Top 5 Picks for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

As various make-shift stages and venues pop up across Melbourne and the funny people start rolling in for the 3oth Annual Melbourne International Comedy Festival, we look at some of the shows you should check out over the next month.

A few people have asked me for some show recommendations for the 2016 Melbourne International Comedy festival, so I thought this would be the platform to give them. Granted, nobody asked me to write an article about it, and they were probably only asking me to be polite in the first place, but I’m still giving them.

Much like when people ask me, instead of trying to tailor a list to their specific comedy tastes, I’m just going to give a list of the top 5 shows I personally am hoping to get to this year. It’s not a definitive list, and there are many more shows I hope to get to, it’s just, well, it’s a list.

Nick Cody
Nick Cody – Image: MICF
5. Nick Cody – Come Get Some

I first saw Nick Cody at the Sydney Opera House of all places, back in 2012 as a support act for Bill Burr. I’m not traditionally patient when it comes to support acts, especially when I’m hanging to see my favourite comedian for the first time. Nick however, won me over from his very first joke, and I’ve made a point of trying to get to his shows ever since.

Nick is the sort of guy you’d expect to see standing around drinking beer with all the boys on a suburban deck and yelling loudly about sport, but looks can be deceiving; the beard has equal parts hipster and bogan, and his comedy makes fun of both.  He tours relentlessly, he podcasts successfully and he’s only 28, which, when you add it to the fact that he is naturally very funny, is a recipe for a guy who is going to really break out over the next few years.

Get in and see him before he is too famous to come back to Melbourne.




Sam Simmons
Sam Simmons – Image: MICF
4. Sam Simmons – Not a People Person

Do you find schizophrenia funny? I’m not saying that Sam Simmons is schizophrenic, I’m just saying that if somebody contacted me after publishing this article and said “Hey you know what, Sam actually is schizophrenic,” I wouldn’t be shocked, I’d just feel like a bit of a douche. But really, I’m only using that word because it’s the best one I can come up with for describing Sam’s tangent-jumping, hyper-active style of absurdist comedy.

Not a People Person is a rather tame name for a Simmons show, following on from last years Spaghetti for Breakfast (which took out the Barry Award for the MICF and the Fosters Award at the Edinburgh Fringe) and with previous titles such as Tales From the Erotic Cat and Where can I win a bear around here? I wouldn’t think the tamer name will lead to a tamer show though, in fact, I’d expect it to be as off the wall as ever.

Sam’s based in the US these days,  so he doesn’t get back to Oz all that often, so now is a great time to take advantage of him being in town and witness his sheer madness in all it’s side-splitting hilarity.




Tommy Little
Tommy Little – Image: MICF
3. Tommy Little – Dickhead

There was a time when every Australian comedian was named Dave. These days, it’s Tom or Tommy, but don’t let the common name fool you; Tommy Little is a not your common comedian. His profile has skyrocketed in recent years with stints on breakfast radio and television, but I feel that not enough has been said about the very thing he does best; stand on stage and make people laugh.

I saw Tommy at last year’s festival where he performed a sell out show in a smallish, intimate space at ACMI. This year he has graduated to the best looking venue in Melbourne, the Forum, so expectations will be understandably higher. (What’s the matter Tommy, you too good for ACMI now?)

Tommy’s biggest strength on stage is that he is instantly likeable and easily relatable. His comedy is equal parts funny, clever and silly, and I’m expecting him to have a big presence at this year’s festival.





Paul Foot - Image:
Paul Foot – Image:
2. Paul Foot – An Evening with Mr Paul Foot.

I’m a latecomer to the Paul Foot bandwagon, very very late. It’s only in the past year that I got put onto him by a friend, and straight away I felt bummed out that I hadn’t discovered him earlier. The UK native has been a regular performer at previous festivals and has developed a cult following of his quirky, eccentric brand of humor.

For those like myself who haven’t been lucky enough to see him perform previously, Paul is performing a ‘best of’ style show, showcasing the highlights of his previous work here, so this year is the perfect time to go and see him.

His style is fairly unique and a little abstract, yet he seems to reach the lofty levels of subtle satire that only the English seem to be able to produce.

Stop Fighting, and just enjoy the anagram.




Time Vine
Tim Vine – Image:
1. Tim Vine – Tim Timinee Tim Timinee Tim Tim To You

You’ve most likely seen Tim Vine on the legendary British sketch comedy show, The Sketch Show, where he would have been delivering a series of short, one-liners at an incredibly rapid pace. That is pretty much what you can expect to see from him in his stage show.

The best way to describe Tim’s comedy is a series of ‘Dad Jokes,’ and he manages to make you giggle from somewhere deep in your soul, just like you did as a 4 year old hearing dad’s jokes for the 50th time. Tim doesn’t make social commentary, he doesn’t try to ‘make you think,’ he just wants to say silly things and make you laugh, and he is very, very good at it.

He has a joke that goes “Guy that invented window sills. What a ledge.” That single line still cracks me up every time I think about it, and I cannot wait to go and see this show.




So that’s my top 5 picks for the festival, but really, I could have made 20 of these lists and still left out deserving comedians. There is so much to see, so much to do, and it’s a great time to be in Melbourne.

Enjoy the all the funnys.

Top 5 Shows to see at MICF 2016
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Top 5 Shows to see at MICF 2016
As various make-shift stages and venues pop up across Melbourne and the funny people start rolling in for the 3oth Melbourne International Comedy Festival, we look at some of the shows you should check out over the next month.
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Holding Steadfast
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Matt Caton

Matt is a freelance writer, content marketer, comedy geek and podcast evangelist

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