MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL LAUNCHES THE FUNNIEST THREE AND A BIT WEEKS OF THE YEAR

by | Mar 26, 2024

From 27 March – 21 April, more than 800 performers will take part in the biggest comedy festival in the world – with over 650 shows and more than 7,800 individual performances across 185 stages in 133 venues.

Affirming its place as one of the world’s biggest and most loved comedy festivals, 2023 marked the highest ticket sales ever for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival – with record-breaking box office and an attendance of 735,857.

An open access Festival, more than 800 comedians from around Australia descend on Melbourne to make audiences laugh, connect, feel and contemplate. More than 100 international artists will perform too – from rising stars of the international circuit to established comedians at the top of their game, there’s a true melting pot of laughs to be had.

The City of Melbourne comes alive with queues to laugh curling around city blocks. There is also much to be seen in the suburbs including Motley Bauhaus and long-standing Carlton icon La Mama in the north, and on the south-side, Chapel Off Chapel and Theatreworks – all become mini hubs of hilarity and entertainment. Further afield, Neighborhood Sessions bring hand-picked line-ups to Moorabbin, Werribee and Williamstown. Then directly following the Festival, the Roadshow tours nationally visiting over 80 locations.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival Director Susan Provan AO, said, “The world’s biggest comedy festival is here and we couldn’t be happier. We’re ready for giggles, surprises and brilliant ideas. Hundreds of venue staff are swinging into action to support all our Australian and visiting faves and Melbourne’s bars and cafes are ready to make sure everyone is fed and watered. It’s the best time of year in our beloved city”.

Minister for Creative Industries Colin Brooks, said, “The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is not only an iconic major event for our state, it’s one of the top global comedy events – attracting the best and funniest comedians and nurturing our own comedy stars.

“The Victorian Government proudly backs this festival because it’s fun, it’s a massive platform for our local talent and it stimulates business, visitation and big laughs across the city. There’s no better time to be in Melbourne.”

Lord Mayor Sally Capp, said, “We are thrilled to welcome the Melbourne International Comedy Festival back for 2024 – and after a record-breaking 2023 festival, we are predicting big crowds, a big injection into our economy and even bigger laughs.

“Melbourne is at its best when it’s full of people, and the comedy festival draws hundreds of thousands of cheery punters into venues across the city, creating the inimitable Melbourne vibe, supporting traders and upholding our title as the events capital of Australia.”

It’s impossible to summarise a program of over 650 shows, encompassing stand-up, cabaret, sketch, circus and more, but here it goes!

See award-winning comedians including, Sam Campbell, Zoë Coombs Marr, Nina Conti (UK), Hannah Gadsby, Aaron Chen, Geraldine Hickey, John Kearns (UK), Rose Matafeo (NZ), Rhys Nicholson, David O’Doherty (IRE), Lara Ricote (MEX), Sam Simmons and last year’s Melbourne Comedy Festival award winner Gillian Cosgriff.

The most exciting breakthrough names include Edinburgh Fringe Best Newcomer winner Urooj Ashfaq (IND), and the latest new talent from the UK – Josh Jones, Dan Tiernan, Celya AB and Chloe Petts. Comedy Zoners Henry Yan, Frankie Rowsthorn, Meg Jäger, Rapha Manajem and William Wang, plus Bridget Hassed, Nat Harris and Breast of the Fest’s 2024 line-up Patti Fawcett, Helena Hogan, Tarsh Jago, Montana Papadinis, Bell Woolley, Grace Zhang and Sez, are just some of our local emerging talent on offer.

 Australian favourites include Wil Anderson, Tom Gleeson, Celia Pacquola, Luke Heggie, Nazeem Hussain, Reuben Kaye, Tommy Little, Nina Oyama, Josh Thomas, Nath Valvo, Felicity Ward and so many more.

The whole family can laugh together too, as Melbourne International Comedy Festival presents its mega kids and family program which kicks off on Good Friday with The (Very) Big Laugh Out – a  FREE family-friendly event from 1.30 to 5pm on the Fed Square Main Stage, jam-packed with Festival favourites and the best stand-up, physical and musical comedy performers in town; plus there’s Comedy Club for Kids; the return of Sean Choolburra Didj & Dance a unique blend of traditional dance, music, storytelling and humour, and much, much more.

Throughout the year, Melbourne Comedy Festival runs a number of development programs across Australia with the aim of nurturing a new generation of diverse, up and coming comedy voices. Those programs – RAW Comedy, Deadly Funny and Class Clowns – reveal their most exciting finds at the Festival with National Grand Finals and winners announced.

Other special events include The 34th Annual Great Debate which will see two hand-picked teams go head-to-head and gag-to-gag to argue “That AI is OK”. And in its 27th year, Upfront features the best female and non-binary artists, hosted by Jude Perl and band and featuring Nikki Britton, Sarah Keyworth (UK), Kirsty Webeck, Sashi Perera, Bronwyn Kuss, Laura Davis and more!

For more information about the Melbourne International Comedy Festival visit comedyfestival.com.au

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