Melbourne Comedy Festival announces first batch of artists

MCF_Wil Anderson_editorialIt’s the most wonderful time of the year…and we’re not talking about Christmas. The 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival is just around the corner and the first big batch of names is out of the bag featuring a line-up of local favourites and newcomers, international stars, popular returns and some exciting Australian premieres.

Iconic buildings, venues, bars and clubs sprawling across Melbourne will play host to some of the funniest comics on the planet. International superstars flying in include the critically acclaimed cranky Yank and 2013 Barry Award winner Rich Hall (USA); and Irish megastar Jason Byrne (IRE) celebrates his 20th year of performing with more frenetic lunacy than ever before.

Everyone’s favourite Californian funny man Arj Barker (USA) is back following a hiatus from last year’s Festival; and legendary writer, comedian, tv star and documentary-maker Ruby Wax (USA/UK) returns after an inaugural sell-out season in 2013.

Other acts with an accent include Saturday Night Live star Michael Che (USA); Miranda Sings (USA); Mike Wilmot (CAN); Urzila Carlson (SA/NZ); Neil Hamburger (USA); Deanne Smith (CAN); and a trifle of British talent includes Paul Foot (UK); James Acaster (UK); Sara Pascoe (UK); Luisa Omielan (UK); Stephen K Amos (UK); Josie Long (UK); Nina Conti (UK); Milton Jones (UK); Mark Watson (UK); and this year’s Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award Winner John Kearns (UK) is back with more unadulterated absurdity.

Australian names stepping out of our TV screens and onto the stage include Wil Anderson celebrating his 20th year at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival; 2014 Directors’ Choice Award winner Ronny Chieng; Dave Hughes returns following a mammoth tour across Australia; Adam Hills takes a break from the UK for a Melbourne exclusive premiere of his new show; and after terrific success in 2013 when she partnered up with fellow funny lady Denise Scott, Judith Lucy is back in 2015 with a brand new solo show.

Also ready to satisfy those looking for some home grown talent are triple j’s Matt Okine; Nazeem Hussain; Fiona O’Loughlin; Rhys Nicholson; Claire Hooper; Nick Cody and 2015 Moosehead Recipient David Quirk; coveted Foster’s Comedy Award Nominees Sam Simmons and Steen Raskopoulos return after huge success at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The 2015 Melbourne Comedy Festival runs 25 March – 19 April. The Gala, proudly supporting Oxfam is now sold out with tickets to the Opening Night Comedy Allstars Supershow still available.

Some shows are now on sale, with the full program to be revealed in February. For more information, visit: comedyfestival.com.au for details.

Image: Wil Anderson

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