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It’s safe to say there are few comedy shows in the festival that come close to Sabrina D’Angelo’s Body Poet. It’s a strange and somewhat uncomfortable mix of performance art and abstract comedy that has the potential to go somewhere but is stranded by a lack of structure or storyline. Continue reading “Review: Sabrina D’Angelo in Body Poet | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

In 1970s Melbourne, Bunny met Mad-Dog in a pub and a whirlwind, drug-soaked romance was born. It was a time of cheap drugs and luxurious moustaches, of Southern Comfort and V8 Holdens, when people smuggled bread into Chinese restaurants and you could be blonde enough to never need to parallel park Continue reading “Review: Lisa-Skye in Songs My Parents Taught Me | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

This is Dave’s first Comedy Festival show, after doing 6-minutes spot in group gigs like the Comedy Hole and the Giggle Gulag. He’s got some great material about sex, footy, women and how Sydney and Melbourne are different, and he’s ready to repeat them over and over again until he gets a laugh. Whether or not the jokes are funny. Continue reading “Review: Zoe Coombs Marr in Dave | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Nina D. Flanagan writes…

The crux of this show was the pitfalls of racial stereotyping. Hing discusses career success based purely on positive racism, beginning with a boss who knew he would be hard working because of his ethnicity, despite numerous obvious and irresponsible exploits. Relationship failure due to his girlfriend’s misguided attempt at avoiding social stigma. His own accidental brushes with racism. Doesn’t sound fun, right? And yet the show’s hilarious. Continue reading “Review: Michael Hing in Occupy White People | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

Lemons. Robots. Voluptuous. Cage fighting. Obliquely. These and other words and phrases are pinned up around the stage, and over the course of her show Alice Fraser works all of them into her act – sometimes seamlessly, sometimes more obviously. Similarly, some of the complex, personal concepts in her act fit in perfectly, while others, well, not so much. Continue reading “Review: Alice Fraser in Word Crime | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Is masculinity still relevant? That’s the burning question of Simon Taylor’s one man debate, a witty, cleverly crafted and stylishly delivered comedy show. Taylor presents a self exploration in a Janus-style fashion, with his opposite traits of manliness and femininity on display for the audience to laugh at and enjoy. Continue reading “Review: 1 Man Debate with Simon Taylor | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Nicole Humphreys writes…

Bart is a quirky and entertaining performer – The Age of Wonder is thankfully not your run-of-the-mill comedy gig.  His age of wonder is childhood youth and his cleverly sculpted jokes let the audience reminisce and think about their versions of his anecdotes. Continue reading “Review: Bart Freebairn in The Age of Wonder | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

If you’ve ever wondered what it might feel like to be slapped in the face with a dildo, Slutmonster goes some of the way to making that a viable possibility. Thankfully in this instance, the dildo-slapping experience is happening to somebody else. Literally. Continue reading “Review: Slutmonster and Friends | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

‘Nob Happy Sock’? What does that mean? Wait, check the poster. Apparently this is a show by Simon Keck about… how he tried to kill himself a few years ago? Does that sound like a good night out?

Possibly not, but here’s the thing – yes, it’s a comedy show about attempted suicide. But it’s a bloody good one that’s often hilarious. Continue reading “Review: Simon Keck in Nob Happy Sock | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

It’s admirable how comfortable Jeff Green is on the stage, as he bounds out from behind the curtain to a crowd that knows him well. A regular performer at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, his material is solid. Relationships, children, stories from his life, nothing too risky, everything rather safe, and so many laughs that it’ll make your jaw ache. Continue reading “Review: Jeff Green in Leaping off the Bell Curve | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

Identical twins in similar shirts, Ben and James Stevenson could have taken the easy way out and done a show about being twins. Instead, they’ve put together a show about deciding whether to give up regular jobs to become comedians, complete with a tally board for noting the pros and cons of each. And, okay, it’s also about being twins. Time to undergo… the Stevenson Experience. Continue reading “Review: The Stevenson Experience: How I Met Your Brother | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Nina D Flanagan writes…

