Lexie’s Guide to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2013

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is almost upon us, well you, the population of Melbourne. I am saddened to not be there this year, particularly as a friend is launching their first solo show and I think Wil Anderson might be single. I have been stalking him for many years, this could have been my chance to pounce before he becomes attached again. So in my absence I thought I would make a list of all the shows I want people to see and hopefully report back to me on. Also I know it can be over whelming when you open the 30 to 40 page guide and try and figure out who is going to be funny and who is going to make you feel like your trapped sitting next to your drunk uncle at Christmas lunch. MICF is honestly one of the best times of the year to be in Melbourne. The streets are full of people roaming form show to show, the bars around Town Hall are packed and you can hear the performers peddling their wears. Everyone is just up for a good time, catching the last of the summer sun and pretending that winter is never going to come.

I will break this down into categories for people. Let’s start with the ensemble shows, these are a great way to get a glimpse of who is worth forking out more cash to see and also good when with a group of people as normally there is someone for every ones taste.

Festival club

This is the best place to start. Late night comedy at bargain basement prices, normally you will get minimum 5 comics for between $10 and $15. Not to mention there is a dance floor and always the possibility of running into one of the comedians as this is where they go after their shows. For the past few years I have found myself standing next to Tom Ballard and inevitably I am rude to him in some way. I don’t intend to be it just happens, so if you see him say sorry for me, not that I think he will remember.


This is normally the American comedians and it consists of smaller sets of around 15-20 mins each with a host. This year I am telling everyone to go along as Pete Holms is going to be there and I enjoy him and his insane laugh. He looks and sounds very American but I am yet to go wrong with a comedian that I became aware of through the Nerdist Podcast. Two years ago it was Paul F. Tompkins and last year it was Kumail Nanjiani.

The Shelf

I didn’t get a chance to go to this last year but it had rave reviews and is the brain child of Justin Hamilton and Adam Richardson. It’s at the Toff of the town and each night you will be served up something different and you will never know who will grace the stage. Keep an eye out here for some major names doing spots and I anyone you want to be able to say that you saw them before they were cool.

Fan Fiction

I went to this last year, brilliant. It’s a show produced by Wil Anderson and I have heard on the grape vine that the first show will be Harry Potter fan fiction. Go along it’s worth a laugh and the guests will always be good.

Set List

Just go along. It will have an ever changing line up and and an ever changing list of words and situations. Guaranteed something in this will make you laugh even if it is just watching someone normally at one on the stage terrified and producing enough flop sweat to break the draught.

Comedy @ Spleen

Free every Monday night not just during the festival. great place to see a lot of people for no money and some well known names working out their sets. Get there early and make sure you buy some beers to help out the bar.

So that’s the ensembles done. Now for the the individuals. Some of these I will include my reviews in 25 words or less that I wrote last year, only seen if your my friend on The Facebook.

Arj Barker

Back from a break last year. Always a solid laugh.

Daniel Kitson

He took all the original thoughts and ideals I live by and explained them away with conversational prowess a stutter and 72% charm.

David O’Doherty:

I love this man. He was nice enough to take a photo with me, when I was quiet drunk running through Town Hall last year. I saw his show on the last night of the festival. It was 4 stars but I forgot to write a review, whoops. I was about a mouse and he played his mini keyboard and I loved him from the front row.

Mike Bribiglia

Another Nerdist find and he has a Movie Sleepwalk With Me, just FYI.

Paco Erhard

It’s a German comic in Melbourne, seemed appropriate.

Paul Foot:If you like it weird this is your man.

4 Stars

Alluringly absurd and slightly insane, this is a show within a show that you won’t forget, especially special guest penny.

Ross Nobel

For one night only. If you haven’t got tickets already get them. He is amazing.

4 stars
Erratic, Fantastic and truly unique. Spending two or so hours witnessing what goes on inside his mind is joy. Plus you get a piss break.

Axis of Awesome

Since I love musical comedy and Anyone For Tennis are no longer I recommend these guys if only for the 4 chord song

Bart Freebairn

I have never seen him but he makes me laugh when he is a guest on the little dum dum club podcast.

Dave Thornton

Funny and sexy, perfect combo and is defiantly going to be a much bigger name in the next few years. I have also considered stalking this man, what can I say I have a thing for dark haired, lanky comedians.

Harley Breen

His voice doesn’t fit his face. I had only ever listened to him on podcasts and imagined he was a 40 year old, over weight guy with a beard. Kind of like a bikie. I was wrong, he looks nothing like that. He is funny though, get along and have a laugh.

Nick Cody

3 stars
Vanilla slice and small town adventures. Nick’s charming nature makes it feel like chatting with mates over beers or that could be the comfy chairs

Sam Simmons: Be warned his shows normally involve audience participation.

3 ½ stars
Weird yet slightly alluring. You will always laugh but it might be awkward. I was his bus crush.

Xavier Michelides

I saw his first show at the MICF many years back and he still holds a place in my heart. He is a man of many characters.

Standard Double  Staring Kate McLennan and Wes Snelling

The entire show takes place in a hotel room enough said. It will be a complete different experience to other shows at the festival and has been backed by the Moosehead awards and is being directed by Mark Watson (UK comedian). Kate and Wes have a chemistry together that works and a gift for the narative. Listen to them on Justin Hamiltons Podcast (Can you take this photo please) and you will be scrambaling to get tickets. Hurry though there is only 24 tickets a night and I know it will be an experience you will never forget.

and finally

Luke McGregor

A gentleman I have never seen but have listened to as a guest on The Little Dum Dum Club Podcast. Has won me over with his awkward, self deprecating, arrogance and unique voice makes me giggle every time. So go and support his show.

Before I give you my two top picks for the festival this year, I want to recommend that people get along to a live Podcast recording. The great thing with these is you can give them a listen before you go. The best part about them are the crowd, everyone is there because they love the people talking and follow the shows weekly. Other than the two here keep an eye out or ears open to see if Wil Anderson is recoding a live FOFOP.

I love green guide letters

Hosted by Steel Saunders it’s a weekly break down of the letters to The Ages Green Guide.


The Little Dum Dum Club

Hosts Karl Chandler and Tommy Dassalo sit around and have a chat about nothing in particular with other comedians.


Here we go my top two picks for the festival. One seasoned performer and one with their first ever solo show. As I am sure non of you would be surprised to learn that I am recommending Wil Anderson’s show, GoodWil. Each year his hour is smarter and funnier and each year I fall a little bit more in love with this all black wearing, cat loving, Batman fan boy. Who has a quick wit, sweet heart and seems never to have figured out he is no longer a teenager.


The other act is Jason English, one half of the now defunct Melbourne duo Anyone for Tennis. This year marks his first solo show and I am predicting all things amazing. This handsome, charming man can write a catchy tune and has a lot to say so expect to be awed by him and his guitar. Since I can’t be there to support him go along for me. His smile alone is infectious, I know you won’t be disappointed.


Don’t forget to visit the board out the front of Town Hall and take a chance on an unknown comic. You never know what you will find at the festival. Also be brave and go to shows alone you never feel alone in a room full of people laughing, plus it means you can get good seats to the guys that almost always sell out.

If you feel like it I also challenge anyone to post reviews of the shows they see in the comments section. Rules must give an out of 5 star rating and only use 25 words or less.

Miss you Melbourne



The festival runs from March 27th to April 21st all info can be found here



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