If Laughter Is the Best Medicine, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is Basically a Vaccine

Melbourne Comedy Festival

After a year in which there often felt like there was very little to laugh about — especially in Melbourne — it is a huge relief to have the Melbourne Comedy Festival to look forward to, and in person, no less.

The festival, which will run as a COVIDSafe event, begins on March 24 and will run until April 18 and marks the first major live international comedy festival since the pandemic began.

And it’s not just good news for those who are in desperate need of a laugh (so, all of us) —  the event also means great news for the battered Victorian economy with lord mayor Sally Capp telling The Age, “This has so many benefits about building up COVID confidence, attracting people back into the city.

“It’s up to all of us to make our best efforts now to turn up to every single one of those performances, have a great time and take that positivity out into the streets of Melbourne.”

Of course, the ongoing pandemic induced travel restrictions which meant that this year’s international component will be much smaller than that of previous years and will rely mostly on virtual elements with a few exceptions. However, given the uncertainty Aussie comedians have endured over the past 12 months, it’s not the worst thing in the world to have a festival that mostly celebrates them.

Attendees will have over 300 acts to choose from over the course of the event, so we’ve narrowed down a few of the performances to check out.

You’re welcome.

Nat’s What I Reckon: On Purpose, March 26 – April 4

There’s a good chance you followed one of Nat’s hilarious Instagram cooking tutorials during lockdown, but this multi-talented comedian, author, musician and mental health advocate has been creating quality content for more than a decade.

Nat’s What I Reckon: On Purpose is an hour-long multimedia stage show and video party —  complete with audience participation, video and even an anxiety game show — as Nat shares stories and gives fans a glimpse into his off-the-wall creative process, revealing some of the hilarious inspirations behind his videos.

Buy tickets, here. 

Melbourne Comedy Festival
Instagram @nats_what_i_reckon

He Huang & Sean Diao: Crazy Broken Chinese, 26 March – 17 April

Sean and He Huang met in Melbourne in 2020 and immediately bonded over their shared background and the fact that they both “failed their parents” — their words.

The duo, who hail from different provinces of China, found stand-up comedy and Australian therapists to be quite effective in coping with the internal struggles and are excited to debut their first one-hour long stand-up comedy show in English during the 2021 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

A word of warning from the pair though,  “If you people are looking for some Crazy Rich Asian jokes, we don’t have any because we are SANE and borderline POOR”, — again, their words.

Buy tickets, here. 

Melbourne Comedy Fest

Claire Sullivan: Toast Rat, March 23 – April 4

Claire Sullivan’s Toast Rat has been described as “The Mighty Boosh meets Fleabag” so if that isn’t enough reason to snap up some tickets then I regret to inform you that you may be dead inside.

‘Nuff said.

Buy tickets, here.

Nayt Howswho

Amos Gill: The Sheeple’s Champion, March 25 – April 18

If humour that tends to get a bit (okay, quite) political is your jam, then Amos Gill’s stand-up is not to be missed. No one is safe from Gill’s acerbic insights with both left and right-wing extremists getting roasted over the course of 60 minutes. And if you’re an anti-vaxxer? Best to sit this one out.

It’s not all politics and conspiracy theories though, with this talented stand up also delving into problems with his girlfriend, old people being angry at young people for taking photos of their food and anything else that might be permeating the cultural zeitgeist.

Gill is an Aussie comedian who usually lives in America but remained Down Under after travelling here at the start of 2020. You know what happened next but at least we can categorically say that there was an upside to this whole COVID malarkey.

Buy tickets, here.

Matt Misisco

Of course, these are just a few of the hundreds of comedy acts you can see at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, with loads more to choose from at their official website.

And if you’re not a Melbourne resident, no sweat — there are plenty of virtual events you can catch without even having to put on pants. Once again, you’re welcome.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival runs from March 24 – April 18. For more information, including how the event is COVIDSafe, head to the website.

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