Good news, comedy fans! It’s just about Christmas for those who like a chuckle. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is fast approaching, and with it comes today’s revelation of the full program for its 29th incarnation.

The festival, which runs from March 25th through to April 19th, more or less takes over the entire inner city of Melbourne, with regular comedy venues, pubs, bars, hole in the wall shops, and even makeshift tents hosting a whopping 559 shows over the course of the month.

Along with your usual swathe of Festival regulars and Australian heavyweights like Adam Hills, Denise Scott, Dave Hughes, Wil Anderson, Arj Barker, Stephen K Amos, Jason Byrne and the returning Noel Fielding, is a veritable motherload of talent, both big and small, from home and abroad.

We know wading through the program might seem intimidating – particularly if you’re not an ardent student of the comedy game – so we’ve gone ahead and put together a few picks of the program for you. We’ve looked at the International lineup, the biggest acts from Australia, some that are on the cusp, and some smaller shows that are new, exciting, fresh and are going to be generally bloody hilarious. Take a look!


INTERNATIONALS

Alex EdelmanMillenial

A New York-born, once-lived-in-Jerusalem type, Edelman took out the Best Newcomer award at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe. Extraordinarily quick witted and self-deprecating.

Daniel Kitson Polyphony

Stop whatever you’re doing and get tickets to this. Now. Trust me, it will sell out quickly. A master of storytelling and one of the most adept comics in the world.

DeAnne SmithGet Into It

Sweet and genuinely endearing Canadian who will gently hug you and give you reassurance as we all march into the abyss.

Jen KirkmanI’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine)

Regular panelist for Chelsea Handler, New York Times best-seller, frequent slayer on Comedy Central‘s @midnight. Hilariously vulgar.

Josie LongCara Josephine

Affably, bumblingly British. Truly relatable. Truly funny. Truly wonderful.

Trygve WakenshawNautilus

The demented genius behind last year’s smash hit Kraken, Trygve’s physical elasticity alone is worth your time and money.

BIG LOCALS

Celia PacquolaLet Me Know How It All Works Out

A brand new hour from, for my money, the funniest working comic in Australia. As seen on just about every TV show ever nowadays (Offspring, Utopia, HYBPA?)

Dave ThorntonSpit & Polish

Very handsome bloke who can spin a yarn that’ll make yer sides split. That, in and of itself, just ain’t fair.

Doug Anthony All Stars

Comedy legends returning to the Festival stage for the first time in years. Big theatre comedy in this country arguably wouldn’t exist without them.

Joel CreasyThe Hurricane

“Australia’s hottest young comedian” as proclaimed by Channel 10. Get him out of the jungle in time for the festival. Rapid fire and amazing.

Michael WorkmanWe Have Fun, Don’t We

More a work of art or performance piece than straight-up stand-up. Previous shows have been haunting and beautiful. A must see.

Nazeem HussainLegally Brown

Debut solo show from the Fear of a Brown Planet alumnus. Unafraid of making you uncomfortable with the hilarious truth.


MEDIUM LOCALS

Aunty Donna

Sketch comedy kings. YouTube legends. As seen on ABC’s Fresh Blood initiative. Hilarious. Manic. Completely over the top.


The Comedy Zone

Five of the best up-and-coming comics in the country in one convenient little show. Including SBS Comedy Runway winner Nina Oyama and last year’s RAW Comedy winner Matt Stewart.

Dr. Professor Neal PortenzaCatchy Show Title

Famously batshit insane show from unrivalled character performer Joshua Ladgrove. If you like this one, he’s got two other shows in the festival. Because he’s a nutcase.

Em RuscianoThe Motherload

The woman we love so dearly and fervently we anointed her own Queen of the Tweet. A beautiful tropical fish.

Fancy BoyVariety Show: No Refunds

Last year’s Golden Gibbo award winners. Not for the feint of heart. An hour of truly fucked up material that will make you sore from laughing.

Jimmy James EatonJimmy vs Jimmy

One of the nation’s supreme improvisers. As quick on his feet as any sprinter. Has the ability to turn nothing into a room slayer.


SMALL LOCALS

Becky LucasHigh Tide

Believe me when I say you’ll be seeing her face a lot more over the next twelve months. See her now so you can say you were there.

Gen FrickerMonsterpussy

An acerbic, demented, self-torturous collection of songs and stories. Australia’s morose Sarah Silverman.

Kate DehnertPony Yell

Legitimately one of the shows of the festival last year. An insanely surreal dreampop unicorn.

Lauren Bok, Chelsea Hughes, Megan McKayWander Women

Multi-bill shows are a great way to test unknown waters. Here, it’s three tough as shit women with varying styles. Get a little variety into you and get some bang for the buck.

Martin DunlopAll Change is Death

Comedy as bleak and black as the deepest depths of the ocean. Laugh, cry, shrivel into a whimpering ball of nothingness.

Rose CallaghanAnd Mates 2: Return of the Mates

Rose is hilarious, and this variety show-style hour is a great way to see some unexpected big names in a smaller setting. Names that appeared last year included Joel Creasy and Tom Ballard among others.

But don’t just take our word for it! Hit the streets! See something unfamiliar! Go seek out a totally insane late-night show! Catch the RAW Comedy Grand Final! Hit up the Comedy Club at the Hi-Fi Bar!

Get out there and go see some comedy, people!

The full program and all ticketing details for the 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival can be found at the Comedy Festival website.

Photos via MICF.