Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Best of the Fest

What we loved at the MICF 2022 and what’s coming to the Sydney Comedy Festival!

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is nearly over for another year, and this year was an absolute blast! Given the tumultuous times that Melbourne has seen over the past two years, it was beautiful to see the city alive and laughing again.

For the first time in Theatre Thoughts history, we were invited to cover all the goings on at the festival. We covered 22 shows in total, with 4 of those in one night. If you find statistics sexy, that’s approximately 1,320 minutes of laughter!

Next on the Australian comedy tour is the Sydney Comedy Festival. Kicking off the day after the MICF finishes, the SCF runs from Monday 25th April until Sunday 22nd May 2022. With performers including Aunty Donna, David O’Doherty, Gabbi Bolt, Joel Creasey, Peter Helliar, Aaron Chen, Melanie Bracewell and Michelle Brasier bringing their shows to Sydney, it’s sure to be another packed month of riotous comedy.

We’ve put together just a short collection of some our best hits from the MICF and what shows are coming to the Sydney Comedy Festival that you should definitely scramble for a ticket for.

We’d also love to hear your thoughts, do you agree with our Best of the Fest? What did we leave out? Who are you excited to see? Leave us a comment or continue the conversation on our socials @theatrethoughtsaus

THEATRE THOUGHTS’ BEST OF THE FEST 2022

Michelle Brasier: Reform

If there is one thing we can say about Reform, it’s this: you have to see it. Armed with a sharp wit, fast and precise dialogue, and an accomplished singing voice, Brasier brings a story that you won’t soon forget – a tumultuous journey to purchase a Pilates reformer off Facebook marketplace from Jacob and retrieve her $500.

Michelle Brasier offered up one of the most captivating shows of the MICF. It was a five-star review from us which you can read here.

Michelle is also bringing Reform to the Sydney Comedy Festival at the Factory Theatre from 18 – 22 May. Tickets can be booked here.

Annie Louey is Flirting with Death

Entering the room for Annie Louey is Flirting with Death, you are greeted with a podium, a tv screen and a HUGE wooden upright coffin. Annie began the show with a re-enactment of her late father’s funeral which is a complete mess. Forgotten flowers, bad song choices and the former Lord Mayor of Melbourne who thinks he’s at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. It is genuinely hilarious and makes for some excellent jokes.

A story that will bring you closer to laughing at the idea of death and coming to terms that catharsis is the joy we may need in dark times, Annie Louey’s show was another five-star rating from our reviewers. You can read our thoughts in full here.

Annie Louey is Flirting with Death plays until the 24th April at the MICF. Tickets can be booked here.

Garry Starr: Greece Lightning

Performer and clown Damien Warren-Smith brings his hit production Garry Starr: Greece Lightning to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. This riotous night of theatre will have you crying, cheering and asking for a new set of underwear by the end of it.

A show so nice we reviewed it twice! A five-star rating each time, so that’s ten Garry Starrs (see what I did there?). Hold onto your seats as Warren-Smith takes you on the most jaw-dropping ride of the MICF that will make you cry laugh and wish you were given one of the many props at the beginning of the show. You can read our full review here.

Garry Starr: Greece Lightning plays two more shows at the MICF, Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th April. Tickets can be booked here.

Garry Starr is also performing Greece Lightning at the Sydney Comedy Festival at the Factory Theatre on the 7th and 8th May. Tickets can be booked here.

Jekyll and Hyde

Who knew that Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella, Jekyll and Hyde, could make for a riotously hilarious hour of comedy? Jekyll and Hyde is an absurdly funny, seductive and well written night of theatre that comes highly recommended.

A show that was left of centre for us and caught our attention by name alone. What we received was one of the most entertaining starts to a night of comedy. Each performance feels specially tailored for each audience as A Slightly Isolated Dog bring you into the seductive world of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You can read our full five-star review here.

Scout Boxall: Buck Wild

Some comedians are born funny, some achieve funny, and some have funniness thrust upon them. Scout Boxall somehow manages to do all three through impressive use of luck, talent and capitalising on their mental illness. This is modern comedy at its finest.

An incredibly charismatic storyteller, Scout Boxall keeps their audience guessing where their show will go next in a beautifully structured hour of laughter. Read our full five-star review here.

Scout Boxall is also performing Buck Wild at the Sydney Comedy Festival at the Factory Theatre on the 7th and 8th May. Tickets can be booked here.

