Boasting a record-breaking line-up of 616 shows in over 100 venues and totaling more than 7,700 performances across 26-days, the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) has kicked off for its 33rd year. With so much on offer, the Australian Pride Network takes a look at eleven shows worth checking out:
Betty Grumble: The UnShame Machine / Love & Anger
The Curtin: 11 & 12 April 2019
Betty Grumble whirls back to Melbourne after sell-out seasons around the world. Come dive into her ongoing womanifesto, protest party and long hard kiss. Witness her eco-sexually charged flesh riot ritual of dancing dissent, disco and deep push backery. Where pleasure is a radical act and the body a bloody love letter. Love & Anger is performed 11 April, while The UnShame Machine is performed on 12 April.
DeAnne Smith: Epiphany
Mantra on Russell: continues to 21 April 2019
Fresh from taping the acclaimed 2019 Netflix special Gentleman Elf, Australia’s favourite Canadian-American returns with a breakthrough hour. Smith has performed all over the world and can be seen on TV including Last Comic Standing and The Late Late Show.
Frankie McNair & Maddy Weeks: Constantly Screaming
Crowded in the Vaults – Pilgrim Bar: 8 – 21 April 2019
Frankie McNair and Maddy Weeks are two mates with a lot of hates. Between them they have 48 years of things to scream about. Life is weird and wonderful and also sometimes sh!t and confusing! Let’s scream about it! Frankie McNair blurs the lines between stand-up, physical comedy and a Liza Minnelli fever dream. She’s been screaming on stage since 2017, performed to sell out crowds as part of ACT Like A Lady, sold out her headliner show at Polit Bar and was a RAW Comedy State Finalist. She’s also known for being half of comedy duo Sweaty Pits and their award-winning show, Pity Party. Maddy Weeks is a Canberra-based comedian, born and bred in the Big Merino’s shadow, and has now been screaming on stage for three years! She has performed in sold-out shows at the Canberra and Melbourne Comedy Festivals as a member of comedy troupe ACT Like a Lady and was a 2018 RAW Comedy State Finalist.
Geraldine Hickey: Things Are Going Well
Imperial Hotel: continues to 20 April 2019
Geraldine does things like mushroom hunting now, even though she doesn’t really like Mushrooms. Clearly things are going well! Co-host on Melbourne’s 3RRRFM Breakfasters, seen on ABC TV’s Comedy Next Gen and after a sell-out season at 2018 MICF, Geraldine is back with her brand-new show!
Hannah Gadsby: Douglas
Arts Centre Melbourne: continues to 7 April 2019
Who is Douglas? Well, apparently, Hannah Gadsby thinks he is the only one who can help her follow up on the trail blazed by her last show Nanette. But before she takes the mysterious Douglas for a trot around the world, Gadsby is coming home to take him off leash for a world premiere. This is a strictly limited run before they go for walkies in the US. This performance will be a phone-free experience!
Hans: Like A German
The Coopers Malthouse: continues to 7 April 2019
Fresh from conquering stages and screens around the globe, international superstar Hans is back in his adopted home country with an accordion-pumping, foot-stomping, glittering blitzkrieg of cabaret backed by his live band! Dishing the dirt on his triumphant turn on America’s Got Talent, hilarious Hans will have you slapping your thighs so hard, you’ll think it’s Oktoberfest. Winner Best Cabaret Award 2019 Adelaide Fringe.
Head First Acrobats: Elixir
The Famous Spiegeltent: 29 March – 21 April 2019
Elixir is circus with a difference! Uninhibited by cliché or expectation, subversive and hilarious, the story follows three enthusiastic acrobatic scientists who attempt to create the elixir of life. The mayhem that follows is a beautiful mix of incredible acrobatics and impeccable comic timing. The boys are here with their blend of breathtaking skills, hilarious antics and sweaty muscles. Remember to breathe, this is brinkmanship at its best. You’ll feel the heat, see the sweat and won’t believe your eyes. Winner Best Circus & Physical Theatre 2018 Adelaide Fringe.
Nath Valvo: I’m Happy For You
Melbourne Town Hall: continues to 21 April 2019
Melbourne! Your favourite Show Pony is back with a brand new hour. Come hear Nath tease people that make good life choices. 2018 saw this layabout add 5 extra shows to meet demand. Nath then strutted his stuff on the international stage scoring a coveted spot at Montreal’s invite-only Just For Laughs festival. Very fancy!
Rhys Nicholson: Nice People Nice Things Nice Situations
The Victoria Hotel: continues to 21 April 2019
Rhys Nicholson is an Australian person originally from Newcastle, New South Wales, now living in Sydney. Rhys has performed all over the world, including New York, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Dublin’s Vodafone Comedy Festival, New Zealand Comedy Festival and London’s classy SOHO Theatre. At the 2016 MICF, to highlight the importance of marriage equality in Australia, Rhys publicly married lesbian and fellow comedian Zoe Coombs Marr. That year he and Coombs Marr were also both nominated for the Barry Award for Best Show. (Zoe won!)
Tom Ballard: Enough
Max Watts / Melbourne Town Hall: continues to 21 April 2019
Tom doesn’t have a real job any more. Please come and give him some of your hard-earned money in exchange for the product of laughter. This will help fuel the economy, demonstrate the power of the free market and lead to jobs and growth. Plus hopefully it will distract you from the neo-liberal horror that surrounds us in every waking moment, destroying our collective future. As seen on Tonightly with Tom Ballard. Winner: Best Comedy Performer 2016 Helpmann Awards & Best Show 2017 Sydney Comedy Festival.
Zoë Coombs Marr: Bossy Bottom
The Westin: 9 – 14 April 2019
2016 Barry Award-winner Zoë Coombs Marr is bringing her smash hit Bossy Bottom back to Melbourne for a limited encore season. Zoe has been on hiatus. Sort of. For the past six years, she’s been a terrible male comedian with a neckbeard called Dave, winning stacks of awards and tons of great reviews. Whatever! Now, she’s scraped off the neckbeard and is BAAAAACK… as herself.
The 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival continues to 21 April. For more information and full program, visit: www.comedyfestival.com.au for details.
Image: Betty Grumble (supplied)