Top picks at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

PuddlesNow in its 29th year the Melbourne International Comedy Festival kicked off last week with a program that includes a record-breaking 559 shows taking place in 145 venues and featuring over 3,000 comedians. With so much on offer, Arts Review takes a look at 10 shows worth checking out:

Dolly Diamond: The Real Queen of Moomba
Trades Hall: 7 – 19 April
Melbourne needs a new a Moomba monarch and this lady’s been waiting impatiently in the wings for years. Comedy cabaret legend Dolly Diamond has reached that point in her life where success can no longer be measured by money alone. Only genuine adulation and a bona fide title will satisfy the beast of desire in this power-hungry diva.

Drivetime with Two Leggy Redheads
The Famous Spiegeltent: continues to 18 April
Join national treasure Rod Quantock and satirist/chicken wrangler Fiona Scott-Norman each weekend in the comfort of The Famous Spiegeltent for a chaotic and rollicking weekly guide to the Festival. Featuring interviews with performers, beloved Festival characters, hot tips, showcases, show-offs, a quiz, audience reviews, random feuds, afternoon tea and cream buns.

Gentlemen of Deceit Incognito
Trades Hall: continues to 19 April
Luke Hocking, Alex de la Rambelje and Vyom Sharma are the specialists in making people laugh and gasp at the same time, and they have complied a new array of incredible illusions to make you do just that. Using their signature blend of classy magic and quirky humour, these expert magicians will weave a web of deception to bring a touch of astonishment to your Melbourne International Comedy Festival experience.

Hannah Gadsby: Picasso and Other Problems
NGV International: 4, 11 & 18 April
Hannah is back with a brand new lecture at the NGV International. This time she is going to take a look at Pablo Picasso and the birth of modern art. It will be more fun than a weeping woman and as funny as her sideways nose! Hannah’s lectures have sold out the last six years – so book a ticket quick!

Kitty Flanagan: Seriously?
Arts Centre Melbourne: 7 – 19 April
In this brand new show, Kitty gives you the inside scoop on gravediggers, cops, Cubans and spaghetti soss. There’s advice on how to speak to doctors, some funny music from Sister Penny plus a serious attempt to quantify one of life’s biggest mysteries: “How much do old people love salt?”

Larry Paradiseo & The Fabulous Dame Farrar
Galleon Café: continues to 12 April
Carita Farrer Spencer brings together for the first time The Fabulous Dame Farrar & international sex symbol Larry Paradiseo in this hilarious world-class double act (with herself). Larry Paradiseo is a must see. Men want to be him. Women just want him. The Fabulous Dame Farrar is appalling, unpredictable, shameless… but you can’t help falling in love with this debaucherous diva.

Marney McQueen: Hair To The Throne
The Famous Spiegeltent: 14 – 19 April
Treat yourself to an unmissable full body experience as celebrity bikini waxer Rosa Waxoffski takes you on a prickly journey from her childhood in Leningrad, spills the dirt from the pages of her star-studded celebrity appointment book, and showcases her hilarious campaign to be Australia’s very first entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015.

Puddles Pity Party
The Hi-Fi Bar: continues to 12 April
A seven foot clown with a voice that soars; this is a special night out in the presence of a unique performer. Bring your tissues and get down with the clown as Puddles shares his sad, beautiful world. After a residency at Sleep No More in New York, Puddles became a YouTube hit with his cover of Lorde’s Royals, receiving over 10 million hits and praise from the artist herself for her favourite rendition of the song. Don’t miss the first Melbourne shows from this melancholy vagabond of rock cabaret with his astounding, genre-spanning repertoire of hits.

Tomás Ford: Electric Cabaret
The Tuxedo Cat: 9 – 19 April
Award-winning cabaret lunatic Tomás Ford is losing control. His computers are broken, his songs are too weird and his charisma is backfiring. The show is imploding! This is either the best party ever or a one hour nervous breakdown. Find out which.

Urzila Carlson: Poise Control
Greek Centre: continues to 19 April
As children we are taught to mind our manners, never call a fatty a fatty, or an uggo an uggo. We are scolded for our child-like honesty. As a grown up it’s important to have poise, grace and be in control of our emotions. Urzila Carlson will teach you Poise Control and how to handle difficult situations while dealing with assholes.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival continues to 19 April 2015. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Puddles Pity Party