Lano and Woodley: Moby Dick

In a show where everything is meant to go wrong, Colin Lane (Lano) and Frank Woodley have got it right. Their latest endeavour into the monumental story of Moby Dick is the perfect backdrop for the farcical act that Lano & Woodley have mastered over the past 30 years.

From two of Australia’s greats, Moby Dick is the latest riotous invention from performers Lano &Woodley that highlight the pairs comedic chemistry and unrestrained silliness in their famous comedy. Read our full five-star review here.

Moby Dick plays at the MICF until 24th April. Tickets can be booked here.

Lano & Woodley bring Moby Dick to Sydney on 8 and 9 July. Find tickets here.

Ashley Apap: Ouch!

Filled with wacky skits and masterful storytelling, Ashley Apap takes us on a tumultuous journey from pooping schedules to near death experiences in her heart-warming show, Ouch!

Striking a balance between comedy and sincerity, Ashley Apap brings you into her show like a warm hug, whilst still offering outlandish skits and entertaining songs. You can read our full review here.

Ouch! can be watched on demand from the MICF. Follow the link here for more information.

Zoë Coombs Maar: Dave, The Opener

If the idea of standup comedy makes you cringe, then this comedy set turned meta theatrical experience is for you. Dave: The Opener starts as a parody of white male comedians, rife with sexist jokes, insensitive comments and a character that is wholly cancel-worthy. This parody of the comedy scene slowly dissolves into a meta-theatrical-acid-fuelled time loop, in which the character and actor struggle with self-awareness.

From the mind of Zoë Coombs Maar comes a comedy that travels between the #metoo movement and cancel culture, all through the guise of their character ‘Dave’. A feat of acting sees Coombs Maar leaping back and forth between herself and the invented Dave to bring a show that is not an easy watch, but one that will have you hooked. Read our full review here.

Dave, The Opener plays at the Melbourne Comedy Festival until the 24th April. Tickets can be booked here.

SHOWS WE DIDN’T GET TO, BUT ARE RECEIVING RAVE REVIEWS!

Geraldine Quinn: Broad

Aunty Gerry’s back.

Agnes Moorehead. Rhonda Burchmore. Vivienne Westwood with a tit out. There is something heady about these kinds of brassy broads. So many (b)older women, so many (A)FAB icons to look up to. So what if these camp inspo glamour heroines feel a bit close to your own sagging jawline? Well, you write your own ridiculous story and paint your own ridiculous face in a cabaret about how anyone can find their inner Endora – bejewelled kaftan and all.

Rhys Nicholson: Rhys! Rhys! Rhys!

How about a nice little hour where we pretend the last couple years haven’t happened, yeah? That sounds nice doesn’t it? Yeah. A nice little comedy show with your ol’ pal Rhys. Lovely. 

Rhys! Rhys! Rhys! plays until the 24th April at the MICF. Tickets can be booked here.

Rhys Nicholson is also bringing Rhys! Rhys! Rhys! to the Sydney Comedy Festival at the Enmore Theatre on 6 and 21 May. Tickets can be booked here.

Greg Larsen: We All Have Bloody Thoughts

Greg Larsen is a fat psycho who is consumed with violent and bloody thoughts.

Come see the world through the eyes of this dead-set moron, as he slops around on stage ranting and raving about this and that, oozing a thick syrup as he squeals and oinks his way through his top shelf comedy material.

We All Have Bloody Thoughts plays at the MICF until 24th April. Tickets can be booked here.

Greg Larson is bringing We All Have Bloody Thoughts to the Sydney Comedy Festival at the Factory Theatre from 12 – 14 May. Tickets can be booked here.

Aaron Chen: If Weren’t Filmed, Nobody Would Believe

I was watching football highlights and one of the videos was titled, Goals If Weren’t Filmed, Nobody Would Believe. I thought that’s me, except instead of goals it’s my crazy life.

I hope u enjoy xx

If Weren’t Filmed, Nobody Would Believe is playing at the MICF until the 24th April. Tickets can be booked here.

Aaron Chen is also bringing If Weren’t Filmed, Nobody Would Believe to the Sydney Comedy Festival at the Concourse Theatre on 6 and 21 May, and the Enmore Theatre 29 April and 5 May. Tickets can be booked here.

Gabbi Bolt: I Hope My Keyboard Doesn’t Break

Gabbi Bolt really hopes her keyboard doesn’t break. In her first solo live show, 2022 Moosehead Recipient Gabbi (‘Ratatouille the TikTok Musical’, ‘A Rational Fear’, The Chaser) brings her unique style of musical comedy to the stage!

