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Melbourne International Comedy Festival set to bring laughs, creativity and crowds to Melbourne's CBD

MELBOURNE, 29 March 2022 – Melbourne International Comedy Festival today launched its 36th year, welcoming the funniest three and a bit weeks of the year in style at The Famous Spiegletent at Arts Centre Melbourne.

One of the world’s great comedy festivals and one of Australia’s largest and most loved cultural events, the 2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival was launched by host Geraldine Hickey – the winner of the 2021 Most Outstanding Show Award – and included a set from Urzila Carlson (NZ/Sth Africa), a musical performance by Sammy J and Jude Perl (featuring Richard Vaudrey), an address by Victorian Minister for Creative Industries, Danny Pearson, Lord Mayor Sally Capp, Festival Chairman Bill Shannon and Festival Director Susan Provan AO.

This year the Festival boasts more than 500 shows, with over 1,000 artists and creatives and an increase of 45% in the number of venues (from the 2021 event). The Festival is stamping its mark on more of the CBD – helping re-ignite the city with more shows in more venues, and drinking and dining partnerships with an increased number of the city’s bars and restaurants.

Last year audiences enjoyed a smaller Festival, but numbers demonstrated the real impact the Festival had on the city’s return after lockdown. In the final week of the 2021 Festival, pedestrian numbers in the Melbourne CBD hit their highest for a weekday since the pandemic began. City of Melbourne data at the Melbourne Town Hall, where many Festival shows were hosted, displayed pedestrian activity had returned to 92% of 2019 levels*.

When the Festival kicks off on 30 March, an incredible line-up of Australian and international superstars will return to our stages. Local faves we know and love include Judith Lucy & Denise ScottCal WilsonIvan AristeguietaTom GleesonCarl BarronBecky Lucas, Harley BreenSam CampbellTommy LittleAaron Chen Nath ValvoGeraldine HickeyGeorgie CarrollNick CodyJoel CreaseyDilruk JayasinhaAlice FraserLuke HeggieNazeem HussainLano & WoodleySammy JClaire HooperAli McGregorRhys NicholsonAndy SaundersSam TauntonChris RyanDane Simpson, Michelle Brasier and Kirsty Webeck.

Welcomed back from overseas after too long away will be our favourite Malaysian Brit Phil Wang, sister duo Flo & Joan (UK), festival favourite David O’Doherty (IRL), Scotland’s Fern Brady, fast-paced Mark Watson (UK), two-time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Carl Donnelly (UK) and for one week only Larry Dean (SCO). Plus Stephen K Amos (UK), Arj Barker (USA), Melanie Bracewell (NZ), Urzila Carlson (NZ/Sth Africa), Nurse Georgie Caroll (UK), Jason Leong (MALAYSIA), John Hastings (CAN), Guy Montgomery (NZ), Showko (JPN), Takashi Wakasugi (JPN), Alyson Joyce (PNG) joining Sean Choolburra and Sean Murphy in Wantok, and many more…

Melbourne International Comedy Festival Director Susan Provan AO, said, ‘We’re looking forward to a festival closer to pre-pandemic scale with enthusiasm high among our Australian performers and the return of international guests reaffirming our global citizen status. We’re excited about drawing in local and interstate tourists and sharing live performances indoor and out to thousands of fans once again’.

Minister Pearson said: 'The Festival will be a celebration of laughter and good times, drawing visitors from around the country to revel in the best that Melbourne has to offer. Come into the city, enjoy a great night out and we’ll even help foot up to 25% of the bill through our Victorian Dining and Entertainment Program, which opens today, joining the Midweek Melbourne Money program.'

Lord Mayor Sally Capp, said, ‘There hasn’t been a lot to laugh about over the past two years, but now Melbourne is buzzing and ready to burst at the seams with night after night of fantastic comedic talent.’

From this Thursday night, the city will be buzzing with something for everyone, including highlight special events The Great Debate, and Upfront, plus the National Grand Finals for RAW Comedy, Deadly Funny and Class Clowns.

In the school holidays, check out a variety of family friendly performances including Comedy Club for Kids and our free program The (Very) Big Laugh Out running at Fed Square and Melbourne Museum!

The Victorian Government is also helping to light up the city with laughs; making getting out to enjoy the Festival this year even more accessible through today’s announcement of their Victorian Dining and Entertainment Program. Audiences will have the opportunity to claim a rebate of 25% when they spend $40 or more on tickets in a single transaction. More info on the stimulus package can be found at

Tickets are now on sale – get along, laugh like it’s not the third year of a pandemic – support Melbourne’s incredible arts scene and get amongst our much-loved city.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival runs from 30 March – 24 April.

Browse the 2022 program here.