Sampson has prodded his way into our hearts with his absurd brand of high-energy comedy. He will be making his solo debut at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this year, and we thought we should have a chat to him about life, love, and Lord of the Fries. And comedy, of course. It’s worth making a point of just how far Sampson is from a one-trick pony. “I currently write and perform in a few New Zealand TV shows: Funny Girls (an awesome sketch show you should check out) and Jono And Ben, AKA New Zealand’s Hamish And Andy,” says Sampson. “I also play a detective in a cop drama called The Brokenwood Mysteries. I still got a speeding ticket the other day though so it hasn’t given me as much sway with local police as I feel I deserve.” Sampson’s show, Nic Sampson Has Fallen Down A Well, marks his first solo performance at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, but he is no newbie to the event. Sampson performed with New Zealand collective Snort Improv in 2015 and 2016, and will be doing so again in 2017. “I used to come here equally for the comedy and Lord of the Fries but they’ve just opened one
back in Auckland so I’m only here for the comedy now,” Sampson quips. “What I love about the Comedy Festival is the diversity and inventiveness of the shows that people really embrace here. Often it’s the weirdest or most challenging comedians, or shows that get the most attention and love. That’s so inspiring to see. I’m always in awe of everyone.” Whether or not you’re already familiar with Sampson’s comedy, his solo show will be good chance to check it out. The uninitiated can expect a blend of stories, sketches, and an insight into the brain of the man himself. “I’m a big fan of silliness and absurdity,” Sampson comments. “Taking something mundane and unpacking it to the point we’re all a bit confused as to how we got there. “Nic Sampson Has Fallen Down A Well is a standup show that turns into something a little more high concept. I don’t want to spoil it, but clearly a lot of it is in the title: it’s a show about me telling standup from the bottom of a well, and it just goes from there. I can’t wait to show it to Melbourne.”
“I used to come here equally for the comedy and Lord of the Fries but they’ve just opened one back in Auckland so I’m only here for the comedy now.” Venue: The Tuxedo Cat
Dates: Thursday April 13 Sunday April 23 (no show Wednesday April 19) Duration: 50 minutes Tickets: $12 - $18.35 By Samuel Gaffney
The Trelogy The Edinburgh Festival Fringe – which this year is celebrating its 70th anniversary – is the largest arts event on the planet. But with thousands of shows taking place around the clock every day, it can be hard to be noticed. Being nominated for an award, then, is arguably quite a big deal. James Acaster has been nominated for the Best Comedy Show an unprecedented five times. And, as an added fun fact, that’s five consecutive years he’s been shortlisted for the top prize. It’s an extraordinary achievement, by any standard, and a good indicator of how solidly consistent his work is. “I’m very chuffed with the whole thing but you can’t take it too seriously,” the stand-up says from Britain. “I never thought I’d get nominated for anything, so you don’t ever assume it’s going to happen,” says Acaster. “It was never a goal to win an award. You write every show because you’re trying to improve and trying to build your audience. When I got my first nomination, I was delighted. And really, every time it’s happened since I feel the same.” Melbourne International Comedy Festival audiences are going to get a chance to see three of those nominated shows, as Acaster is presenting The Trelogy: including 2014’s Recognise, which has not been previously seen in Melbourne, 2015’s Represent and last year’s Reset. Capping it off, he’ll be rolling through them in chronological order every three nights. “It feels good to be able to take these three shows out on tour and say they all achieved the same thing,” he says. “I like that I can’t pick a favourite. They’re all equally important to me.”
While the three shows are linked in that they all have a legal leaning to them – in the first show, he’s an undercover cop; the second, he’s on jury duty and the third, he’s in on a honey selling scam – the personal subtext is exploring doubt and certainty, although he says it’s not essential they are all seen in order. “See them in order if you can but if you can’t, don’t panic because I think watching them in whatever order will still work,” he says. Having toured them extensively throughout the UK and with several years passing since a couple of them were written, Acaster says the shows have changed a lot. “Even if you’ve seen a show before in Melbourne, come see it again because it will be different,” he says. “Also, I loved the festival so much last year – it was probably my favourite week of comedy that I got to do last year – so the more people who come back the better. They were great audiences.”
“It was never a goal to win an award. You write every show because you’re trying to improve and trying to build your audience.” Venue: Melbourne Town Hall Lower Town Hall Dates: Tuesday April 4 Sunday April 16 (no show Monday April 10) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $29 - $38
By Joanne Brookfield
Comedy Club For Kids
For some wacky Easter holiday fun, Josh Earl and Grandma (Nikki Britton) will be hosting a huge day of stand-up, sketch, musical comedy and circus antics for 6-12 year olds. Kids’ll cheer for the likes of Cam Knight, Tessa Waters, Xavier Michelides, Anna Pocket Rocket, Penny Greenhalgh, Dr Professor Neal Portenza, Alex The Magician, Gordon Southern, Frehd The Clown and more. No grown-ups allowed at The Famous Spiegeltent from Saturday April 1 – Sunday April 16 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $16 – $20.
Dave Hughes Deluded
One of Australia’s best-loved comedians, Hughesy’s unmistakable personality has made him a permanent fixture of the Australian cultural landscape. You’ve seen on TV. You’ve heard him on the radio. Now, watch him return to the stage and prove once more why he’s king of the theatre in his brand new show, Deluded. Catch Hughesy at the Athenaeum Theatre from Thursday March 30 – Saturday April 22 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $30 – $45.
Magic Steven Note to Self
Following a string of international shows and the commencement of his new monthly residency at Trades Hall, Magic Steven returns to share with audiences some of his most recent experiences, as recorded in his ongoing series of pocket notebooks. This writing practice is maintained by Magic Steven, in an attempt to grow as a person. Good luck, old mate. With a deadpan delivery and razor sharp wit, Magic Steven is one to catch this Comedy Festival. It’s all going down at Southbank Theatre, The Lawler from Tuesday April 18 - Thursday April 20. $16 - $20. 34 BEAT.COM.AU
Arj Barker is standing outside of a gym with a towel around his neck. “Not very rock‘n’roll,” he admits down the phone. “I’m trying to stay fit so I can do a good tour,” says the Californian comedian, who over the years has spent so much time performing in Australia we’ve pretty much embraced him as one of our own. The gym session, as it turns out, isn’t so much about generating material for his latest Melbourne International Comedy Festival Show Organic, as it is a more personal goal. “I want to stay alive. That’s the real reason. I’m trying not to die,” he quips. “I don’t talk about exercise in this particular show, although I have in other shows. I talk about eating healthily a little bit,” says Barker. “There’s literal reference to organic foods at one point in the show and also various diets and health trends. But organic is a wider, multi-meaning thing – it also means organic like raw, just me, doing stand-up. Stand-up is organic. It’s just a guy and a microphone, although I do play one song on a guitar.” As always, his observations on other aspects of modern life also get covered, such as why Uber has revolutionised everyday travel through to the dark thoughts that arise from living with your other half. Organic marks the tenth show of Barker’s performed here in Australia. It’s a return season, having had a run in St Kilda last year he’s back this Comedy Festival for a two-week run in the Main Room of the Town Hall. When he’s not on stage, he’s on screen with numerous appearances on late
night talk shows, as well as landing his own special on HBO produced by Comedy Central. And, of course, he played the role of Dave on the culthit series Flight of the Conchords. In Australia, he frequently appears on shows including The Project, Have You Been Paying Attention and numerous Melbourne International Comedy Festival Galas. He tells Beat that he’s currently preparing to do some more acting. “I’ve got a TV show I’m developing and intend to get it made,” says Barker. “I’ll be the star and I’ll do a lot of acting in that.” He’s also been dabbling in some music too. “In the last couple of years, I’ve decided to learn how to make music myself using all the beautiful technology that’s available. I learned Logic Pro and I made one single that I put out, called DisgraceBook. You can easily search it on YouTube. I made the music myself and recorded it myself and then I got a little help mastering from a pro”. “I think one of the great joys in life is learning new things,” says Barker. But he’s still sticking with what he knows already and he believes that Organic – which he has reworked since last year – is still his best show to date.
“I want to stay alive. That’s the real reason. I’m trying not to die.” Venue: Melbourne Town Hall - Main Hall Dates: Friday March 31 Sunday April 16 (no shows Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays except for Thursday April 13 & Sunday April 16) Duration: 70 minutes
Tickets: $37.90 - $47.50
By Joanne Brookfield
“The best way to describe it is Mr Bean meets Dianna Ross,” says Tessa Waters of her latest show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Fully Sik. “It’s a high octane and high energy physical comedy, so it’s sketch, dance, clowning. It’s quite autobiographical this year. A lot of sketches are borne out of my experiences like going to house parties in Brunswick or growing up in rural Queensland.” Her previous shows WOMANz and Over Promises have won numerous comedy and touring awards. WOMANz – which toured both Australia and the UK – collected a Best Comedy Weekly Award at the 2015 Adelaide Fringe. The show also broke records at Melbourne Fringe Festival in 2014 for being the first show ever to win three awards, including Most Outstanding Comedy. “Fully Sik comes from this idea of the words that we use to disempower women: being ‘crazy’, ‘she’s so nuts’, ‘she’s so mad’, which is what I often get performing my style of humour,” says Waters. “I love the Australian gem of ‘sick’ or ‘she’s so sick’ and sick being also a term used for crazy. I’m flipping and reclaiming this idea. So if you think I’m sick, let’s go fully sick. Let’s go full throttle.” The show focuses on her forte, which is physical comedy. “I’m a trained clown and did a lot of physical training so I very much use my body to find the humour,” says Waters, who studied in Paris with master clown Phillipe Gaulier. “This is very much me stepping into these roles, so you’re getting these stories but they’re very much my stories and I’m
playing a heightened version of me.” Waters is having a busy festival. She’s performing during the day at The Famous Spiegeltent at Arts Centre Melbourne as part of the Comedy Club For Kids and is also scheduled for performances as part of the family-friendly event, The (Very) Big Laugh Out at Fed Square. Then there’s her own kids show Rockstar School, an interactive show about body positivity, which is on at the Town Hall. In the evenings, when not doing Fully Sik, she’ll be popping up on the bill for Cath Styles Girls Night, Upfront, and dropping in at the Festival Club, among other gigs. Then there’s also the second show she’s doing at nights. Waters is also one third of Fringe Wives Club. Together with Rowena Hutson and Victoria Falconer-Pritchard, the trio scored a Moosehead Award to present Glittery Clittery: A ConSENSUAL Comedy Cabaret which is, as Waters puts it, “a big vulva celebration”.
“Fully Sik comes from this idea of the words that we use to disempower women: being ‘crazy’, ‘she’s so nuts’, ‘she’s so mad’, which is what I often get performing my style of humour.”
Venue: Greek Centre Aphrodite’s Room Dates: Thuesday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 55 minutes Tickets: $20 - $30
By Joanne Brookfield
The Bear Pack
How would you like to help tell a tale of inspired lunacy? Welcome to The Bear Pack – the twisted brainchild of Sydney’s Steen Raskopoulos and Carlo Ritchie. Accompanied by Ange Lavoipierre on the Cello, The Bear Pack will completely improvise a story over the course of 60 minutes inspired by suggestions from the audience. Anything can happen – and it does. Watch the madness unfold at Melbourne Town Hall’s Powder Room from Friday April 7 – Saturday April 22 (bar Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays). Tickets are $27.
Judith Lucy & Denise Scott Disappointments
Two of Australia’s funniest have joined forces to bring a heavy dose of hilarity and reality to Melbourne. Together, Lucy and Scott will take turns slashing away the phony nonsense of the world around us to reveal the disappointment and mediocrity in us all – and you’ll be laughing so hard that won’t even matter. See two legends work their magic at the Art Centre Melbourne’s State Theatre from Thursday April 13 – Sunday April 16, then Thursday April 20 – Saturday April 22. Tickets are $40 – $54.90.
Tom Gleeson Cheer Up
Well-established as one of the nation’s favourite funny-makers, Tom Gleeson has earned a huge following as a star of ABC’s The Weekly and host of Hard Quiz. In Cheer Up, Gleeson returns to the stage once again to deliver scathing critiques on the little quirks of society and win over crowds with his trademark cynical energy. Catch Gleeson at the Comedy Theatre on Friday April 14, Saturday April 15, and then from Thursday April 20 – Saturday April 22. Tickets are $34 – $49.
It’s 5.30am and while most people who spent last night at Comedy On Top in the city are having a lazy sleep-in, Melbourne’s own Ben McCarthy is off to his job site. “It’s one big crazy life,” he laughs. “But I like to think if I make it, I’ll be able to look back at this time and be really proud of my dedication.” As a construction worker by day and a rising comedic star by night, McCarthy is very clear about what he wants and is up for the challenge. “I want to have an impact on people – that’s the reason I got into comedy,” says McCarthy. “Knowing that people like what I’m doing feels good, and I Iike to make other people feel good too.” The friendly and humble McCarthy is a huge believer in the power of positive thinking, but admits he used to let his nerves get the better of him. “When I first started gigging I used to panic and rush a little bit because I was so eager to get it over with,” he says. “That was something I had to overcome.” Growing up as a strong-minded and spirited kid, McCarthy says he always knew he had the knack to make people laugh, but never seriously considered being funny as a career. That all changed when the pub he worked in hosted a comedy night, and while riffing backstage he had the show’s MC in stitches. “That night was a bit of a fluke,” he laughs. “Although people had always encouraged me, I never knew what it took until I actually got up onstage and did a set.”
Determined to succeed, this clever comic will join the ranks of comedy’s best and brightest with a brand new show at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. “I’ve been working on my show Nevermind for a while,” says McCarthy. “I wanted to put everything on the table using my very best material, putting together a big festival run.” While his grit and focus is undeniable, McCarthy is also looking forward to watching his mates have a crack at the big time. “There’s a lot of my good comedy buddies doing their first shows this year too and I’d love to see them put a good 50 or 60-minute show together,” he says. “A good friend of mine Matt Young is doing his debut show, and I can’t wait to see what he is going to bring to the table. That’s the same with Joseph Green and another buddy Andrew Iles. He’s a great stand-up comedian and he says he’s got some brand new stuff coming. They’re ones to keep watch for. They’re very talented comedians and we’re proud of each other and of how hard we work.”
