Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2024 Top Picks

AAR-MICF-Melbourne-Town-Hall-photo-by-Nick-RobertsonWith more than 600 shows taking over 150 venues, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival will reach even more people across the city and the suburbs in 2024.

With performances spanning stand-up, cabaret, circus and more, there’s something to tickle everyone’s funny bone. With so much on offer, Australian Arts Review takes a look at 16 shows worth checking out!

Tuck Shop Ladies Rosie Burgess and Sam LohsA Day In The Life of A Lesbian Bank Robber
The Butterfly Club: 5 – 14 April
Some people dress casual, some dress glam. For the Tuck Shop Ladies it happens to be Lesbian Bank Robber Black. And although they’re both firmly against thievery, in this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival they may very well just steal your hearts. Ever wondered why Darth Vader didn’t want to get to know Leia? And why you never see dogs step in dog poo? Armed with a pair of ukuleles and the quickest of wits, these are just a few of the questions the Tuck Shop Ladies will address in their ever so casual, oh so harmonious show.

MICF 2024 Reuben Kaye ApocalipstikAPOCALIPSTIK
Malthouse Theatre: 28 March – 21 April
Loud, politically active, queer, brash – multi-award-winning, Australian comedian, singer and writer Reuben Kaye returns to Malthouse with this brand-new epic work APOCALIPSTIK.  Part eulogy, part elegy, part Eastern Bloc Dog Day Afternoon, this scandalous story of Reuben’s scoundrel Uncle springboards into a cabaret that crosses continents, generations and the political spectrum of the 20th?century. Musical direction & arrangements by Shanon D. Whitelock.

Barry PotterBarry Potter and the Magic of Wizardry
Elephant and Wheelbarrow Melbourne: 28 March – 21 April
From Tim Motley, winner of 20 Fringe festival awards and creator of Dirk Darrow… Experience the wonder of world-class wizardry in a realm of messenger owls, robed wizards and flying broomsticks!  Marvel at mind blowing mysteries with cauldrons, goblets and talking snakes. Witness feats of sorcery in person, as a grown-up wizard delves into an untold story. Also, there are jokes!

MICF24 Lauren Edwards Brace Yourself editorialBrace Yourself
Malthouse Theatre: 28 March – 7 April
Directed by Claire Hooper, Brace Yourself hilariously chronicles Lauren Edwards’ journey from plucky Brisbane back brace girl to entitled theme park employee to Crazy Candle Lady and all the fleshy bits in between. From entering her orca era to navigating the challenges of a tragically ageing millennial body, Lauren’s new hour picks apart a life less lumbar with her signature pithy observations, relatable charm and ergonomically-friendly comedy.

MICF 2024 Matt BellDead To Me: A Comedy Ghost Tour
Melbourne Town Hall Corner: 27 March – 7 April
Join comedian and confirmed bachelor Matt Bell for a walking ghost tour through Melbourne’s storied streets and fabled haunts, where you will encounter terrifying tales inspired by single life. Steeped in seductive mysteries and foiled fairytales, Matt brings to life a host of hellish suiters of the past. Get the gory details about the horrors of running into exes on the street, being literally ghosted and having dates miraculously return from the dead.

Club Voltaire: 29 March – 12 April
JD Zamora has a “Fear Of Missing Out” on being, trying – and above all, doing – the whole buffet of life’s options. Blessed with an insatiable appetite for ALL the things, “too much” is never quite enough for this Maori, mixed-race, multilingual, queer, adopted, immigrant, neuro- divergent, disabled, ex-religious, geriatric millennial country boy. Join the “ultimate diversity hire” with more intersections than a major highway junction as he muses upon the merits of membership within the majority of minorities in this magnificently madcap multimedia mélange.

MICF23-AAR-Sweeney-Preston-&-Ethan-CavanaghIn Pour Taste: A Comedy Wine Tasting Experience
ReWine CBD: 31 march – 21 April
In an experience that could only be described as “goon bag in quantity, champagne in quality” – comedians Sweeney Preston and Ethan Cavanagh will be joined by wine expert Jordan Veltheer as they guide you through five wines and at least five jokes. Taking place at Melbourne’s home of sustainable bottling, ReWine CBD, this sumptuous hour of booze and buffoonery will have an emphasis on environmentally friendly vinos for those who prefer their grape juice guilt-free. Everyone from worldly wine wankers to clueless chardonnay chuggers will find something to make their glass half full, as all the wine industry’s most hard-hitting questions are answered.

MICF24-Chris-Demos-Legs-in-the-PoolLegs in the Pool
Tasma Terrace: 27 March – 7 April
Comedian Chris Demos is finally ready to get wet! But what does Legs in the Pool mean? You know when you’re at a pool but you don’t have your bathers so you just dip your legs in?  Maybe the pool is a metaphor for the idea of never being ready and constantly waiting. Waiting to get a job, waiting to move out, waiting to come out, waiting to admit that the only thing you want to drink year-round is iced lattes (same as coming out). In short, it’s about growing up with one leg in the closet and the other in the pool. The show features story-based stand-up and sketches highlighting the brilliant but useless skills honed over years of hovering poolside waiting to dive in.

