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Published February 14th 2017
Laughter is the Best Medicine
Pretty in pink at the Melbourne Comedy Festival 2017
Melbourne's International Comedy Festival returns in 2017 from 29 March to 23 April, letting over 350 local and international comedians run wild in our city with a chaotic mix of Trump teasers, awkward observational humour and caffeine-induced theatre sport (at least we hope it's caffeine-induced). Start your laughfest with this shortlist of comedic genius.
Wil Anderson – 29 Mar - 23 Apr at the Comedy Theatre, 240 Exhibition St and the State Theatre, 100 St Kilda Rd
Why waste taxation on schools and hospitals when we can enjoy another season of Wil Anderson's cunning political comedy with Gruen on the ABC? Just in case the ABC funds another cooking show instead, you can see Wil live on stage with his new amusingly misspelt show Critically Wil. Book online from $35 at Ticketmaster.
Stephen K Amos – 8, 9 Apr at the Melbourne Town Hall, Cnr. Swanston & Collins Street
Cure your fear of stage fright with Stephen's talk show where the special guests are members of the audience. Grab the best seat in the house - the on-stage couch, for a chat with Stephen, a bit of music and the earth-shattering answer to the big question - what does the K stand for? Book online from $38 at Ticketmaster.
Nazeem Hussain – 30 Mar - 23 Apr at the ACMI in Federation Square
Nazeem Hussain is Public Frenemy #1 after returning from the simultaneously frightening and humiliating reality TV show, I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. To catch Nazeem's topical brand of non-PC comedy, book online from $30 at Ticketmaster.
Matt Okine – 30 Mar - 2 Apr at the ACMI in Federation Square
In Matt's new show, We Made You, weaves a new tale of his origins, likely culminating in another accolade after scoring 'best of' prizes in comedy festivals throughout the world, skipping sleep to host morning radio and boosting ratings on SBS with football/soccer tomfoolery. Book online from $30 at Ticketmaster.
Stephen K Amos (by Melbourne Comedy Festival 2017)
Karl Chandler – 2 Apr - 23 Apr at the European Bier Cafe, 120 Exhibition St
Karl boldly claims to be the World's Best Comedian In The World. Does he have delusions of grandeur? If his show leaves Melbournians rolling with laughter in the aisles, he can claim to be the World's Best Comedian in the World's Best City in the Whole Wide World. Let's see him fit that on a t-shirt. Book online from $25 at Try Booking.
Damien Power – 30 Mar - 23 Apr at the ACMI in Federation Square
Damien's new show is promoted as 3D. If you chuckled at his 2-dimensional comedy or reacted with a sneaky smile during his earliest 1 dimensional sight gags, imagine how funny he'll be in 3D? If one of Melbourne's tech whiz kids enjoys the show, they could help him with a 4D act next year, bending the laws of space and time in the search of the perfect punchline. Book online from $24 at Ticketmaster.
Cal Wilson – 29 Mar 2017 - 23 Apr at the Swiss Club, 89 Flinders Lane
The ubiquitous scene stealer of ad-lib comedy and improv TV, including thigh-slapping hilarity on Have You Been Paying Attention? And Whose Line is it Anyway?Cal Wilson suddenly turns nasty to battle the big guns – politics, feminism and brown shoes. Book online from $25 at Ticketmaster.
Bob Franklin – 30 Mar - 23 Apr at the Melbourne Town Hall, Cnr. Swanston & Collins Street
When you pay for an evening of live entertainment, it's an act of faith. You can read reviews and listen to recommendations from friends but it helps when there's truth in advertising. Bob's show is named An Hour's Too Long for Stand-Up and the tagline is "You will be shortchanged". Will you be frightened by his pessimism or ignore the critics and donate to the comedian benevolent fund? Book online from $28 at Ticketmaster.
Josie Long (by Melbourne Comedy Festival 2017)
Arj Barker – 31 Mar - 16 Apr at the Melbourne Town Hall, Cnr. Swanston & Collins Street
We're bombarded with fad diets, cooking shows, recipe books and superfoods. If you'd like a night of high sugar, salt, calorie and trans-fat entertainment, you'll be shocked to see Arj at his organic best. He's found free-range fun using pesticide-free ingredients, non-BPA plastics and gluten-free non-GMO carbohydrates. Join in the environmentally sustainable gags, booking online from $37.90 at Ticketmaster.
Trainspotting Live – 22 Mar - 13 Apr at stage door fortyfivedownstairs theatre, Spark Lane
Trainspotting Live is the stage adaptation of Irvine Welsh's cult hit novel, perfected after sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Winning awards throughout Britain, this punchy stage adaptation tackles Edinburgh's 1980s heroin scene with the same controversial comedy that led to a blockbuster film and recent sequel. Book online from $55 at fortyfivedownstairs.
Which master of mirth makes you merry? Please let us know with a comment (typos accepted - it's hard to type and guffaw at the same time).