Live on Air with Poet Laureate Telia Nevile was a gamble. For the first ten minutes of this show, I was resolving never to see comedy at the Northcote Town Hall, but then I understood what was going on. This is not standard comedy festival fare: if you go in looking for gag-punchline-laugh-repeat you will be disappointed. However, if you view the show as a short play, or performance poetry, it is thoroughly enjoyable. Continue reading “Review: Poet Laureate Telia Nevile Live On Air | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

The Grand Guignol was a 20th century Parisian theatre that became famous for its graphic horror shows. Dave Bloustien borrows the concepts and aesthetics of Grand Guignol to present a show that mixes comedy, puppetry, theatre and storytelling into a rich, fascinating whole. Continue reading “Review: Dave Bloustien’s Grand Guignol | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

The first thing you see when entering the Council Chambers to see Ronny Chieng is the giant Audience Rating Machine on the stage – an array of tubes filled with various numbers of ping-pong balls, like a giant bar graph. It’s there, Ronny explains, to help judge how well the audience meets his demanding standards, but after tossing a couple of balls in at the start, he basically ignores it for the rest of the show. Continue reading “Review: Ronny Chieng in Can You Do This? No You Can’t | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Here’s a lesson to remember: never go and see a show thinking ‘I really wanted to see this guy in my university days’. You’ll regret it.

Welcome to Arj Barker’s Go Time, the so-so comedy show that makes you feel like you’re watching a used-car salesman put sawdust in a gearbox. The aim, of course, is to successfully keep the whole shebang going until the cash is safely in the till. Continue reading “Review: Arj Barker in Go Time | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Nina D. Flanagan says…

The Spokesman is not for the easily offended. Maybe we should just say it’s for the hard to offend. It’s part of Amos’s charm that he is so comfortable on stage that he can converse with the audience and improvise, but the charm tarnishes a little when most of that improvising translates to verbally bashing up the first few rows. That said, the only tears in the crowd were from laughter. Continue reading “Review: Stephen K. Amos in The Spokesman | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

A lone cowboy rides into an ambush after refusing to replace his horse with a Datsun. A book lover is trapped in a sepulchral library. A supervillain applies for a job in the fast food industry. And then lights flicker, music blares and the story changes again! All part and parcel of the grand medical experiment that soothes your wounds with Sketch-ual Healing. Continue reading “Review: Jason Geary & Jimmy James Eaton in Sketch-ual Healing | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

Rob Hunter brings his late-night talk show of hatred back to the Comedy Festival for a third year, hellbent on insulting some of Melbourne’s most loved comedians. But is it funny in its own right, or is this the kind of car-crash comedy where it’s uncomfortable but you just can’t look away? Continue reading “Review: Late O’clock with Rob Hunter | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

For those who aren’t prepared for him, Paul Foot can take a bit of getting used to. He explodes on stage dressed in a silver jacket and tie, a combination padlock through his belt loop. His mannerisms are of someone you might find on the 86 tram to Bundoora late at night. The shock factor never wears off, but he’s so hilarious that it wears you down with laughter. He’s eratic, he’s enthusiastic, and it’s brilliant. Continue reading “Review: Paul Foot in Kenny Larch is Dead | Melbourne International Comdey Festival”

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

‘This show’s mostly about words, not much about vampires, so if you’re keen on vampires you might be disappointed,’ warns Mark Butler at the start of his set. Unfortunately, the show turns out not to be that much about words either – or to be all that good. Continue reading “Review: Mark Butler in Word Vampire | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

Xavier Michelides is not a morning person. His morning routine of coffee, TV and general grumbling has to be just right, or it puts him in a bad mood for the rest of the day – a mood in which he can’t help but think of all the things that might make mornings better, or that ruined mornings for him in the past. Continue reading “Review: Xavier Michelides in Good Morning! | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Nina D. Flanagan writes…

In Douchebag, Josh Thomas discusses making children cry and international exploitation, and somehow still elicits laughs rather than disgust from the audience. It is a testament to his comedic talents that he can deliver his misdeeds into your lap, while having you chortle along with him. Continue reading “Review: Josh Thomas in Douchebag | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Greg Fleet

