Making Melbourne International Comedy Festival Work for You 

Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) is right around the corner. With hundreds of shows at multiple locations it can all seem a bit overwhelming. Having attended every festival, minus those the pandemic, since 2008 I have picked up a few handy hints to assist you.

It should be said that as someone with a disability, attending any event requires extra planning, so some of these tips are more geared towards that community. But they could apply to anyone. 

  1. Make lists of who you want to see and what nights they are on 
    Some comedians only do limited seasons so knowing how long their run is will ensure that you don’t miss out on seeing them. Also, this allows for coordination if you are planning to see the show with a friend. 
  2. Group shows by venue 
    What you don’t want to do is be running from one venue to the other in order to make it to a show. By stationing yourself in one venue you eliminate the extra time needed for travel. Also takes into the consideration that a massive festival will always run behind at times (see Tip 4). 
  3. Ask about venue access 
    Even though the Comedy Festival does say some venues are accessible, there have been multiple times that I have turned up and the access wasn’t there. Or, because of unknown reasons, venues you know are accessible are in fact not listed as such on the website.  
  4. Allow more time than you think between shows 
    The shows run usually in 15-minute intervals. That means if you have one show at 7pm that runs for an hour, technically you could make it to an 8.15 show. However, to be on the safe side of shows that may run over time, best to go for an 8.30 show instead and save the 8.15 one for another night. 
  5. Shows may change venue locations for one night a week 
    Traditionally on the comedy quiet night (which used to be Monday’s) shows would move rooms. This is because with less capacity shows, it freed up spaces for other shows in accessible venues to take one of the free rooms (in the past usually at Melbourne Town Hall) to do their show. This opens the show up to a wider audience and also makes it accessible for people who cannot get access to it otherwise. 
  6. Don’t forget Previews, Tightarse Tuesday’s and Laugh Packs 
    Comedy festival shows can stack up with every show having its own cost. More often than not if you don’t have a student or concession card there are deals happening all the time. Previews are usually always cheaper than the normal run and usually count for opening night. Tightarse Tuesday is a Comedy Festival’s cheap night where tickets are cheaper. Finally, there are Laugh Packs, taken from the festival website it states that: buy full price tickets to 3+ eligible different performances in one transaction for a 10% discount. Excludes previews, Tightarse Tuesday and Saturday performances.  

With all the tips to get the most out of festival — how do you choose what to see without feeling overwhelmed? My tip, treat the comedy festival like a wedding. By this I mean use the wedding saying: something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue but apply it to comedy. That way you get a taster palate of what the festival has to offer. 

  1. Something Old Someone you’ve heard of, 
  2. Something New An up-and-coming comedian, showcase or debut festival show, 
  3. Something Borrowed A recommendation from a friend, reviewer or the comedian themselves, and 
  4. Something Blue Someone you wouldn’t usually see — you may end up knowing that type of comedy you don’t like, or you may be pleasantly surprised. 

So, to all comedy goers I wish you a happy festival where your belly will be filled with laughs, and to the performers I simply say chookas. 

By Tansy Bradshaw Culture Officer
Edited By Farida Shams

Header via Supplied

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