Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2011: March 30 – April 24

COMEDY is serious business here in Melbourne, and this year, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival celebrates its 25th birthday. What’s even better? We’ve got two double passes to give away. Early birds get the last laugh! Joyce Ho tells you how you can win.


COMEDY is serious business here in Melbourne.

A quarter of a century old, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is one of the world’s largest comedy festivals alongside the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival.

The festival will run from March 30 to April 24 this year, and feature big names from our shores and beyond. To rattle off a few:  from Australia – Dave Hughes and Adam Hills; Arj Barker, Carl Barron and Henry Rollins from stateside, Ian Bagg from Canada, Irish funny man David O’Doherty,  and British comedian Ross Noble.

And it’s not just stand-up comedy. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival has expanded its repertoire over the years to include cabaret, theatre, street performance, film, television, radio and the visual arts.

Arj Barker tickling audience's funny bones at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2009. Photo: Jim Lee

Arj Barker tickling audience's funny bones at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2009. Photo: Jim Lee

Special events worth mentioning include The Opening Night Comedy All-Stars Supershow on March 30 at the Palais Theatre, the Class Clowns Teenage Gala on April 7 featuring young talents under the age of 20, and the open mic faceoff The Great Debate on April 17.

Be sure to check out The Comedy Zone, where Australia’s best stand-up apprentices are jack-hammered into the one show.

We want to give an especially big shout-out to Ronny Chieng, who was was one of five comedians handpicked to be part of Comedy Zone. Born in Malaysia but raised in the US and Singapore, he studied law at Melbourne University and then gave up a good job offer in 2009 in exchange for a life of laughs.

Chieng received a Special Mention at the 2010 RAW Comedy Grand Final and came in third at the Green Faces Comedy Competition 2010 National Finals.

And finally, to celebrate its 25th birthday, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival will be holding free events in and around the city. Snaking from City Square to Fed Square and along the Yarra Precinct, The (Very) Big Laugh Out will showcase a string of local and international acts including the futuristic percussion group Brassvole, an all-male circus performance, a comedy cabaret and a maze.


If you’ve never been to the comedy festival before and don’t know which show to go to, the festival’s Comedy TV portal is a good place to start exploring artistes you like.

Tickets to the comedy festival will cost you anything between $10 and $50. Log on to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival website for full program details. Tickets can also be purchased online. Remember, early birds get the last laugh.

Meld Magazine has two double passes to The Comedy Zone on Wednesday April 6 to giveaway. For your chance to win, simply email your name, address and contact number to with the subject heading “Comedy Fest”.

Deadline for entries is Wednesday March 31, 2011. Winners will be notified by email.

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