By Lisa Clark & Colin Flaherty

The 2017 Melbourne International Comedy Festival is back bigger than ever and the Squirrels are here to help you chose which shows to spend your money and time on. There are shows that we have already seen and also some intriguing shows that have piqued our interest.


A number of MICF shows have run prior to the festival and we have already reviewed some of these. We’ll give the usual disclaimer that Festival shows are ever evolving beasts, so the show’s we have covered may have undergone changes (hopefully for the better!) since we saw them.

Alanta Colley Parasites Lost

Alanta Colley
Alanta Colley

Lisa reviewed her at the 2016 Melbourne Fringe:

You can book at

Ali McGregor’s Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night

This is Lisa’s review from last year:

Book your tickets at


Here’s Colin’s review from the 2016 Melbourne Fringe:

Booking details are at

Cindy Salmon’s Empowerment Hour by Hayley Tantau

Cindy Salmon

Here’s Elyce’s review at the 2016 Meloburne Fringe:

Booking details are at


Read Colin’s review from the 2016 Melbourne Fringe:

Bookings details can be found at

Gabe Hogan:  Making Life a Double

Lisa’s review from the 2016 Melbourne Fringe is at

Bookings details are at

Isabel Angus Presents Bliss

Here’s Lisa’s review of the 2016 Melbourne Fringe performance:

Bookings can be made at

Late Night Letters and Numbers

This late night show was reviewed in 2013 by Lisa:

Booking details can be found at

Mighty Little Puppet Show 

Mighty Little Puppet Show
Mighty Little Puppet Show

The 2016 MICF show was reviewed by Lisa is:

Book your tickets at

Political Asylum 

A now annual fixture of MICF, Elice’s review is here:

Bookings can be made at

Soothsayers: Completely Improvised Shakespeare

Lisa’s review from the 2015 Melbourne Fringe is here”

Booking details are at


The Bugle Live

This is the first ever live version of Andy Zaltzman’s podcast. It promises live guests, people on screens, freshly-hewn satire, lies, puns and high-grade bullshit. Sounds like tonnes of fun. (You can see his own standup show too, sold separately)


Daniel Kitson… 

Daniel Kitson

The last time Daniel performed here in 2015 it was with his astonishing, gorgeous, experimental play Polyphony. It involved 20 pre-recorded characters (played by actors and comedians) on MP3players being played by audience members. I was lucky enough to see it towards the end of the run, on a night when it all ran beautifully and it blew my mind. If audience participation was the comedy trend, Daniel fashioned it into couture art. We’ve missed out on a lot of his finished shows in Melbourne over the past ten years but he’s making up for it by giving us Three types of Kitson, including a filmed show we never got to see.

1. Stories For The Starlit Sky with Gavin Osbourne

Actually 3 plays in one (of his 3 shows). It will be long, why not bring a packed lunch? 3 of his delightful heartwarming and funny stories from Daniel with Gavin on the Guitar.

Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne – 2nd to 23rd April
(Various Dates and Times)

2. Not Yet But Soon – A Work in Progress Stand up Show.

Well its another work in Progress, but having done it in Sydney before Melbourne it should be fairly well formed. An hour and a half, but knowing Daniel probably longer. Its mostly on late too, 10 pm so have a little nap during the day.

Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne – March 30th to April 16th  (Various dates and times)-

3. It’s Always Right Now Until It’s Later –  On Film

A 7 year old show we never got to see in Australia, but here it is preserved forever on film and Daniel will be there to introduce it.

 Palace Westgarth Northcote – April 18th, 19th  – 7pm


A comedy night for charity produced by our own Erin Davidson and we can promise you she has organised a cracker of a lineup. Names she cannot name, but some of the top names in Australian comedy and this may be the only place during the festival you get to see some of them. Also you get to laugh for a good cause.

Josh Earl's Festival
Josh Earl’s Festival

Josh Earl & Daniel Tobias: Josh Earl’s Festival   

Josh has hooked up with Daniel from Die Roten Punkte and they promise famous guest stars in this mini comedy music festival. I’ve had a bit of a taste of this one and it has got my mouth watering for more.

Michael Williams: Escape from a 90s Educational CD-ROM!

One of the recipients of this year’s Moosehead Grants, you can always be rely upon Williams to present an inventive and hilarious show. Last year he was one of our favourites, with the added Moosehead creative seal of approval, this is sure to be a doozy!


Sammy J: Hero Complex 

Sammy J Hero Complex
Sammy J Hero Complex

Hero Complex was the Talk of Melbourne Fringe and the talk was: “Have you Seen it? You HAVE TO SEE IT!!!” We were so glad we did. It won Best Comedy Show at Melbourne Fringe 2016 and has just won the first Weekly Award for comedy at Adelaide Fringe 2017. It is side achingly hilarious, and face hurtingly joyous. It’s better to go in knowing as little as possible; yes it is about Sammy J’s love for The Phantom but also about much, much more.


A Visit With Nan In A Caravan

Five audience members ­– in one caravan ­– with three spiteful old grannies ­– for 15 minutes. These terrifying characters by Thomas Jaspers, Kyle Minall and Scott Brennan will be more so in such close quarters and sure to be hilarious.