“I wanted to put everything on the table using my very best material, putting together a big festival run.” Venue: Speakeasy HQ
Dates: Wednesday March 29 - Sunday April 8 (bar Sunday April 2, Monday April 3 and Tuesday April 4) Duration: 45 minutes Tickets: $20
By Natalie Rogers
Headliners “I’m kind of on the lookout for a husband, if I’m going to be honest. So please put that in. I’d like to meet a husband to bring back to America,” says Liza Treyger, late at night from Brooklyn, just back from a Broadway show and about to smoke some weed and eat pizza with girlfriends. So what’s she looking for? “Beard and tattoos wouldn’t hurt,” she says. Passionate, happy and working towards a goal are also on the list. “I’d say sexually adventurous and someone who knows how to organise, and clean and cook, because I don’t.” When Treyger is not preparing for her husband hunt Down Under, she’s also a stand-up comedian. “I’m dirty,” she says of her material. “I’m very dirty.” Born in the former Soviet Union and raised in Chicago, Treyger started stand-up when she was 21 and soon moved to New York for its renowned comedy scene. “I’m really inspired by performing in New York at the Comedy Cellar,” she says. “There’s such a focus on tight jokes, having a lot of punchlines and really engaging with crowds. I like to do as many jokes as possible.” She’s appeared on show such as Late Night with Seth Meyers, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, and Chelsea Lately. However, while her usual fare has been autobiographical raunch, the advent of Trump has changed that. “I’ve never been a political comedian, but now with our current administration life is a nightmare,” says Treyger. “It would be crazy not to talk about it. So now I’m talking about the world. I usually talk about myself, my family, doing drugs and fucking –
but now I have to talk about this insane president that we have.” Treyger is making her first visit to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival as part of Headliners. The Headliners showcase – which features a sampler of some of the hottest comedians currently gigging across North America – is split into two separate shows over the festival. Joining Treyger in the first week will be Emily Heller, Jak Knight and Ryan Hamilton. Heller, who was named a ‘New Face’ at the 2012 Montreal Just For Laughs Festival, has done the rounds of late night TV across the US, having appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Conan and Inside Amy Schumer, among a long list of other credits. Los Angeles-based Jak Knight – who has writer and actor on the CV alongside stand-up – has shared stages with the likes of Aziz Ansari and Dave Chappelle, while Ryan Hamilton has been turning heads across the States. Starting the following week the Headliners showcase will present Fortune Feimster, Janelle James, Joe DeRosa and Orlando Baxter. Treyger’s planning on having a good time in Melbourne and hopes audiences will as well. “I like to party so if anyone wants to, you know, do some fun drugs, they should come to my show and give them to me,” she says.
“I like to party so if anyone wants to, you know, do some fun drugs, they should come to my show and give them to me.” Venue: Melbourne Town Hall Lower Town Hall Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 75 minutes Tickets: $28 - $36
By Joanne Brookfield
The tried and true adage of practice makes perfect eludes many of us day-to-day, through lack of motivation attributed to our social circle or tendency to nestle inside the comfort zone. Rove McManus That’s Me Talking
Rove McManus needs no introduction. He’s one of Australia’s most successful talk show hosts, with a career spanning the likes of Channel 10’s award-winning Rove and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Fox8’s Rove LA, GSN’s Lie Detectors and Fox’s Riot. In his first live show since 2008, McManus returns to his home turf of the stage for two outrageous nights only. Don’t miss your opportunity to catch him at the Comedy Theatre Friday April 7 and Saturday April 8. Tickets are $45.
Zoë Coombs Marr Trigger Warning
As winner of both the Golden Gibbo and Barry Award at last year’s Comedy Festival, Zoë Coombs Marr has become a hilariously important figure in the world of intelligent satire. In character once again as Dave – a painfully accurate portrayal of the worst toxic masculinity has to offer – Marr makes audience squirm and roar with laughter. Don’t miss Coombs Marr when she plays at Melbourne Town Hall’s Lower Town Hall from Tuesday April 18 – Sunday April 23. Tickets are $29 – $35.
Luke McGregor Almost Fixed It
As co-creator and star of ABC’s Rosehaven, host of doco-series Luke Warm Sex and star of Utopia, Luke McGregor has become an extremely recognisable force in the realm of comedy. In Almost Fixed It, McGregor rejoices that his life is coming together well and that he now has a wonderful girlfriend – but with his new-found personal security comes anxiety. What if it all goes pearshaped? See him at the Comedy Theatre from Wednesday March 29 – Sunday April 9 (bar Monday and Tuesday). Tickets are $34 – $39. 36 BEAT.COM.AU
Those capable of breaking the door down draw from either innate resolve or stinging curiosity. A succeeding example of a treadmill running rampant is comedic young gun Luka Muller. Dashing into the 2017 Melbourne International Comedy Festival with 22 affirmed slots and another 21 potential appearances, there won’t be a fleeter fellow flying through the streets during the four-week extravaganza. Peering into the mental sponge – the shortcomings of others first whet a sinceunrelenting appetite. “I was always a huge comedy fan from a young age, but I was pretty shy, and the idea of getting involved never occurred to me,” says Muller. “Then I found out about this thing called Class Clowns – a comedy competition for people in high school. I started watching it on YouTube and thought, ‘These people suck. I should do comedy instead of these people’. So I did, and I sucked, no doubt, but spite was a good motivator.” Headlining his own show Lucky, Muller will also appear alongside good friends Blake Freeman and Taco in three-way show Triple Dippers. The buck doesn’t stop there either, as he joins the likes of Michael Shafar and Sam Taunton among others in the hysterical rotating conveyor belt that is 3 Course Comedy. It’ll be pillar to post for an Echuca-raised talent who knows no other way – amounting kilometre
after kilometre in his debut showing in 2016. “The best take away from the 2016 MICF was the hours of stage time,” says Muller. “It’s so good to have that under my belt. I did 17 one-hour shows in a row – you just don’t get that outside of the festival. I was very lucky. No pun intended.” His opening foray was primarily seamless – crowds laughed and jibed jovially, all in good fun – but when a guest decided to roll out it quickly became newsworthy. “One woman got up and left five minutes into my show, so I asked if she didn’t like it or what the deal was and she said she was just getting a drink. Then she came back 45 minutes later and saw the last five minutes. Afterwards she told me it was her favourite show of the festival.” Lucky brings Muller’s trademark spontaneous riffing and a less centralised show than previous venture Be Like Water. “Last year’s show was lots of fun, but it was also about a bad thing from my life, and reliving that night after night was tiring,” he says. “Lucky is a bit lighter and less of just one story for the whole show. It’s more a collection of different things.” Fresh-faced, amicable and equally hilarious, Muller brings an understated determination into this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival – poised to make him a graduate of practice makes perfect.
“I did 17 one-hour shows in a row – you just don’t get that outside of the festival. I was very lucky. No pun intended.” Venue: Belleville
Dates: Wednesday March 29 - Saturday April 8 (no show Sunday April 2) Duration: 50 minutes
Tickets: $8.30 - $16.30
By Tom Parker
Strangers are often portrayed in a negative light but, as Kuah Jenhan has observed, “despite all the warnings, we defy them and that’s how people become friends. It is the fear of ‘the other’ that keeps us strangers,” the Malaysian stand-up says. Inspired by this idea, he’s called his latest solo show Perfect Stranger. The show, which he says is a mix between stand-up and storytelling, is working out “how to connect in an unwelcoming world” and has a focus on race relations. He also journeyed to Kazakhstan, just to see what would happen. “I figure if life refused to happen around me in Malaysia, I’d go somewhere strange to force it to happen,” he says. “I’ll share some stories at the show.” More recently, he was given additional fodder when the Herald Sun included him in a controversial article that has since been taken down from the web after the justifiable uproar it created within the comedy community. “I was recently compared to Ronny Chieng in an Australian publication. That will be commented on for sure,” he says from Kuala Lumpur. Kuah has been seriously pursuing stand-up for the past seven years. Even though he describes the scene in Malaysia as being young and burgeoning, it’s growing at enough of a pace to enable him to live full-time off comedy. “I definitely don’t see it slowing down anytime soon because we are fast realising that the Asian
perspective on life is interesting and fairly new to the world of stand up,” says Jenhan. He appears regularly on local radio and TV, writes a humour column for Esquire Malaysia and was featured on Comedy Central Asia. He also headlined the inaugural MICF Comedy Zone Asia in 2015 and most recently, opened for Eddie Izzard in Malaysia. “In fact, I actually make a very comfortable living here,” he says. “I even have a cat. He’s really needy and greedy, but I can keep him alive. My cat thinks I am a big deal.” While Kuah has been working out his material in comedy rooms in Malaysia, the first time Perfect Stranger will be performed in its entirety will be at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, “which is pretty exciting and panic-inducing at the same time,” he says. He’s no stranger to Australia, having performed Like This Like Dad last year at the Perth Fringe World, where it was nominated for Best Comedy, and a season at Melbourne Comedy Festival. “I even managed to have a few shows sold out which was very assuring,” he says. Jenhan also learnt from an audience member – who was addressing a much chattier audience member during one show – some classic Aussie vernacular. “I don’t know what ‘pull your head in’ actually means, but if what happened was an indication, it is a magical phrase that makes any Australians behave,”he says. “I felt so powerful having learnt that phrase.”
“My cat thinks I am a big deal.” Venue: Greek Centre Aphrodite’s Room Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $17 - $24
By Joanne Brookfield
No Offence, None Taken Wil Anderson Critically Wil
Wil Anderson has continuously gone from strength to strength for the course of his legendary career. A beloved regular of the festival circuit – as well as the host of ABC’s top-rating Gruen and cult-classic podcasts TOFOP and Wilosophy – Anderson is ready to once more leave audiences in stitches with his strongest show yet. Watch a master in action at both the Comedy Theatre from Wednesday March 29 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays, Tuesdays and all Saturdays except Saturday April 8) and Arts Centre Melbourne’s State Theatre on Saturday April 15 and Saturday April 22. Tickets are $34.90 – $54.90.
Claire Hooper Familiar
Claire Hooper has been captivating audiences for over 13 years now, be it with her witty observations on stage, as the cohost of Lifestyle Food Channel’s The Great Australian Bake Off or as a Team Captain on Channel Ten’s Good News Week. In her latest show, Hooper dissects her life and the world around her, discussing becoming mother, the ties of family and the changes they bring. Hooper will be at Melbourne Town Hall’s Regent Room from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $24 – $32.
Lehmo The Family Lifeboat
Anthony ‘Lehmo’ Lehmann has carved a huge following for himself through the likes of ABC’s Utopia, Channel Ten’s The Project and Have You Been Paying Attention?. He’s recently become a father, and it’s raised many questions about the world around him. What is his place? What’s changed, and what stays the same? Discover his wonderfully laconic observations for yourself when he plays Melbourne Town Hall’s Supper Room on Monday April 3, Monday April 10 and Monday April 17. Tickets are $32.
Anne Edmonds has quickly become one of Australia’s most widely loved stand-up acts. Following a stellar 2015 that saw her selling out shows with a Barry Award nomination and Directors’ Choice Award win in 2016, Edmonds continues her unstoppable rise in 2017 with No Offence, None Taken. “It’s a bit of a stream-of-consciousness kind of show,” Edmonds explains. “I went away on a crazy swimming holiday with a mate of mine where you swim from island to island. Anyway, one of the days we got rained in, and it’s kind of really all the things that I discussed with her on that particular day.” Lauded for her natural storytelling abilities and her easy-going, self-deprecating stage presence, Edmonds burst onto the comedy scene with her hilarious stylings and never looked back. Since becoming a national finalist in 2010’s RAW Comedy competition, she’s been featured on the likes of Network Ten’s Have You Been Paying Attention? and ABC’s Fancy Boy – and will soon star in her own show, Edge Of The Bush, on ABC iView. It may have almost never been, were it not for a chance moment. “I didn’t start until I was 28,” she says. “I was in Darwin, and a friend of mine was trying it. I just sort of tried it out of interest – It was never something I thought I was going to be growing up. As soon as I was on stage, I just loved it, and knew that I found what I was going to do with my life accidentally.” In Edge Of The Bush – coming later this year
– Edmonds displays her incredible abilities by playing four completely different characters in the tale of a family estranged after the collapse of their calisthenics empire. The show features a vast array of top emerging comedic talent, including the likes of Damien Power and Greg Larsen. A project close to her heart, Edmonds found delight in showcasing the world of Middle Australia and the people she grew up amongst. “For TV, you get to create a whole world in which a character lives, and that’s amazing,” Edmonds says. “You can do a character on stage, but you’re never able to put them in their house, or the street they live in. It’s like taking the character to the next level.” The things Edmonds finds the funniest are often the realest, and she happily reveals all in her outrageous quest to entertain (“Any stories of personal humiliation are always on my list,” she laughs). With years of experience under her belt now, the thrill of the stage continues to call her back. “The first time I went to Edinburgh, I didn’t know if anyone was going to come. Then the day of the show I had eight ticket sales,” Edmonds recalls. “I’ve never been happier in my life. I walked out and performed to these eight people who all laughed. That was a magical moment for me.”
“The first time I went to Edinburgh, I didn’t know if anyone was going to come. Then the day of the show I had eight ticket sales. I’ve never been happier in my life.” Venue: Victoria Hotel Banquet Room Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $25 - $35
By Jacob Colliver
Propped Up Jason Byrne is in his car in the driveway of his home in Ireland, recounting how his show went earlier in Dublin. Although a standup comedian – and the highest selling one at Edinburgh Festival Fringe – he’s got a magic trick in his latest show. Metamorphosis is an old illusion, dating back to the time of Houdini, where the magician, locked in a box, and his assistant, standing on top of it, swap spots when a curtain is briefly held up. It can look like a seamless transition or, if Jason Byrne has anything to do with it, a shambolic debacle, especially when he recruits audience members to play both parts. “There were two blokes and one of them actually broke the whole box, it all fell apart on us, and the other guy fell over the other guy trying to get in and the other guy dragged the whole curtain with him as he fell off the side and it was just a disaster,” Byrne says, with a mix of both glee and pride. After taking a festival off last year, he’s back at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with his new show Propped Up. “Because I missed a year for the first time ever for Australia, I have basically two shows on the go here at the moment, so Propped Up was my Edinburgh show and I brought it on tour around Britain and that’s the show I’m going to be bringing to Australia and it’s disgracefully ready,” he notes, laughing. Byrne’s shows are known for their high level of energy and audience engagement, which is a nice way of describing how he will “drag them around the stage by the scruff of their necks and sit on top of them”. It’s all in good fun, of course. “Tonight, at the end of the show, one of the guys who was on
stage basically got a standing ovation as he left the stage, because I get them all up at the end to take a big bow and a big hero’s goodbye and the crowd just love it,” Byrne explains. “Mine is a really feel good show; there’s no horribleness in there,” This kind of chaos is a hallmark of Byrne’s shows, and Propped Up is, obviously, no exception. “The show has a lot of audience participation, more than ever, as well as more props than I’ve ever used before: I’ve got giant ducks in there, wolf ’s heads and sheep heads,” Byrne notes. Byrne has just recently released his first book, a comic memoir titled Adventures Of A Wonky-Eyed Boy: The Short Arse Years. For audience members not dragged up onto stage with him, it will provide an opportunity to meet him after the show. “For the first time ever, I’m going to be signing my books straight after the show, which I’ve never done in Australia,” he says. “My fans are always asking, ‘Why don’t you sign something after the show or meet us?’ I’m going to do that after every show. It’ll be good fun”.
“The show has a lot of audience participation, more than ever, as well as more props than I’ve ever used before: I’ve got giant ducks in there, wolf’s heads and sheep heads.” Venue: Forum Theatre Downstairs Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $36 - $46
By Joanne Brookfield
We Made You
Justin Hamilton Bunta Boy
In 1994, Justin Hamilton launched his comedy career as part of a musical-comedy duo The Bunta Boys, supporting Alexei Sayle and touring with a clown punk band. Now, as a guest panellist on ABC’s Dirty Laundry Live and an invitee to perform for Just For Laughs at the Sydney Opera House, Hamilton will finally recount what happened and bare all of the juicy details. Find him Melbourne Town Hall’s Cloak Room on Saturday April 1 and Sunday April 2, then Sunday April 9 – Saturday April 15 (bar Monday). Tickets are $25 – $32.
