MICF 2019 Recommendations

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is almost upon us for 2019 - one of the highlights of my year, and the best time to be in Melbourne. And as per usual, I have a few recommendations on performers to see.

EDIT: Now that the festival has started, I have more emphatic recommendations.

  • Cassie Workman brings the heart and intelligence as she has done in the past (e.g. with Mercy in 2012), but adds introspection and compassion, for herself but also for all transgender people. This is a more intimate (and perhaps rough-and-ready) show than the bigger names in the circuit, but so very deserving of more attention. I have friends who I know will like this, and there’s a fair chance I’ll go along again to share the experience with them.
  • Hannah Gadsby is now a global star, and deservedly so. Her new show Douglas is a great progression on from Nanette - less anger, perhaps, and I’m sure it’ll gain extra polish over time, but even as it stands now it’s a very good show. She’s taking it on tour around the world, and then back to Australia - so if you missed out as part of the festival, go check her site for other dates.

And back to those I’m strongly recommending purely on previous years:

  • Felicity Ward always brings a touch of heart and humanity alongside the hilarity to her shows. I’m very happy to see she’s performing again this year after taking a break in 2018.
  • Wil Greenway is a relatively recent discovery for me - and he’s very much a storyteller rather than a comedian. Each time I’ve caught his shows, I’m moved by the reflections of humanity weaved with delightful words and heart.
  • Danny Bhoy doesn’t visit Melbourne as often as he used to, but I’m looking forward to seeing how his charming and honest humour has evolved.
  • Wil Anderson probably doesn’t need any promotion, but his show last year was him at the very top of his game - smart, funny, and with a perfectly crafted story. Even if this year doesn’t quite hit those heights (it’s a tough ask), he’s still very clever and hilarious.
  • Daniel Kitson is another long-time festival favourite - I’m expecting more stand-up than storytelling this time around, but either way I know there’ll be laughs and beautiful wordplay. A late night show that’ll apparently go for two hours - so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

Other regulars who I’m keen to see include Cassie Workman, Mark Watson, Alanta Colley & Ben McKenzie, and David O’Doherty. Lano & Woodley are repeating last year’s excellent and hilarious Fly, which was deservedly nominated for the Barry Award.

And then there’s Hannah Gadsby’s follow-up to her superb and powerful Nanette (have you watched it on Netflix yet? You really should - though be warned, it may start as stand-up, but ventures into very serious territory). I’m not sure what Douglas will involve, and the prices are a step above most other shows, but I’m very curious to see the direction Hannah’s shows go from here.

This is just a small handful from the massive amount of shows available - do let me know about any of your own highlights and recommendations!