Watson: Go To Hell!

After scaring the stuffing out of laughing audiences at the Old Melbourne Gaol during the 2015 Melbourne Fringe, Watson (Adam McKenzie, Liam Ryan and Tegan Higginbotham) return with a show of frights and laughs. Another Moosehead recipent so expectations are high.


View the entire Comedy Festival program at, so get out and start booking tickets!


Gabe Hogan – Making Life a Double

By Lisa Clark gabe-hogan-pic

Gabe Hogan is a good old fashioned personal story telling comedian of the best kind. No bells or whistles, just entertaining personal stories liberally sprinkled with great jokes to keep the audience laughing throughout.

The audience is welcomed to the intimate space by Gabe’s warm up guy who we later found out was David Tulk. Warm and friendly, he chatted to the crowd and told some jokes, but if he’s not going to do her tech, Gabe doesn’t really need him. Gabe is very capable at carrying a show on her own and if she’s worried it may be a bit short; as I always say – a shorter festival show is better than a longer one.

There is a lot to unpack from Gabe’s midlife crisis, leaving an unhappy, long term relationship and finding herself single in a share house with three less-than house-trained, crazy artistic blokes while trying to make it on the Melbourne comedy scene. She has some rather hair-raising and hilarious tales about scary people she meets at gigs and is also able to find the funny side of modern dating without the easy clichéd tinder jokes.

There were a few things against this show working on the night I was there; her entire family in the audience making unnecessary interjections and cramping her style somewhat, a tiny squashed venue with a spotlight attached to the back of the door which meant that anyone leaving or entering the room couldn’t help but distract from the show, inadequate tech (no room for a techie anyway) so that the room is lit too brightly and Gabe has to fiddle with the house music herself. But impressively Gabe sailed above all of this like a trooper who has put up with a lot of crap at all sorts of gigs and can now deal well with anything thrown at her and keep the audience captivated. Brava!

Gabe has gained confidence in her stand up over the past couple of years. When I saw her effortlessly host a fairly small comedy night one evening I was impressed and it made me seek her out elsewhere. Gabe Hogan is definitely on her way to better things.

Gabe Hogan performs Making Life a Double at The Courthouse Hotel Sept 15 – 23


3 States of Comedy

By Hannah Frazer3 States of Comedy

The fight between Melbourne and Sydney for best Aussie city is definitely one for the ages. But Geoff Setty, Gabe Hogan and Evan Hocking have amped things up a notch, by fighting for the Title of Best State. Who will take out the honour? And who will admit defeat?

Splitting the show into 3 stand up sets, each comedian getting a chance to show case their goods. Starting the night off was Hogan representing NSW. A cheeky and immediately likeable dog groomer by day, joke teller by night, she hit the night off running with some great one liners and personal anecdotes. While some of her jokes may fall short of a laugh, they are well constructed. With nerves showing a little, she still had a great handle over the audience.

Setty playing for his home state of WA takes you in to slightly darker territory with his material, shooting out some great ones liners, one after another, he is daring and bold with his material. He has a great commanding and confident presence. You feel like even though a few of his jokes slightly miss the mark with some of the audience, this is someone defiantly on the up and up.

Finally Hocking bringing it home for Victoria. Self-deprecating and relatable. Hocking tells stories of his childhood and relationships with his family in a well-constructed and well-rounded set. Hocking’s friendly and down to earth persona making him a hit with the audience.  The laughs come from deep in the belly with this guy.

Although these 3 aren’t big names in the game just yet, they are what will get you excited about the future of Aussie comedy. By the end you don’t really mind who takes out the title. Spending the evening with these kind and funny humans, let’s be honest, everyone goes home a winner.

3 States of Comedy is on at the Downstairs Lounge of the Grand Mecure Hotel until April 19

5 Good Reasons to see 3 States of Comedy.

1. Offering 3 different comedians from 3 different States with 3 Different styles. 3 States of Comedy is an ideal way to start your evening at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Gabe Hogan offers her unique point of view, former footballer Evan Hocking gives an insight into his family life growing up and Geoff Setty’s jokes hit you right between the eyes with rapid fire punchlines and concepts.

2. 3 States of Comedy is like a delicious three course meal served up for your senses. And if you don’t like one course, the next one comes along in just fifteen minutes.

3. At the start time of 6PM, this is a great way to get your comedy juices flowing before checking out your recognised favourites and international acts. This twenty seat room offers an intimate setting to see these three fight out this Comedy “State of Origin”.

4. Evan needs to find another way to get the adrenaline flowing since his footy career went down the tubes. Hopefully his body can hold up to the rigours of 12 action packed shows in 13 nights. Recovery is going to be the key.

5. It’s an hour out of your life and well worth the punt and if they don’t get a decent crowd their families will keep asking if they’re ever going to get over “this comedy thing”, or are they going to get ‘real jobs’.

3 States of Comedy is on at The Downstairs Lounge @ The Grand Mercure Hotel

For Bookings and information check the MICF website