A Lebanese war survivor, a scientologist, and a sober bisexual divorcée walk into a bar…

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A Lebanese war survivor, a scientologist, and a sober bisexual divorcée walk into a bar…

Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Words by Lucas Radbourne
In partnership with More Talent

More Talent is living up to its name by staging a side-splitting bonanza this Melbourne International Comedy Festival. We take a look at three of their most exciting acts.

If you’re looking for emerging talent to get behind at the comedy festival this month, look no further than Bianka Ismailovski, Jake Howie and Fady Kassab, a trio of acclaimed performers with larger-than-life backstories that are set to make their mark in 2022.

Each will perform their own individual show at the 2022 comedy fest, and they couldn’t be more different. We take a closer look at each of the hysterical trio’s shows in greater detail below.

What you need to know

  • Acclaimed stand-ups Bianka Ismailovski, Jake Howie and Fady Kassab are all hosting individual shows this month
  • They’re performing as part of the 2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
  •  They’ll be performing at Trades Hall, Greek Theatre, and The Oxford Scholar respectively.

Keep up with Melbourne’s latest comedy news, reviews and interviews here.

Bianka Ismailovski: Can’t Be Tamed

Ideally, you’ll leave Bianka’s show filing for divorce. The Damsel Undistressed podcast host has made a name for herself over the podwaves and through social media for her comedic sketches and her sex-and-body positive persona, and now she’s bringing her story as a proud feminist divorcee to the comedy festival stage.

In Can’t Be Tamed, the comedian, broadcaster, actor and pole-dancer realises that “marriage is essentially just a ruse to ensnare women into babysitting a grown-ass man”. After divorcing in the midst of the pandemic, Bianka – whose father was a Croatian popstar and Eurovision finalist, and whose mother is a former Miss Yugoslavia – delved into her entertainment roots and began podcasting.

Damsel Undistressed has since hit the iTunes top 20 and Bianka will be riding the wave into her solo stand-up debut, performing on select dates from April 11 – 24 at Trades Hall Meeting Room. Grab tickets here.

Jake Howie: Cult Fiction

Born and raised in the Church of Scientology, Jake Howie has one of the most interesting backstories of anyone at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival – and that’s saying something.

The Kiwi has translated that story into an impressive collection of accolades. He started stand-up in London and won Reading Comedy Festival New Act of the Year in 2015. He was then a finalist in the UK industry showcase the NATYS (New Acts Of Year Awards) put Jake in the illustrious company of previous finalists Russell Brand, Simon Amstell and Stewart Lee. He was also crowned winner of Blackout at Up the Creek and the New Act of the Week at the Comedy Cafe Theatre in the UK.

He’s sure to delight Melbourne audiences with his tales of scientology, evangelical christianity, and fighting off men hitting on his ‘hot Italian husband’. He’ll be playing Greek Centre – Aphrodite on Lonsdale Street from April 5 – 10. Grab tickets here. 

Fady Kassab: Is This Legal?

2019 Raw Comedy winner Fady Kassab has been emerged from broadcasting to become a critical darling of the comedy world, molding his war-torn upbringing in Lebanon with his contemporary life in Sydney to exceptional comedic effect.

The former SBS Radio Arabic program host took out Australia’s most prestigious emerging comedy competition and then featured at the Edinburg Fringe for the Best of Edinburgh Showcase Show, before making the grand finals of The Gilded Balloon’s long-running So You Think You’re Funny comedy competition, putting him in the same company as Dylan Moran, Lee Mack, Graham Norton, and Hannah Gadsby.

Is This Legal? sees Fady depart from finding humour in the horrifying, and dive head-first into the world of dating. He’ll be playing at The Oxford Scholar from April 4 – 10. Grab tickets here.

For more info and to check out the incredible roster of Aussie and international acts touring over the next few months, head to the More Talent website here.