Frank Woodley I, Woodley
The effortlessly-lovable Frank Woodley’s brad new show details an escalating series of hilarious misadventures leading up to the allimportant opening night. In an unpredictable web of disasters, Woodley will amaze and hypnotise by performing a hysterical story that threatens his sanity and leave you in fits of laughter. Woodley’s tireless energy will only leave you wanting more when he takes to the stage at Art Centre Melbourne’s Fairfax Studio from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 16 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $30 – $42.
Hannah Gadsby Nanette
A two-time Barry Award Nominee and threetime Helpmann Award Nominee for Best Comedy Performance, Hannah Gadsby has become one of Australia’s most recognisable and applauded performers. Her effortless charm and honest discussion has wowed crowds countless times over, and in her new show Nanette, she’ll be telling you about the interesting twists and turns her life took last year after embracing solitude. See Gadsby at Melbourne Town Hall’s Lower Town Hall from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $30 – $42. 38 BEAT.COM.AU
A man of many talents, Australian comedian Matt Okine is also recognised as an actor, musician and to many listener’s dismay, an exradio presenter for triple j. Forever juggling multiple projects at once, Okine recently moved on from his on-air career to pursue other passions. Now, the Sydney-based artist is pumped like an overpriced bottle of water to bring his brand new show to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Guaranteed to be better slept than last year; Okine’s 2017 installment is sure to present the interstate talent in his best and most rested shape yet. “By all means, I should be in my best form this year because I haven’t had to wake up at 4.30am that same day,” says Okine. “I’m just going to be so happy that I won’t feel like a narcoleptic person on stage. I sleep too much now though, it’s pathetic. I wake up and I moan in pain from oversleeping. Maybe I should just do the show from the bed – I’ll make it like a one man play.” Often telling tales of his experiences on radio in his stand-up routines, Okine says that We Made You will see him sharing triple j stories for the very last time. The one-hour set promises to include offair topics as well as tid-bits from his rather unique day-to-day life. “I’m going to talk about everything that’s happened to me in the last year. There’ll be some political takes on things and also just some sheer stupidity – I’ll be talking about when my cat was wearing one of my socks. Tom Ballard can do an intelligent, poignant one-hour lecture on the refugee
crisis in Australia; I’m going to do a joke about my cat wearing one of my socks. That’s just how it goes.” Making his way to Melbourne for his sixth solo show to date, Okine describes his first time performing at our renowned festival as an incredibly intense experience. Nevertheless, the adored act continues to appreciate the thriving atmosphere that the month of comedy provides. “It was 2012. Nothing prepared you for what 23 nights in Melbourne was going to be like. I put so much pressure on myself to be the best. Every night I’d go home thinking, ‘What the hell can I do to make this show better?’ You’d be standing on the street all night trying to hand out flyers and people are pretending you don’t exist. “But then you couple that with going to The HiFi every night, drinking until 5am, meeting all these incredible comics and learning things from other people on stage, getting jealous of other people’s ticket sales but then having sold out shows on the weekend and feeling over the moon. It’s this weird sort of world that exists only for a month.” The multi-talented artist says he has paid tribute to his loyal listeners one last time through his upcoming show’s title. “Basically, it’s me saying, ‘You made me,’ to all the people who listen to the radio. It’s not just in a profile-raising way, the contribution of people listening really made our show. Without listeners, we were nothing – we were just two idiots in a box.”
“Tom Ballard can do an intelligent, poignant onehour lecture on the refugee crisis in Australia; I’m going to do a joke about my cat wearing one of my socks. That’s just how it goes.” Venue: ACMI - Beyond
Dates: Thursday March 30 Sunday April 2. Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $30 - $37
By Phoebe Robertson
It must be a frightening realisation for a comedian, to learn they’re fresh out of killer anecdotes. It’s something that’s crossed Nick Cody’s mind before. “I worry about that stuff, thinking, ‘Oh shit, I did all this fun stuff in the past and now I don’t know if I’m going to get any stories,” he explains. “I always forget that I will most definitely make mistakes.” Off the back of a busy 2016, Cody has plenty of tales to tell. His European tour towards the end of the year, in particular, proved rewarding. “It was a bunch of places I had never been before, besides London,” he says. “To go and see new spots and do some comedy there and see how it’s received was fantastic. In Serbia and Antwerp and Amsterdam, you’re speaking their third language. And subtle jokes, they are all over it. They are over everything. The crowds are amazing. It’s fucking better than the Gold Coast. Gigs at the Gold Coast, you have to spell shit out. But in Belgrade, they’re like, ‘We see what you did there. Well done.’” In a year of highlights for Cody, one in particular stands out: that time he appeared on The Conan O’Brien Show. Cody holds the distinction of being just the fourth Australian comedian to perform on the program. “I still remember the day clearly. I remember being horrifically nervous. I was confident in the bits, I knew it was all fine, I think maybe 20 seconds in, I finally relaxed,” he says. “But up until that point, it’s just nerve-racking. When I walked out, I waved to my friends that were in the crowd and then I gave
Conan a thumbs up and said, ‘Cheers, mate,’ and he bowed to me in his chair. That moment I will never forget.” But you won’t catch Cody getting too carried away with recent success. In fact, you’re more likely to spot him playing smaller venues around town, honing his craft, just as he has done over the course of his career. “I go to the US a fair bit each year to do stuff and, in New York, there’ll be a show there with 15 people and Chris Rock might drop in. You go, ‘If he’s doing it, I have got absolutely no excuse.’ All that stuff that I’ve done over the last year, that’s completely gone and now I’m building up this new hour.” There’s intrigue surrounding his new show, On Fire, for the simple fact that it’s been a time of great personal change for Cody. “When that last show happened, I had a girlfriend. I’ll have a wife by the time the festival starts. It’s the same person. It hasn’t been that quick of a turnaround,” he jokes. As for what people can expect from the new show, Cody is confident it will be his strongest hour to date. “Any time there’s reviewers [in my shows], they all take different themes and things away. All I can say is, it’s as funny as I can be and it gets better each year.”
“Gigs at the Gold Coast, you have to spell shit out. But in Belgrade, they’re like, ‘We see what you did there. Well done.’” Venue: Melbourne Town Hall Supper Room Dates: Thursday March 30 Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $22 - $32
By Nick Mason
Mel Buttle I Can’t Believe It’s Not Buttle
Mel Buttle has just had a huge year, wowing audiences and becoming the cohost of Lifestyle Food Channel’s The Great Australian Bake Off. Now, she returns to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Buttle to deliver astute observations, hilarious anecdotes, witty thoughts and some seriously good bird impressions. Find Buttle at Melbourne Town Hall’s Portico Room from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $24 – $32.
Frank Woodley Noodlenut
Following a sold out run at Arts Centre Melbourne last year, the wacky Frank Woodley is back with a children’s show to share his wonderful antics once more. One of Australia’s best physical comedians, Woodley’s slapstick has won the hearts of kids everywhere in this gut-busting familyfriendly extravaganza. You’ll see the likes of songs about sneezing, chaotic magic and impersonations of animals playing sport at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Fairfax Studio on Thursday April 6 and Friday April 7. Tickets are $28.
Tom Walker Bee Boo
The rapidly-emerging Tom Walker has earned acclaim as one of the most exciting new faces on the circuit, picking up two awards at the Comedy Festival last year for Best Newcomer and the Directors’ Choice Award (as part of Feeble Minds). A graduate of France’s prestigious Ecole Phillippe Gaulier, Walker’s improvisational skills and natural stage presence will amaze. See for yourself at Victoria Hotel’s Acacia Room from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $22 – $27.
Most people probably have a bucket list. It’s that list of things we want to achieve or experience before we eventually die, crossing things off as we go and adding more as new ideas appeal to us. Jimeoin has an opposite kind of list. “I have a fuckit list. It’s just shit I don’t want to do anymore,” he says. He starts muttering with a not-quite-faux bitterness as he gives an example: “Going to social gatherings that are just there as some sort of work shit that aren’t really social gatherings at all, they’re just awkward social environments. Fuck it, I’m not doing them anymore...” He pauses, changes tone. “Probably will.” Little foibles and contradictions in human behaviour such are these are a big part of Jimeoin’s comedy, which has made him a household name in Australia for decades now. While he may be taking plenty of things off his to-do list these days, fortunately for his legions of fans, the ex-pat Irish stand-up still keeps returning to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. His latest show is called Renonsense Man and the poster image is a piss-take of the famous Renaissance man himself, Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, where a man is superimposed on top of himself, arms and legs at differing angles, encased by a circle and square. “I thought ‘I’ll just be that person, maybe that will be funny for a poster,’” he tells Beat from Canberra, where appropriately enough, he’s spending his day looking at art galleries and museums.
So what will we see in Renonsense Man? “The red underpants,” he says, referring to the only thing he’s wearing on the poster. “I wanted to do it naked but no, they wouldn’t have it. “It’s nonsense, really. Classic nonsense. The shit I do. I try to put things under a banner but it’s more just the human condition, the animals that we are. The animal that I am is getting old and I’m the idiot really. I talk about my own frailties and get my laughs out of that. Although Jimeoin has had plenty of experience on TV and has a couple of feature film credits under his belt, these days live work is his main focus. “I’ve been touring the UK a lot, and touring the UK and Australia and NZ seems to be enough,” he says. “That’s high on the fuck-it list, the meetings with TV executives to do TV shows. That’s number one on the fuck-it list although I used to do it quite a bit for free lunches. That was always a nice little scam. Some production company wants you to do something so you go and meet with them, so they can say they’ve met with you, and just order the steak.” While he might not be doing TV again anytime soon, you can catch him during the festival at ACMI.
“I have a fuck-it list. It’s just shit I don’t want to do anymore.” Venue: ACMI - Beyond
Dates: Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $38 - $45
By Joanne Brookfield
Life + Rhymes Rob Broderick doesn’t know what to wear tomorrow, although that’s the least of his concerns. The more pressing issue is that he’s about to play the biggest gig of his life at home in Ireland to an audience of 9,000 people the next day. “I usually try to connect with the whole room and if it’s an improv show I like to maintain eye contact,” he says. “I often ask for a bit of light in the room so I can see the back row, but with the size of this room I don’t have a feckin’ clue. I’ll see six rows and hope the rest of them have a good time.” Broderick, a rapper and comedian, formed Abandoman with musician and vocalist Sam Wilson. Together the comedy hip hop improv masters have freestyled their way into the hearts of festival goers around the world. The combination of music and comedy for them was a no-brainer, meaning that they could play at both arts and music festivals. “We’re very greedy lads,” quips Broderick. The duo have had a good warm-up to tomorrow’s show given that they’ve toured with Ed Sheeran as his support act. Broderick, who was mates with Sheeran before he hit the big time, remembers the day they met. “Ed somehow ended up sitting on the stage in a green hoodie, with his very ginger hair looking like a little hip hop leprechaun, which is how I referred to him,” he says. “We ended up doing a show together at Brighton Fringe Festival and then at some point when we were hanging out he was like, ‘Who’s your lawyer?’ I said, ‘Ed, it’s grand, we’re doing a free venue in Brighton to 20 people a day; I don’t think either of us need to worry about our lawyers at the moment.’ Then a year later he was
the biggest thing in music. I was like, ‘In fairness, I underestimated how well things were going for you.’” Things have been going well for Abandoman. They’re winners of the UK Sunday Times Best Musical Act of the Fringe 2014, make regular appearances on TV and radio across the UK and debuting at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this year with their show Life + Rhymes, a fully improvised imaginary retrospective. “It’s really silly,” Broderick notes. “It’s basically a fictional biography of Sam and myself set in the mid ‘90s.” The show comes complete with doctored photos purporting to tell the story of hip hop’s rise in Europe, and represents Broderick and Wilson as Ireland’s only proponents of hip hop. It also pits Biggie and Tupac against Daft Punk as rivals. “Everyone in the crowd becomes someone we’ve toured with: managers, friends, cousins,” says Broderick. “The idea is they’ve all flown in from all over the world for this reunion and they’ll remind us of key features. All of the things they give us become 100 percent of the songs.”
“Ed somehow ended up sitting on the stage in a green hoodie, with his very ginger hair looking like a little hip hop leprechaun.” Venue: The Famous Spigeltent Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $27 - $35
By Joanne Brookfield
Utopia: Now In 3D!
Tom Walker & Bridie Connell MotherFather
Both master comedians and improvisers in their own right, Tom Walker and Bridie Connell present a night of completely offthe-cuff antics. As core members of Comedy Channel’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? Australia and National Theatresports Champions, you’re in safe hands as Walker and Connell make up an hour of lightning-quick offbeat characters and sketches on the spot. Witness the wonderful chaos unfold at Melbourne Town Hall’s Cloak Room Friday March 31-Saturday April 22 (Friday and Saturdays only). Tickets are $25.
Susie Youssef Behave Youssef
Back in Melbourne for her fourth solo show, Susie Youssef will astound once more with her outrageously-funny blend of sketch, stand-up, stories and improvisation. A star of Comedy Channel’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? Australia, Stan’s No Activity and ABC’s Rosehaven, Youssef ’s wonderfully warm and witty style has won over audiences nation-wide. Find out why when she takes to Melbourne Town Hall’s Backstage Room from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $24 – $28.
Sarah Kendall Shaken
When a major earthquake hit Sarah Kendall’s hometown of Newcastle in 1989, a tapestry of chaotic events occurred to her – and she’s now ready to reveal them all. With an incredible gift for storytelling, Kendall’s brilliant stage presence and observational style saw her become a 2015 Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee and Comics’ Choice Award winner. Catch Kendall at Melbourne Town Hall’s Portico Room from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $24 – $32. 40 BEAT.COM.AU
On Thursday afternoon, Damien Power is decompressing after tackling the Melbourne International Comedy Gala for the very first time. It means a lot to him – but it’s been no bed of roses. “It’s a fantastic privilege and honour to be on the Gala and to have done that in your career, but the actual experience of it is incredibly nerve-racking,” Power laughs. “I don’t think a lot of comedians will probably say that, but it fucking is. You’re like, ‘Holy fuck, don’t fuck it up, you’ve got four minutes, you’ve got one shot at this.’ There’s 2,000 people and the whole industry is watching backstage on a TV.” As a co-winner of the 2016 MICF Directors’ Choice Award and nominee for both the 2015 and 2016 Barry Awards, Power has proven himself as a thought provoking and intellectually explorative personality. It’s these traits that he carries with him in Utopia: Now in 3D! – an exploration of both the everyday and the ongoing absurdity of humanity. “The show’s fun, silly, and never serious, but there are those points there, and overarching laws – high-concept themes,” Power explains. “I like to think that my shows can be a little bit challenging to the audience in a good way – not to take them as fools, like, ‘Oh, you guys won’t get this or won’t be interested in that shit.’” With curious honesty and a natural knack for delivery, Power dissects the philosophical, political and social worlds that interest him in digestible portions of hilarity. “I think there was always a thing to perform,”
Power says. “I was always the kid who got kicked out of the class and was a prick to teachers. I tried to do a real career in IT, and went back to performing in my early twenties, doing improv, theatresports and acting. People from those circles were doing standup. To me, that seemed crazy to do. I tried it, and then I think it became a bit like an addiction. The thrill in the early days is so fucking crazy. You do it for different reasons as you go on, but once I got hooked on it – and that was over ten years ago now – you want to keep getting that hit. “When I started out, I got up and had glasses pretending to be Tom Cruise, doing impersonations and all this terrible shit,” Power laughs. “I used to have a joke about Richie Benaud on acid and what he’d be like commentating – just the worst fucking comedy imaginable. Even then, getting up and getting laughs was just shocking. Now, obviously, getting up and doing five minutes is like, ‘Yeah, you know, whatever’ – but now I do an hour, and if I get an hour that comes together really well and I think it’s really interesting and clever, then that gives me a bit of a kick. The bar keeps going up. That keeps changing; those little milestones.”
