The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is about to kick off this year – and I can’t wait! It truly is the best time to be in Melbourne.
Because I often see more than my fair share of comedy shows, I’m often asked for recommendations… and while it’s hard to be super sure what’s good this year before any performances have happened, I’ve scanned through the program to put together a list of performers I regularly enjoy. In alphabetical order…
- Bane Trilogy – I was lucky enough to catch all three parts of this in Edinburgh a couple of years ago, and they’re all excellent. Mobster-style storytelling, with all roles performed by one man, Joe Bone. Start with part one (on Tuesday and Friday nights), and if it takes your fancy, see the other two as well.
- The Boy with Tape on his Face – silent comedy, but it’s a tonne of fun, even if you do get called up on stage as part of the audience participation. I’ll put money on him being big this year in Melbourne.
- Celia Pacquola – Regularly hilarious, clever, and with a bit of heart too (perhaps my favourite comedy recipe).
- David O’Doherty – All his shows feel kinda the same – but that’s not a bad thing at all. Music and comedy that’s both charming and funny.
- Felicity Ward – her show in 2012 was nominated for the Barry Award (best show of the festival), and would have been a deserving winner. Hilarious even while sometimes being extremely personal.
- Hannah Gadsby – last year’s show was very brave and very funny and I wish I could see it again. I’ve already got tickets to see this year’s show.
- Justin Hamilton – he’s a stalwart of the Australian comedy scene, and yet I only saw his show for the first time in 2012, and it was a clever mix of laughs and storytelling. Cue much regret for missing him in previous years. Odds of me making that mistake again this year are slim.
- Michael Workman – his show last year, Ave Loretta, was one of the most wonderful and beautiful shows I’ve ever seen. Don’t expect comedy, even though you will laugh, because the storytelling is the highlight. I was wiping tears of sadness from my eyes at the end of Ave Loretta, for Michael Workman brings both the laughs and the feels.
- Sammy J & Randy – the description on the site sums them up perfectly: catchy songs with chaotic tomfoolery and outbursts of filth. Rarely clean, often very, very funny.
- Tegan Higginbotham – Tegan’s recent solo shows been great narrative stand-up shows, and she doesn’t get the attention she deserves. Given she’s not performing in the duo of chaotically hilarious Watson this year, I’ll be making an extra effort to see this show.
- Tim Key – some people hate his odd, dry style, but I’ve loved his shows (at least, the two I’ve had the great pleasure of catching). His last show involved him having a bath on stage. Not your average comedy, but all the more enjoyable if it does float your boat.
- Wil Anderson – I think Wil’s stand-up shows are better than anything he’s done on television… last year’s Goodwil was an excellent mix of intelligence and wit.
- And for bonus points, my good friend Ben Hopper is performing in The Law Revue – this is Ben’s first festival performing, so there’s no past performances to judge by. Ben’s a funny guy though, so I’m expecting a top show!
These are just a dozen shows that I feel super happy with recommending to all and sundry. There are a few hundred that are part of the festival, so you don’t lack for choices (or excuses) – make sure you catch a show or two before it all wraps up on April 20th.