This year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival (Mar 28-Apr 22) is bigger than ever, featuring more than 400 shows in venues across the entire city. For the full festival experience, you'll want to cross the Yarra and spend some time at the Coopers Malthouse – the south's ultimate comedy hub. They're featuring a stellar line-up made up of 23 shows by artists from five different countries, and spanning everything from stand-up to musical theatre.
To celebrate the launch of the Coopers Malthouse's third year as the MICF's southside hub, they're offering ticketholders an invite to the opening party on Thursday March 29, complete with a free glass of bubbles. Cheers!
One of the big drawcards of the Coopers Malthouse is its large courtyard and great bar, perfect for pre-show wines and after-show debriefs. This year, the Coopers Malthouse is taking things to the next level with a pop-up restaurant by Hana Assafiri of Moroccan Soup Bar fame. She'll be serving daily specials, which can you enjoy out in the courtyard which will be decked out with lighting design by Matt Adey (Sugar Mountain, Chunky Move).
Stand-up not always your thing? Get your LOLs with a side of music with the Coopers Malthouse's cabaret offerings. The inimitable Geraldine Quinn will present her new original cabaret Queen Bitch. Expect powerhouse vocals, a razor-sharp wit and songs you'll be humming for days afterwards. For something a little more surreal, there's Betty Grumble: Love and Anger; the new show by Sydney's award-winning "beauty queen and sex clown" who blends her empowering and funny feminist "womanifesto" with party and protest. Another highlight is sure to be It's Not Me, It's Lou, by Melbourne funnywoman Lou Wall, as well as Alice Tovey in her new rock opera Existential Crisis.
Aussie comedians are well-represented at the Coopers Malthouse this year, with shows to suit every taste. Lovers of queer musical theatre won't want to go past Romeo Is Not The Only Fruit, which flips the story of star-crossed lovers to hilariously dissect rom-coms and mainstream portrayals of queer romance. The much-loved Lawrence Leung is back with The Man Who Stopped For a Sandwich, and Melbourne comedy favourite Andrew McClelland is on board with the brand new A Seated Walking Tour of Western Europe. The charming and fiercely funny Emma J Hawkins will talk about "life at 103cm short" in her stereotype-defying I Am Not A Unicorn!, and the massively talented Dane Simpson and Matt Ford will join forces once again to present Aborigi-LOL.
Get your fix of international comics at the Coopers Malthouse. For one night only, catch South African talent Carvin H Goldstone, who describes himself as being "well known as a poor man's Trevor Noah". His show, The Other South African Comedian, blends political humour about South Africa with observation and impersonation. Witness one of Malaysia's fastest-rising stars, Dr Jason Leong, in You Stupid Or What?, and experience the dry, hilarious stylings of UK-based, French-impersonating Marcel Lucont.