Top Picks

Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2020: Our top picks

*Insert a clip of us laughing hysterically*

See available tickets

Flying into the new decade, Melbourne International Comedy Festival needs no introductions. Across its 30+ year legacy, it has launched the careers of many of your favourite comedians and well and truly earned its place as the second-largest comedy festival in the world.

As always, the program is chockful of everything from ​stand-up, to improv and sketch ​comedy​ (just to scratch the surface), so we’re certain there’s something for every taste.

From international heavy hitters to homegrown humour machines, the up and comers you need to know and comedy veterans you need to see – you’ll spend your time at Melbourne International Comedy Festival in various stages of hysterical laughter and deep thought. With so much good stuff jam-packed into the festival, here are our top picks.

Andrew Wolfe – Life of the Party

Kind of like Superman but with fewer glasses or the ability to fly, Andrew Wolfe’s stockbroker-by-day, comedian-by-night is sure to provide some comedy gold. 2020 will see his debut solo show takes us through the struggles of inhabiting a late-stage capitalist society as it slowly burns to the ground. We promise, it will be fun.

Forum Melbourne – Reception Room – Thursday 26 March until Sunday 19 April (excl. Mondays)

Best of the Edinburgh Fest 

Handpicked from the Edinburgh Fringe, Best of the Edinburgh Fest will showcase some of the best up-and-coming talents from the UK comedy scene including Ian Smith (UK), Maisie Adam (UK) and Markus Birdman (UK). There’s a reason this sells out year after year.

Forum Melbourne – Upstairs – Thursday 26 March until Sunday 19 April (excl. Mondays)

Biswa Kalyan Rath – Live

Mathematics, language, and life isn’t usually a combination you’d expect from a comedy show, but that’s what the furiously funny Biswa Kalyan Rath – AKA one of India’s most popular comedians – is bringing to this year’s Festival. Best known for his comedy web series Pretentious Movie Reviews, he’s carved a special niche with his stand-up. Performed in Hindi.

Forum Melbourne – Downstairs – Wednesday 8 April

Biswa Kalyan Rath - Sushi - New Stand up Special - Trailer

Class Clowns – National Grand Final

This is the main event, the best of the best.

This one-of-a-kind, national secondary school comedy competition encourages teenagers with a talent for comedy to unleash their comic voice through stand-up, sketch, musical or physical comedy. Finalists from across the country join forces in Melbourne for one huge teenage comedy bash. Alongside the next generation of Australian comedy royalty, a stellar lineup of festival favourites will make special guest appearances.

Forum Melbourne – Downstairs – Friday 17 April 

Deadly Funny – National Grand Final

For one incredible night, Deadly Funny will bring together a huge line-up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent.

For the last four months, this deadly competition has crossed the country to unearth the freshest, fiercest, funniest comedians and yarn-spinners from the oldest culture on earth. The Grand Final will showcase the 2020 national finalists alongside some special guest performances.

Forum Melbourne – Downstairs – Saturday 4 April

Fabian Woods - Winner Deadly Funny National Final and Showcase 2019

Frank Woodley – *@#!king Clown 

Because comedy is like one of those old-fashioned washing machines with the ringers on top and Frank loves to push any topic or tale into the ringers and squeeze as much laughter out as he can.

Forum Melbourne – Upstairs – Thursday 26 March until Sunday 19 April (excl. Mondays)

Indian All-Star Comedy Showcase

Returning for its fourth year, this limited-run season shines a bright light on the best comedians India has to offer. Don’t miss All India Bakchod’s Rohan Joshi, furiously funny nerd Biswa Kalyan Rath, one of India’s most critically acclaimed stand-ups Azeem Banatwalla and Queens Of Comedy’s Urooj Ashfaq when they get together for this not-to-be-missed showcase.

Forum Melbourne – Downstairs – Thursday 9 April until Sunday 12 April

Jason Byrne – Wrecked But Ready

Jason Byrne reckons he’s has a particularly testing year, but despite it all, he is ready and waiting to spill it out on stage. The best part – not one show is the same. So expect all the usual spontaneous fun Byrne brings to the Festival year after year.

Forum Melbourne – Downstairs – Thursday 26 March until Sunday 19 April (excl. Mondays)

Jason Byrne Spent His Childhood Freezing To Death | Live at the Apollo | BBC Comedy Greats

Lauren Bok – It’s A Long Way To The Bok (If You Wanna Sausage Roll)

Nominated for the Golden Gibbo in 2019, Lauren Bok is back with a freshly-baked new show, aiming to reach the top through a hilarious blend of stand-up, mime and burlesque. You see, in order to reach ‘The Top’, chronic overachiever Bok has never chucked a sickie, never got detention and never, ever paid for public transport.

