MICF Menu - Tuesday March 29
Easter might be done and dusted for another year, but the fun has only just begun: today marks the first Tightarse Tuesday of the 30th Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Discount prices are available for most shows, so there has never been a better time to get out there and see some shows. If you like your live comedy affordable, you’re going to love Tightarse Tuesday. Still, there’s so much going on and it can all feel a little overwhelming, so allow us to offer up some recommendations. Let’s see what’s on the MICF Menu, Tuesday March 29.
Though we’re only about a week into the festival, you might already be at risk of missing out on seeing your favourite acts. According to the Melbourne Town Hall’s chalkboards, quite a few artists have already gotten off to a flying start, selling out their shows. Here’s a selection of who is popular at the moment - because, as the old saying goes, the numbers don’t lie.
MICF ENTREES (Early Shows, until 7pm)
You know James Bond. You love James Bond. You saw Spectre when it came out in cinemas and said, 'This film is pretty ridiculous, isn't it?' - but then you bought it on DVD anyway. Point is, whether it's Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan or Craig, no matter how silly it is, you love yourself some spy stuff. Well, right now you can get down to the Butterfly Club and celebrate the ridiculousness of Bond with the must-see parody, You Only Laugh Twice. Admit it: deep down, you know you love the pun. In this hilarious family-friendly affair, superspy James Blonde and Russian Agent Ivana Holdyurhanski work together to stop the evil Dr. Maybe from achieving world domination. You Only Laugh Twice runs Tuesday to Sundays, 5.30pm until April 3. Book online and avoid the queue.
Even now, people don't seem to recognise that the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is about so much more than traditional stand-up. It's an open-platform for performers to get as weird and wonderful as possible, to put on some truly unique and creative shows. Michelle Brasier's comedy festival show Space Tortoise fits the bill, revolving around a Soviet Union space mission and a tortoise working in retail. Pretty interesting, right? You can catch Space Tortoise at the Melbourne Town Hall, Tue-Sat 6pm and Sun 5pm. Beat Magazine had the pleasure of chatting with Michelle about her show. Listen out for the interview in the MICF Menu podcast.
MICF MAIN MEALS (Prime Time, 7pm-10pm)
Rhys Nicholson's fifth show is meant to be about lying, though that could be entirely false. We just don't know. You might just have to find out for yourself. Nicholson is an easy contender for the most dapper stand-up comic at the festival, his expertise ranging from playfully filthy quips, to potent one-two punch lines, with a dash of acidic self-deprecation added for good measure. He's bringing his new show Bona Fide to the Roxanne (Tue-Sat 8.15pm, Sun 7.15pm) and the Melbourne Town Hall (Mon 9.30pm). This season marks Nicholson’s return to the Melbourne Town Hall, a Festival-managed venue. Chatting with Beat Magazine last year, Nicholson interprets the opportunity to play these sorts of venues a big thumbs up from the powers-that-be. “It's nice to feel liked by the festival. It makes me feel like they trust me to not just say the C-word for an hour.”
Anne Edmonds is officially the comedian's comedian, having won the festival's Piece of Wood Award last year. To catch you up to speed, the Piece of Wood is awarded to the best show as voted by a committee of comedians which includes all past winners of the award. That's huge. Basically, the people who know what they're talking about - the people who live and breath comedy - have spent the past year raving about Anne Edmonds. Once you see her, you will too. She was a National Finalist in RAW Comedy back in the day, but these days you'd know her from the Network Ten show Have You Been Paying Attention, ABC’s Dirty Laundry and supporting US podcast and comedy superstar Marc Maron on his Australian tour. You can catch Anne Edmonds doing her thing at the Melbourne Town Hall, Tue-Sat 7:15pm, Sun 6:15pm.
Lessons with Luis is absolutely an acquired taste, but the people who like it - that is, both punters and fellow comics - swear by its brilliance. If nothing else, it is exceptionally creative and an experience you will not forget. If you hate to cringe, cast your eyes upon a different recommendation. If that sounds like your kind of deal, though, strap yourself in for shambolic stage awkwardness at its finest, as the ever-wooden Luis doggedly presets not a comedy show, but an educational show. Ultimately he just hopes to make the world a better place. Lessons with Luis can be enjoyed Tue-Sat 7pm, as well as Sun 6pm at ACMI.
MICF DESSERTS (Late Shows, 10pm onwards)
Melbourne's celebrated masters of improvisational comedy are back! 'Yes, and?' you say, congratulating yourself on your solid-gold improv goof. Well, their return to the festival is significant, because they're presenting one of their biggest and most exciting shows yet. Cliffhanger is based around an exhilarating tribute to Hollywood's finest thrillers, featuring sixty minutes, six different stories and five high-stakes eliminations. Basically, things are about to get real (and really fun). Treat yourself to some dynamite improvisational comedy this festival, Tue, Thu & Sat 10pm at the Butterfly Club.
Once upon a time, The Imperial Hotel hosted the surprise late-night sensation Fancy Boy. You get the feeling Nö Shöw could have a similar buzz about it in due course, with two incredibly talented Golden Gibbo nominees - Xavier Michelides and Ben Russell - concocting some absurdist comedy. What else are you doing Tue-Sun 11:15pm? Sleeping? Stay out and take a chance on what is, on the surface, a very intriguing show.
MICF SPECIALS (One-Offs and Discounts)
Rama Nicholas is teaming up with the hilarious stand-up talent Tegan Higginbotham to offer you a sweet double bill deal: right now you can see both shows and save $10. All you have to do is use the code LOVECOMEDY when you book each ticket. You have the choice of attend both in the same evening or, alternatively, you may book different dates. Get in quick, though: Tegan only has six shows left.
Tonight at The Festival Club, a bunch of the festival's best comedians will be performing live for an ABC1 television special, Comedy Up Late. This evening's line-up features MC Urzila Carlson, Demi Lardner, Whitmer Thomas, Mel Buttle, Dave Callan, Becky Lucas, Larry Dean, Nazeem Hussain and Damien Power. Catch all the action at Max Watt's from 11.15pm. (tickets at the door)
So there’s your guide to the first Tightarse Tuesday of this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. There’s plenty to choose from and most shows are heavily discounted, so go on - treat yourself. MICF Menu will return tomorrow for more recommendations, news and interviews.