“The thrill in the early days is so fucking crazy. You do it for different reasons as you go on, but once I got hooked on it – and that was over ten years ago now – you want to keep getting that hit.”
Venue: ACMI - Studio
Dates: Thursday March 30 Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays and Sunday April 9) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $24 - $32
By Jacob Colliver
Giant Dwarf Presents Giant Dwarf has its fingers in a lot of pies: they’re a production company and the outfit behind the Chaser, they run their own indie theatre, as well as repping a bunch of razorsharp comedians, and they’re set to showcase their stable of talent during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. First cab off the rank is comedian, actor and improv extraordinaire Fran Middleton with her absurdist solo show Ceiling Fran. Middleton, who’s going to be hella busy because she’s also backing it up as the producer for Giant Dwarf ’s shows during the season, has been described by critics as “fierce”, “far out” and “like a lava lamp”. Expect a surreal show with teeth. Catch Ceiling Fan at Tasma Terrace. Next up is Carlo Ritchie – linguist, mad keen gamer and one half of Sydney’s fave improvisors The Bear Pack – is doubling down during MICF with his own show Cooking for No One. Ritchie’s show promises 50 minutes of true tales revolving around idiocy and romance. “I spent a lot of time in saunas with strangers, generally in isolated parts of the arctic circle,” says Ritchie. “At the time I didn’t think very much of how compromising this situation could be, which is a fairly good argument for the special kind of idiocy I bring to the table. Here’s a fun Ritchie fact: the dude is such a fan of the sea shanty that he founded the Redfern Shanty Club just so he could bust out seafaring tunes with like-minded salty souls. Find Ritchie performing at the Tasma Terrace. Greg Larsen, star and co-creator of ABC’s late-
night character-comedy show Fancy Boy Variety Show, is taking a spin with his show A Grub in the Muck. “There is a lot of yuck stuff in my mind,” says Larsen. “The characters do yucky things and I wish I didn’t have to do it but mummy is pretty insistent that I do what he says. It’s hard because I know that mummy isn’t real and I don’t actually have to do this show, but then mummy tells me that he is real so I don’t know who to believe.” Another Giant Dwarf staple, Penny Greenhalgh will also hit the Festival with her show Pony Greenhorse. “It’s a fun, absurd parody of a trash murder mystery novel, set in 1961 on a cruise liner on the French Riviera,” says Greenhalgh. “There’s lots of characters and physical stuff.” Greenhalgh’s shows routinely sell out, so book early to catch her at ACMI. While Greenhalgh’s not to be pinned down about the exact nature of her show – it may or may not have a plot, she’s unsure – her comedy is sometimes physical, but always a surprise. Last but not least from the Giant Dwarf crew comes the Bear Pack, the piss-funny improvisational meanderings of Steen Raskopoulos and Carlo Ritchie. You may have caught Raskopolous, a Barry nominee, on Whose Line is It Anyway and the Beeb’s spoof of ‘70s police dramas, Top Coppers. As a team, Raskopoulos and Ritchie traverse topics as broad as abandoned ice-cream factories through to roller derby reunions. The Bear Pack, which took out the Best Laughs Award during Sydney Fringe, take audience suggestions as the springboard for 60 minutes of off-the-cuff frivolity. Keep an eye out for the pair at the Powder Room.
“I spent a lot of time in saunas with strangers, generally in isolated parts of the arctic circle.” Venues: Tasma Terrace, Greek Centre, ACMI, Town Hall Power Room Dates: Wednesday March 29 - Sunday April 23 Duration: 50 - 60 minutes Tickets: $15-$27
By Meg Crawford
Tom Ballard Boundless Plains to Share
Australia has a very, very big problem concerning immigration. What should we do? For one night only, Tom Ballard unleashes his understanding of the immeasurable mess of fear and ignorance that lead us to the situation we’re currently entangled in – and the fool-proof plan he’s devised to fix it all. See Ballard’s political genius at work when he presents this very special 70-minute event at the Comedy Theatre on Saturday April 22. Tickets are $22.
Merrick Watts Man of the Hour
The hilarious Merrick Watts has cemented himself as a key player in the Australian media landscape for decades now, but he’s never done his own solo show before – until now. With a laconic wit and earnest curiosity, Man of the Hour will see Watts attempt to answer a whole host of questions that nobody’s asking. Catch him at Swiss Club from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays, except Monday April 3) and at Melbourne Town Hall’s Powder Room on Monday April 3. Tickets are $25 – $32.
Steen Raskopoulos The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess
Back from sold-out runs in Sydney, Edinburgh and London, Steen Raskopoulos will be coming back to Melbourne to premiere his brand-new show. A core cast member of Comedy Channel’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? Australia, Raskopoulos has gained a prolific reputation for his incredible ability and range of character-driven improvisation, picking up a 2015 Barry Award Nomination. You’ll find out why at Melbourne Town Hall’s Cloak Room from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays). Tickets are $25 – $34.
“Comedy is important for the maintenance of sanity, though being a comedian during times like these does feel slightly like being a violinist playing as the Titanic sinks,” says stand-up comedian Ahir Shah. In the past ten years, Shah has made a name for himself in the UK as a political and social commentator, capped off with thought-provoking humour and articulate delivery. “Almost everything is crushingly awful and terrifying,” says Shah. “I’ve written a lot of jokes about it though. Things seem bleak for the foreseeable future, so it’s handy there doesn’t seem to be much future to foresee.” Shah is heading to Melbourne to be a part of New Order, a lineup bill showcasing some of the hottest talent from the UK. “My parents are from India and I was born and raised in London which is where I’ve lived my whole life,” he says. “This makes it all the more mystifying when anonymous strangers on Twitter tell me to go back to Pakistan.” He was a particularly early starter when it came to comedy, starting stand-up at 15. “I just didn’t really have anything to say when I was 15,” he recalls. “I’m vaguely embarrassed that I chose to inflict that on strangers in rooms. People were very kind, I think partly because of the novelty of the thing, but doing stand-up is in large part a constant justification of the fact that you’ve broken the silence that came before.” Shah has already performed a couple of times previously in Australia at the Adelaide Fringe.
“They’re very similar beyond the obvious cultural differences between the U.K. and Australia – shorts, informality, a casual racism that white Brits generally internalised in the nineties,” he says of how audiences compare. The New Order show, however, will be his first time performing as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. “I’ve heard nothing but good things,” he says. “Either I’m going to have a lot of fun, or many of my friends are evil liars.” Shah is being joined on the bill by standup Brennan Reece, who was nominated for 2016 Best Newcomer Edinburgh Comedy Award; exCambridge Footlights character comedian Emma Sidi; and BBC Radio Best New Comedy Awardwinner Steve Bugeja. What can we expect to see from Shah? “I’m going to do a bunch of my fun japes and quips about the contemporary resurgence of fascism,” he says. “I love that the only requirement is to make the audience laugh, and you basically have total freedom in how you choose to fulfil that brief. That’s one of the things that’s going to be fun about this show, I think we all have very different comic styles, and our means of attaining the same end varies hugely.”
“Almost everything is crushingly awful and terrifying. I’ve written a lot of jokes about it though. Things seem bleak for the foreseeable future, so it’s handy there doesn’t seem to be much future to foresee.” Venue: Victoria Hotel Banquet Room Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 70 minutes
Tickets: $26.50 - $34
By Joanne Brookfield
Spectacularish The day after Trump got elected, you were probably just going on with your day, perhaps browsing bomb shelter catalogues. Simon Taylor, however, was in the City of Angels, jumping fences to avoid being arrested by the riot police. “I was going to check it out, see what was happening, take some photos,” he explains. “Then all of a sudden I’m on the 101 freeway with all these young protestors. L.A. is full of attractive people trying to make it in the industry, and they were all out protesting. I was like, ‘This is the most attractive protest ever’. “So I get trapped on the 101 because the riot police start pushing us. And then they start arresting people so I ran with a bunch of people, and jumped a fence to get off the highway.” It’s lucky the po’ didn’t catch him, because Taylor had shit to do. While in the States, he wrote for Comedy Central and toured clubs and colleges in over ten cities. But his biggest gig the past year was back home in Australia, where the ABC commissioned a special of his show, Human, filmed at a sold-out Enmore Theatre in Sydney. “The night the special aired, I had my phone next to me, and I’m starting to write my brand new show, and my phone was blowing up like crazy,” he says. “I had to turn it off. I had 1,000 new followers on every platform within that hour. It was really intense and rewarding. “I really am just talking about my [life] experience. I’m never manufacturing what I think
audiences will like. I just say what I actually care about. I put so much of myself into my stand-up. And when you get that response – ‘Oh, it’s not just me’ – it makes the world a little smaller. And less lonely, I think.” It’s his talent for touching on the human condition – in such a funny, subtle way – that puts Taylor alongside Damien Power and a handful of comedians who can play with ideas that challenge the way you think. “Social commentary is starting to feed through more of my show,” he says. “What I like doing is, not starting with ‘Hey this is social commentary’. I like to do the fun accessible jokes that people like and then sneak my commentary in. So if you want to come to my show and just laugh, you can do that. But you can also leave my show going, ‘There were some interesting ideas about multiculturalism in Australia or masculinity’. And I like it when people come away going, ‘I got this extra thing out of it.’” His new show, Spectacular-ish, was loved by critics in Adelaide, who praised his singing, dancing and magic skills – not to mention the kind of wit that gets you into the writers’ room for Jay Leno and Shaun Micallef. So if you’re on the fence about giving a chance to a comedian you haven’t seen before, do what Taylor would do – jump it.
“I’m never manufacturing what I think audiences will like. I just say what I actually care about. I put so much of myself into my stand-up.” Venue: Trades Hall - The Meeting Room Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Wednesdays) Duration: 50 minutes Tickets: $22 - $29
By Stick Paris
Josh Earl & Daniel Tobias Josh Earl’s Festival
What is your show about? Soap is a variety show with acrobatic, musical and comedy acts set in and around bathtubs. It’s a high energy romp through the bathroom and – though it may sound a bit cliché – it really does have something for everyone. What inspires you about MICF? As a show from Europe, it’s always great to play a festival because you immediately feel connected to other artists, shows and the greater community and city. When you’re touring and playing alone in a city, you can feel a bit like you’re in a bubble. You can easily get trapped into just seeing your castmates, the theatre and maybe some tourist sites. It’s always great to meet and talk to other artists and of course, it’s inspiring to see other great shows. Describe your show in three words. Wet. Wild. Wow. Does your show have any audience participation? One lucky audience member may get the chance to jump into the tub with us and get the water flowing at the beginning of the show. How have the events in your life turned into material? The bathroom is this little private world where people can let down their guard. There’s a vulnerability behind that locked door. Although the show is not based on any one specific event in any of our lives, I think we can all relate to times when we’ve taken a shower or bath and felt silly or sexy or lonely. We’ve all been excited getting ready for a date or a party or contemplative at the end of a day. This can all be great material for a performer to bring into an act to provide some context and depth.
Venue: The Malthouse – Merlyn Theatre Dates: Thursday March 30 – Saturday April 22 (bar Mondays) Duration: 85 minutes Tickets: $44.50 – $56.50
Tell us about your show. It’s a whole music festival set in an hour. It is me and Daniel Tobias, with cameos from Ella Hooper, Broden Kelly (Aunty Donna), Ben Russell, Jess Perkins and Triple R Lime Champions Damien Lawlor, Kirsten Law and Eva Johansen. How did the idea for your show come about? I’ve had the idea for this show since 2011 but wasn’t sure how to manage it on my own, so it fit the vision I had. Then at MICF last year I watched Daniel Tobias perform and was like, ‘He’s so great, he’d be perfect to perform some of the songs.’ What inspires you about MICF? I love that the MICF gives me a deadline to write to. Comedy is a great artform, in that if the show isn’t ready by the time of the first show, there is no hiding the performer can do. It’s either funny or it isn’t and the feedback is instantaneous. What’s a fun fact about the show? There is a song in the show about two DJs who wear helmets – the costume took me five days to make and includes 1800 small mirror tiles. But it was totally worth it. Can you describe your show in three words? No, I can’t.
Geraldine Quinn Fox Poncing
Watson Go To Hell!
Tell us about your show. Fox Poncing gives you a taste of everything; music theatre, electro, triple j Unearthed indie new folk, post punk. Also – band. ‘Fox’ because ginger, feral pest and ‘poncing’ because glittering cabaret show pony. When was the idea for the show born? I wanted to write songs– no big theme, no big idea – just songs. Then it morphed into a show with a heart about how my hero’s unexpected death prompted doubt about choosing a terribly unstable vocation – songwriting – in a teeny industry. What inspires you about MICF? Every festival gives you a chance to see people doing new stuff, and new people coming through. It’s easy to get side-tracked by either the new or the huge. While I love seeing exciting newcomers, I also really love watching established artists being terrific. What do you love about the Melbourne performing arts community? Their endurance. What’s a fun fact about the show? It will leave you with a magnificently distasteful image involving Stephen Sondheim. Can you describe the journey of creating a show? Pick a date, pay a registration fee, come up with name and panic for four months? Is that it? Describe your show in three words. God damned amazing. How have the events in your life turned into material? Songwriting’s a brilliant way to work through a lot of stuff. I haven’t written a song about trying to come up with answers to media questionnaires yet, but gimme a year.
Tell us about your show. It’s a comedy-horror about how fear controls our lives. In a horror-comedy show you’ll scream with terror, wee yourself a little, then laugh. Like a regular comedy show but with more laundry. What’s a fun fact about the show? There’s a scary clown in our show. He’s harmless though. Unless you’re human, then he wants to murder you. A lot. Friendly tip regarding terrifying clowns: if he asks if you want to honk his nose...say no. It’s a trap. He’ll murder you. A lot. Describe your show in three words. The best show ever! Wait...that’s four words. I’ll try again. Watson: Go To Hell! is a nightmare thrill ride of big scares and even bigger laughs! Okay... counting. F&*k! 16 words. It’s fine. I can do this. Three words: Please come... poor. Does your show have any audience participation? Did you know that the top two fears people have are dying and public speaking. As our show is all about fears and how they control us we definitely have audience participation. We ask an audience member up on stage, murder them, then ask them how that makes them feel. Haven’t had a negative response yet. They seem very relaxed about it. Who are you looking forward to seeing this year at the festival? Rama Nicholas is doing a show all about romance and erotica. It’s so awesome. Everyone should see it. It’s like watching a Mills and Boon novel come to life.
