I fucking LOVE Melbourne International Comedy Festival so much that for 20 years, despite being a comedian I didn’t perform in it. Instead I’d spend my nights seeing stuff. The record was 37 shows one festival. Which included a 2am secret Daniel Kitson/David O’Doherty show in Old Council Chambers Trades Hall (the room my show The Trollhunter is in this year).
Running on café lattes, no sleep and Smith Crisps my girlfriend Caitlin and I would dare each other ‘just one more…’ and then be hospitalized for exhaustion for the three weeks after festival.
Plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead.
Even when I’m doing a show (like this year) I attempt to see as many shows as I perform.
My rule of thumb. Put together a few nights of three shows a night. Someone you know, someone you’ve heard of and a total random you know bugger all about. Don’t research! Go in cold knowing nothing.
I also put together a few ‘Wedding Nights’.
Something old (an established comic),
Something new (some fresh meat),
Something borrowed (international),
Something blue (transgressive, sweary, NSFW).
A week before festival people ALWAYS ask me what to see. So here’s my annual Dev’s Must See MICF 2014 Top Picks.
Cult, out there, bizarre, the two dumpy creepy ladies, Miss Gerda and Miss Candy Girl are back after a ten-year hiatus. This award winning cry for help will scratch your itches, blow the cobwebs out of you heads and scare the fuck out of you. Top night out. Take your nan.
Want something to take the whole family to? This is it. Just go. You’re welcome.
Really hitting his mark and finding his voice after a few years poncing on stage, go see Dirty Uncle Rhys. A cross between Pee Wee Herman and your wrongest most perverted best friend he’ll give you a glimpse of life from the perspective of a gay pervert in your 20s. Happy ending guaranteed.
For years and years we’ve all been nagging comedian, cripple and all round good time girl Stella Young to do a show. But she’s been too busy being brilliant, being a crip and swinging from chandeliers to find the time. Finally she’s decided to shut us all up and has crafted an hour of laughs, stories and smackdowns. Quite a buzz about this one.
His third or fourth one man show this delightful homosexual from Perth who was run out of town in Colac for being gay will ring your bells, float your boat and talk about Meryl Streep. A lot. You have been warned. And he'll sing. And if you don't laugh and clap, he'll cry and throw shit.
The only regret of this year’s festival is that Nelly and I’s shows clash so I’ll miss it. Smart, funny and what a babe she will push you out of your comfort zone and wrap you up in a warm blanket of shit hot comedy. Get ready to piss yourself. And think.
All girls. All live. Every year for the last MICF puts together an all star line up for one night only at Melbourne Town Hall. I was in the very first and I’m thrilled to be in the line up again this year along with, Nelly Thomas, Celia Pacquola, Kate McLennan, Jennifer Wong, Felicity Ward, Em Rusciano, Mel Buttle, Hannah Gadsby, Cal Wilson, Rebecca De Unamuno, Anne Edmonds, Sarah Kendall, Miss Itchy plus more!
The man is a master. This has to be close to his 20th MICF show. Watch an accomplished comedian take an audience, weave a spell and take an audience of bogans to bourgeois on a wild ride of perfect one liners, hilarious anecdotes and cultural commentary. If you’ve never seen him, do. If you have, see him again.
Anne is one of Australia’s most exciting new stand up, character and banjo playing comedians. She’s been at it for a few years and has made a huge jump with numerous telly gigs and Anne’s a YouTube sensation with her ABC produced video ‘Raylene The Racist’ attracting over 60,000 hits. Go see.
Looking for a family show that’s not childish, patronizing and will have you all fully coughing your lungs up, this is it. I hate kids entertainment. But I LOVE The Listies.
Not many comedians are as committed and accomplished as Felicity. Award winning, hard working and skilled she ticks all the boxes. Her shows are always surprising and thoroughly rehearsed, tested and thought out. This year’s is going to be a pearler.
20 years he and I have been in the business and he gets better and better and better. Such a safe pair of hands. Solid, well written and warm. Dave ponders whether things really were better back in his day. A time when it was less Twitter more Twister, less X-factor more X-Men and absolutely no Kyle, Seal or Redfoo.
Adrienne Truscott, one-half of the infamous Wau Wau Sisters, dressed only from the waist up and ankles down, undoes and does in the rules and rhetoric about rape, comedy and the awkward laughs in between. This is one for the people who like their lungs bursting and their buttons pushed. Adrienne performs every rape joke she has ever heard wearing no pants. Heard good things. A bit afraid. Strap yourself in.
Dave Callan's show A Little Less Conversation is one of the best comedy shows, or shows full stop I have ever seen. I saw it last year and had show envy. Do. Please. It's a masterpiece.
She is the naughtiest aunt in the world. The personification of the greatest Australian comedy has to offer, irreverent, unapologetic and the hero of her own novel. This mother of five originally from Alice Springs goes there. And takes you with her. Her show about her battle with alcohol was one of the greatest theatrical experiences I’ve ever had. I have seen every show she has done and they just get better and better.
Hannah is an obscenely talented, terrifyingly sharp comedian. With a degree in fine art.
You heard me.
Sold out for five years in a row, Hannah’s informatively hilarious NGV shows have developed a cult following. This time round she is remounting three of her classic NGV Art Lectures.
These tours sell out. Take a mate, have a ball and get some culture into you. Born in Tasmania Hannah’s tours are the quintessential MICF experience.
This year's wild card? Go see Jordana Borensztain. You'll thank me.
My show is Catherine Deveny-The Trollhunter, a collaboration with star Guardian columnist, Ikea enthusiast and award winning theatre maker n Badham. It is by far the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s a smack down, stand-up fairytale about online trolls, misogyny, anonymous internet haters and Attorney General George ‘Brandy’ Brandis’ and other Liberal party. It’s OMG, LOL and NSFW and uses actual material sent to us by actual real live trolls. I wear a costume specifically designed for the show by costume genius Bryn Meredith (who worked on the King Kong puppet).
This is my fourth one woman show and after 22 years of doing stand up I reckon I’ve finally gotten the hang of it. The best thing I have ever done. Book now. Will sell out.