Review: three gigs at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is back for its 32nd year. More than 600 shows are brining humour and laughter to venues across the city. I had the pleasure of seeing three wonderful comedians – Judith Lucy, Urzila Carlson, and Cal Wilson.  

Judith Lucy’s show, Judith Lucy vs. Men, was sure to be the most controversial show I would see, but I went in with an open mind. I can appreciate the platform the Comedy Festival gives shows of all colours, not just those that follow convention. Avowedly feminist, Lucy joked about the male minority in the crowd, suggesting wives and girlfriends had dragged them along. She detailed her many mishaps in trying to find love, poking fun at her ability to “find shitty men” and appointing a “Love Jury” of six crowd members to decide whether she should continue dating. Of the three comedians, Lucy’s show was the most provocative – at one point she mentioned a friend whose boyfriend cheated on her days after she had an abortion – but for me, it was Lucy’s shock factor, delivering gasp-worthy stories deadpan, that made her entertaining. I’d give Judith Lucy vs. Men 7 out of 10 stars. 

Urzila Carlson and Cal Wilson’s shows, Loser and Gifted Underachiever respectively, were far more light-hearted, poking fun at their own humorous experiences and imperfections. Carlson, a self-described “fat lady”, quipped that the only way she’d lose weight was “running to McDonald’s”. Using a similar self-depreciating sense of humour, Wilson detailed how annoying her talkativeness was to her quiet husband, including her “favourite thing” – talking excessively about movies after seeing them with him. For me, there’s something seriously funny about comedians who can mock themselves. I’d give them both 8 out of 10 stars. 

The fellow festivalgoers I spoke to expressed similar enjoyment, and appreciation of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival as an event. If you have the time to see a show or two before the Festival ends on April 21, I’d highly recommend it. 

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