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MICF Menu: Thursday March 30

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is back and Beat Magazine is proud to present MICF Menu - your inside track to all the delectable treats of this year’s festival season. Hope you’ve left some room since last festival, because this year’s program serves up a veritable smorgasbord of shows. My name is Nick Mason and I’ll be previewing each day of the festival before it happens, from recommendations to one-off events and even special offers.

Today marks the second day of the festival, which means a whole bunch of local and international comedians’ seasons kick off. No idea what to see? Let’s just dig in, starting with the early shows.
 
MICF ENTREES (Early Shows, until 7pm)

Jacqueline Mifsud - Sink Full of Forks
 
A comedian, actor and a television host walk into a bar - and it turns out they’re all the same person. The wonderfully talented Jacqueline Mifsud is returning to the festival with a show all about “big breaks, break ups, break-ins and breakdowns”, boasting rapid fire quips with a pinch of filth for good measure. If you’re after a fast-paced affair bursting with energy, look no further. Mifsud has been smashing it in comedy rooms around town for a while now and you’d be mad to miss Sink Full of Forks. The show kicks off at 6.15pm each date. It’s only on until April 8, though, so grab your tickets and head over to Tasma Terrace ASAP.
 
Timothy Clark - badboycomedy69@hotmail.com
 
Feel free to peruse the Melbourne International Comedy Festival program meticulously, but you’re unlikely find a better show title than the one Timothy Clark has whipped up this year. In case you’re wondering, he swears it’s a real e-mail address - but of course, there’s only one way to find out. Celebrated for his sketch-comedy shenanigans with cult comedy group Chimp Cop - who happen to have their own show at Trades Hall, this year, by the way - Tim Clark has a quirky, cheeky charm that’s instantly endearing. He’s a stalwart of the open mic scene here in Melbourne and a familiar face of the festival, meaning you can rely on him to help kick off a fun evening. You can catch Clark’s show at Number 12 La Barre Electronique, 6.45pm until April 9.

 
MICF MAIN MEALS (Prime Time, 7pm-10pm)

 
Sammy J - Hero Complex
 
For plenty of performers, Melbourne Fringe is a festival with a noted emphasis on experimentation and, as a result, there’s a fraction of the usual pressure to put on a perfect show. Well, apparently Sammy J never got the memo. When I saw Hero Complex at the most recent Fringe season, I went on to describe it as “an outstanding, must-see show” - and if you’re the kind of person who buys into star-ratings, it’s worth mentioning that I awarded Hero Complex the full five. Now Sammy J is performing it at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival and it would be remiss of me not to double-down on my recommendation. The show revolves around Sammy J’s childhood infatuation with famous purple-clad comic book hero The Phantom, a famous purple-clad comic book hero and, sadly, that’s about all that can be said without spoiling things. You’re just going to have to trust in this plug, head along and strap in for one hell of a story. Catch Sammy J at the Victoria Hotel until April 23, 8.15pm (7.15pm on Sundays).
 
Susie Youssef - Behave Youssef
 
As much as it pains me, a Melburnian, to admit it, Sydney’s actually alright sometimes. They have some amazing comedic talent up north and Susie Youssef is one of the real stand-outs. Does the name sound familiar? It should - she’s absolutely everywhere at the moment. You might have seen her as a cast member for Whose Line Is It Anyway? Australia, or spotted her on No Activity, or even ABC’s Rosehaven. Now she’s back at the festival and ready to impress audiences over all again. Seriously, everyone who sees Youssef gushes about her live shows, a mish-mash of sketch, stand-up, stories and improv. Youssef has been strutting her stuff at the festival for years now and it’s really time to take the hint and check out one of her shows. With a full season (excluding Mondays), there’s really no excuse. Treat yourself to the comedic stylings of Susie Youssef, 8.15pm (7.15pm) at the Melbourne Town Hall until April 23.

 
MICF DESSERTS (Late Shows, 10pm onwards)
 
Steele Saunders - I Love Green Guide Letters Live Podcast
 
In case you're not acquainted with this hilarious and explosively popular podcast, here's a crash course: Steele Saunders assembles a panel of comedians and media stars, shining a light on the weird and wonderful world of Green Guide letters. Even if you've never in your life perused the pages of The Age's TV lift-out personally, you're in for a treat. All you really need is an interest in A+ banter - and I Love Green Guide Letters has been delivering on that front for years now. Treat yourself to one of the best live podcasts of the festival 11pm tonight at The Joint (Exford Hotel) and selected dates across the festival.

 
Stuart Daulman - A Very Good Year
 
You might have seen Stuart Daulman on your TV as part of the ABC sketch series, Fancy Boy, but it might be best to wipe the slate clean of any expectations you have ahead of seeing his festival show. It’s no easy feat describing Daulman’s quirky craft and doing it justice. The best I’ve got is that it frequently feels like a satirical take on traditional stand-up comedy, Daulman part-dork, part-loveable-larrikin, all while channelling the spirit of The Simpson’s bit character Gil Gunderson. I’m not satisfied with that description, but perhaps you should just check out Daulman for yourself. Often, stand-up comedy can lack inspiration and imagination, but you won’t be left wanting here. Experience something a little different - catch Daulman at the Melbourne Town Hall late on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings (11pm) until April 22.

So there’s a list of recommendations to help you decide what to see this evening at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. MICF Menu will return tomorrow with more recommendations!