Protecting the laughs from ticket scalpers

MICF19 AARComedy lovers will be better protected from ticket scalpers after the Victorian Government officially declared the Australia’s biggest comedy festival as a major event.

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula was at the Comedy Theatre today with comedian Fiona O’Loughlin to remind comedy lovers to purchase tickets to the world’s best comedy shows through an authorised seller to ensure they get a fair price.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival prides itself on being accessible for everyone,” said Minister for Tourism and Major Events Martin Pakula. “By declaring the Festival as a major event, we’re making sure all comedy lovers can access tickets at a fair price.”

“Major events, such as the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, are hugely important to our visitor economy, helping to drive Melbourne’s international positioning and profile, tourism, branding and business links.”

From its humble beginning in 1987, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is now the third largest comedy festival in the world attracting up to 77,000 people, making it Australia’s largest cultural ticketed event.

This is the first time the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been declared a major event. The Victorian Government is cracking down on ticket scalpers to give sports fans, theatre goers and comedy lovers a fair go at getting tickets for the many events on Victoria’s renowned events calendar.

While the internet has made it easier for people to obtain tickets, it has also encouraged a thriving resale market. Under the legislation, tickets to a declared major event cannot be advertised for resale or resold for more than 10 per cent above the original value.

New authorised ticketing officers will support Victoria Police in enforcing the new law and prosecuting ticket scalpers. Penalties can range from $806 up to $483,500 depending on the nature of the offences. Major events are crucial to the state’s economy, generating around $1.8 billion each year and bringing visitors from across Australia and around the world to Victoria.

“I am delighted that Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been declared a Major Event,” said Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Festival Director, Susan Provan AO. “Ticket resale has been a growing problem for our audiences and artists with patrons inadvertently purchasing tickets for greatly inflated prices.”

“This endorsement will ensure that Melbourne International Comedy Festival remains one of Victoria’s most affordable events, and gives our audiences confidence that they are purchasing tickets from the primary source – for the right price.”

The 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival runs 27 March – 21 April. For more information, visit: For more information about the ticket scalping legislation, visit for details.