MICF Menu: Thursday April 20

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is back and Beat Magazine is proud to present MICF Menu - your inside track to all the delectable treats of this year’s festival season. Hope you’ve left some room since last festival, because this year’s program serves up a veritable smorgasbord of shows. I’m Nick Mason and I’ll be previewing each day of the festival before it happens, from recommendations to one-off events and even special offers.

We’re into the final few days of the festival! The urgency to go and see something funny is at an all-time high. Still not sure what to see? Here are some fresh recommendations to make things easier.

MICF ENTREES (Early Shows, until 7pm)

Dairy Kweenz - Normal Human Responses
As a sketch comedy fan, if you take a quick glance at the festival program, you’ll notice it can be hard to come by at the times you really want it. Not everyone wants to stay out until 11pm to see a bunch of clever skits. Fortunately, that’s where this show from Dairy Kweenz come in, presenting their rapid-fire sketch show at the more-accessible time of 6:30pm. In case you aren’t familiar with them, Dairy Kweenz are a troupe of Melbourne-based improvisers who perform regularly at The Improv Conspiracy. This year, they’re looking to follow-up on the huge success of last year’s debut. Catch them 6:30pm tonight at Speakeasy.

Steen Raskopoulos - The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess
Speaking of sketch comedy, though, you can’t go past Steen Raskopoulos’ one-man sketch comedy gem, The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess. Only a couple of years back, I gave Steen Raskopoulos a big thumbs up, praising his show for presenting “a revolving door of characters and a distinct fondness for the ridiculous”. Is this his best show yet? It might be. You might just have to head along to find out. His one-man sketch comedy expertise has earned him sold out seasons in Sydney, Edinburgh and London, so grab yourself a ticket and see what everyone’s on about. There are just three more performances of The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess – it’s on at 6pm at the Melbourne Town Hall. Check it out!

MICF MAIN MEALS (Prime Time, 7pm-10pm)

Phill Jupitus - Juplicity
You might be familiar with Phill Jupitus through QI and Never Mind The Buzzcocks. As it turns out, he’s a terrific stand-up comedian too, making for one hell of a CV. He just made his Australian stand-up comedy debut last night and he was excellent, showcasing some clever and occasionally cheeky material. Catch him while you can – Jupitus plays the Arts Centre Melbourne, 7pm tonight.

Tom Walker - Bee Boo
Here we have one of this year’s Barry Award nominees and, in my opinion, if an artist is up for the most prestigious prize in the festival, they should be able to hold you consistently in hysterics over the course of their performance. Well, professional weirdo Tom Walker definitely meets that criteria. In fact, this show left me gasping for air. I won’t spoil anything – just head along and strap in for rapid-fire absurdism. Or, if you like, prepare yourself for barrage of nonsense. Nay – get psyched for intense, in-your-face silliness. Do all of the above, really. Walker took out both Best Newcomer and the Directors' Choice Award in 2016 and might just take out the top prize this year. Basically, there’s never been a better time to Walker in action. Bee Boo plays 9:45pm tonight at the Victoria Hotel.

MICF DESSERTS (Late Shows, 10pm onwards)

The Mooks - Boganocracy
Looking to take a chance on some newcomers this festival? Boganocracy is the first show performed by comedic troupe The Mooks. This comedic play conjures up a bleak vision of the future with a satirical look at modern Australian culture, ideology and politics. One of the best things about the comedy festival is discovering exciting new local talent and there’s an opportunity to do just that right here with The Mooks. Check them out, 10pm at Alchemist's Refuge.

Steele Saunders - I Love Green Guide Letters Live Podcast
In case you aren’t familiar with this podcast, Steele Saunders assembles a bunch of comedians and familiar faces from the media, all in the name of returning fire at TV-guide-reading and letter-writing oddballs. As other long-time listeners will likely attest, the live episodes tend to raise the bar higher again in overall fun and hilariousness. With that in mind, make sure you get down to the Exford Hotel at 11pm tonight for the penultimate live recording of the festival.
MICF SPECIALS (One-Offs and Discounts)
Tonight at The Festival Club, you can see ten comedians for $10. Not only is that ridiculously good value, there’s a quality line-up on offer, too. You’ve got your MC Bart Freebairn, James McCann, Marty Bright, Daniel Muggleton, Hayley Butcher, Ciaran Lyons, Nat Damena, Tom Cashman, Joseph Green, Sami Shah, Aaron Gocs, Jonathan Schuster and Nick Capper. Doors at 11:15pm.