Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s The Festival Club is back better than ever in 2021

Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s The Festival Club is back better than ever in 2021

Rhys Nicholson at The Festival Club - image by Jim Lee
Words by Joanne Brookfield

Here’s the full rundown of Festival Club events in 2021.

Nice try, COVID! But you can’t keep a good Comedy Festival down. After a less-than-funny 2020 that saw the Melbourne International Comedy Festival cancelled, the city’s extravaganza of laughs is back, which means so too is fan-favourite The Festival Club.

This year, The Festival Club is moving from Max Watt’s, its long-time underground home below Swanston Street, ’round the corner to The Forum. Here’s our guide to all the late night levity going down at the venue.

Keen for more comedy reads? Subscribe to Beat here and we’ll send them straight to your inbox.

Comedy Bonanza

There’s a room at Edinburgh Festival Fringe called Late’n’Live, although it’s nickname is ‘the bear pit’ because of how unhinged it can sometimes get. Our festival club is loosely modelled on that, in so far as it’s a late night comedy lineup show where the festival’s biggest acts come to misbehave on stage every Friday night, or do their slick set – it can go either way. It’s also a chance to sample some acts you may not have heard of before, so it’s the place to be to keep your finger on the festival pulse.

Going down on Fridays March 26, April 2, 9 and 16. Find out more here.

Lip Sync Battle

Come for the Comedy Bonanza and then stay for the Lip Sync Battle. Michelle Brasier will be familiar to Aunty Donna fans, appearing in their Big Ol’ House of Fun Netflix series; has acted in Damian Callian’s feature film The Merger and when she’s not winning accolades as one half of comedy duo Double Denim, by god can this ridiculously-talented woman sing. She’s hosting epic battles from the best lip-syncing comics in da biz every Friday night of the festival after the stand-up.

Takes place after Comedy Bonanza on Fridays March 26, April 2, 9 and 16. Check it out here.

So You Think You Can Drag?

Step aside – or should that be sashay away – Ru Paul, because Tina Del Twist is in town on Saturday March 27 hosting So You Think You Can Drag? Big laughs and big hair collide with the contour and choreo in this night of our best drag acts, including Dazza and Keif, Dolly Diamond, Ruby Slippers & Egson Ham, Koko Ma$$, Charlie Zangel, D Flower, Sabrina Babyslut, Kali Forni-Kate and more.

So You Think You Can Drag? goes down on Saturday March 27. Get involved here.

The Kaye Hole

Described in the British press as “the evil love child of Liza Minnelli and Jim Carrey”, in The Kaye Hole, award-winning cabaret icon Reuben Kaye plays host host to Melbourne’s riskiest and most diverse acts, backed by a live band. This one’s going to be queer, fast, loose and f*%king hilarious.

The Kaye Hole hits The Festival Club on Saturday April 3. Find out more here.

Haus Party!

If musical comedy is your thing, happening on Saturday April 10 is Die Roten Punkte’s Haus Party. Hosted by comedic wunderkinds Otto & Astrid, Haus Party! brings musical comedy, circus and variety acts as guests, followed by DJ Andrew McClelland.

The party goes down on Saturday April 10. Check it out here.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Otto & Astrid (@ottoandastrid)

The People of Cabaret’s Variety Spectacular

On the final Saturday of the festival, slip on your sequins and stay out super-late with The People of Cabaret’s Variety Spectacular. Expect to see alternative comedy, drag and cabaret artists in a lineup curated by The People of Cabaret, an organisation of IBPoC (Indigenous and/or Bla(c)k and/or people of colour) performers who are dedicated to amplifying, uplifting, nurturing and supporting fellow IBPoC artists.

“We are committed to building and maintaining a performing arts landscape which allows us all to thrive,” they say. See you there!

It’s all happening on Saturday April 17. Find out more here.

The Festival Club will be open Fridays and Saturdays throughout the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, which takes place from Wednesday March 24 until Sunday April 18. Check it out here.