MICF2024 Little Squirt Darby JamesLittle Squirt
Malthouse Theatre: 28 March – 21 April
Little Squirt is the award-winning comedy cabaret about the process of sperm donation, featuring all original songs by musical comedian, Darby James. After clicking a Facebook ad in Melbourne’s final lockdown, he sets sail across the seas of queer existential mayhem. written and performed by Darby James with direction and dramaturgy by Casey Gould, Little Squirt (previously Spunk Daddy) explores the absurdities of clinical procreation and considers his choices of potential future parenthood.

AAR MICF24 Pass the ParcellPass the Parcel
Tasma Terrace: 27 March – 7 April
Bringing absurdity and mirth in their first collaboration together, for 12 frolicsome nights, audience members are invited to play together, as much as they are comfortable to do so, while Meg Taranto and Elliot Wood clownishly facilitate a party world around them. Pass the Parcel is an investigation of fun, power, the fun of power and the power of fun. The fun that many of us cut our teeth on, and have searched for ever since.

AAR-MICF2024-Raise-the-BraRaise the Bra
Queen Victoria Women’s Centre: 28 march – 6 April
Raise the Bar Comedy proudly presents Raise the Bra – a unique show featuring top women and non-binary comics from the Festival. Come down to Queen Vic Women’s Centre in the heart of the CBD and enjoy a night of big laughs in a warm, vibrant environment! With incredible comics each night, the line-up will include He Huang (Australia’s Got Talent), Sashi Perera (Nominee Best Comedy), Jenny Tian (viral sensation and comedienne extraordinaire), Janty Blair (Winner – Deadly Funny 2022) and Sonia Di Iorio (The Project) amongst others.

MICF24 Tory Kendrick Somebody to LoveSomebody to Love
The Motley Bauhaus: 6 – 10 April
Perth born and raised, Tory Kendrick, delved into the depths of the modern dating scene and has found that finding Somebody to Love is quite a lot like going through the five stages of grief over and over and over again. Join Tory in an hilarious evening, as she takes you through each stage with your favourite showtunes perfectly encapsulating those questionable dating moments we all know and love. Audiences in Perth and Adelaide couldn’t get enough of Tory’s charm and wit. Now it’s time for her to take on Melbourne!

Thalia Joan That'll Do The Glamour of Giving upThat’ll Do: The Glamour of Giving up
The Dove Club: 27 March – 14 April
She’s back, hopelessly devoted and emotionally damp, Thalia Joan invites her audiences to feel as though they are joining her on a fun night out whilst taking a deep comical dive on her thoughts on society, femininity and everything in between. With a feel good approach to comedy and a mission to ensure the audience is left feeling a sense of exhale in a world of inhale, Thalia Joan ensures you are captivated from start to finish whether it be a relatable or polar opposite cringe moment.

MICF 2024 Sexy ApeThat’s One Damn Sexy Ape
La Mama Courthouse: 16 – 21 April
Bubo is a proud, strong and stoic gorilla. He is the pride of the zoo. Its main attraction. Visitors come in waves to gaze upon his majesty and mystic. But when a series of chilling events tarnish his unblemished reputation, drastic measures must be used to win back the public’s favour. With a sultry new ad campaign and a cast of over-the-top characters, hilarity ensues as Bubo is pushed and pulled into an arena he is not only ill-equipped for, but one that he never imagined he would shine so bright in.

MICF 2024 Geraldine Quinn The Passion of Saint NicholasThe Passion of Saint Nicholas
Malthouse Theatre: 28 March – 7 April
“If these young people stick together, they could really make a go of an arts career” Thus spoke a long-forgotten judge of the epoch-making 1991 St John’s Regional College, Dandenong Talent Quest, when Geraldine Quinn and her brother Nicholas took first place. All through high school, Gerry and Nick shared a passion for music – two competitive siblings with one teenage dream of playing stadiums all around the world! That 1991 trophy was the validation of their hopes! The beginning of two glittering careers… The Passion of Saint Nicholas is a rock cabaret about following your heart, the friction of divergent paths and keeping the band together when you lose your biggest cheerleader.

Circus-Oz-Smash-It-photo-by-Ben-CappSmash It!
Fairfax Studio – Arts Centre Melbourne: 28 March – 21 April
An irreverent medley of apparently impossible things as acrobats, tumblers, flying, tight rope and slack wire conjure their way into the not-so-everyday world. Parklife, picnics, faux-antiquity and de-civilisation morph into life and spectacularly disintegrate. A new inter-generational troupe of spandex nymphs populates the cracked open world of circus past and present. Smash it! is Circus Oz as unbelievable as ever, stripped back, tent-less, dauntless and daring. An ensemble of seven circus artists and three musicians blast, rip, smash, fly and tumble into a remarkable present where sexagenarians, millennials and Gen Z’s unite in chaotic and hilarious harmony.

The 2024 Melbourne International Comedy Festival runs from 27 March to 21 April. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: Melbourne International Comedy Festival at Melbourne Town Hall – photo by Nick Robertson