It’s that time of year again, comedy time, when you can’t pass the Melbourne Town Hall without being accosted by people in attire ranging from normal to very abnormal, all of whom would like you to take a flyer. Towards the end of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, if you’re lucky, this is also the place to score two-for-one tickets, sometimes from the comedians themselves.

The way in which MICF seems to create a community of comedians and comedy-appreciators is one of the best things about it. The door person for one show might be performing at the same venue a few hours later, swapping places with the comedian currently on stage. There’s invariably some level of interaction in most shows I’ve seen, so it’s not the time to be shy if you’re sitting at the front. The range of events in terms of price, notoriety, age and topic means that the clichĂ© “there’s something for everyone” is not far from the truth.

That being said, it can be hard to find that “something” in a comedy program containing, according to Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu’s little blurb in the inside cover, 430 events. The best idea is not to think about it too hard and just jump in head first. Daunted by the volume of the program, that’s been my approach in the past – dicated by what I’m invited to by friends or by who’s offering two-for-one tickets on the sidewalk. This year, failing to find any of the comedians that I actually know in the program (I think this was due to impatience or really bad index use, as I’ve since discovered that many of them are performing after all), I signed up to review six shows that are a fairly random selection.

Two of these took place last night, so expect to see my reviews popping up on Crikey’s blog Laugh Track very soon. Last night was a great start to my experience of the festival – warm weather always makes me feel more kindly to Melbourne than winter, and meant the atmosphere in the city was actually festive. In spite of rushing to make the first show and almost missing it due to the tram being packed with footy fans headed for the MCG (I had forgotten about the impact of AFL on public transport), it turned into a fun night, thanks, of course, to the comedians. One tends to forget that the benefit of comedy is, quite simply, that you laugh – a lot.

I’ll be reviewing the following shows for Crikey’s Laugh Track:
Matt Grantham – How Many Politicians Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb?
Dixie’s Tupperware Party
David O’Doherty is Looking Up
Little Dum Dum Club
Hayley Brennan – Attention Seeker
Ryan Walker – Man Up!
Hannah Gadsby – Hannah Wants a Wife

(Edited 18 April to include links.)

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