Venue: The Malthouse – Bagging Room Dates: Thursday March 30 – Saturday April 8 (bar Monday) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $20 - $28
Venues: The Malthouse – The Tower Dates: Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $22 – $28
Venue: The Malthouse - Beckett Theatre Dates: Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $24 - $29
Chris D’Elia Live
Des Bishop Grey Matters
Where are you in the world right now? Right now I’m back home in Los Angeles. I just woke up. It’s 10am. You’re an American comedian and TV star – what’s your most ‘showbiz’ anecdote? I talked to Keanu Reeves once. Love him. You’re a “stand-up comedian who acts”. Was acting something you pursued or more fell into? I’ve always been an actor. Doing stand-up is always what I truly wanted to do. After I started that I started working more as an actor. How did scoring the role on Whitney impact on your comedy career? It got people in seats to see me live. I’m grateful for that. How do you describe the character you played in Whitney? And how far removed from your actual self was that character? He was a little bit like the rock of the relationship. I’m not sure I’m a rock in real life. I’m a bit more selfish and aloof. What’s been your best moment so far in comedy? Anytime I shoot a new special. That’s always my new career highlight. My first one was the most wild to me. What topics are you talking about in the stand-up show we’ll see? I tell stories about how I got to where I am emotionally and mentally. It’s very silly and personal. For you, what’s the best thing about being a comedian? I make a living saying whatever I think is funny.
Who’s funnier: the Irish, New Yorkers, or Australians? Well, you are turning me into a politician here. There won’t be any New Yorkers at my show so let’s face it they are just not funny. The Irish are very funny but they already know me from my TV work. It’s clear to me that the Australians are the funniest people in the world, not to mention the best looking, the most intelligent, sexiest and most inclined to see my show people in the world. What can we expect from your show? My show is just a fun show about getting older, watching your friends and family have kids, while still living the life of a 20-year-old into my 40s. I am a bridge between two generations. There is some fabulously dirty stuff at the end too that I am very proud of. I am trying to bring smutty back in a PC, sex-positive way. What’s the biggest thing you’ve realised as you’ve gotten older? That worrying about other people’s opinions is not only a waste of time but stifles your creativity. What’s the greatest moment you’ve had onstage? At the Edinburgh Fringe 2010, I had a show about my Dad’s life. During the Melbourne run, Jason Byrne told me I should get my Dad on stage at the end. It should be mentioned that he was dying of lung cancer at the time. He stayed healthy long enough to fly to Edinburgh and join me on stage every night to standing ovations. A great closer to our show and his life.
Venue: Athenaeum Theatre Dates: Tuesday April 18 - Saturday April 22 Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $30 - $45
Venue: Greek Centre Parthenon Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $25 - $36
DeAnne Smith Post-Joke Era
Stuart Goldsmith Compared To What
Why is comedy a great vehicle for talking about politics? Politics can be so divisive, but everyone loves to laugh. Comedy disarms people, and allows them to open up their minds. That said, the politics in my comedy aren’t so overt. I’ve always done comedy from a feminist, anti-racist, pro-queer perspective, but I don’t always state that explicitly. I’d rather make people laugh first. And to be honest, one look at my haircut and the audience usually knows where I stand anyway. How do you balance the smart with the funny? It’s a very delicate equation. For every three smart jokes, there’s one dick joke. For every three dick jokes, there’s one reference to Nietzsche. Every time I reference Nietzsche, I fall face first into a tub of ethically-sourced, vegan marshmallows and make a fart noise. What do you hope your audience goes home thinking? I’d like them to think, “Wow, I’m renewed and rejuvenated with pure joy! My steps are light and my heart is clean!” Or, at least, “Finally, the malevolent voices in my head have quieted and I may now slumber in peace.” Whatever it is, I hope they’ve had a great night out and are happier than when they came in. Could you fight the world with comedy? Do I need to fight the world? This question seems foreboding. Is this about Russia? But to answer your question, yes. If it’s good enough to fight my feisty inner demons, comedy can probably take on the world. (Seriously, though, what do you know that I don’t? What is this really about? WHAT DO I NEED TO FIGHT?!)
Who has been your favourite guest on The Comedian’s Comedian? Wil Anderson: funny people aren’t always as delightful, warm and generous with their laughter as this legend. Nina Conti: she is utterly self-deprecating and ferociously talented. Jimmy Carr: so many listeners have re-evaluated this high-status joke-machine, now revealed as a secret comedy nerd. Luke Heggie: a deadpan sniper with no heroes. How do you stand out from other comedy shows about first time parenting? I’m genuinely jealous of a woman’s ability to give birth! Growing a person in your body is literally the most science-fiction thing I can think of. I’ve never met another bloke who feels the same way, so I think that angle is pretty safe. What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve had to make as a new parent? You become aware that someone is relying on you utterly, and that your every decision is going to affect them, so even when you can’t go on, you have to go on. What I’m saying is, he’s stolen from me even the luxury of suicide. Do you miss being in the circus? Well I was only in the actual circus for about an eighth of a second, but I do miss being a circus-skilled street-performer. What’s the best piece of advice about comedy that you’ve gotten? That even when you’ve died on your arse and you feel like the whole thing was an impossible dream, and that you’re right to give up and go home and never dare try it again, even then, there’s a worse gig out there somewhere.
Venue: Taxi Riverside
Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $22 - $30
Venue: Greek Centre Mykonos Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 Minutes Tickets: $22 - $30
Amanda Jane Pritchard Swipe Left For Love
The Sparrow Men Murder On The Pacific Diamond
What’s your show about? Swipe Left for Love is a saucy and naughty tale about the chaotic and slightly crazy Chloe James and the many people who colour her life. It’s based on my crazy dating and life experiences and has a cast of nine as well as plenty of music and some dancing (but not the jazz hands type, promise). Where did the idea for your show come from? I got sacked from my fairly lucrative marketing job. Decided to jump into the performing arts, wrote the script in a couple of days – those bastards can go suck a lemon. I was always a corporate hippy anyway – being an artist suits me much better, I now have an excuse for my excessive drinking. Can you share a memorable cast moment? We tend to crack each other up every rehearsal. I may have told them a story one day about my stupidity of accidently sending a soft porn video intended for a long distance lover to my publicist. What’s a fun fact about the show? It’s pretty naughty and saucy, but the closest we get to nudity is my lead actress Holly McCrossin in a pair of knickers (I promise this is worth seeing). There’s lots of masturbation references, but I took out the actual masturbation scene. Does your show have any audience participation? We won’t pull you up on stage (unless you want to). We mostly just want to get everyone plastered and have a brilliant time. We encourage singing along, dancing on tables – all that kind of stuff.
What is your show about? Murder on the Pacific Diamond is a family friendly, choose-you-own-adventure, murder/mystery, where the audience gets to play detective. It’s fun, silly, and the audience gets to figure out who killed Dame Elizabeth Heinrich. Where did the idea for your show come from? Normally we do entirely-improvised comedic plays, but for Fringe festival and MICF, we wanted to actually write a show. After over two years together, we’d come across a whole bunch of really fun characters that we loved, so we sort of knew it was going to be a multiple character show, with the two of us playing everyone. Then we thought, ‘What do other people like? Obviously choose-your-own-adventures.’ What was the journey of creating this show like? Basically we’d get a bunch of wine, get into character, hit ‘record’ on voice memos, and mess around. Because of its structure, there was more problem solving in the creation of this show than, say, a straight play or stand-up. We wrote about three show’s worth of material. Is there audience participation? The audience gets to choose which scenes to see, then – based on the evidence that scene uncovers, and the evidence they choose to see throughout – they get to make an arrest. Plus, they get to interrogate the suspects. What are you looking forward to seeing this festival? We can’t wait to have Tea with the Nans in a Caravan, watch Apocolympics, Improvised Potter, Gavin Roach’s All The Songs I Can’t Sing and Kirsty Webeck’s Good One.
Venue: St Kilda RSL Dates: Wednesday
March 29 – Saturday April 8 (bar Fridays, Sundays & Monday) Duration: 70 minutes Tickets: $25 - $30
Venue: The 86
Dates: Thursday April 13 – Sunday April 23 Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $15 – $25
Darien Brown Lumourous
Darren Lever Man Vs Wildlife v2.0
Tell us about your show. My show is essentially about life and various events that have happened in it – Just what the future might hold down the road, and just things that we can all relate to. What inspires you about MICF? There’s so much diversity – How people of different nationalities, disabilities, race, religion and gender equality can emerge together as one in a performing arts festival such as the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Who are your biggest influences? My family, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock and KISS. Describe your show in three words. Life, Changing, Experience. Who are you looking forward to seeing this year at the festival? Oh, man. There are so many good acts this year, but if I had to narrow it down to just one, I would say Cal Wilson.
What’s the basis of your show? Man vs Wildlife v2.0 is about the insane journey that has been my life to this point. Fiveyear-old me was certain of two things. Firstly, I was going to grow up to be Steve Irwin and secondly I was going to grow up to be John Farnham. There’s music, storytelling and stand-up comedy. I also have the added bonus and privilege of being able to share my passion for Australian wildlife and conservation. A percentage of every ticket sold will be donated to a wildlife conservation program. Just by buying a ticket, you’re already helping to make a difference. What do you want people to take away from your show? Although it seems like all doom and gloom with the environment right now, there are simple things that everyone can do that may seem small and insignificant but if everybody made minor adjustments in their choices, it makes a huge difference. Can we expect animals? I can definitely confirm that there will be a crocodile, possibly a bird and maybe a marsupial. If you thought Kanye had some strange backstage demands, try dealing with a cranky croc or a possum that insists on fresh flowers to nibble on every night. Such divas! What’s the most hilarious thing about Australian wildlife? Wombats do square poos, that’s funny if you like poo jokes. Kangaroos are a macropod, which literally means ‘big foot’ so sasquatches are real, and ducks have spiral shaped penis’. Need I say more?
Venue: Speakeasy HQ Dates: Wednesday April 12 – Saturday April 15 Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $10 - $15
Venue: The Melba Spiegeltent Dates: Tuesday April 4 – Saturday April 8 Duration: 50 minutes Tickets: $15 - $20
Michael Shafar Jewish-ish
Sammy J Hero Complex
Tell us about your show. The show is about growing up culturally – but not religiously – Jewish, and the career expectations that stem from that upbringing. I graduated from Monash University with a law degree and quickly realised I would never be happy in that career. The show is about my transition from law to comedy. It’s comedy from the mean streets of East St Kilda. How did the idea for your show come about? I was looking at buying a new car and mum said to me: “Michael, if you buy a German car, Hitler wins,” and I thought: “Mum, I reckon we’ve got him by now”. I want to talk about those bizarre conversations and moments that come from growing up in a Jewish family. What’s a fun fact about the show? After almost every show someone comes up to me and says, “Just checking: are you really Jewish?” I then have to assure them that I was, in fact, Jewish the whole time. Can you describe the journey of creating a show? This is my debut show, so I’ve been building the material for it from basically gigging almost every night of the week over the last two and a half years developing and honing material. It’s gruelling, but I’ve come out of it with something I’m proud to share with others. Describe your show in three words. Jewish. Funny. Jewish.
Tell us about your show. It’s a true story about how my obsession with The Phantom as a kid led to 20 years worth of strange occurrences, finishing with a federal policeman searching my attic last year. Which sounds ridiculous but is actually true. How did the Phantom comics set off a chain of events that would change your life? Well, I was the only Phantom fan at my school. Which was lonely for me. But then I found someone else who had a similar interest, who just happened to be the school gardener. That’s when things started getting weird. Does Randy get jealous when you don’t bring him along to shows? He actually instructed me to do this show. He said it would do me good and that we needed a break and that we don’t make love anymore and how he wants to travel and experience other things for a while. How have your experiences overseas at Edinburgh and Montreal helped you grow as a comic? Edinburgh is a pretty phenomenal place to go as a comic; you really see the best in the world on offer and it makes you lift your game as much as possible. What is the most comical aspect of existence? The fact that we could all die literally any second and yet in order to function we have to constantly pretend like that’s not the case and focus on small trivial things instead, like who’s going to win I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
Venue: Trades Hall – The Archive Room Dates: Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Wednesdays) Duration: 50 minutes Tickets: $20 – $25
Christian Lutz Living The Dream
Tell us about your show. My show is an observational rollercoaster centred around my inter-personal relationships with friends, partners and kids. I won’t be personally serving you food, but you’ll swear you are at a BBQ, listening to that one friend (that’s me) that everything crazy seems to happen to and makes you realise how much better your life is. When was the idea for the show born? My ex-partner accused me of trespassing for rescuing the family chook from starvation, while she was on holiday. Hear me out, it’s a story with a happy ending – Pinky the chook is flourishing. Describe your show in three words. Truthful (mostly). Embellished (somewhat). Hilarious (this is the aim after all). How have the events in your life turned into material? After coming through a tumultuous separation, my show looks at becoming a single dad, from the daily chaos of raising kids to surviving bloke’s yoga and attempting inter-generational dating. I like to think you can see the healing right in front of your eyes, in a hilarious and upbeat way. Who are you looking forward to seeing at the festival this year? Hundreds of strangers, who will soon become friends, sitting in the audience at my show. And my old housemate who still owes me $50 from when I lived in Melbourne.
Venue: Victoria Hotel Banquet Room Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $25 - $38
Dom Chambers RanDom: Modern Comedy Magic
Venues: Elephant and Wheelbarrow & Fad Gallery Dates: Friday March 31 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 50 minutes Tickets: $15 - $20
Tell us about your show. It’s like a magic show, but not. As the show description says: ‘RanDom sets out to examine magic and illusion through a range of artistic lenses, including music, dance, painting, video and more.’ What does your show teach the audience? That not all magicians are creepy, tacky or sleazy. What inspires you about MICF? Seeing performers work their way up from small 30-seat venues to selling out large theatres – it’s incredibly inspiring to see years of hard work, passion and determination pay off. What’s a fun fact about the show? In the past year, Dom’s social media videos have been viewed over 20 million times across platforms. Does your show have any audience participation? Yes. In fact, the entire audience has a part in the finale of the show.
