Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2014, Dev’s Must See MICF 2014 Top Picks.

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. 

Miss Itchy

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.

The Boy with Tape On His Face     

Want something to take the whole family to?  This is it. Just go. You’re welcome. 

Rhys Nicholson

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. 

Stella Young

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. 

Joel Creasey

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. 

Nelly Thomas

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!

Wil Anderson

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 Edmonds

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. 

The Listies

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. 

Felicity Ward

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. 

Dave O’Neil

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

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

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.

Fiona O'Loughlin

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 Gadsby’s NGV tours

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.


International Women's Day 2014. Do we still need IWD? 

I have written many pieces over the years about International Women's Day. Even one on 'vajazzling' and why teenage girls should be encouraged to say fuck.

This year I would like to share with you some of my favorite's from The Women's Role (published 1983), a best of book that records examples of the constant barrage of comments which perpetrate the all-pervasive system of discrimination against women.

You're welcome. 

This year I only have three things to say;

1. This is not about women verses men, this is about us versus the arseholes. (Come see Trollhunter my Melbourne Comedy Festival Show, a collaboration with Van Badham about misogyny, internet trolls and online haters. it's OMG, LOL and NSFW) 

2. The worst thing you can encourage girls to be is nice, the second worst pretty. (See you all at Pushy Women North Sunday March 16 Thornbury Theatre.) 

3. Religion is another word for patriarchy. Check out my Atheist Alphabet Kickstarter. It's a (celebration of Melbourne, life, truth, bikes, dogs and big bottomed girls.) 


Why I ride a bike 

Catherine Deveny has an easy answer when asked why she rides her bike everywhere. “It’s faster than walking, safer than driving, cheaper than public transport and it’s the closest thing to flying.”

Riding a bike is simply the happiest, most life-affirming and convenient way to get from A to B. But when you are on a bike A to B is more likely to end up being A to B, C, D, E and F on the way to G.

The cycle-mad Dutch have a saying about riding in the wet: “You are not made of sugar.”

I’ll leave my house for a gig in the city and drop in the library books, nip in and check out that frock in the shop window, pick up some curry paste and a bunch of flowers, post a letter, grab a coffee and still get to where I’m going faster and happier than I would have any other way. Parking? Nailed it.



Christian School Principal Forbids Primary Students Having Girlfriend And Boyfriend Relationships. 

Whenever I enquire why parents chose to enable and fund child abuse, homophobia, misgogyny, discrimination etc by sending their children to single sex religious schools, they always respond that it's to keep them from being 'distracted' by the opposite sex.

I respond 'What if they're gay?'

The parents are always gobsmacked. It's never dawned on them their children could be anything other than straight. Their response reveal the fear and shame theses parents have about their children's bodies, sex and relationships and I'd suggest their own. 

It comes as no suprise that the principal of Northern Beaches Christian College has sent out a letter saying that year 5 primary students are forbidden FORBIDDEN to have girlfriends and boyfriends. Forbidden FORBIDDEN to talk about crushes and that children should not be allowed in a room with a closed door with a visitor of the opposite sex and more (letter in full below). 

1. Are parents paying to have their children brainwashed to believe sex is bad, their body is their enemy, desire is wrong, romance and intimacy only occurs between people of the opposite sex and visitors are potential predators? 

2. Are Christians concerned that talking about crushes could be a gateway to emotional wellbeing and perhaps questioning this invisible friend in the sky who does magic tricks, thinks men and boys are god, the son of god and made of the image of god while women and girls are virgins, martyrs and whores?

3. Despite the rock solid, rolled gold fact unhealthy and abusive sexual contact is far more likely to occur with a member of the child's own family than a visitor, visitors of the opposite sex are the ones you should worry about. And of course if you're gay, go for gold. Because you don't exist. 

4. Do the teachers and parents from Northern Beaches Christian College not realise it's precisely this kind of shaming of normal emotional development that leads to sexually risky behavior in children, teens and adults and bad choices, abusive relationships and attraction to dysfuntional partners throughout their lives? 

Here's the email he sent. 

Letter from Principal of Northern Beaches Christian College

After receiving feedback that some students were discussing ‘boyfriends and girlfriends’, I recently had a conversation with our Year 5 cohort on the topic.

I made it clear that ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ relationships were not appropriate at this age and that there should not be any discussion on the topic between students. The main points addressed were:

  • Such discussions place pressure on individuals which is unfair and unwanted.·        
  • Social activities involving groups of boys and girls are healthy, as long as parents are involved in the planning.·        
  • Dates between individual boys and girls should not happen at this age.·        

Please reinforce with your son or daughter that ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ relationships are not to take place amongst Stage 3 NBCS students. Please also emphasise that discussing such relationships amongst peers, or the writing and sending of notes on the topic, is not helpful and is not to happen at our school.

Below, please find a few suggestions which may assist you in your parenting on this topic:

  • Don't allow your child to close the bedroom door when someone of the opposite sex is visiting. This should be a non-negotiable rule.·        
  • Talk with your child. The more conversations you have, the less likely he/she will be to get into trouble. If you've always kept the door open for discussions, your child may be more likely to come to you with questions or problems.     
  • If you're too oppressive and restrictive, you may trigger rebellion. Use logic and reason when creating rules for your child.     
  • Don't just forbid certain activities, explain why you forbid them. Doing this will help your child understand that you're not merely trying to be bossy or imposing arbitrary rules.
  • As a parent, it's your job to teach your child the importance of self-worth. Children who value themselves as they are won't need to ‘find themselves’ in other people.

I apologise for the direct nature of this correspondence. However, some students have been making others feel uncomfortable through their words and actions on this topic.

I am lost for words. Here are some from Nina Funnell author of Loveability an awesome new book on first crush to the first break-up how our romances as teens shape us

"Instead of treating the sexuality of children as something to be either feared or controlled, we need to encourage open conversations about intimacy and relationships. It is also important not to demonise young people's sexuality or interest in these topics, as this can create stigma, anxiety and shame. 

"It is deeply unhelpful to teach young people that the only reason why a girl might seek out intimacy or connection is due to low self esteem and a lack of self worth. This view totally disregards the desires and natural sexual urges of young women as well as the legitimate and positive experiences they draw from relationships."

Thanks Nina. 

Here's some words from me.


Want to write, write better, more different or that project that you're stuck on? Come to my GUNNAS WRITING MASTERCLASS. Beginners welcome.




Am I A Bogan? 

Recent questions from my 11 year old.

‘Mum, did you know Jewish people don’t have Christmas, they have ‘Handidcap’?’

‘Do penguins have feathers?’

‘What is flotsam and jettison? Is it like bowing and scraping? The bowing I get but what’s with the scraping?’

‘Why do dogs in the country not wear collars? Is it that farmers think collars are like jewellery and they don’t want their dogs to look gay?’

Yesterday he asked, ‘Mum, how do you tell if someone’s a bogan?’

I grew up in a big poor family. We lived in a housing commission house in a suburb that was the butt of jokes (our suburb LOVED being the punchline, it made us feel famous)