To say “I laughed” would be an understatement

If I were wearing a bowler hat, I would doff it to the comedians I saw perform at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Also to the immensely kind stranger who gave my brother and I free tickets to see Aamer Rahman whose political comedy was as confronting as it was funny.

Thank you to Meld for sending me to the shows and letting me publish my first ever comedy reviews.

David O’Doherty

Photo: MICF

He’s funny when he tells jokes standing up, but even funnier when he plays his miniature keyboard and sings wittily written songs with an occasional nonsense lyric – “I’m gonna rock your world in quite a gentle way. Like a delicious cake as opposed to a bag of drugs.” Despite the lacklustre setup including the initials D.O.D masking-taped to the curtain behind the stage, the Irish comedian produced some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Yes, the song lyrics are sometimes ridiculously long-ended and go off on wild tangents, but you’ve got to appreciate the ingenuity and wit behind musical comedy.

Stephen K Amos

Photo: MICF

From the outlandishly mocking accents to the bizarre encounters he has with fans, all the stories Amos tells aren’t just chuckle worthy, they’re downright hilarious – even if some of them are borderline offensive. His brutally honest style of comedy pokes fun at drinking, sex and a variety of contemporary issues, not to mention his fondness for picking on members in the front-row. So popular and adored is Amos that at the end of his set, members of the audience shouted out old jokes of his they wanted to hear, which he happily obliged.

Urzila Carlson

Photo: MICF

South African/New Zealand comedian Urzila Carlson doesn’t ignore the elephant in the room. Rather, she purposely draws attention to it, unashamedly telling stories about the often controversial topics of weight and sexuality. Her show, I’m going to need a second opinion focuses on a past medical drama with a bunch of other personal, humorous experiences thrown in the mix. Having left members of the audience crying with laughter, Carlson is definitely an up-and-coming comedian to keep an eye on.

Kitty Flanagan

Photo: MICF

Flanagan opened with a bold mockery of burlesque shows and followed through with plenty of tales about her pet hates in the opposite sex and dished out a fair whack of criticism against babies, temperamental teenagers and women’s forward fashion today. Despite the slightly annoying habit of repeating the punch-line several times if it didn’t receive a loud enough response, Flanagan’s show which had a somewhat cynical view on life and its experiences, was definitely enjoyable.

All photos courtesy of MICF .

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A month of giggles

Having watched the comedic genius of Stephen K Amos, Jason Byrne, Akmal and Gabriel Iglesias live before, I’m always excited when the Comedy Festival rolls into Melbourne.

MICF

THE 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival will feature some of the best comedians from across the globe.

With more than 1000 comedians scheduled to perform, it’s no wonder Melbourne becomes a tourism hotspot for the three and a half week Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) from March 27 to April 21.

Celebrating its 27th year in 2013, the MICF features some of the finest comedians from abroad plus the best Aussie talent.

Check out the full program online or download the free MICF iPhone app, and you’ll find there’s definitely more than just the usual stand-up comedy style gigs. With an oh-so-diverse mixture of comedy and cabaret, The Great Debate, short film screenings, musical comedy and an American version of the famous Dame Edna, there’s definitely a show that will pique your attention and no doubt leave you clutching your sides and doubling over in laughter.

Tracy Morgan is touring with his show ‘Excuse My French’.

Tracy Morgan is touring with his show ‘Excuse My French’.

On top of the somewhat obscure performances, internationally renowned comedians such as Arj Barker, Stephen K Amos, Danny Bhoy and 30 Rock’s own Tracy Morgan are set to wow Melbourne audiences this year too. Not to mention the all-star Aussie acts including Cal Wilson, Josh Thomas, Adam Hills (who’s performing his first solo show in three years), Wil AndersonJudith Lucy and literally hundreds more. Malaysian Ronny Chieng, who was named Best Newcomer at the 2012 MICF, will return this year with a brand new hour-long special Can You Do This? No You Can’t.

Festival Director Susan Provan says this year will be the biggest the Festival has ever been.

“Our 2013 program is filled with treats and I urge every person who already loves comedy or who thinks they could, to investigate it thoroughly,” she says.

One of these treats is the Faulty Towers, The Dining Experience – an internationally acclaimed dinner slash impromptu comedy show. The beloved characters from the 1970’s sitcom Fawlty Towers reappear as hosts to a three-course meal, mingling with the audience in a show that’s two thirds unscripted, raw comedy. Guaranteed to be unique, this show will be touring 20 countries this year, so catch it while you can in Melbourne.

Rather than sticking to the confines of venues, the Comedy Festival also hits the CBD streets with The (Very) Big Laugh Out, a free outdoor, family orientated comedy program. With a splash of comedy from around the world, the Big Laugh Out features German, Irish, French, Canadian and Portuguese street performers.

Half a million comedy lovers are expected to flock to Melbourne for the Festival so don’t leave it until the last minute to book. Tickets to all shows are on sale now and can be purchased via the comedy festival website.

This article was written for Meld Magazine.