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Melbourne International Comedy Festival Australia's finest

Which locals should get some love at this year's festival? Here are our favourite Australian funny folks
Hannah Gadsby Douglas 2019 supplied image
Photograph: Supplied
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It's called the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, but the biggest highlights frequently come from the locals. This year's line-up features plenty of favourites of the Australian stand-up scene – Hannah Gadsby, Judith Lucy and Nazeem Hussain are all returning to the festival – alongside some relative newcomers, on the verge of major stardom.

And make sure you check out our ultimate guide to the festival, as well as the best international acts who'll be gracing Melbourne stages.

Our picks

1
Felicity Ward: Busting a Nut 2019
Photograph: Philip Gatward
Comedy, Stand Up

Felicity Ward: Busting a Nut

icon-location-pin Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne
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Woy Woy’s very own Felicity Ward was recently picked by Amy Schumer as the support act for her UK dates. And she’s certainly one of our funniest exports, as the first Australian to be given a ‘Live from the BBC’ comedy special. 

2
Judith Lucy Vs Men Melbourne Comedy Festival 2019
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Judith Lucy Vs Men

icon-location-pin Arts Centre Melbourne, Southbank
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There's a dilemma at the centre of Judith Lucy's new show: should she continue to date men, despite her horrifying record, or should she “hang up her vagina for good?”

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3
Nazeem Hussain: Basic Idiot 2019
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Nazeem Hussain: Basic Idiot

icon-location-pin Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne
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In the last year, Nazeem Hussain became a father, starred in his own sketch series (Orange is the New Brown), and scored a stand-up special on Netflix. Now he’s returning to his stand-up roots with a show that’s sure to tackle all of the recent developments in his life. 

4
Zoe Coombs Marr: Bossy Bottom MICF 2018 photo supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Zoë Coombs Marr: Bossy Bottom

icon-location-pin The Westin Melbourne, Melbourne
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 Just jokes. That’s what Zoë Coombs Marr is promising this year. No theatre stuff, no gimmickry and no characters. Basically none of that silly, distracting meta stuff that won her the Barry Award for best show at the comedy festival back in 2016.

Time Out says
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5
Neel Kolhatkar Live 2019
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Neel Kolhatkar: Live

icon-location-pin Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne
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Neel Kolhatkar is only in his twenties but has been honing his skills ever since he won the Class Clowns competition at just 15 years of age. Since then he’s filmed three stand-up specials, a bunch of TV shows and has become hugely popular on YouTube, amassing tens of millions of views online.

6
Rhys Nicholson Nice People Nice Things Nice Situations 2019
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Rhys Nicholson: Nice People Nice Things Nice Situations

icon-location-pin The Victoria Hotel, Melbourne
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When we saw Rhys Nicholson’s last stand-up show, we said: “Most comedians would kill to hear the almost unending screams of laughter Nicholson manages to extract from a crowd.” And we really mean it.

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7
Nina Oyama Needs a Lift 2019
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Nina Oyama Needs a Lift

icon-location-pin The Forum, Melbourne
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Nina Oyama is making her solo stand-up show debut at Melbourne International Comedy Festival with this set about her journeys as a black market taxi driver. But she’s definitely not a newcomer to comedy.

8
Hannah Gadsby Douglas 2019 supplied image
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Hannah Gadsby: Douglas

icon-location-pin Arts Centre Melbourne, Southbank
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Hannah Gadsby has been a popular live act in Australia for more than a decade, but it wasn't until she announced her retirement from the stand-up stage that she really made her mark. 

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9
Alice Fraser Mythos 2019
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Alice Fraser: Mythos

icon-location-pin Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne
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Alice Fraser is an ex-corporate lawyer who quit the profession when she found she was writing more jokes than contracts. She’s had a fast rise in comedy, having gained a significant following thanks to her stand-up gigs and podcasts.

10
Steph Tisdell: The Pyramid Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2019
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Steph Tisdell: The Pyramid

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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Steph Tisdell's star is very much on the rise: in 2014 she won the prestigious Deadly Funny competition and last year was nominated for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival's Best Newcomer Award.

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11
Margot Tanjutco in Vanity Fair Enough
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Musical comedy

Margot Tanjutco: Vanity Fair Enough

icon-location-pin Malthouse Theatre, Southbank
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Margot Tanjutco might be making her solo debut at this year's Comedy Festival, but she's no stranger to it; she was a stand-out in Jean Tong's musical Romeo is Not the Only Fruit last year. 

The rest of the fest

More to explore

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