Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Be in the room where it happens with Australia’s biggest comedy festival, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF). This world-renowned celebration transforms Melbourne into a laughing city with thousands of artists and over half a million punters enjoying laughter together.

Roll out the laughs with an international line-up of festival favorites and Australian stars, hand-picked from the world’s funniest comedians. Enjoy non-stop laughter as Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow tours regional towns across Australia.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry… You might even scream! 

But it’s not just about the laughs; this multi-day festival offers more variety, allowing you to pair your laughter with other activities. Get soaked up in comedy shows, live performances, workshops, debates, art exhibitions, sketch troupes, film programs, and more. 

It’s definitely worth your time to go check out this great event!

Melbourne Comedy Festival Quick Facts

  • Largest stand-alone comedy festival, rivaling the likes of Edinburgh Festival Fringe
  • Second-largest international comedy festival after Just for Laughs Festival Montreal
  • In 2018, it played host to a record 550 shows and 6,700 performances

Melbourne Comedy Festival Dates

The festival generally begins in mid to late March, and runs for three weeks each year, with the peak in the first two weeks. Melbourne Comedy Festival 2023 dates will be from 29 March to 24 April.

Venue

Melbourne Town Hall is the hub of the Melbourne Comedy Festival. But with over 500 shows and 1,000 performances, it takes place at over 100 venues all around Melbourne. One of the most popular is Palais Theatre – the largest seated theatre in Australia with a capacity of up to 3,000 people.

Flagship Events – Melbourne Comedy Festival Best Shows

Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala

MICF Gala or Oxfam Gala is ABC TV’s flagship comedy event, bringing together some of Australia’s and the world’s best comedians for one big night of laughs. Though part of MICF, the Gala is held one week earlier as a fundraiser for Oxfam Australia charity. 

The Great Debate

The Great Debate show is another televised event that combines critical thinking and comic timing. Witness as a line-up of the world’s best comedians argue the most controversial questions facing our society, from the frivolous to the downright furious. 

The traditional debate format will be thrown out. But there’ll still be plenty of wits, wisdom, and bad behavior on the show. No two debates are ever the same!

Opening Night Super Show

As part of the Festival’s opening night celebrations, a bunch of comedians perform a gigantic show to kick it all off. Headlining comedians include festival favorites and talented newcomers alike.

Upfront Show

This show is exclusively for female performers.

Raw Comedy

Be funny and keep it short! Raw Comedy is Australia’s largest, most prestigious, and longest-running open mic competition. The event showcases the rawest of the rawest comedy talent. As with any comedy gig, some comics will be better than others, and it’s your job to let them know who they are.

Class Clowns

Class Clowns is a national stand-up comedy competition open to students aged 14 to 18. Aspiring young comedians are invited to write a 5-minute routine which they then perform in front of a live audience. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been doing comedy for a while, Class Clowns is a great opportunity to get on stage and have some fun with it!

Deadly Funny

Deadly Funny generates laughs, creates opportunities, and encourages communities to share stories of joy, loss, and triumph! It’s an opportunity for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander comedians to showcase their skills on stage.

Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow

Comedians from around Australia and overseas come together for the laugh-filled fest that is the Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow. It’s like a traveling funfair that brings the best of comedy to your city. The roadshow tours over 80 destinations across Australia. 

Melbourne Comedy Festival Tickets

How to book

Melbourne Comedy Festival tickets are available to purchase online through the official website, comedyfestival.com.au.

To pre-book tickets, simply head over to the Melbourne Comedy Festival website and click on the “Tickets” tab. Look for the event you want to attend, and click on its ticket link. 

If there is a price listed, click it! This will bring up a window where you can select your seat, or if you want to buy a full pass, enter your credit card information. (If there’s no price listed, it’s sold out!)

If you’re buying tickets for yourself and a friend, you can either enter their name under the “Buy Tickets For” section. Or better still, you can add them as a separate payment method—it’s your choice!

Each show session on the website will link to the authorized ticketing provider for that particular event. Besides Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s ticketing service, other authorized ticket providers include Ticketmaster, Ticketek, Arts Centre Melbourne, Malthouse Theatre, and more. 

Alternatively, you can book your ticket during the event at the Melbourne Town Hall Box Office.

Ticket pricing

Melbourne International Comedy Festival tickets average $30.

All tickets purchased via booking agents are subject to booking fees. The booking fee can be $0.50 to $15.15 per ticket. But you can avoid it by purchasing your ticket at the Melbourne Town Hall Box Office.

Ways to save on your tickets

Want to save some money on your tickets to the Melbourne Comedy Festival? You can snap a deal in five different ways. Here are some tips!

