Shows we’re excited about at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival

The Squirrels have each picked 5 shows at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival that we’re excited about and would like to share with you. Here’s hoping you’re excited too!

Lisa Clark is excited by

Way too much! I’ve been banging on about Lessons with Luis and Slutmonster and Friends to anyone who’ll listen (seriously go see them) but I’d like to pick some shows that I’ve not mentioned on this site before. I’m excited about seeing Daniel Kitson of course, but his trial shows are sold out and he’s not really part of the official festival. I’m also excited by a lot of the shows picked by the other Squirrels but I’m going to pick out ones they’ve not chosen. So taking all that into consideration here are my picks.

 Judith Lucy and Denise Scott The Spiral
You can’t go wrong with these savvy troopers, they know funny. They’ve taken to writing fabulous books and this show is about their experiences as authors. I saw them try out some stuff for this at Local Laughs and am looking forward to seeing the polished results.

Luke McGreggor – My Soulmate is Out Of My League
Luke McGreggor is thrice blessed; he has a comedians face, voice and timing. I first saw him when he came to Melbourne from Tasmania and have been enjoying watching him grow in confidence and ability. He was easily the funniest thing in Ed Kavalee’s film Scum Bus and I’m looking forward to seeing his debut solo festival show.

DC3 – The Ringtone Cycle
DC3 is a band led by former TISM frontman & inspired wordsmith Damien Cowell. This show is described as ‘a punk rock Eurodisco version of Wagner’s Ring Cycle – for people in hurry’. How could you not want to see this? The Ring Cycle is coming to Melbourne later this year with much hoohaa & hallyballoo and Wagner nerds flying in. But why spend all that money ($1,000 for the cheapest tickets) and time (20 hours to see the full cycle) when you can see this version in 55 mins for $25? And you get to see the face behind the mask.

Australia You’re Standing in It
This is a sentimental favourite from some performers who virtually created the live comedy scene in Melbourne from scratch back in the 70s. There were no stand up comedy venues, they had to do it in a cafe. You can go on Rod’s other MICF gig – his annual Mystery Walking Tour and find out all about it. The show was a sketch show with recurring characters and included a stand up set by Rod at the beginning. It was patchy and sometimes brilliant. But Hey it was an Australian sketch comedy series. ON TV!! You think there’s not enough Australian comedy on TV now! I think this might’ve been the 1st Melbourne sketch show on TV too. Or at least the only one I can think of. (Paul Hogan, Aunty Jack, Naked Vicar Show & Mavis Bramston were all Sydney based)

Splendid Chaps – 4 Tom Baker / Comedy
I’m not ashamed to admit that I love Dr Who and my first Doctor was Tom Baker. John Cleese and Elenor Bron appear in my favourite episode ‘City of Death’ while the Doctor and his assistant (soon to be real wife) Romana skip about Paris hand in hand and Douglas Adams was the script editor keeping it funny. Nerd comedian Ben McKenzie, creator of Outland John Richards and their plucky assistant Petra Elliot have been impressively producing a podcast a month to celebrate the Fiftieth Anniversary of Dr Who. Each month covers each actor who played the Doctor in turn. If it’s April it must be Tom Baker, so I’ll be there with Bells on. And my Dr Who Tshirt.


Colin Flaherty is looking forward to…

Once Were Planets by Watson
Watson are always great fun; a quick fire, enthusiastic and witty show
with more pop culture quips than you can poke a stick at. Hopefully I
will get more out of it this year as I paid WAY more attention to
science and astronomy in school than Shakespeare.

Horses That Shoot Lasers From Their Eyes – Subject To Change
I can find absolutely no information about this show anywhere online
but the title intrigues me. It could be the greatest show ever… or
it could just as easily be a steaming pile.

Sam Simmons – Shitty Trivia
This looks like it will be an extension of the delightfully pointless
and confusing trivia segments from “Problems” & his previous live
shows. An hour in Sam’s world is always a treat.

Picture This!
A stand up show involving live cartooning and animation sounds like a
lot of fun. An ambitious project that is sure to be a magical

This Is History Walking Tour by Ged and Jamie
I’m curious as to what anarchic hijinks the boys will get up to on
this character based walking tour. If the promo videos are anything to
go by, it will be a wild, amusing and very puzzling ride.


5 shows Jayden Edwards is looking forward to.

1. School Dance
I was lucky enough to catch a little teaser of this show at the Comedy Festival’s launch event a couple of weeks back and was totally enthralled! Three men pounding 3 stationary bicycles to the tune of Bonnie Tyler’s I Need A Hero while performing acrobatic feats, it was daggy, and spectacular. The show tells the story of 3 awkward teenagers striving for popularity. A quick google search reveals rave reviews and sell out seasons, so expecting big things from this show.

2. Karl Chandler- Has (literally) 1.5 Million Jokes.

I’m looking forward to seeing Karl’s full show for the first time. I’ve seen him in bits and pieces in rooms and of course on The Little Dum Dum club, so hanging to see his quick fire short form mastery in it’s full glory. I think the only other show I’ve seen done in this style is Tim Vine a few years back, and loved it, it’s exhausting at times (in a good way) but value for money that’s for sure!<

3. Mel Buttle- How Embarrassment
I heard a lot good stuff about Mel’s show a couple years back but didn’t get a chance to see her, so looking forward to finally seeing her live. I’ve since read some of her stuff on her blog and heard her on triple j. I loved her cooky and slightly awkward ‘strongly worded letters’ segment where she analysed and dissected the petty complaints of listeners then finely crafted her writen response into comedy gold. I just like the cut of her jib.

