Pink flags on Swanston Street? A buzz of theatre and joy in the air? It must be Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the most wonderful time of the year.
But with the endless list of dazzling shows on offer, how can one possibly decide where to begin? Enter Kings of Comedy – a showcase of MICF stand-up talent.
“It’s a great mix of up-and-coming and superstar comedians,” says organiser and comedian Simon Hughes, fresh off the Adelaide Fringe bandwagon.
2019 will be Kings of Comedy’s fourth year at MICF – like a fresh bottle of sparkling water, this one should be more invigorating than ever.
“A few years ago there were hardly any stand-up opportunities for up-and-coming comedians, especially on weekends,” Hughes says. “So I put this showcase together and within the first few shows we had a hundred people in the audience, it took off really quickly.”
Kings of Comedy has previously featured comedians testing out a range of styles, including musical comedy and ventriloquism. So, can audiences expect a night involving Chucky nailing a musical number?
“For the most part you’ll see stand-up, but you never know,” says Hughes.
Conveniently located in the CBD, Kings of Comedy is an ideal gig for comedy fans who want to discover new talent but aren’t looking to commit to anything serious yet. Like comedy Tinder.
“Audiences don’t usually want to commit to a full hour with a comedian they don’t know. This showcase is like a range of tasty appetisers for stand-up shows at MICF. The comedians will be bringing their absolute best for this night. If you’re into their set, you can check out their full show after,” says Hughes.
Combined with up-and-coming talent, Kings of Comedy has previously featured comedy bigwigs including Hughsie, Denise Scott and Fiona O’Loughlin. According to Hughes, the energy in previous King of Comedy showcases has been “electric”.
“I remember one night, a writer for Dave Chappelle was performing, and it was unbelievable. This comedian had the audience crying in laughter, the air was electric. I’ll never forget it.”
So what advice does Hughes have for comedy audiences at this year’s MICF? To go on a journey into the unknown (but tell your mum or someone, obviously).
“I’d say head to comedy gigs with an open mind. Go on a journey with the comedian. We’re there to entertain you and make you laugh. It’s the greatest joy for us and we want you to share that same experience,” advises Hughes.
Venue: Colonial Hotel
Dates: Thursday 28th March – Saturday 20th April (bar Sunday – Wednesday and Friday April 19)
Price: $25 – $57