  • Catch a preview show: Preview shows are great for getting a feel for what you’ll be seeing during your time in town. Discount prices for preview shows are typically available from late March to Early April. But it’s also available on other select days. So be sure to check the calendar. Pink dots often represent preview shows on the calendar.
  • Go on tightarse Tuesday: Most shows offer discount prices on Tuesday. Green dots represent tightarse Tuesday price on the calendar.
  • Take a group: You can save money by taking a group of friends or family members to see the acts. The minimum group size varies depending on the show details.
  • Show a valid concession: Concession discount prices apply to the unemployed, full pensioners, senior card holders, full-time students, and children under 16 years. However, you’ll have to provide proof of eligibility. Also, concession discount prices may not be available for some performances.
  • Buy a laugh package: The laugh package is represented by a blue dot on the calendar. It involves buying full tickets for at least three different shows. This option allows you to receive a 10% discount on your tickets.

Who to see – Melbourne Comedy Festival Comedians List

The line-up is always stellar, and this year is no exception. According to critics, these are some of the names you shouldn’t miss. Our list includes best bets, big names, local heroes, and talented newcomers.

  • Stephen K Amos – a British stand-up comedian specializing in observational comedy and political satire
  • Geraldine Hickey – an Australian comedian renowned for her award-winning “What A Surprise” show
  • Carl Donnelly – a British stand-up comedian nominated for best comedy show in 2013
  • Claire Hooper – an Australian stand-up comedian notable for her role in “The Great Australian Bake Off”
  • Tor Snyder – a Canadian/Australian comedian

Transport Options

There are many options when it comes to getting around during the festival, from public transport and taxis to hire cars and chauffeured vehicles.

Transport Type Transport Lines Nearest Stations To MICF
Bus 207, 220, 250, 251, 302, and 905 Victoria St/Rathdowne St (Carlton) – 3 min walk
Melbourne Central/Lonsdale St -6 min walk
Tram 16, 5, 67, 86 6-Swanston St/Bourke St – 3 min walk
7-Russell St/La Trobe St – 4 min walk8-Melbourne Central Station/Swanston St – 5 min walk
Train Craigieburn
Frankston
Mernda
Sandringham
 

Taxi

Taxis are easy to find. So if you’re looking to get around town, that’s an option. If you’d rather not deal with a cab company, you can always take advantage of the many car services available during the festival.

Chauffeur 

If you’re feeling extra fancy, why not hire a chauffeur service? It’s like having your own personal driver who’ll take care of all your transportation needs—from airport pick-ups to weekend getaways—and maybe even bring along snacks and drinks!

Where To Stay

If you’re looking for a place to stay near the festival, there are several options available. We’ve got three hotels that we think will suit your needs for this festival:

The Westin Melbourne

This 5-star hotel on 205 Collins St sits just a few steps from Melbourne Town Hall. It features refined rooms filled with modern Australian artwork. Some come with balconies, spa baths, and/or exercise facilities. Living/dining areas and Bose stereos are added to suites.

Westin Hotel has a modern restaurant offering contemporary dining and a stylish lounge serving high tea. There are 7 meeting rooms, a fitness center with an indoor pool, free Wi-Fi in public areas, and other amenities. Also, a Yarra Tram station is nearby, and Federation Square and the National Gallery of Victoria are both a 7 and 11 minutes walk away.

Quest Southbank Apartment Hotel

Quest Southbank Hotel is on the Century Tower at 14 Kavanagh St, Southbank. The hotel features unfussy apartments with 1 to 3 bedrooms and typically has kitchens, living rooms, and patios. There’s free Wi-Fi, and Nespresso machines are added to upgraded flats.

A restaurant, a convenience store, and a gym are available as amenities. Parking and breakfast are offered for an extra cost. This relaxed apartment hotel is a 6-minute stroll from both the National Gallery of Victoria and Eureka Skydeck. Also, the Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex may be reached on foot in 15 minutes.

Hotel Collins Serviced Apartments

Located at 182 Collins St, Hotel Collins is a hidden gem in the heart of Melbourne. The hotel has individually-styled apartments with deluxe bedding and separate living areas. Each apartment has a kitchen, dining area, and a modern-sized bathroom.

The self-contained apartments cater to both corporate and leisure guests. Plus, they overlook the iconic Collins Street and the funky Melbourne laneways.

There are also plenty of other hotels around Melbourne that offer special deals during this time of year. If you want to save money, book as soon as possible!

Parking

Parking at the Melbourne Comedy Festival can be notoriously hard. But we’ve got you covered! We’ve compiled this list of some of the best parking spots within walking distance from all the venues.

  • The Mint Car Park at 383 La Trobe Street
  • 200 Queen Street Car Park (Entrance is between Lonsdale & Little Bourke Streets)
  • 300 Flinders Street Car Park (No wheelchair access for level 1)
  • Southern Cross Car Park at 121 Exhibition Street

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