We ♥ Comedy

By Noel Kelso

The Imperial Hotel is a hub for Melbourne comedians throughout the year and one of the regular comedy nights is We ♥ Comedy. Compered by the witty and acerbic Victoria Healy this is a showcase of the finest talents in Melbourne stand-up, improve and sketch, and provides laughs to the people of the city year-round.

Comics such as Celia Pacquola and Simon Keck have performed there in the past along with sketch duo Girls Uninterrupted and king of improv Jimmy James Eaton. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival allows the room to showcase a diverse range of acts which may not otherwise be available to them at other times of the year. Thus it was that last night the line-up consisted of improv from Rebecca de Unamuno, stand-up from Bart Freebairn and sketch comedy from The Lords Of Luxury.

De Unamuno began her set with some very funny gags related to dating and how she believes that some people just stay in relationships for far too long before interacting with the audience to discover how they have fared in love. Latching onto one couple in the front row she asks them a series of questions about their relationship and how they see one another before launching into an improvised and hilarious Shakespearean sketch based around the information she has just been given. This is a skilled improvisational comedian able to adapt to her situation and still bring forth strong laughs from the audience.

Second on that night’s bill was comic Bart Freebairn whose delightfully whimsical delivery style is easy to engage with as he talks about wanting to be a dinosaur when he was a child, dreams, scallops and universal knowledge. The very fact that he can say any of this and not leave the audience confused, but laughing loudly is testament to his comic timing and delivery.

The last act on the bill were Lords Of Luxury whose sketch comedy was hilarious and strange with ad libs from various team members added an element of anarchy to the proceedings. Their sketches about one of the members being dumped by his girlfriend and the predicament faced by a Private Investigator held captive by the Mob were inventive and funny and kept the audience laughing throughout. There was a sequence involving a water pistol which dragged on for far too long, yet just became funnier and funnier with each passing second. These are comics who know how to play a room and can milk every last line for maximum laughter.

As a host, Healy is a total pro, warming her audience up for the acts with her charm and delivering laughs with practised ease.

We ♥ Comedy is on at the Imperial Hotel until April 8

Squirrels Top 5 Picks of the Festival

Well the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival is winding down this weekend.

We no longer hand out awards, because it is just too difficult for us to see everything, or even see the same shows as each other. Instead most of the Squirrels have picked their Top 5 shows. If they are still running we recommend that you might like to see some of them this weekend. It was really hard to narrow it down to only five.

Of course the festival isn’t over yet and we may see something that changes our list but we wanted to put this up before the festival was over so you could gain from our recommendations.

You’ll notice a few of the names crop up more than once. Some sold out shows are putting on extra performances in the final weekend like the play Choir Girl that had finished its run of three performances, but has added one on Sunday afternoon.

Check out the Melbourne International Comedy Festival website for details and keep festivalling ’til you drop!!

Lisa Clark 

Hannah Gadsby – Happiness is a Bedside Table

Dave Bloustien – The Grand Gignol

The Writers

Luke McGregor – My Soulmate is Out of My League

Sammy J – Potentially


Caitlin Crowley

Luke McGregor – My Soulmate is Out of My League

Hannah Gadsby – Happiness is a Bedside Table

Michael Workman – Ave Loretta

Best Comics Worst Gigs

Dave O’Neil – 33 Things I Should Have Said No To



Cathy Culliver 

Dayne Rathbone – It’s Me Dayne

Luke McGregor – My Soulmate is Out of My League

Simon Keck – Nob Happy Sock

Dr Professor Neal Portenza

Ryan Coffey – Late & Loud


Colin Flaherty 

Fabian Lapham & The Actual Musicans:God Fights the Dinosaurs & 9 Other Stories That Will Awesome You in the Face.

Simon Keck – Nob Happy Sock

Set List

Choir Girl – Sarah Collins

David Quirk – Shaking Hands with danger


Elyce Phillips 

Lessons with Luis – Famoucity!

Lords of Luxury

Sam Simmons – Shitty Trivia

Lawrence Leung’s Part-time Detective Agency

Mike Birbiglia – My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend


Luke Simmons 

Khaled Khalafalla – Devious

Brendon Walsh

Bev Killick – Goes “There”…Again

Daniel Connell – Mr Personality 1988

Trevor Noah – The Racist


2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival finishes on Sunday 21st of April

The Lords of Luxury

By Elyce Phillips

4-piece sketch group Lords of Luxury successfully made the transition from podcasts to live performance last year.  Now they have honed their stage skills and give us this silly, weird and very shouty offering.

The Lords (Paul Verhoeven, Luke Ryan, Dan Debuf and Matt Saracini) attack their hour with infectious manic enthusiasm.  Their constant excitement floods the venue and you can’t help but get swept up in it. The atmosphere they create is fantastic. From the moment a snaggletoothed robot introduced the gents, the audience was on board. Sections involving audience participation were handled deftly. There was not a dull moment to be found.

The sketches are diverse and often absurd.  The Lords whip from the Titanic, to a film production office, to a magic show. The pace does not let up. Though all the sketches hit the mark, by far the highlight of the evening was the dramatic recreation of a sci-fi/action/romance/adventure story, written by Ryan when he was 14. Verhoeven’s turn as a wavy-haired, angular-featured alien beauty is quite possibly the funniest thing I’ve seen this month.

The Lords, though all great performers in their own right, are at their best as a team. They look like they’re genuinely having a great time messing around up on stage and it really adds to energy of the sketches. There’s just something so wonderful about seeing grown men in tuxedos being utterly ridiculous. It’s an absolute joy to watch these guys do their thing.

I highly recommend Lords of Luxury. The show is downright bizarre and tear-enducingly funny.  In what is proving to be an excellent year for sketch comedy, the Lords of Luxury are right up there with the best of them. It’s worth the price of admission to see the alien nightclub scene alone. Consider the rest a hilarious bonus.

Lords of Luxury is showing in the Bookroom at Trades Hall until April 20.