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11 Must-See Shows To Catch At This Year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival

By Stephen A Russell
13th Mar 2019


Flick on the news these days and it can all seem a bit grim, but thankfully the city’s about to receive a great big dose of medicinal laughter in the form of this year’s record-breaking Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF), with 600+ shows bringing the ho ho, and ok maybe a bit of grim-skewering too.

With so much snappy sass on offer, we’ve streamlined the offerings into 11 ‘you’d be mad not to’ picks.

Michelle Wolf

Donald Trump’s White House invited this flame-haired Wolf in sheep’s clothing to open the 2018 Correspondents’ Dinner and then promptly went into meltdown, alongside a fair whack of the American press pack, when she set fire to his administration in furiously funny fashion. Hers are the sort of sick burns you need in your life.

For more info, click here.

Nazeem Hussain

One of our funniest local comics, Hussain also recently became a dad, launched Channel 7 show Orange Is The New Brown and recorded his Netflix debut. You’d think that would make his Sri Lankan mum proud, but she still has questions about why he shares a room with a bloke while on the road, and his young son’s idea of respect mostly involves peeing in his mouth unexpectedly.

For more info, click here.

Hannah Gadsby

If you missed local legend Gadsby going global with her devastating critique of the cost of comedy in a world that casually overlooks male violence against women, catch up with her game-changing Nanette on Netflix, then brace yourself for Douglas at MICF. Named after her beloved dog, don’t let that title fool you into thinking this will be all fluffy, but do assume it will be the un-missable ticket of the fest.

For more info, click here.

Joel Creasey

Cornering the camp fantastic over on SBS, co-hosting both their glittery Eurovision and Mardi Gras coverage, the I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here escapee, a favourite of the dearly departed Joan Rivers, insists life isn’t as glam as his Instagram feed makes out. Jump in for all the goss on the disasters that get filtered out, shaming himself every bit as much as other celebrities.

For more info, click here.

Anne Edmonds

You may know Edmonds best as hilariously OTT beauty expert Helen Bidou on the ABC’s side-splitting Get Krack!n, or Network Ten’s Have You Been Paying Attention? This year she’s storming MICF as her comedy legend self, and we are firmly in the crosshairs with new show What’s Wrong With You? Brace for impact.

For more info, click here.

Sami Shah

Goats have a tough gig in Pakistan, ABC Radio Melbourne's Breakfast Show co-Shah reveals, with locals sacrificing them both to ward off bad luck and also to celebrate good times. This ‘can’t win’ scenario sets him off on a superstition round, examining all the weird rituals we guide our life by.

For more info, click here.

Fern Brady

There are few things funnier in life than a potty-mouthed Scottish person in full swing, and there are few cluster f*cks riper for potshots than the disastrous own goal that is Brexit. Brady, a glorious whirlwind of mighty feminism, takes aim while examining her place in the mess that is Britain today. A star unstoppably rising, don’t risk FOMO.

For more info, click here.

Tommy Little

It’s frankly a miracle that The Project regular managed to place 12th in his first ever marathon with no previous running experience. That success is even more miraculous given he tackled it in minus-20 degrees in the unforgiving snows of Antarctica to raise money for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia. That effort deserves a ticket snap-up for Self-Diagnosed Genius, whether you reckon that title applies to the foolhardy comedian or not.

For more info, click here.

Zoë Coombs Marr

Unlike Netflix hit Russian Doll, life rarely gives us a do-over, but Barry Award-winning superstar Marr is back with a strictly limited season of her huge hit Bossy Bottom, so there’s zero reason to miss out this time round. Ditching sexist alter ago Dave, she claims this one’s nothing but straightforward stand-up, no tricks, but she’s fibbing. Hilariously smart and cutting, she’s a national treasure in the making.

For more info, click here.

Bunk Puppets

If you like your humour with a vaguely menacing turn – think The League of Gentlemen – try shadow puppetry outfit Bunk Puppets’ latest low-fi lols Stark and Dormy, set in a seaside town with a theme park hiding a dark secret, the machinations of a would-be escapee ape and a hungry alien menace.

For more info, click here.

Stuart Daulman

The South African import and sometime guest on Hamish and Andy’s True Story took home the 2018 Moosehead Award for his sold-out run of Death of a Daulman. His hopefully lucky 13th appearance at MICF, Masterclass, deconstructs what it takes to be a successful comedian, with tongue placed firmly in cheek. 

For more info, click here.

The Details

What: Melbourne International Comedy Festival
When: 27 March to 21 April
Where: Various locations around Melbourne
For more info head to comedyfestival.com.au.

Worth catching also is the always funny Ronny Chieng, we caught up with Ronny to find out his favourite Melbourne spots. Read it here.

Image credit: Hannah Gadsby

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