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Every year the Melbourne International Comedy Festival lures comics to our fair city to force tears from our eyes, laughter from our bellies and the odd, ”I don’t get it?”, in hushed tones from our mouths.
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is one of the three largest comedy festivals in the world (the other two being Edinburgh Fringe and Montreal’s Just for Laughs) and the sheer magnitude of the line up means we’re faced with an annual problem of who to see.
This year is no different. Blindly put your finger down on the artist page and you might find yourself going to see the critically acclaimed vagabond of vaudeville, Clara Cupcakes. You could wind up trotting along to see the Aboriginal Comedy Allstars, a bunch of no-safety-ropes storytellers drawing on 60,000 years of cultural history.
The hit and hope method isn’t for everyone. The sheep among you will want some guidance, so we’ve herded a few standout acts together that will have you crying like a baby on Santa’s knee.
Ho Life Or No Life is an illuminating look at stripping through the eyes of Chase Paradise. From a $90,000 HECS debt to celebrity lap dances, this Melbourne based showgirl delivers the right amount of blushing, laughing and perspective change.
If you listen to podcasts by Tom Segura, Christine Pazsitzky, Joey Diaz, Whitney Cummings, Joe Rogan and the rest of the current class of American stand-ups, you would know about Ari Shaffir. He’s a loud, abrasive and absolutely hilarious comic who spent the first half of his life as an orthodox Jew and the second as a cynical atheist who “gives zero f@cks” about, well, anything.
Triple J listeners and ABC viewers will be well versed in the bizarre and magnificent intricacies of Sam Simmons. Wonderfully summed up by The Evening Standard (UK), “If you can imagine someone combining the rage of Basil Fawlty with the lunacy of Spike Milligan you are getting somewhere close to Simmons.”
His show is named, Radical Women of Latin American Art, 1960-1985, a title that might or might not have any relevance to the actual content of the show – such is Simmon’s style.
Sadly the intoxicated Shakespearean theatre has already past, but if you get the chance to see it elsewhere you simply must go.
Shit-Faced Shakespeare is an award-winning production in which a cast performs Romeo & Juliet with only one of the actors being completely drunk. Each night, a different member of the cast has a turn performing unequivocally trolleyed, and as you can imagine, the results are tragically and romantically uproarious.
words by niall roeder
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