MICF 2014

In the twenty-six days of The Melbourne International Comedy Festival this year, I took only two nights off. I saw fifty-two shows. That’s an average of two per night. I saw comedy alone and in large groups. I reviewed shows and flyered for shows and watched shows. My cupboards are bare. I’m exhausted.
Narrowing those fifty-two shows down into a finite number of favourites was incredibly difficult. But I did it and here they are.
TOP FIVE SHOWS
Laura Davis: Pillow of Strength
On the tram home from this show, my comedy companions and I sat in total silence. This is the kind of comedy that surpasses funny. Which is not to say that it wasn’t hilarious (it was) just that it was also affecting, heart-wrenching and a little bit life changing. Incredible.
The Boy With The Tape On His Face: More Tape
So it turns out that maybe mime is a genre of comedy that I like? I loved this show. In fact, here’s a whole blog about how happy it made me.
Zoe Coombs Marr: Dave
It’s easy to see how “Dave” has received such rave reviews. It’s the antidote to the dude comedy which pervades the festival (and comedy more generally). This is razor-sharp satire, brilliantly executed.
Andy Matthews: String Theory
In a lot of ways, this was less a comedy show and more an hour of story-telling. But it was a tightly woven, extremely clever and very witty hour of story-telling. It made me want to go out and make new friends.
Tom McLean: Ghosts Are Real
As far as laughs per dollar, this was the stand-out show of the festival by miles. This show was tight, well-written and extremely impressive for a debut show. Tom McLean is properly funny
HONOURABLE MENTIONS
Kate Dehnert: Noise Adventure
Kate Dehnert is going places. There was a whole lot of potential here. “Noise Adventure” was a brand of musical comedy that felt new, it was surreal and strange and wonderful. Can’t wait to see what she does next.
World Record Show
This was super silly but it made me laugh a whole lot. Watching great comedians do dumb things while having a really great time is just joyful. Would recommend. 
Claire O’Sullivan vs. The World
Claire is great. She’s wacky and irrelevant and she makes me happy. It was really lovely seeing her spin her comedy out to fill the whole hour and do it with such panache. 
Gen Fricker: The Pineapple
I saw this show twice and I’m glad I did. It was dark and complex and funny. Also it contained the best song about McCain ever written.
Celia Paquola: Let Me Know How It All Works Out
Celia Paquola is one of those names which regularly gets a little SOLD OUT sticker next to it. This year I decided to find out why. And I wasn’t disappointed. Fun. Good. Nice. 
BEST VENUE
The Duke of Wellington
The Duke is not somewhere I would go recreationally. Most of the time it’s packed to the rafters with awful business men in suits and the food is too expensive. But it is right across the road from The Forum, which made it a perfect place to see something during a gap in my comedy schedule. The upstairs room where the comedy ended up was secluded and run down and exactly the right amount of apocalyptic. The main thing that made The Duke my favourite venue though was simple – I loved almost every show I saw there. Quality stuff.
ANNUAL AWARD FOR THE BEST USE OF SHADOW PUPPETRY
Goes to no one because there weren’t any shadow puppets. Unacceptable. I except extra puppets in 2015 to make up for it.
ALL 52 SHOWS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
Marcel Lucont: Gallic Symbol / Tom Lang: Love, Factually / Gen Fricker: The Pineapple / Marty Putz: Very Weird and Slightly Dangerous / Sean Cullen: I Am A Human Man / Claire Sullivan vs the World / Aunty Donna: World’s Greatest Show Bag / Facty Fact: Are Commedians Good Lovers / The Shelf / The Comedy Zone / The Stevenson Experience: Womb Mates / Megan McKay, Jay Morrissey & Peter Jones: Three Little Gigs / Victoria Healy presents: We Love Comedy / Lewis Hobba: Backs to the Wall / Micheal Hing: Bildungsroman At 28 / Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall: Success Arms / Rose Callaghan and Mates / Neil Sinclair: Charmingly Useless / Gen Fricker: The Pineapple (again) / Kate Dehnert: Noise Adventure / Steen Raskopoulos: I’m Wearing Two Suits Because I Mean Business / Heads A-Plenty: A Tasmanian Showcase / Steele Saunders: Rosebud / John Conway Tonight / Danny Stinson’s Don’t “mind” Me / Red Bastard / Boy With The Tape On His Face: More Tape / Brendon Walsh Bearded: Juvenile / Zoe Combs Marr: Dave / Gillian Cosgriff: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things / Jack Druce: Adventure Peach / The Great Debate / Nellie White is the Shitty Carer / Bart Freebairn: Double Happiness / Andy Matthews: String Theory / Festival Club / Arielle Conversi & Cam Tyeson Are Not Sleeping Together / Ben McKenzie is Uncool / Adam Knox, Andy Matthews & Dave Warneke: World Record Show / Hannah Gadsby: The Exhibitionist / Tom McLean: Ghosts Are Real / Murphy McLachlan Has Two Last Names / The Last Minute Showcase / Dave Callan: A Little Less Conversation / David O’Doherty Will Try to Fix Everything / Claire Sullivan vs. The World (again) / Fanfiction Comedy / Celia Pacquola: Let Me Know How It All Works Out / Sammy J & Randy: Difficult First Album Tour / Tegan Higginbotham in Game Changer / Tim Key: Single White Slut / Laura Davis: Pillow of Strength

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year