4. Lessons with Luis- Famoucity!
I totally missed the bandwagon last year! I’ve seen very little of Luis but can’t wait to see what the fuss is all about this year. If word of mouth is anything to go by, i’m sure i won’t be disappointed.

5. Sam Simmons- Shitty Trivia.
I’m an unashamed Simmons fan. Ever since I first saw his show a few years back, i’ve been back every year since. There’s few comedians you can come back to year after year and get such a different experience like you can with Sam. I love his Shitty Trivia segment on the radio so very interested to see how he builds a whole show around it.


5 Shows that Elyce Phillips is excited by

Mike Birbiglia – My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend:
Mike Birbiglia’s stories are always my favourites when I hear them on ‘This American Life’. Birbiglia has such a wonderful comedic style. He’s sweet, but biting and the man knows how to structure a tale. He’s doing a Q&A about his film ‘Sleepwalk with Me’ at Cinema Nova as well, which I am super excited about – even if it’s not an official MICF event.

Lessons with Luis – Famoucity!:
‘Kidney Kingdom’ was one of the best shows I saw last year, so I can’t wait to see ‘Famoucity!’ The premise of the show is that Luis is casting for his new show – I’m entirely expecting some more delightfully awkward audience participation. And if Luis’ tweets are anything to go by, Luelin is still having some difficulty with the finer points of stagecraft. I definitely won’t be missing this one.

These Kids Are Good:
Thomas Ward has put together a great line-up of new Australian comedians including Jonathan Schuster, Neil Sinclair, Nellie Wight, Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall and Andy Matthews. Even better, tickets are only five bucks. It looks like a really good way to check out some Aussie talent that you might not have seen before.

Ronny Chieng – Can You Do This? No You Can’t:
I have yet to see one of Ronny’s solo shows, which is a terrible wrong I intend to correct this year. He’s been hilarious at stand-up nights and I loved him on ‘Problems’ – this one’s really a no-brainer.

Yon and his Prism of Sexy Thoughts:
I’ve been a fan of Tripod since way back when, so I am automatically excited about anything any of the guys do (‘Men of Substance’ would be on this list if I hadn’t already raced out to see it when it was on last year and it’s a sneaky number six on this list, because I recommend it a bunch). Yon getting all sexy up in the Butterfly Club’s new digs pretty much sounds like a perfect show.


Cathy Culliver is exited by…
1. Mike Birbiglia
I’m a big fan of his work through This American Life so I can’t wait to see him do his thing live.

2. Paul Foot
I saw his show last year and really, really loved it, so I’m excited to see what he does with this new show.

3. Rubberbandits
I didn’t know much about them until I interviewed Blindboy a few days ago, and he made me laugh so much that I’m now definitely going to have to check out this show.

4. Dr Professor Neal Portenza –
I actually caught this show at the Adelaide Fringe where it was showing a lot of potential, so I can’t wait to see a more polished version in Melbourne. I love it when Australian comedians have the guts to do something as original and off-beat as what Neal’s doing.

5. Abigoliah Schamaun
I caught this lady doing a story at an Adelaide performance of Darkness and Light, and she was amazing. I’m really keen to see what her stand up is like.


JAMES SHACKELL’S Top 5 Shows He’s excited about

1. Michael Workman – Ave Loretta
Back at the MICF for his third year, having won just about every comedy award this country
can bestow, Workman faces the inevitable downside of success: how to keep topping
yourself. Hopefully Ave Loretta gives us more of the same whimsical narrative and poignant
miscellany we enjoyed in Humans Are Beautiful and Mercy.

2. David O’Doherty – Seize the David O’Doherty (Carpe Do’Diem)
With his slightly dorky, last-kid-picked-for-sports-team feel and repertoire of irreverent
but infectiously funny keyboard melodies, O’Doherty has entrenched himself as a festival
favourite, packing out The Forum Theatre year after year. Become a member of Team
O’Doherty 2013 and don’t miss this one.

3. Arj Barker – Go Time
Barker’s material is as sharp as his delivery is odd. Just try not to laugh at his trademark rage-
bursts, in which the punch line of a joke is sometimes screamed at the audience as a small
vein throbs on Barker’s right temple. A festival stalwart, it’s surprising he hasn’t received the
international acclaim he’s due.

4. Joel Tito – The Trial and Death of Socrates (no relation)
Breaking away from successful comedy troupe Vigelantelope, Joel Tito promises a “darkly
euphoric narrative that is as cerebral as it is silly.” That sounds like my kind of show. It
sounds like an ambitious concept, but it’s always more fun to watch a comic shoot for the
moon, whether they hit it or not.

5. Chessmates – The Story of Kasparov and Deep Blue
The concept of a show mixing comedy and chess sounds like just the right combination
of ‘what the – ?’ and ‘why-didn’t-I-think-of-that?’ If comedy duo Skills in Time, back for their
second festival this year, can somehow make chess interesting and funny at the same time,
they’ll have pulled off something special. Check – it out.


Here’s Luke Simmons’ choice 5 pics

1. Trevor Noah’s THE RACIST at Trades Hall – New Ballroom.
If his show is anywhere near as funny as his YouTube clips, it could get chaotic.

2. UNDIAGNOSED at the The Bull and Bear Tavern.
It features Becky Lucas who is a frightfully funny comedian from QLD.

3. SET LIST: STAND UP WITHOUT A NET at the Melbourne Trades Hall.
You know that only the best-of-the-best-of-the-best are going to agree to be a part of this pressure-cooker style of comedy.

4. Michael Connell’s FIRST WORLD BLUES at Comedy On Collins.
The über contemporary subject matter tackled by one of Melbourne’s sharpest comics.

5. FREEZER BREAD by Dave Hughes at the Comedy Theatre.
This man once saved my life and I cannot get enough of his drier-than-freezer-bread style.