Armed with a keyboard, a mic and a crippling fear of disappointing people, this silly songstress puts the ‘sing’ in ‘chasing validation’. No topic is off limits: climate change, feminism and why small towns have too many pubs.

I Hope My Keyboard Doesn’t Break plays at the MICF until 24th April. Tickets can be booked here.

Gabbi Bolt also performs I Hope My Keyboard Doesn’t Break at the Factory Theatre on 28 – 29 April 2022. Tickets can be booked here.

MORE SYDNEY COMEDY YOU MUST SEE

Danielle Walker: Nostalgia

Hi, welcome to my show description: This show is a scrapbook of stories about my family. Two of them have smelt a Bigfoot. One has seen one. They all agree on a military cover up. I don’t want to ruin any stories, but I swear to god, or whichever alien runs this planet, it’ll be a fun time for you.

Danielle Walker plays Nostalgia at the Factory Theatre from 28 – 30 April 2022. Tickets can be booked here.

Two Queers Walk Into A Bar

Two Queers, two nights, two lineups, one sexy late night time.

Two Queers Walk Into A Bar is a comedy night hosted by comedians and notorious homosexuals Brendan Hancock and Jenna Suffern. It champions the best acts in the LGBTQIA+ comedy scene and is a safe, inclusive space for the queer community. Previous acts include Gen Fricker, Zoë Coombs Marr, Jordan Raskopoulos and Nina Oyama.

Follow the Two Queers on instagram for lineup announcements @twoqueerswalkintoabar

Two Queers Walk Into A Bar plays at the Factory Theatre on 28 – 29 April 2022. Tickets can be booked here.

Melanie Bracewell: Ooh La La

Picture this: You enter a dimly lit bar. Hold on, is that award winning comedian Melanie Bracewell? She gestures for you to sit down. She orders you the finest cocktail on the menu (under 20 dollars). You get talking, drinking and laughing the night away. It’s an unforgettable evening. Have you made a new best friend? That’s what this comedy show will feel like. (Cocktails not included). Spend an hour with Melanie Bracewell, (Cheap Seats, Have You Been Paying Attention), as she talks about the joys of being just a little bit fancy.

Melanie Bracewell plays Ooh La La for one night only at the Enmore Theatre 30 April 2022. Tickets can be booked here.

Jeromaia Detto: Mush

“MUSH’ is a brand new comedy show that exposes the brain for what it really is… Mush. Part clown, part sketch, part improv, this journey of absurdity will scintillate your synapses and lube your lobes!

Jeromaia Detto (Celebrity TheatreSports, Canapes & Cocktails) is excited to present another collection of wild and wonderful characters and concepts, that will make you laugh, cry, and ponder why?!

Mush plays at the Factory Theatre for one night only 7 May 2022. Tickets can be booked here.

Schapelle Schapelle, The Musical

After a sell-out season at the 2021 Sydney Comedy Festival, the smash-hit Schapelle Schapelle – The Musical is back for a strictly limited encore season!

This fast-paced musical comedy is a satirical exploration of Australia’s weakness for media sensationalism, as told through the life of Schapelle Corby upon her arrest for drug smuggling in Bali in 2005. Fictionalised, but featuring pivotal actual events and verbatim elements, Schapelle Schapelle  captures a story of absurdity, opportunism, loneliness and redemption.

Schapelle Schapelle the Musical plays at the Factory Theatre from 12 – 14 May 2022. Tickets can be booked here.

No Hat, No Play! The Cabaret

Wipe down your recorder, kick the tanbark out of your shoes and throw that Megasaurus scrapbook to the wind. It’s time to listen up jerks, cos IT’S YOUR OWN LUNCHTIME YOU’RE WASTING!

Hitting Sydney for the very first time after their hit sold-out season at Melbourne International Comedy Festival and a recent run in Gluttony at Adelaide Fringe Festival, join TikTok star and Green Room award-winner Samantha Andrew (Baby Bi Bi Bi) and not-a-TikTok-star and not-a-Green-Room-award-winner Mel O’Brien (Voldemort & The Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody, Tinder Tales) for the jam-packed, Glad Wrapped® cabaret adventure of a lifetime!

No Hat, No Play! The Cabaret plays at the Factory Theatre from 19 – 22 May 2022. Tickets can be booked here.


NOTE: There are many, many more shows you can see at the Sydney Comedy Festival! For a full list of shows on offer, head to their website here.

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