Melbourne International Comedy Festival

There are few Melbourne festivals that mark the year quite like the Comedy Festival. Kicking off around the end of March, weaving its way around Easter and into late April, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the more than six hundred shows this year’s program boasts is sure to be quite the laughing matter. The leaves are changing colour and the days are shrinking shorter, but still a giggle or two can be found in all the crooks and crannies of our great city.

With over a hundred international artists and over seven thousand individual performances, the 37th festival will be one you’ll want to be in on the joke for. From emerging performers doing shows in the back rooms of laneway bars to massive international headliners selling out the city’s theatres, there’s something in the program for everyone. And for those that are uninitiated into the world of stand-up and sketch, the Comedy Festival makes for the easiest and most accessible way to discover comedians and performers you might otherwise have missed.

The festival’s digital program on their website makes the hunt for shows even easier with a range of curated lists and selections that will be sure to tickle your pits. There are the lists of generic categories, like Musical Comedy and Podcasts and Talks; there’s the more specific lists, like First Nations Funnies and the Lovers List; and there are of course the highly specific lists, like Artists with Two First Names and Artists with Three First Names. Or, if spontaneity is more your cup of tea, there’s always the option to pick a couple of shows at blind random, hoping for (and maybe even getting) the best.

In a city that never seems to sleep, Melbourne feels as if it’s never short of entertainment. From mid-week gigs to midnight movie screenings, from footy at the G to art at the NGV, Melbournians have no excuse of feeling like there’s nothing to do. But as the weather warms cooler and the sun begins to set before dinner, events like the Comedy Fest are the kind that should be celebrated before all else. While the city slept through pandemics and lockdowns, so too did its performers, and with the utmost reluctance. Now that it’s awake and happening, so too are those that rely on its – and your – support. And what better way to support the local Melbourne creative industries than to spend a few bucks on some belly laughs.

The festival will be running until the 23rd of April, with shows selling out and tickets like hot cakes. Grab a scarf, a few tickets, a pint of lukewarm beer, and get ready to cackle your way through autumn.

By Juliette Salom

Header Image via Adventurebilities

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