Published on February 2nd, 2024 | by Adrian Gunning
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON! ONLY 8 WEEKS UNTIL THE MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL HITS TOWN
The 2024 Melbourne International Comedy Festival will officially kick off on 27 March – taking over more than 160 venues and performance spaces and creating a buzz like no other on the streets and in the restaurants and bars of Melbourne.
With more and more shows on sale each week – there’s something for everyone. The first big weekend of the three-and-a-half-week Festival coincides with Easter, giving everyone the perfect long weekend excuse to deep dive into all the best shows at preview prices.
More International comedians have been added to the program including; Indian superstar Kanan Gill; doctor turned BAFTA-winning comedian Adam Kay (UK); the only comedian to have ever won the Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Show and Best Newcomer back to back – John Kearns (UK); Norwegian clown and winner of 2023 Britain’s Got Talent Viggo Venn; double Edinburgh Award nominee Darren Harriot (UK); Russian born Edinburgh Best Newcomer nominee Olga Koch; South African Schalk Bezuidenhout; punchline spinning Connor Burns (SCO); newcomer Shane Daniel Byrne (IRE); Edinburgh Best Newcomer 2023 winner Urooj Ashfaq (India); and off the back of his Amazon Prime special, India’s Anirban Dasgupta. Identical twin comedy duo The Lucas Bros (USA), return to Melbourne with their season debut, on sale soon.
Returning to the Festival after a few years are; Rose Matafeo (NZ) fresh from three seasons of her TV hit Starstruck; Ed Byrne (IRE); plus UK’s Sarah Keyworth and Irish comic Catherine Bohart return with their new shows.
They join another 90 international performers already announced and on-sale including: Atsuko Okatsuka (USA), David O’Doherty (IRE), Fern Brady (UK), Larry Dean (UK), Chloe Petts (UK), Rob Auton (UK), Julia Masli (Estonia), Lara Ricote (Mexico), John Hastings (CAN), Takashi Wakasugi (JPN), Vivek Mahbubani (HK), Dr Jason Leong (Malaysia), plus New Zealanders Chris Parker, Guy Montgomery, Guy Williams, Melanie Bracewell, Ray O’Leary, Urzila Carlson and many more from all over the world.
Raising the bar on the local side is our own internationally renowned Hannah Gadsby; plus star of the upcoming Australian reboot of The Office Felicity Ward; Emmy nominated, Josh Thomas; Edinburgh Comedy Award and UK Taskmaster winner Sam Campbell; and our favourite second-generation Greek Australian Effie returns to her roots at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
Plus there’s Christie Whelan Browne in Brittany Spears the Musical, Tim Minchin’s Groundhog Day the Musical and Ali McGregor‘s Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night – which always brings the biggest comedy acts, the sexiest burlesque, heart-stopping cabaret and the most jaw-dropping circus acts together for late night shenanigans.
Proving the Festival is not just stand-up and cabaret – a host of talks, theatre and podcasts have been added to the program including; cookbook author, political correspondent and podcaster Annabel Crabb who will reveal 50 things she’s learned over 50 years; much-loved podcast Bang on Live with Myf Warhurst and Zan Rowe, recording one special episode; and an in-conversation with Fern Brady on her recent book Strong Female Character at The Wheeler Centre.
Other local acts announced and on-sale already include: Aaron Chen, Aboriginal Comedy Allstars, Anne Edmonds, Akmal, Bron Lewis, Bronwyn Kuss, Cameron James, Celia Pacquola, Claire Hooper, Damien Power, Dane Simpson, Daniel Connell, Dave Thornton, Dave Hughes, Emma Holland, Jenny Tian, Jimeoin, Joel Creasey, Kirsty Webeck, Lizzy Hoo, Luke Heggie, Mel Buttle, Nath Valvo, Nazeem Hussain, Nina Oyama, Rhys Nicholson, Tom Ballard, Tom Gleeson, Tommy Little, Wil Anderson, Zoë Coombs Marr and many more.
With The Gala, proudly supporting Oxfam, and the Opening Night Comedy Allstars Supershow already sold out, book now for the other flagship events featuring star-studded line ups – The 34th Annual Great Debate and Upfront, a night of stereotype-smashing comedy as the funniest and boldest female and non-binary artists take to the stage.
The national grand finals for our Festival development programs are always a great way to support new talent and an excellent opportunity to see the next big thing. This year, the Deadly Funny National Grand Final will be hosted by Andy Saunders and the Class Clowns National Grand Final by Bron Lewis. After more than 60 events around the country, RAW Comedy will reveal the national winner for 2024.
The Festival’s Neighbourhood Sessions will also venture back to the ‘burbs for a fourth year, with shows in Essendon, Caroline Springs, Williamstown, Moorabbin and Werribee.
I know we’ve hit two pages, but this is just the tip of the iceberg – there are so many more shows and events already on sale. For up-to-date information and tickets please visit comedyfestival.com.au.