MICF Menu: Wednesday April 5

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is here 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 smack-bang in the middle of the working week. With that in mind, maybe you could use a laugh or two? Let’s check out what’s on this evening, starting with the early shows.

MICF ENTREES (Early Shows, until 7pm)

Sarah Jones - Creepy Dummy
So what’s the word on the street re: Creepy Dummy - an entertaining hour of comedy of the stuff of nightmares? I’ve done a little research and, unless you’re completely at the mercy of some extreme dummy-related phobia, you have nothing to worry about with this show. In fact, you have plenty to look forward to. You might already be familiar with Sarah Jones through the comedy duo Jonestown, who enjoyed a completely sold-out season at last year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Now Jones is revisiting her expertise as a ventriloquist, presenting a black comedy about the darker side of the artform, with a dash of stand-up thrown in for good measure. Creepy Dummy has already scored itself some glowing reviews and only three nights remain, so you’d better sort out tickets ASAP. Catch Creepy Dummy at The Butterfly Club, 5:30pm (7pm Monday).

Keep Calm It’s British Comedy
Boasting sell out runs in 2015 and 2016, Keep Calm It’s British Comedy returns to The Elephant and Wheelbarrow. The great thing about festival time is you can count on showcases such as these to enjoy performers you never get to see without booking flights. And here’s the good thing about shows like these - if you’re treated to a stand-up comic that absolutely smashes it, brilliant, buy tickets to their show. If you get someone terrible, though, they’re only up there for a few minutes before disappearing from your life forever. Sounds like a pretty fair deal, right? If you’re still confused about what to see this comedy festival, Keep Calm It’s British Comedy may be the place to start. It’s on at the Elephant and Wheelbarrow, 6:15pm every day excluding Mondays.

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

Steen Raskopoulos - The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess
Back in 2015, 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”. A couple of years on and not only does that description still fit the bill, but Raskopoulos has since become a lock when it comes time for me to work out my festival schedule. 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. The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess is on at the Melbourne Town Hall, 7:15pm (6:15pm Sundays) until April 16.

Anne Edmonds - No Offence, None Taken
In the lead up to this year’s festival, there was one name kept cropping up for me, no matter the context: Anne Edmonds. Her fellow comics simply gush about her talent and her potential to be the biggest name in Australian comedy.  And why not? Edmonds enjoyed a huge festival season last year, scoring a Barry Award nomination and taking out the Directors’ Choice Award for her work as part of True Aussie Patriots. Now she’s back to take the comedy world by storm yet again. I highly recommend checking out her terrific spot from this year’s Gala, which may include the darkest joke you hear all festival. If that’s your bag, you’ll likely dig Edmonds’ comedy. She’s on at the Victoria Hotel, 7pm (6pm Sundays).

MICF DESSERTS (Late Shows, 10pm onwards)

This showcase is geared towards discovering emerging talent at the comedy festival, promising music, storytelling and stand-up courtesy of local performers. The bonus here is that a portion of the proceeds goes to the Port Phillip Ecocentre, established to connect communities and protect nature in Melbourne. So there you go - you get to help yourself to some quality comedy and pat yourself on the back for being a good person. Tonight marks the first of just three nights for Allsorts at The Owl and Cat. Showtime is 10pm.

Clinton Haines - A Comedy In 3 Acts
We’re talking about late Wednesday evening here - the school night of school nights - but if you find you’re still quite ready to head home, Clinton Haines is here to help. Haines was the 2016 RAW Comedy Runner-Up, something you don’t just fluke, so you know you’re in good hands. He promises a blend of music and stand-up, as well as “maybe a sketch and special guests”. Sounds loose, which is essential for a late night show, right? Catch Clinton Haines at The Upstairs Lounge @ Little Sista,  11pm.

MICF SPECIALS (One-Offs and Discounts)
Last night at the Festival Club, the ABC recorded a special to be broadcast later this year. Well, they’re back at it again this evening. Head on over to Max Watts and enjoy a spectacular showcase of comedy courtesy of MC Nath Valvo, Emily Heller (USA), Merrick Watts, Steen Raskopoulos, Ryan Hamilton (USA), Laura Davis, Douglas Lim (MYS), Sean Choolburra, Khaled Khalafalla and Daredevil Chicken Club (USA). Doors are 11.15pm.