Venue: The 86
Dates: Friday March 31 – Sunday April 9 (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only) Duration: 55 minutes Tickets: $19 - $23
Michael Chamberlin Life In Moderation
What do you love about the Melbourne performing arts community? They smell great. What’s a fun fact about the show? Everybody who attends shall be given a brand new Porsche 718. Manual power 220 kW at 6.500.(I don’t know what that means). Top speed: 275km (that seems unnecessary). Wheelbase: 2.475mm (Is that good or bad?). Anyway, if you come along, it’s yours. Does your show have any audience participation? No. I’ve just come from a gig and it got a tad nervy. I showed up late, the comic before me made reference to a bloke in the crowd as ‘that guy’. Everybody laughed. I came on and made the same reference. Everybody laughed except ‘that guy’. I have no idea what I said that made him tell me from the crowd in a threatening manner that “we might have a problem”. How have the events in your life turned into material? I have a tale about trying to break up a fight. Have some stuff about Dalai Lama (I dare you to sue, Dalai Lama. I dare you). Have some stuff about this horrid internet culture we currently live in. Who are you looking forward to seeing this year at the festival? Heaps of people at my show called Life In Moderation at the Imperial Hotel, just opposite Parliament House. It’s a lovely place. Has a nice beer garden
Troy Kinne #Nofilter
Venue: Imperial Hotel
Dates: Monday April 10 – Sunday April 23 Duration: 55 minutes Tickets: $20
Yianni Agisilaou The Un-Pinchable Pink Pen
How does your show explore gender roles? Observing gender inconsistencies is fruitful if you just peek under the surface and ask ‘why?’ rather than accepting things the way they are. You very quickly find questions like, can men wear makeup? (Sure, but people will look at you funny.) Was it always this way? (Not always; Neanderthals, Egyptians and Elizabethans all wore makeup, and Elizabethans used to wear tights too!) Why is pink considered a feminine colour? (Answer: marketing.) Was it always? (No, it was actually considered a masculine colour as recently as the 1920s). What makes the preposterous rules of gender roles so funny? I think you’ve answered your own question. It’s that they’re preposterous. I’m sure we can all pick at least one gender role that we’d like to change if we could. You could be the guy who likes having long hair, the woman who likes short hair, the man who has no interest in sport. These are all things that are simultaneously widely thought yet patently ridiculous. And there’s always humour in the stupidity of humans. How can comedy teach us more about society? Well, good comedy discusses society. Like, why the hell do women have decorative pockets that look like pockets but don’t actually have pockets in them? Or, why can my mum refer to her friends as her ‘girlfriends’ but I would never call mine my ‘boyfriends’? That can be illuminating. And funny.
How have your life experiences informed your material? In terms of getting to travel overseas a lot, I’ve realised that even when there is a language barrier, the little things in life and our little behaviours are universally relatable. I have found that what I enjoy while performing is seeing people nod when they laugh, which means they get what you’re talking about and can’t believe they’re not the only ones that behave like this. What’s the greatest show you’ve ever had? Opening for Amy Schumer was great in the sense that it was a crazy experience. As I walked out, every face I saw was someone I recognised from the Australian film and TV industry so it felt like I was hosting the Logies in a tee shirt and jeans. Why did you get into comedy in the first place? My passion has always been film making and producing videos. Video editing is my favourite thing and probably what I’m best at. I got into stand-up comedy hoping to meet others with similar interests. But then once you start stand-up, you get kind of obsessed with it as you keep improving at it. If someone is looking for a show to see this season, why would you recommend they come to yours? I really try to provide escapism. I think traditionally that is what comedy is for and should be for. At the end of the day, I like to give people an hour where they can relax and realize how ridiculous we all are by laughing at our common behaviours.
Venue: Athenaeum Theatre Dates: Friday April 21 Sunday April 23 Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $30 - $35
Impro Melbourne Grand Theft Impro
Venue: Trades Hall The Quilt Room Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Wednesdays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $20 - $25
What’s the secret to great improvised comedy? Remember it is for the audience. Start with a cast who loves to improvise, to surprise and challenge each other, and who genuinely love giving the audience a great time. Impro Melbourne has been a part of the MICF since 1996. We love to make people laugh and the audiences know this and trust us to deliver quality. What’s the strangest place an improvised routine has ever ended up? I’ve done impro shows on boats, in peoples’ lounge rooms, in a Roman amphitheatre, at political conventions, as an opening act for a concert, on the street, at weddings, in a fountain, a barn, on a bus, in a WW2 bomb shelter – just to name a few. Impro travels everywhere. How does audience participation influence the show? The audience provides us with suggestions to inspire the scenes. We want the audience to have the show that meets their standards so we’ll tell them, “If the scene wasn’t good enough, we will do it again” – and again, until the audience approves. Who are you looking forward to seeing this Comedy Festival? Checking out our Impro Melbourne players, Alumni and impro pals strut their stuff – The Lucky Ones (Rama Nicholas), Arcade Arcade ( Jason Geary & Jimmy James Eaton), Graham Clone, Impromptunes, Big Hoo Haa, Mighty Little Puppets, Soothplayers, Cal Wilson, Claire Hooper, Frank Woodley, Liam Ryan, Small Car, Susie Youssef, Tessa Waters, and Go To Hell! (Watson).
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall – Backstage Room Dates: Friday March 31 – Saturday April 22 (Fridays & Saturdays only) Duration: 55 minutes Tickets: $17 - $22
David Quirk Cowboy Mouth
Emma Mary Hall Ode To Man
What can we expect from your show this year? This new show of mine contains some real fancy business. Some people had some dreams about me, and while that’s fair enough (I’m dreamy) they all wrote to me on Facebook to tell me about them. If it was just one or two, I’d have ignored it. But so many came to me on Facebook that I said, “That’s it! These are forming the structure of the show!” How have your life experiences informed your show? In almost every way. All my comedy is experiences from my life, or at least my little mind. I “participate in like and report back”, to quote myself. How do you meld the funny with the philosophical? I think I do it by being born with a poor man’s philosophical brain and also funny, and then talking. I also just force myself a bit. What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you? Once, in primary school, I was pissing in a urinal. An older bully said he was going to urinate onto me from over the door. I said, “As if ” and then he did. He urinated onto me from over the door. I tried to laugh it off, but it wasn’t a very cool situation or funny to me, but either way, it’s funny. Good on him. What other comedians do you love and why? Greg Fleet because he’s Greg Fleet.
Tell us about your show. It’s my farewell to men. It’s also about my love affair with the battle. And modern dating in a computerised world. And the changing economy. It’s a collaboration with a totally kooky animation artist and a kickass punk electronic musician. And it’s blackly funny in a Noel Fielding WTF way. The idea for the show was born when? At 34, I was dumped, by you know, the ‘love of my life’. I realised that the 30s mean different things to women than men. I’m talking about how my broken heart links to some big stuff: global economic change, biological inequity, mortality, atomic bombs. You know. What inspires you about MICF? That so many of us continue to turn up each year to make art and make laughs despite little to no financial return. I love that we live in a place that allows us this privilege and that there are enough of us who continue to make it work. Describe your show in three words. Batty. Overwhelming. Sad. Does your show have any audience participation? Absolutely not. God no. You’ve paid your money, you can relax now. How have the events in your life turned into material? I don’t see much of a difference between my life and my work. The best comedy is true. Just last week I had a wonderful love affair with a hot German surfer, for example. He is now in the show. And he completely approves.
Venues: Melbourne Town Hall - Portico Room & Melbourne Town Hall - Backstage Room Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (no show Sunday April 2) Duration: 55 minutes Tickets: $20 - $32
Lawrence Mooney ...Like Literally
How has your approach to comedy changed compared to when you first started? I think I still try and amuse myself and make myself laugh. I’ve always thought that was the best approach to comedy. Some nights you can really catch yourself by surprise and crack yourself up – they’re sweet moments. What can we expect from your show this year? Like Literally is a ripping hour of stand-up that will slay them in the aisles and tear the roof off the venue. I’m going to rip the Athenaeum a new one. The language of comedy is so violent and that’s because it’s a blood sport. What do you love about Australian comedy? Australian comedy really does reflect our spirit and that is our egalitarian irreverence for power, authority and pomposity. The really empowering thing is that the audience expect that and allow us to do it. I love my audience for that privilege. Who are you looking forward to seeing this MICF? Merrick Watts is back after a long absence and I’ve heard his show is a corker; I can’t wait. I’ll always see Fleety [Greg Fleet] because he’s the lord of the manor and I love Edo [Anne Edmonds], she speaks my mind. What advice would you give to up-and-coming comedians? Ignore what other people are doing and stick with your thing. Be yourself.
Venue: Aeso Studio Dates: Wednesday
March 29 – Sunday April 9 (bar Monday) Duration: 55 minutes Tickets: $15.30 $20.30
Madame Elbac An Evening With Madame Elbac
Venue: Athenaeum Theatre Two Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $30 - $39
Tell us about your show. What can I say? The audience will see things they won’t believe. I shall talk to the dead, but they won’t believe. I will tell fortunes that they won’t believe. I will sing songs, cast spells and most importantly, promote me – Madame Elbac. What does your show teach the audience? That there is only one true and most famous psychic: Me. Describe your show in three words. Amazing, amazing, amazing. Does your show have any audience participation? Most certainly. Madame encourages participation. Madame loves participation. Who are you looking forward to seeing this year at the festival? I’m looking forward to seeing lots of famous dead people. I haven’t seen Judy for a while ( Judy Garland of course – but I’m hoping she’ll drop in).
Venue: Saint Martins Place Dates: Thursday April 6 - Saturday April 8, Thursday April 20 – Saturday April 22 Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $28.30 – $33.30
Bec Somers An Evening Of Total BS
Impromptunes The Bachela-la-la
Tell us about your show. This is Australia’s first parody wellness class. Hosted by Bec Somers, the author of Kale of the Century, the host of I’m A Celery Get Me Outta Here and the first parody health blogger since Belle Gibson, you do not want to miss An Evening Of Total BS. What does your show teach the audience? You’ll learn how to be happy, how to be healthy, and how to activate your spirit wizard in Reverse Downward Facing Pigeon pose. Describe your show in three words. Gluten free friendly. Does your show have any audience participation? We can’t promise anything, but we guarantee the first few rows will lose ten kilos. What inspires you about MICF? The Melbourne Improving Cellulite Foundation? Probably the amazing work they do with cellulite, particularly in Melbourne.
Tell us about your show. It’s an interactive dating show, based on The Bachelor. Fans of the show (or fans of making fun of it) will love The Bachela-la-la. It’s definitely a bit cheekier than our flagship show, The Completely Improvised Musical, but still has the improvised musical fun our fans know and love. Can you share a moment your cast has always remembered? In Perth, a real life Bachelorette contestant, Cam Cranley, came to see the show. He was incredibly nice (not to mention handsome) and gave us some great tips on what it was like to be on the TV show. I think some of our cast are still swooning. Who are your biggest influences? We’re big fans of other musical improv troupes. Our creative team recently returned from training in the UK with the likes of The Showstoppers, who perform on the West End. For this show, The Bachelor TV show and other dating shows definitely played a big part. Describe your show in three words. Cheeky improvised dating. Does your show have any audience participation? Absolutely. Our audience decides the characteristics of our contestants, who stays or goes from the competition, and ultimately, who wins the all important final rose and heart of The Bachela-la-la.
Venue: L1 Studios
Dates: Tuesday April 4 – Saturday April 15 (bar Sunday & Monday) Duration: 55 minutes Tickets: $18 - $20
Venue: Greek Centre, Mykonos Dates: Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $20 - $42 The Completely
Improvised Musical: Venue: Trades Hall The Meeting Room Dates: Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Wednesdays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $22 - $42
Matt Kilpa Songs In The Key Of Awesomesauce
Hayley Tantau Cindy Salmon’s Empowerment Hour
Can you share a moment your cast has always remembered? I like to set myself challenges, and I wanted to prove I could write a song about anything. So I went on to Wikipedia, clicked random and the page came up for phenylbarbitol. So now I have a song about phenylbarbitol which ends in an audience singalong...about phenylbarbitol. Who are your biggest influences? I grew up loving musical comedy, listening to songs from Tripod, Sammy J and The Axis of Awesome. I still have fond memories of the first time I saw Tripod, performing at a zoo. One of my life goals is to perform at a zoo or at least a children’s farm. Describe your show in three words. Music! Comedy! Awesomeness! Does your show have any audience participation? I like to react to audience reactions. I don’t do the “what’s your name, what do you do for a living?” kind of interactions, but if someone gets particularly tickled by a bit, I’m naturally curious. Do they work in a factory that produces airline food? How have the events in your life turned into material? I’m including more events from my personal life in this year’s show. I just got married and I’m in the third year of a PhD, which takes up most of my time. Sometimes it feels like a double life; mild-mannered research scientist by day, mild-mannered musical comedian by night.
Tell us about your show. Cindy Salmon’s Empowerment Hour is a character-driven show all about making you feel powerful. Cindy Salmon herself is a loud, bombastic motivational speaker/TV show host with ridiculous views and phrases, but at the end of the day, she just wants women to feel strong, and she yields those exact results every time. What inspired the idea for the show? I was starting out in comedy and grew a little frustrated with the way female characters were being written for myself and other women, so I created an absurdly abrasive, empowered, feminist superhero for myself and anyone else, if they need it. What does your show teach the audience? That it’s okay to take up space, to ask for things, and to be proud of your strength. My show empowers the audience and makes them feel good, because Cindy Salmon is so loud, and at times, a bit dumb – but she doesn’t know that. What inspires you about MICF? MICF is super inspiring. It’s a bunch of comedy veterans, up-and-comers, and beginners all thrown into the mix together, making cool stuff. I remember how terrified I was before my first MICF show two years ago, but thinking “You have start now” – and I’m so glad I did. Describe your show in three words. Ridiculous, empowering, airhorn.
Venue: The Unknown Union at 1000 £ Bend Dates: Wednesday April 12 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays & Tuesdays) Duration: 50 minutes Tickets: $14 - $18.30
Venue: Forum Theatre – Ladies’ Lounge Dates: Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 9 (bar Monday) Duration: 50 minutes Tickets: $15 - $25
Ancient Pickle The Life Of Spies
Tash York These Things Take Wine
Tell us about your show. It’s a play about two cold war spies who are sent to assassinate the same target at a diplomatic conference in the Swiss Alps. It’s the perfect setting for lies, deceit, murder and chaos. What inspires you about MICF? It’s such a good event for people to experience how fun a live show can be. Melbourne buzzes with the fun, comedic atmosphere during the festival and I love being a part of that. It’s great to see all the creativity that comes with the festival. What’s a fun fact about the show? Everyone in the show plays multiple characters and several characters are played by multiple people, distinguishable by a couple of costume pieces. Who are your biggest influences? My biggest influence comes from English comedy such as The Mighty Boosh and Monty Python. I love their fantasticalness and playful nature. It is very fun to perform in this way and audiences love it. This play in particular has also been influenced by the films of Wes Anderson. Can you describe the journey of creating a show? It starts with a character or setting and a section of dialogue or a visual look. I then work out where and how this would happen and start to build the events around that. This starts forming other characters, relationships and basic story outline. Next I write and see where it goes. Finally the most important step is editing and re-writing until it all works.
Describe your show in three words. Lush. Drunken. Celebration. How have the events in your life turned into material? Just have a drink with me after the show, and I think you’ll really understand that it’s actually just my life on stage. Sorry-notsorry. What do you love about the Melbourne performing arts community? It’s filled with so many damn talented people that constantly inspire you and also support you when you need it. It’s pretty darn special. What’s a fun fact about the show? A power drill and a balloon pump are both used during the course of the show. What does your show teach the audience? We’re not all alcoholics, we just like wine and that’s okay. It also gets to the heart of why we like it so much while I sing heaps of great wine-inspired songs from Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin.
