So you have the catalogue for the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and have realised there are over 500 shows and you have no idea where to start. Here are a few suggestions. First of all for every famous act (international artist, television, radio personality or podcast) you go see you have to see a lesser known act - they may just see the next big thing in Australian comedy!
With these suggestions please remember that comedy is an art form and all art is subjective. Just because one person loves/hates the performance does not mean that others will respond the same. Important when reading published reviews too.
Elbow Skin's P.O.V.
Two of Melbourne's most likeable music comedy performers. Great harmonies lots of laughs. Dave and Ern always pull out something special for the festival. This year they are performing at the Forum on Flinders Street. http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/p-o-v-elbowskin-s
Axis of Awesome Viva La Vida Loca Las Vegas
Always strong performances and hilarious songs. This trio are You Tube Sensations and have been touring shows to festivals all around the globe. Their four chord song is an absolute music comedy classic that audiences will never tire of - mainly because they keep updating it will the most recent chart hits. As you try to pick all of the songs try and also pick all of the television ads you have seen one or more of them in.
Chad Bradley How to Make a Musical
Chad Bradley (Geoff Paine) may be known to some festival goers as a cast member from Spontaneous Broadway. Now he is back in a solo show. There will be a lot of improvisation in this show and Chad is very good at it. There will also be a lot of over acting and hamming it up, thankfully he is very good at that too.
Centrelink the Musical
Following sell out shows in the Adelaide Fringe this show is sure to be a hit in Melbourne. The brain child of Rohan Harry, the musical captures the pains of waiting in Centrelink. If you have ever stepped foot into your local Centrelink Office then you will have met every character from this show. It is a little out of the way from the centre of the festival but the trip to Sydney Road Brunswick will be worth the trip. Make a night of it and enjoy a bite to eat and a drink or two.
Ryan Coffey is Howlin'
One man, one beard, one guitar, one loop pedal and one amazing voice all adds up to one howling' music comedy show. He has toured the countries comedy venues and music festivals.Tickets are only $20 - bargain for such a quality show. Do yourself a favour...
Damian Callinan The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy Callinan
Damian is one of the best story comedians going around. This show will be one narrative and is sure to be funny, poignant and moving in equal measure. And often all at the same time. If his previous shows are anything to go by then the narrative will be closer to the truth than anybody realises. Catch Damian at ACMI in Fed Square.
Denise Scott Mother Babe
A perennial festival favourite, sure she probably does not need any extra publicity but I could not include her. No-one tells a personal and self-depricating story quite like her. Sure this show is about being a mother, but you will not have to be a mother or have another to get your money's worth from her show - this year being presented at the Arts Centre - ooh fancy!
Stella Young Tales From The Crip
The Boy With Tape on His Face More Tape
Returning to Melbourne for what is sure to be another sell out show. He is unlike any other act in the festival as he does not speak a word. He has tape on his face - covering his mouth. His comedy is in his face and body. Oh yeah there is a lot of audience participation, on and off stage. He is never mean to the audience but some people might find this level of involvement uncomfortable.
Angus Hodge Finding My Rose Coloured Glasses
Angus ventures over the border from Adelaide, fresh from great success at this year's Adelaide Fringe. Here for his first solo MICF show, he has previously performed here as part of Wolf Creek the Musical. Adelaide audiences have been raving about his work for years, get down to the Forum Theatre to see what Melbourne has been missing out on for all these years.
Not only do they have one of the longest show titles in this year's festival, Jed and Jamie also have one of the most unique. Ok it might not strictly be sketch comedy but they are great character comedians. I imagine it will be a satirical look at all of Melbourne's walking tours and the audience will also be the tour participants. I suspect that nothing in this history walk will assist anyone pass a Melbourne history tests. Ged and Jamie are also great supporters of Melbourne's up and coming comedians throughout the year so this is a great chance to support them
Just to show off the boys are also doing a second show, Cockbagg Magicians: D'illusional.
Talking about walking tours check out this photographic tour (not part of the comedy festival) www.dftours.com.au
See some of the best comics from this year's festival test there skills as they make up jokes on the spot based on topics that they see at the same time as the audience. No pre-prepare, rehearsed and tested routines here.
Sell out shows in the Edinburgh, Montreal and London and seen on ABC2, it is a must see. High risk comedy...for the comedians. Guaranteed laughs.
Ali MeGregor's Late Nite Variety-Nite
Mrs Adam Hills returns to the festival for another season of her late nite variety night. A stalwart of the festival. An unpredictable mix of stand up, music comedy, sketch and burlesque. No two shows will be the same. With a variety of festival acts gracing her stage. Including some of the biggest names in comedy doing things they would never do in their own solo show. Then there is Ali's professionally trained voice you will not hear anything like this is any other show. In the Spiegeltent this year based in Fed Square. Likely to sell out.
Raw Comedy National Grand Final
Come and see some of Australia's greatest new comics do their best 5 minutes. The state winners of one of the biggest open-mic competitions vie for this much sought after title. Previous winners include Hannah Gadsby and Josh Thomas. Other Raw Alumni include Tom Ballard, Luke McGregor, and Celia Pacquala. It is a final so there is only one show. If only more reality programs were one show!.
Squeaky Clean Comedy
this two hour show promise lots of laughs, lots of performers and a variety of genres; music poetry, ventriloquism stand up and more. Like comedy but don't like potty mouth or explicit material then this is the show for you. As the title says this show is squeaky clean. Perfect to take your mother or your kids. If that was not enough the show is also partnering with World Vision to raise awareness of education initiatives for Australia's indigenous communities.