For parents, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has come at the ideal time: the beginning of the autumn school holidays. There are plenty of great options this year, but here are our favourites:
Comedy Club for Kids
If you only take the kids to one show this year, make it the festival’s annual comedy club for kids; a rag-tag compilation of musical comedy, circus and stand-up that will have you chuckling alongside the little ones. Check the program closer to the date for big names like Melbourne troupe Wizard Sandwiches, and Jellybean Drive’s own Frehd the Clown.
The Famous Spiegeltent, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne 3004. Tue-Sun 12.30pm. Mar 26-Apr 10.
David O’Doherty: Danger is Everywhere
You probably know the Irish comic for his wry observations put to disarmingly naive keyboard tunes; but are you aware that he’s also penned a bestselling children’s book series, called Danger is Everywhere? Get your O’Doherty fix and please the kids at the live version of his book series, in which he’ll teach a lesson in Dangerology.
Lower Town Hall, Melbourne Town Hall, 90-130 Swanston St, Melbourne 3000. Thu 11am; Sat 3pm. Mar 31-Apr 2.
Heath Franklin and Harley Breen in Captain Funpants and the Mystery of the Funomatic Fun Wand
Given that well-loved Aussie comedians Heath Franklin and Harley Breen are known for charming audiences with relatable stories, hilarious impressions and razor-sharp improv skills, we’re confident that their new pirate-themed kids’ show will have kids and adults reaching cheek-hurting levels of laughter.
The Famous Spiegeltent, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne 3004. Fri-Sun 4pm. Mar 26-Apr 3.
Ongals: Babbling Comedy
Last year, Melbourne audiences met Ongals – a troupe of Korean physical comedy wizards – and fell in love. One year (and a swag of five-star reviews on) the master clowns are returning with a show that transcends age. Bring Grandma, bring your five-year-old – and bring tissues to wipe away tears of laughter.
The Famous Spiegeltent, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne 3004. Tue-Sat 7pm; Sun 6pm. Apr 5-17.
Tessa Waters: How to be a Rock Star
If you saw the Melbourne comedian’s booty-shaking and body-positive show WOMANz at last year’s Comedy Festival, then you’ll know just how essential it is to get your tiny rock stars to her family friendly show. Spandex-clad Waters will get kids learning the skills to blow minds on the dance floor.
Powder Room, Melbourne Town Hall, 90-130 Swanston St, Melbourne 3000. Tue-Sun 1.30pm. Mar 26-Apr 10.
More comedy events
The Melbourne's longest running and most successful improv comedy night, the Big Hoo Haa, is improvised comedy at its rawest: minimal pretension, audience participation and maximum laughter. Anything could happen! Well, not anything. Scripted comedy, for example. That definitely won't happen.
A Thursday night staple in Melbourne, comedy at the European Bier Cafe is still going strong after over five years. They’ve featured all the big names, including Sarah Silverman, Adam Hills, Jimeoin, Dave Hughes, Stephen K Amos, Wil Anderson and heaps more, plus all the best Melbourne and interstate comedians there are. It's a guaranteed high-quality night of laughs for just $12; what more could you want?