Venue: The 86
Dates: Thursday April 6 – Sunday April 9 Duration: 45 minutes Tickets: $15 - $20
Venue: The Butterfly Club Dates: Monday April 10 – Sunday April 23 Duration: 50 minutes Tickets: $25 - $32
Uncle Nath Dads Have Feelings Too
Tim Batt Ladies And Gentlemen
Tell us about your show. I do a clean stand-up show. People come to my shows with their families. It’s that clean. It’s a wild ride as I attempt to make sense of the modern world, married life and parenting. My show is a warm tale of a well-intentioned dad hanging by a thread. The show also weaves together a series of strange mid-life crisis cures, with some moving moments and plenty of jokes. What inspired the idea for the show? Having BBQs with other dads, sharing how hopeless we are and listening to each other’s desperate attempts to be a great dad fall flat. I noticed that when I explained my frustrations people would always laugh. When I told people “dads have feelings too ya know?” people would laugh even more. My befuddling dad-ness was a source of amusement to people everywhere. I just finished up the Newcastle Fringe Festival to sold out shows and word of mouth kept on packing the joint. I have really stumbled onto something. I am letting out the pain and people are laughing it up. What do you love about the Melbourne performing arts community? The arts community is amazing. The National Theatre in particular. They loved my material and have been so supportive from day one. Who are your biggest influences? The classic dad characters. Tim Allen, Chevy Chase and Ed O’Neil in Married With Children/Modern Family. Describe your show in three words. Feel good angst.
Tell us about your show. Today’s political climate calls out for satire and ridicule. That’s why I’ve made a politically themed show in which each night is a mock rally. I made it last year. I also put it on last year. This year’s show is just fart jokes and making fun of minorities. What’s a fun fact about the show? It’s fucking cheap. Seriously. $12. $10 concession. Get a concession ticket, I don’t care. $5 for the preview night. Just come muck about, you’ll enjoy it. Describe your show in three words. I’m confused, you set a 50 word limit for each answer here. It’s like that exam I had that said: ‘do not communicate with marker,’ and a page saying ‘your working will not be marked’. I wrote a letter to the marker on there to see which rule would win. How have the events in your life turned into material? This year I shat my pants and got engaged. Not in that order. I discuss both in the show. When was the idea for the show born? When I did last year’s show, Vote Batt and came to the conclusion that instead of doing a themed comedy festival show all about politics, the theme this year could be, ‘make the audience laugh and have a good time with them’.
April 19 – Friday April 21 Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $20 - $25
Venues: Caz Reitops Dirty Secrets Dates: Wednesday March 29 – Sunday April 9 (bar Monday & Tuesday) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $5 - $12
Anthony McCormack, Phoebe O’Brien & Stephen Porter Shut Your Juicy Mouth
What does your show teach the audience? Paint is one of the greatest things to do on a computer. If you think otherwise, this show will convince you. Also that there is a certain intimacy to a handwritten letter, to old school SBS, as well as finding footage that ‘may disturb you’ actually disturbing. Tell us about your show. We are three performer/presenters who love comedy but have never done a live festival show before – now we’re doing a show together. It’s exciting making each other laugh, and also making the audience laugh, so please come along and join in the laughing. Of the trio, Andrew is definitely the ‘Rachel’. He brings some much needed sass because the other two are such goody two-shoeses. Who are your biggest influences? Steve Martin, Daniel Kitson, Sarah Kendall, Louis CK, Kristen Schaal, Dan Harmon. Just super talented people because one day, we hope to be talented. And of course The Mighty Boosh. Describe your show in three words. History’s greatest amateurs. How have the events in your life turned into material? Only really through a lot of hard work because our lives are ordinarily very serious.
Venue: Loop Project Space Dates: Wednesday March 29- Saturday April 1 Duration: 50 minutes Tickets: $15.30
Faulty Towers The Dining Experience
Tell us about your show. Chaos reigns as soon as you walk through the door and become a “diner”, served by Basil, Sybil and Manuel. It’s an internationally acclaimed show in its 20th birthday year that combines lashings of laughter, huge spoonfuls of spontaneity, plenty of participation, and a threecourse meal to boot. Can you share a moment your cast has always remembered? There was once a performance in our London West End venue, where one of the audience members was 103 years old. She was pretty deaf, and she actually had an ear trumpet. She kept shouting out “pardon” and the actors had to repeat themselves down the trumpet. It was hilarious. What’s a fun fact about the show? Pretty much, on any given day, you can see our show in at least two, if not three countries. This is because we constantly tour the globe with our show, and have teams of casts who perform it in about 20 countries each year. Describe your show in three words. Hilarious, spontaneous and top-quality. Does your show have any audience participation? Oh, yes. The show has heaps of audience participation, which is why no two performances are ever the same, but don’t let that put you off. Our actors are great at telling which audience members are up for ‘playing a part’ and those who would prefer to watch as a spectator.
Shush. Please. A Conversation Unfit For A Funeral
Tino Merino You Haven’t Changed A Bit
What’s your show about? A Conversation Unfit for a Funeral is a horrifying and uncomfortable journey into the life, family and friends of Miriam Thompson-Hartford: principal, mother, and sometime deviant. So much is revealed about family during this time of hardship, and we’re there for it all: tears, laughter, and straight-up panic. When was the idea for the show born? We had been creating characters (for ourselves) as a way to pass the time on long drives. We realised they needed to exist together on stage and that’s how we came to be here; mourning the death of one of our characters, with the help of all the rest. What inspires you about MICF? The incredible passion and talent for comedy, in all its forms, that emerges during MICF season is what we find most inspiring. Being a part of it this year is an incredible feeling. Can you share a moment your cast has always remembered? There was the day we pitched a particular sketch to Lucinda (one of our cast members), who immediately got the joke and began improv-ing the scene with us, while she was actually crying with laughter. Lucinda might struggle with that one still. What do you love about the Melbourne performing arts community? The inclusivity, dedication and bravery of the Melbourne performing arts community is always an inspiration and it’s pretty hard not to love this amazing and supportive community.
What’s your show about? You Haven’t Changed A Bit is a oneman storytelling fiesta involving plenty of rum, salsa, a horse called Black Beauty Tornado and some personal confusion. With a feisty Latina mother, a father fond of tax fraud, a brother with overzealous hormones and a six-year-old Lutheran sister, no wonder I’m confused. Tell us about one of your career highlights to date. My mum paid me a surprise visit – flying all the way from Chicago – during the show’s first run. I was overjoyed when I first saw her and then panicked for the next three days about what she would think. She liked it, but she is my mum. What’s a fun fact about the show? It’s all real. I sometimes wish it wasn’t, but it is. Who are your biggest influences? John Mulaney for his comedy; John Leguizamo for this show; Larry David for his life; Lucille Ball, well because she is Lucille Ball; Lena Dunham for her candour; David Sedaris for his writing; and Annie Taylor, who is the funniest and best person I know. Can you describe the journey behind the creation of your show? It was like committing to a party with friends. Then on the night you think, “I really shouldn’t be going out,” but you go anyways. When you do leave, you have fun and think, “This wasn’t so bad, but I don’t think I’ll do it again,”… until you do.
Venue: The Aegean Dates:
31 - Sunday April 9 (bar Monday) Duration: 120 minutes Tickets: $40 - $99
Dates: Tuesday April 11 - Saturday April 22 (bar Sundays & Mondays) Duration: 50 minutes Tickets: $10.30 $15.30
Dates: Wednesday March 29 - Saturday April 8 (bar Sunday) Duration: 50 minutes Tickets: $10.30 $18.30
Sean Murphy Ghost Jam!
Tell us about your show. Ghost Jam! packs the world’s best ghost tales into an hour of whirlwind action for adults and kids ages five to 12. The show stars me and the amazing drummer Sophie Unsen as we combine silly, spooky storytelling with booming live music. When was the idea for the show born? I went to school for a year in Tokyo and was struck by the rich folklore that we in the West don’t see beyond the stereotypes of sushi, samurai and Super Mario. I came back to Australia wanting to share the stories I’d learned, but no idea where to begin. Years later I met Sophie who is amazing on Japanese drums or ‘taiko’ and the show quickly came together. What does your show teach the audience? The audience will experience classic Japanese ghost stories with a comedic twist. At the same time, they’ll be introduced to a huge variety of instrumentation that Sophie uses to create a live soundtrack. Does your show have any audience participation? Heaps, but for kids only. Adults are invited to sit back, relax and take in the horror and hilarity as it unfolds. Who are you looking forward to seeing this year at the festival? I’m a huge fan of Barnie Duncan’s Juan Vesuvius shows about a Venezuelan DJ who wants to share rum, rhythm and absolutely ridiculous clowning with the world. He’s doing a new show called Weekend at Barnie’s.
Dilruk Jayasinha The Art Of The Dil
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall – Cloak Room Dates: Thursday April 6 & Friday April 7 Duration: 55 minutes Tickets: $14 - $20
How does show differ or follow on from last year’s Sri Wanka? Last year was chockful of embarrassing stories about my continual struggle with obesity. This year I’m talking about how having a Buddhist dad and a Muslim mum who sent me to a Catholic school, influenced my worldview. What inspired you to get into comedy? Watching Eddie Murphy’s Delirious at age 11 was the first spark. My first ever live comedy show was Wil Anderson in 2006 and the electricity he created in the room started my obsession. Your comedy has a timeless feel to it. Is this something you aim for? It wasn’t something I set out to do, I just didn’t have an interest in writing topical jokes. I enjoy telling people stories from my life that revolve around relatable subjects like relationships, body issues and shitting my pants. What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learnt from a comedian? I used to not care about how I presented myself and wore whatever crushed t-shirts I found bundled on the floor. But once while still on stage Adam Richard yelled at me “Stop wearing clothes that expose your rancid gut.” Since then I dress as respectful and considerately as possible. If someone’s never seen your comedy before, what are they in store for? It’s an hour of commentary on the fear based intolerance of various groups in society, told through brutally honest, embarrassing stories from my life as a Sri Lankan who immigrated to Australia as a teenager in 2004.
Highlander Comedy Showcase
Sam Simmons A-K
Tell us about your show. Comedy Showcase at Highlander is a delightful sampler. International, interstate and local acts will give audiences a taste of their main show. It’s a great way to get a Melbourne International Comedy Festival experience for free and get an idea of what’s out there. The idea for the show was born when? acts wanted to give away a cheeky taste of their schtick. There’s so much diversity and audiences deserve the option to shop around. Comedy Showcase at Highlander is a one stop shop. Can you describe the journey of creating a show? When people finish work they should be able to walk straight into a show and start unwinding. I wanted it to be low risk for the audience; lots of variety, it’s a better option than sitting in rush hour traffic and it’s free. I also wanted something that was fast paced, that gave acts a chance to really sell their act. Describe your show in three words. Bite sized bliss. What inspires you about MICF? The genuine enthusiasms a wide diversity of acts bring to Melbourne. Sometimes audiences are not always able to get a true idea of their options. Comedy Showcase at Highlander gives audiences an intense tease that hopefully makes that enthusiasm contagious.
How does working as a comic overseas compare to working in Australia? There’s a lot more opportunity overseas for someone like me. I’ll still come back to Australia every year, and I still love performing in Australia. There’s only a few places in Australia, like the ABC or Stan, where you’re really able to work on comedy – and even then, it can be really hard. What have you been working on the past year? Right now, I’m working on two different projects – one is for BBC4 in the UK, and the other is for FX in the States. Nothing’s been green-lit yet, but we want to have something to show them. How does your absurdist style of comedy translate to audiences across the globe? I get the feeling that people seem to think I’m some sort of anti-stand-up. Some people just think it’s all bread shoes and getting my cock out – just walking around with a crumpet on my head going, ‘Ner-ner!’ The reality is that I just like the more creative side of performance – I like weighing in on that element more than most. Which comedians do you look towards for inspiration? I have so much respect for the art of stand-up comedy. My favourite comedians areBill Burr, Tom Gleeson, Judith Lucy, all just people that are naturally funny. I just approach it differently. I’ve been told that I’m too weird and too niche my entire career. Maybe they’re right, but I’m so glad I stuck to my guns.
Dates: Wednesday March 29 – Friday March 31 & Monday April 3, 10, 17 Tickets: Free
Venue: Greek Centre Mykonos Dates: Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Monday to Wednesday) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $24 - $29
Venue: Forum Theatre Upstairs Dates: Thursday March 30 -Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays) Duration: 60 minutes Tickets: $27 - $39
Comedy Compass 2017 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Hubs
The Festival Club Max Watt’s hosts an unbelievable who’s-who of festival highlights. Be part of ABC’s television experience with Comedy Up Late. Score a bargain with 10 Comedians For 10 Bucks and catch mercilessly unscripted shenanigans with Comedy Bonanza. Local legends Aunty Donna host a night of sketch with So You Think You Can Sketch and Otto & Astrid from Die Roten Punkte join forces with DJ Andrew McClelland for Eurotrash fun in Haus Party! For late night adventurers, Geraldine Quinn’s Spandex Ballet unleashes goth rock antics upon us and Rhys Nicholson leads a musical showdown for the ages with Lip Sync Battle.
Trades Hall has cemented itself as an icon of the festival, presenting the best in emerging local comedy. Grab a three-show Trades Hall Pass to see any of the 21 incredible performances, including Impromptunes’ The Completely Improvised Musical, Natalie Harris’ Dragon, Simon Taylor’s Spectacular-ish, North Melbourne Comedy Competition winner Eve Ellenbogen and surreal sketch spectacular Chimp Cop Forever. Catch some of Australia’s sharpest with Aboriginal Comedy Allstars and Arcade Arcade’s interactive nostalgia-fest Stranger-er Things.
The Forum houses some of the festival’s most loved forgers of funny, including keyboard maestro David O’Doherty, prop aficionado Jason Byrne, Bookish’s Jennifer Wong and Whose Line Is It Anyway? star Tommy Little. Hayley Butcher explores motherhood and John Farnham with Pressure Down, Rose Callaghan takes us through dating disasters in Will You Take This Rose? and the eccentric Sam Simmons reads the phone book (yep) in A-K.
The Victoria Hotel will play host to an eclectic range of hilarious acts. The unstoppable Barry Award-nominee Anne Edmonds returns with No Offence, None Taken, Sammy J recounts tales of crime and heroism in Hero Complex and the energetic improvisational beatboxer Jared Jekyll wows with Young, Dumb & Full Of Pun. Tom Walker provides improvisational antics with Bee Boo and New Zealand’s Alice Snedden & Donna Brookbanks will team up for split bill Please Stop Clapping.
Right next to Fed Square overlooking the Yarra, Taxi Riverside is a convenient and classy hotspot for all of your comedy needs. The venue is hosting a powerhouse of internationallyacclaimed shows, including Scottish superstar Daniel Sloss’ So?, intelligent and engaging festival favourite DeAnne Smith’s Post-Joke Era and Australian YouTube sensation Neel Kolhatkar’s #ObjectifyNeel.
Belleville Tucked away deep within Melbourne’s CBD, Belleville is one of the funkiest bars to catch emerging talent (and a tasty meal). The Green Room Award-winning Michelle Brasier & Laura Frew infuse high-energy dance, sketch, singing and jump rope into Double Denim. You’ll find a rotating lineup of three fantastic emerging comedians each night in 3 Course Comedy. Alanta Colley will delight and disturb with her accounts of adventure and parasitic contact in Parasites Lost.
Housing the important heritage and culture of Australia’s Chinese community, Melbourne’s Chinese Museum has also provided a space for many much-loved comedians to showcase their talents. Catch the critically-acclaimed intellectual Alice Fraser in Empire, the eccentric wisdom of Michael Workman in Nothing You Do Means Anything, the wry wit of RAW Comedy winner Matt Stewart in Pretty Dry and the blunt ferocity of Luke Heggie’s Rough Diamanté.