Expect some advice. Expect most of it to be questionable.

Forum Melbourne – Reception Room – Thursday 26 March until Sunday 19 April (excl. Mondays)

Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala

Just as it does every year, comedy’s night of nights will kick off the Festival with a star-studded lineup of performers showing their support for Oxfam. Not only is this a great night out, it’s also for a good cause. So, it’s a great night on all fronts.

Palais Theatre – Wednesday 18 March

Opening Night Comedy Allstars Supershow

What better way to celebrate the opening of the 2020 Melbourne International Comedy Festival than with a massive show featuring the biggest names and brightest new stars of comedy? That’s right, we don’t have an answer because there isn’t one. So be sure not to miss this very special annual event.

Palais Theatre – Wednesday 25 March

Felicity Ward - 2019 Melbourne Comedy Festival Opening Night Comedy Allstars Supershow

Paul Williams – In The Moonlight

New Zealand comedian Paul Williams is a mystery to us. His show description is incredibly simple without giving anything away – “A show for anyone who likes champagne and wearing a clean outfit.”

What does that mean? Not even we know! But we do really like champagne, and despite all the pasta sauce stains on our white t-shirts, we do quite like wearing clean clothes. So we’ll see you there.

Forum Melbourne – Reception Room – Thursday 26 March until Sunday 19 April (excl. Mondays)

Pub Choir – Open Your Sound Hole 

Why should being average at something stop you from doing it!? It hasn’t yet. With a show that is equal parts music, comedy, and beer, Pub Choir is the euphoric sensation from Brisbane that transforms a crowd of strangers into a legendary choir.

The best part? By the end of the show, you will have become the performance, belting out a timeless song in three-part harmony.

Forum Melbourne – Downstairs – Saturday 18 April

Rich Hall’s Hoedown Deluxe 

Comedy legend Rich Hall is joined by his band of talented and chronically unemployable urchins to deliver a whole new comedy experience. It’s a mash-up of acerbic stand-up and alt-country lyricism that’s as rib-tickling as it is toe-tapping.

Forum Melbourne – Downstairs – Friday 17 April until Sunday 19 April

Tom Gleeson – Lighten Up

Hard Quiz host. Gold Logie winner. The master, performing his latest hour.

That’s it. That’s all you need. It’s Tom Gleeson after all.

Comedy Theatre – Wednesday 25 March until Sunday 19 April (excl. Mondays)

Tom Gleeson - 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala

Tommy Little – I’ll See Myself Out

Tommy describes himself as “Australia’s premier dickhead” but we’ve met a lot of people and we actually think he’s pretty good. Come hear what he’s been up to since you last saw him.

Comedy Theatre – Wednesday 25 March until Sunday 19 April (excl. Mondays)

Wil Anderson – WILEGAL & Whatchu Talkin’ ‘Bout Wil? 

When you’re Wil Anderson, and you’ve been performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for more than two decades, why wouldn’t you decide now is the perfect time to bring not one, but two shows to MICF?

The first sees the return of his smash-hit, critically acclaimed show from 2019 Wilegal. If you can’t remember back to June 2018, quickly search ‘Wil Anderson’ and ‘Wagga Wagga’ to get the backstory for this show. A seasoned performer and incredible storyteller, here Anderson is relatable, deeply detailed, and just the right amount of self-deprecating. It’s been described as one of his best shows in 21 years, so we’re pretty stoked it’s back.

The second half of this year’s festival sees Anderson dive headfirst into, what we can only assume, is a stand-up comedian’s worst nightmare – improvisation. If you’re an Anderson Comedy Festival regular (like us), you might remember his 2015 show Free Wil, which saw Anderson trade sections of quickfire improv with hilarious tales from the road. In Whatchu Talkin’ ‘Bout Wil?, he promises to take things one step further – a show completely made up on the spot. We promise this is Anderson at his absolute best.

Wilegal: Comedy Theatre ­– Wednesday 25 March until Sunday 5 April (except Mon/Tues)

Whatchu Talkin’ ‘Bout Wil?: Comedy Theatre ­– Wednesday 8 April until Sunday 19 April (except Mon/Tues)

Wil Anderson #1 - 2017 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala

 Melbourne International Comedy Festival will take over Melbourne from Wednesday 25 March until Sunday 19 April. Get tickets to all of these great shows via