MICF 2015 – Opening night: A great night of contrasts.

This year I attended 2 shows on the opening night of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and it’d be a stretch to find two shows that were more different! Still, they each highlighted different aspects of why we love this time of year.

The first, CJ Delling in “On Topical Island”, was a comedian I’d never heard of, on a stage at the back of the Bull and Bear Hotel, with about 30 chairs pulled out of storage and set up into rows. Delling ran the whole operation herself; she was at the door checking tickets, she set up her own lights and announced herself from the side of the stage. This being the first night of the show there was only 8 of us in the audience and as you can expect she hadn’t ironed out all of the creases in her set. But she was charming and sweet, and set the perfect tone for the rest of the festival.

If you’ve never gone to the festival and picked an act you’ve never heard of, in an obscure venue, I highly recommend doing so. They’re not always the best of shows, but it’s a cheap night out and you’re guaranteed something different, someone who’s really grateful you’re there and the satisfaction of supporting and up-and-comer. And sometimes you hit on something really great.

Waiting for Wil. #micfmicstands

Waiting for Wil. #micfmicstands

Next we hot-footed it across town to the Comedy Theatre to see Wil Anderson’s “Free Wil”. We arrived with time to spare, and found the crowd spewed out onto the street as people lined up to be seated. You could tell the seasoned festival goers by the way they squeezed passed the line and took the moment to got to the toilet or grab a beer – what’s the point in lining up when seats are assigned?

In contrast to Delling’s show, this place was packed. The sound and lighting were simple, but I’ sure it’s been a long time since Anderson was doing his own! The crowd was different too. With a big name like this all kinds of fans make the trip – not just the festival groupies that check out the smaller shows (and every show they can get to).

It being opening night, not every joke had perfect timing but really it wasn’t far off. Anderson is an Australian of comedy (he celebrates 20 years of MICF this year), and the show is wonderfully put together.

So everyone; get out there and enjoy the festival! Pick an old favourite and splurge, but don’t forget the fun of picking something unexpected.

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