Greg “Fleety” Fleet has remained an unlikely fixture of the Australian stand-up comedy scene for decades, a meandering raconteur whose anecdotes flow thick and fast and often involve unintended mayhem. Fleet’s experience working crowds and getting audiences on side despite risqué material – most notably a surfeit of jokes about being a former heroin junkie – are obvious from the get-go, but have always seemed more instinctual than practised. Continue reading “Review: Greg Fleet in The Boy That Cried Sober | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Sidekicks

With little cover for sluggish scripts and less for patchy performances, a two person play can go off the rails very quickly. Director Louise Alston’s Sidekicks, starring Dan Ilic and Emily Rose Brennan, has no costumes (with the exception of a tie and a wig) and sets — at least decorated ones — that exist only in the mind. If there were big problems in the dialogue of Stephen Vagg’s verbose circumlocutory script, you’d notice them. If there were big problems with the actors, it’d be game over, move along, nothing to see here. Continue reading “Review: Dan Ilic and Emily Rose Brennan in Sidekicks | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Everyone who went to see Jennifer Wong in Spineless last night probably realises it wasn’t her best night. The hesitant, nervous delivery of jokes worked for a while, but wore thin. She quickly abandoned the theme of trying to get a book published, let alone write one, within five minutes. Taking us through the intricacies of Chinese language was worth a chuckle, but heavily relied on reiteration without payoff.

While we laughed at her jokes, at around the thirty-five minute mark it was pretty clear that she’d run out of material. I don’t know if the nerves got the better of her and she forgot it all, or if that was really all she brought to the festival, but as the remainder of the show ticked past it was uncomfortable for everyone – comedian and audience.

She began openly counting down the time left, and asked someone in the audience to finish her show. She lamented at how there were reviewers in the audience, and she’d spent money on promotion. She searched unsuccessfully for her notes. As she finally reached the end of your show, the silences stretched beyond uncomfortable.

It was admirable that Wong made it to the end of the hour, but as we silently filed out we all wondered if she was alright. I’m willing to concede that this might have been just a spectacularly bad night, but if that’s the case there’s a lot of room for improvement.

An hour is a long time for anyone to fill on stage, let alone with insufficient, weak material. Wong’s show needs a lot of work, or this could have just been a bad show. I can’t answer that. All I can do is wish her the best.

Jennifer Wong is Spineless is on at the Portland Hotel, 7pm Tues – Sat, 6pm Sun until April 21st.

Nina D. Flanagan writes…

Part university lecture, part stand-up comedy, part sexy music video, The Psychology of Laughter was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It was consistently interesting with patches of riotous hilarity. There was a sign displayed outside the room warning of coarse language and adult themes, and Callan looks a bit of a ruffian, but the show was smart, clean (for the most part) and well thought out. Continue reading “Review: Dave Callan in The Psychology of Laughter | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

The DJ Illuminati are here in the form of Andrew McClelland (a comedian who DJs) and Kieran O’Sullivan (a DJ who comedies). Both run clubs, both love pop music and both are here at MICF to teach you – yes, you – about the art of the decks and mixer. Continue reading “Review: Andrew McClelland’s Hang the DJ (feat. DJ Kieran O’Sullivan) | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

Previously on Space Force, Commander Bec Rogers was deep in battle with the terrible Space Brain! Although armed with a blaster pistol and zero-gravity kung fu skills, the monster’s telekinetic powers were too much for her, until – Continue reading “Review: Watson: Once Were Planets | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

There’s something incredibly likeable about David O’Doherty, that I’m sure everyone that goes to see him comes away wishing he was their friend. Before he even opens his mouth you feel an affinity with him, and over the hour of the show you’re exposed to an hour of hilarious but gentle comedy. Continue reading “Review: David O’Doherty in Seize the David O’Doherty (Carpe DO’Diem) | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

Whoo! Yeah! Get up! Sit down! High-five your neighbour! Make sound effects! DeAnne Smith pushes the audience participation button to kick off her show with high energy, and though she warns that she’s bound to crash at some point, she never does. Continue reading “Review: DeAnne Smith in Let’s Do This | Melbourne International Comedy Festival”