The iconic Upfront comedy showcase returns with another lineup of fierce and funny women

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The iconic Upfront comedy showcase returns with another lineup of fierce and funny women

Image by Jim Lee
Words by Marnie Vinall

We chat with Upfront participant and comedy legend Geraldine Hickey ahead of the event.

Upfront is a one-night-only show that’s long been a pivotal part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The show features some of the best female comics plucked from the festival at large and put into one stellar lineup to bring the house to tears (of laughter).

Since it’s conception, the regular festival show has given audiences a chance to see some of the best bits of their comedy favs, along with getting a taste for some newer acts they might not have seen before.

“It’s always good diversity in terms of a bit of sketch, bit of cabaret, straight stand up and different types of stand up,” says Geraldine Hickey, comedian and performer in the show.

“You get a real mixed bag and you’ll get some of your favourite comics but also they’re pretty good at putting on someone that you might not have heard of it, a few future stars, I guess.”

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Kicking off the night will be host and performer Geraldine Quinn, who’ll come out with her full band, ready to bring each act out with an amazing amount of energy and pizazz.

She’ll be introducing some bigger names, such as Mel Buttle, Zoë Coombs Marr, Alex Ward, Kirsty Webeck, Melanie Bracewell, Nikki Britton and of course, Geraldine Hickey. Plus, many are excited to see Bev Killick, who as Hickey puts it, “just manages to tear that room apart; they bloody love her. She just knows her to put on a show”.

One of the newer faces on the stage will be 2021 Moosehead Recipient Kit Richards, who Hickey can happily vouch for, “I bloody love Kit so much … I saw her last show, Wool: The Musical and I’m very excited about her new show about the Essendon doping saga”.

Chris Ryan, a stand-up from Canberra is also one of the fresher faces but is already making a name for herself in the industry. As Hickey notes, “I haven’t managed to see her yet but every time a friend or another comic does a gig with her, they always rave about how great she is, so I’m pumped to see her”.

Plus, Jude Perl will also be performing, who was the winner of Best Cabaret at Melbourne Fringe 2018 and is performing not one but two solo shows in this year’s festival. And, as Hickey says, she’s “just been smashing it lately”.

All in all, the audience will be spoilt with acts and sets to see with each performer taking to the stage for around five minutes and contributing to a very big night of comedy.

“It’s a real celebration as well – the energy of that room when you walk out onto the stage is pretty palpable, it’s incredible. For me, it’s one of my favourite gigs to do at the festival and always has been,” says Hickey.

“These are some of the best comics out there … it’s a celebration of us being all women but it’s also a celebration of us just being fucking good at our jobs.”

Upfront goes down as part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival on Monday April 12 at the Melbourne Town Hall. Find out more here.