Malthouse Theatre The Malthouse Theatre serves as a rich artistic icon for the city – and the Comedy Festival proves it. Best-selling writer and comedian Sami Shah untangles the mess of the world in Punching Down. Josh Earl and Daniel Tobias cram a whole music festival into one hour with Josh Earl’s Festival. The Bedroom Philosopher plays all of his songs that mention cats in Cat Show and Green Room Award-winner Jude Perl presents Roommates: The Musical.
True to its namesake, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image contains some of the most visually interesting and adventurous hilarity this festival. Global sensation James Veitch responds to spam emails in Dot Con, Michael Williams amazes in the 2017 Moosehead Award Recipient narrative Escape from a 90s Educational CD-ROM!, and Penny Greenhalgh detonates left-of-centre theatrics in Pony Greenhorse – as well as worldrenowned acts Nazeem Hussain, Jimeoin and Matt Okine.
Melbourne Town Hall The Melbourne Town Hall is the most iconic and salubrious venue the Comedy Festival has to offer. Playing host to almost 100 shows, the lineup includes US comedian Arj Barker with his show Organic as well as the muchloved Dave O’Neill, who’ll be regaling us with the plum bits of his new book Summer of ’82. Hopefully, O’Neill will tell the one about his DIY Devo hat, which he wore on the train on his way to catch the band. Bless.
The Famous Spiegeltent The Famous Spiegeltent is a legendary staple of the Comedy Festival, serving to accommodate the most ambitious and theatrical of acts. Paul Foot unveils more poignantly-absurd observations in ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Piglet and Ali McGregor returns with the much-lauded cabaret Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night. There’s fun for the whole family with Alex and Luke’s Make Your Parents Disappear!, Head First Acrobats’ Arrr We There Yet?! and holiday hilarity with Comedy Club for Kids.
Tasma Terrace has prestige and architectural beauty to its hallowed halls – and there’ll be some serious laughs held within. Sarah Jones shares dark tales of ventriloquism with Creepy Dummy, Nadine Sparks shares strories from her 15 years in education with Teacher and Chris Martin and Taylor Edwards act out some darn fine police work in Undercover Festival Cops. Blake Everett revels in being King Of Nothing and Chelsea Zeller sends-up life coaching in High Achievers.
The Greek Centre has very much become a much-loved venue for the Comedy Festival, increasingly jam-packed each year with iconic local acts and international performers alike. Catch two of Melbourne’s most exciting rising stars Jess Perkins and Naomi Higgins Twins, the unmatched energy of the amazing Tessa Waters in Fully Sik and the true-blue laconic vibes of Aaron “Goccsy” Gocs. Malaysian star Kuah Jenhan returns with Perfect Stranger and the UK’s Jeff Green dispenses whimsy in Honestly!.
Feasts & Funnies
The Carlton Club Boasting five spaces across three levels, The Carlton Club offers a huge array of experience and a vibrant personality. Find the decadent pleasures of the Carlton Bar and Restaurant on the first level, unwind amongst the tropical vines on the third level in the Hasti Bala and Palmz Deck, and indulge in the paradisiacal wonder of the Palmz Rooftop. Serving food on all levels, The Carlton’s distinct, jungle-themed décor gives a colourful spark to a wonderful evening out. Open from 3pm1am Monday-Wednesday, 12pm-3am Thursday and Sunday, and 12pm-late Friday-Saturday.
If you’re planning to go out and enjoy some of the world’s best comedians, you might as well pair that with food that’s just as good. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival has teamed up with some of the finest haunts in town. Here’s our pick of the bunch.
Special: Present your valid festival ticket for that day and get $10 Espresso Martinis from Sunday to Thursdays, or spend $10 on food to get a free pot or house wine. One per person.
The Crafty Squire
Offering Australia’s largest absinthe selection and a vast range of European-inspired delights, Bar Ampere is a refreshingly unconventional experience. Enjoy the renowned house-made Jake Leg ginger beer and soak in the unique Gothic-inspired surrounds as you share with friends the hearty likes of duck crêpes, European charcuterie or vegetarian parcels filled with zucchini, feta and caramelised onion. A unique restaurant with no set dining times, Bar Ampere is superb for those after something a little different. Open 10am-3am Monday-Friday and 4pm-3am Saturday-Sunday.
Home of the legendary James Squire Brew house, The Crafty Squire doesn’t mess around. You’ll find tasty pub food and fine craft beers carved directly from the on-site James Squire Brewhouse – the only working microbrewery in the Melbourne CBD. A modern bar and restaurant spread across two levels, you’ll be able to smash some fantastic twists on classic Aussie dishes and catch some live sport on their big-screen TVs between comedy gigs. Open 11am-3am Monday-Thursday, 11am-5am Friday, 12pm-5am Saturday and 12pm-3am Sunday.
If you’re after modern Australian food with a refreshing Asian influence, then Burma Lane is the place for you. Amongst a fun environment complete with photos, art and hanging birdcages, you’ll find the perfect place for both light bites to share with friends and the more substantial. You’ll be able to ease yourself into a night of laughs effortlessly with a hand-sourced wine list and sensational cocktails. Open 12pm-3pm then 5pm-late Moday-Friday, and 5pm-late Saturday.
Special: The festival-exclusive Comedy Express Menu offers two share plates with two glasses of wine or beer for just $45 until 3am every night.
Special: Present your valid festival ticket and receive 20% off your bill.
Special: Present your valid festival ticket for that day and spend $20 or more for a complimentary glass of wine, beer or soft drink.
Red Spice Road
Glamp Cocktail Bar
Tucked away in a basement in the centre of the CBD, Meatmaiden offers a truly mouth-watering dining experience. Enjoy the sensation of tender grilled and smoked meat cuts, and quench the thirst with a rich array of craft beer, bourbon and zesty cocktails. With a commitment to maximum flavour, Meatmaiden dry-age select cuts for 40 days, and their signature Rangers Valley brisket takes up to a tantalising 20 hours in custom-built smokers. Open 12pm-3pm then 5pm-late, Monday-Saturday.
A unique South East Asian-style dining experience directly in the heart of Melbourne, Red Spice Road offers fresh, flavourpacked sensations from acclaimed chef John McLeay. With an emphasis on exciting shared dishes and distinctly-fresh ingredients, Red Spice Road offers the vast surrounds and superb décor that make for a wonderful communal dining event. Bring your friends and spark the senses with an extensive wine and cocktail list. Open 12pm-3pm then 5pm-late MondaySunday (6pm-late on Saturdays).
Glamping (or ‘glamorous camping’, for the uninitiated) has become an increasingly alluring activity of late, with its promise of comfort and relaxing atmosphere under the night sky – so why not experience a night out on the town with the same vibes? The Glamp Cocktail Bar is a truly one-of-a-kind experience in the CBD – the only venue in Melbourne where you’ll savour the refreshing zing of cocktails and delicious African snacks in the colourful surroundings of a safari-style canvas tent. Open from 6pm, Thursday-Saturday.
Special: Present your valid festival ticket for that day to recieve a complimentary Comedy Cocktail and an amuse-bouche (ah very clever, Meatmaiden).
Special: Present your valid festival ticket for that day and spend $20 or more for a complimentary glass of wine, beer or soft drink.
Special: Enjoy an African Beer – or glass of wine – and some tasty Gato Pima bites (fried split pea and chilli fritters with yoghurt) for just $10.
Cabinet Bar & Balcony Highlander Bar
Situated close to the comedy festival hub of Town Hall, Cabinet Bar & Balcony offer delicious share-style food (such as tapas and flatbreads) and a huge list of drinks to satisfy the comedy connoisseur. No matter what time or day you get out of a show, you can always relax into the Parisian-inspired surrounds and pick up a refreshing beverage – seven days and nights a week. Open 12pm–late Monday–Friday, and 2pm–late Saturday–Sunday.
Comprised of a thoughtful mix of both classic and contemporary Scotish flavours, Highlander Bar presents a particularly fun feed, assuring you’ll go home full and happy with a huge smile on your face. Their cauliflower fritters with parmesan and mayo, haggis with HP sauce are super popular, as is their famous Highlander Burger which boasts a spiced wagyu beef patty inside. They also offer drink specials, like Tinder Tuesdays and Whisky Wednesdays to spice up the weeknights. Open 12pm-late Monday-Friday.
Take a trip down Globe Alley and you’ll find a tasty hidden gem in the CBD. A late-night bar with a truly one-of-a-kind feel, Belleville offers a tasty selection of Asian tapas and mouth-watering Brazilian rotisserie chicken dishes. Unwind amongst the creative wall murals and distressed décor while you enjoy refreshment from an impressive array of completely unique cocktails – take on the Zombie (a trio of Bundaberg Rums, lime, grapefruit, commissary falernum, grenadine, cinnamon, bitters and pastis) if you dare. Open 11am – 1am, every day.
Specials: $15 lunch specials from 12-3pm Monday – Friday (burger and beer or salad and wine)
Special: Late-night menu available from Thursday - Saturday 10pm - 1am for hungry night owls during the festival.
Special: Show your valid festival ticket for that day to receive Happy Hour prices all day, every day. Four-dollar tap beers and $6 house red, white and bubbles. 54 BEAT.COM.AU
Special Events One of the greatest aspects of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is the plethora of side-splitting special events that bring together comedians from all walks of life. From festival mainstays like The Great Debate and Good Az Friday, to the female-focussed Upfront and Indigenous showcase Deadly Funny – there’s never been more options to get a diverse taste of funnies in the one place. Go on, get amongst it.
Good Az Friday
Now in its third decade, Upfront presents an amazing night filled with some of the most hilarious women of the festival. Hosted by Geraldine Quinn, the incredible allfemale evening boasts a jam-packed lineup including – but not limited to – Cal Wilson, Susie Youssef, Hannah Gadsby, DeAnne Smith, Urzila Carlson, Sarah Kendall, Demi Lardner, Laura Davis, Zoe Coombs Marr, Josie Long and Anne Edmonds. See for yourself at Melbourne Town Hall’s Main Hall on Wednesday April 19.
Triple j’s legendary Easter broadcast is back once more, with Breakfast team Ben and Liam taking the helm for the very first time. In a free event, Good Az Friday will broadcast directly from Melbourne Town Hall’s Main Hall on Friday April 14, featuring a plethora of Festival performers and live music. Get in early (before 12pm) to ensure that you can snap up a seat.
Deadly Funny Deadly Funny has been unearthing the most hilarious new Indigenous talent for over 11 years now, and in the National Grand Final & Showcase, the best of the best will be bringing their funniest to take out the $2,000 Grand Prize. Hosted by legendary comics Sean Choolburra, Shiralee Hood, Kevin Kropinyeri and Andy Saunders, the competition will also feature a performance by 2016 winner Jalen Sutcliffe. Catch Deadly Funny at Art Centre Melbournes’s Fairfax Studio on Saturday April 8.
Raw Comedy Grand Final
Comedy Zone Asia
Moosehead Awards Benefit
RAW Comedy is Australia’s biggest comedy competition, propelling emerging comedians from all across the nation head-first into the comedy world. Now, it’s only the best of the best remaining. The winner heads to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – the world’s largest annual comedy gathering. Past winners include Chris Lilley, Josh Thomas, Hannah Gadsby, Peter Helliar, Claire Hooper, Celia Pacquola, Luke McGregor and Ronny Chieng. See the future of comedy at Melbourne Town Hall’s Main Hall on Sunday April 16.
Returning for a third year, Comedy Zone Asia showcases the best laughs from across the continent. Catch the legendary antics of “The King of Malaysian Comedy” Douglas Lim, purveyor of the absurd Rizal van Geyzel, winner of RAW Comedy India Neeti Palta, NDTV Rising Stars of Comedy’s Sumit Anand and hard-hitting Singaporean laugh-crafter Jinx Yeo. Comedy Zone Asia hits Melbourne Town Hall’s Regent Room from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays).
The Moosehead Awards are a prestigious occasion, traditionally closing the Comedy Festival for 31 years running. Collecting the biggest names of the festival in one room – alongside tomorrow’s stars – the awards showcase artists that are exciting and different, in memory of comedian, actor and fringe comedy producer Brian McCarthy. This mustsee occasion can be found at Melbourne Town Hall’s Main Hall on Sunday April 23.
Daredevil Chicken Club
Comedy & Free Speech In India Within a conservative culture and an environment of media censorship, the comedy scene in India is currently vital to freedom of expression and belief. Stand-up is a form of art that goes largely unpoliced, allowing for comment on critical social issues. Indian comedy stars Daniel Fernandes, Neeti Palta and Sapan Verma will host this free event, discussing censorship and the importance of stand-up at The Wheeler Centre on Saturday April 22.
Great Debate The 28th Annual Great Debate shall rise once more, bigger and more bombastic than ever. A true festival favourite, the Great Debate pits two teams of the famously quick-witted and sharptongued against each other (and the similarlyferocious adjudicator) for the satisfying grand prize of just generally being better. Broadcast on the ABC, the Great Debate is one of the hottest tickets in town at Melbourne Town Hall’s Main Hall on Saturday April 15.
The (Very) Big Laugh Out
The Comedy Zone
Melbourne transforms come festival season into a fun, family-oriented extravaganza, bringing some of the world’s most wonderful street performers to multiple stages across Federation Square. Catch the completely free event packed with the energetic antics of comedy, circus, clowning and acrobatics from all around the world. The antics of Daredevil Chicken Club, manoAmano Circo, Witty Look and Mr Moriyasubanbanbigaro await your eager eyes at Federation Square between Friday March 31 – Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays).
A handpicked selection of some of Australia’s brightest rising stars, the Comedy Zone presents an incredible lineup of the hilariously talented and original. Catch the twisted delights of Danielle Walker, Rohan Ganju, Tim Hewitt, Nat Damena and Tom Cashman as they weave their wholly unique styles. This is your opportunity to catch tastemakers before they become huge, household names. Catch them at the Trades Hall’s Old Council Chambers from Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 23 (bar Wednesdays).
US COMEDY SUPERSTAR’S AUSTRALIAN DEBUT
“HAD THE CROWD SCREAMING IN HYSTERICS”
THE LIST UK
“an onslaught of fantastic jokes” Bustle (USA) “Masterful stand-up” Rare (USA) “raucous, high-energy act” SanDiego.com (USA)
“A RIOTOUS RAUCOUS HOUR” THE REVIEWS HUB UK
“FILTHY, FUNNY AND ORIGINAL” HERALD UK
Tue 18 – Sat 22 Apr at 9.30pm Athenaeum Theatre frontiercomedy.com/chrisdelia
WED 29 MAR – SUN 23 APR (EXCL. MONS) ATHENAEUM THEATRE AT 9.15PM (8.15PM SUN) FRONTIERCOMEDY.COM/FRENCHY YOUTUBE.COM/NEELK
Make the World a Banter Place
“wicked mind and razor-sharp tongue” Herald Sun
★★★★★ Rip It Up TUE 11 – SUN 16 APR ATHENAEUM THEATRE AT 9.30PM (8.30PM SUN)
THU 30 MAR – SUN 23 APR 9.45PM(8.45PM SUN) (EXCL. MONS) TAXI RIVERSIDE AT FED SQUARE
MON 3, 10, 17 APR AT 6.30PM MELBOURNE TOWN HALL shooterwilliamson
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