The Director's Cut: 10 Great Laughs To See At The Melbourne Comedy Festival

The laughs at the 28th Melbourne International Comedy Festival began flowing over the weekend and runs until April 20, with nearly 480 shows on in 100 venues around the Victorian capital, involving an impressive 6500 performances.

The shows range from adult-­friendly puppets to gay rock gods, comedic rappers, German drag and a comedy club for kids.

With so much to chose from, we were tough on Melbourne Comedy Festival director Susan Provan to recommend just 10 you should try and see.

Here are her picks:

Luke McGregor

With his natural geeky charm, hilarious observations and self-deprecating humour, Luke’s debut solo show, My Soul Mate is Out of My League, played to sold-out houses in 2013 and earned him the prestigious Best Newcomer Award. He’s back this year with a brand new show and a bunch of anxieties. He’s not worried that you won’t have a great time at his show though, because he knows you will.

Hannah Gadsby

Hannah’s last show, Happiness is a Bedside Table, was nominated for a prestigious Barry Award at the Melbourne Comedy Festival and sold out in Melbourne and Edinburgh on the back of glowing five star reviews. Hannah’s shows are remarkable for their intellect, clarity and her capacity to turn heartbreaking true stories into soaring and hilarious monologues. Hannah has an Art History degree that hasn’t gone to waste with two specials she wrote and presented on ABC1’s Artscape. Hannah’s next TV adventure, the visual art series Hannah Gadsby’s OZ will go to air on ABC1 in 2014.
She’s also giving art lectures at the NGV.

Miss Itchy

Strap down your glitter kittens and tattoo yourself with the word “normal”, they’re back with a vengeance! Miss Itchy, Melbourne’s premier identical-twin teenage bridesmaids are back with an all new show. Two fat tarts, frocked up to the nines in industrial strength taffeta, bring you a totally incongruous offering sure to leave you slightly squeamish yet brutally entertained.

John Kearns

Eccentric, absurd and unapologetic. Won best newcomer at 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Fest. In his critically acclaimed debut hour, John invites us into his own absurdist world, where he’ll be wearing a dress and singing Bruce Springsteen. “Sight Gags for Perverts”, is how one critic described Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove upon its release. Stan cherished this, writing it down on a list headed Titles in Search of a Script. It was never made, this won’t be either.

Mel Buttle

With comparisons to the likes of Judith Lucy and Kitty Flanagan, Mel Buttle has already earned high praise. A hilarious collection of contradictions, she is the perfect mix of almighty honesty and vulnerability with snappy wit. Radio lovers will know Mel from Mel’s Strongly Worded Letters on Triple J’s Breakfast with Tom and Alex, as a regular guest host on a suite of 612 ABC radio programs and Nova 100’s Weekend Breakfast with Tommy Little

Kyle Kinane

With his love of punk rock, smart but self-deprecating humour and enthusiasm for drinking, Kyle Kinane weaves wry observations about the details of his everyday life – bleak, uplifting or simply the reality of outlaying $100 for some fast food. It’s self-deprecating, humour punctuated with sharp, delightful moments of glimmering hope. Kyle has released two comedy albums and his show is sardonic humour at its best.

Henson Puppets

Jim Henson’s show Puppet Up! is coming to Australia for a national tour, as part of the melbourne comedy festival with dates also in Sydney and Brisbane. I’m assuming you know them? It’s puppets for grownups and has been described as Saturday Night Live meets Who’s Line Is It Anyway meets The Muppets. They’re bloody amazing, very cheeky and sometimes a hilariously filthy. Last here in 2007 where they performed to sell-out shows, this year’s show is an uncensored, sometimes dark, innovative, witty and always hilarious puppet show, featuring six-world class puppeteers with more than 60 original and beautiful Jim Henson puppets.

Matt Okine

Award-winning comedian Matt Okine makes a welcome return to the 2014 Festival with his brand new show Happiness Not Included. The 2012 MICF Best Newcomer, Okine has spent the past 12 months performing around the world to rave reviews, and collecting a nomination for the 2013 Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Newcomer in the process. But awards don’t pay the bills. And reviews don’t keep the lights on.

Shappi Khorsandi

The daughter of an exiled writer, Shappi is a cultural commentator and self confessed news junkie. Feisty, flirty and effortlessly funny she handles every subject with a razor sharp wit, softened only by her deliciously dizzy delivery and endless charm.

Ronny Chieng

A law graduate from Melbourne university and one of the leaders of a new generation of comics in Australia, Ronny was winner of 2013 best newcomer award.

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