While nominating anything as the "best" is subjective by nature, and therefore horribly inaccurate, here are my recommendations for this year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival. While I'm in disclaimer mode, I'll add another point: it's obvious that I can't know about all of the hundreds of shows in the festival so if any diamond in the rough feels unfairly slighted by being left off my "best of" feel free to contact me and try and convince me why you are best in show.
Also, the big names don't need my endorsement (their shows are probably sold out anyway) so I'm mentioning acts more in the "up and coming mode". Mind you, if anyone famous sent me free tickets I'd plug their show. I'm a shameless whore.
Danny McGinlay - Star Spangled Bender
Previously featured on this blog (click on the "Melbourne Comedy Festival" tab at the top of this page to see the videos), Danny is premiering his new show at this year's festival. Armed with his copy of "U.S. History for Dummies" and his own experiences travelling the USA, Danny explores 500 years of history in an attempt to answer such unanswerable questions as "how does that same country that votes for George W Bush give us the Simpsons?" Go along and try to stump him - he's not just funny, he's encyclopaedic. (at the Stork Hotel in 504 Elizabeth St, Melbourne)
Dave Bushell - Dirt, War... & why I don't eat the fishies
This man breathes history. In his new show, Dave outs members of his own family as actual Nazis, implicates himself in Princess Diana's death and admits he probably has mad cow disease. Dave was nominated for Best Newcomer in the 2006 Festival and his show at last years Fringe Festival was also a huge success. Check him out in the videos section as well. (at Forty Five Downstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne)
Dave Thornton - Euromission
I had intended to get some video features from Dave as well but never got around to it. I did however check out his show in last year's festival and he was bloody hilarious. His show this year is based on his European odyssey where he visited every country that had won the Eurovision Song Contest title. How could he possibly fail? (at Trades Hall, 54 Victoria St, Carlton South)
Miss Rochelle's School for Very Naughty Girls
OK, the title says it all. If that doesn't hook you in, I don't know what will. Seriously, go check out the video with Benn Harrison under the "Melbourne Comedy Festival" tab - Miss Rochelle is a force to be reckoned with. An improvised show (and isn't it always fun to watch performers risking life and limb by improvising?) with a new mystery every night this is definitely a one of a kind show. And it promises lots of hot hockey action! (at Trades Hall, 54 Victoria St, Carlton South)
Richard McKenzie - In Mint Condition
I've got a soft spot for someone who builds their show around all the things that make up nerd life. Richard explores comics, movies, role-playing, online worlds and more. So put on your favourite Star Wars tee, grab your 20 sided die and maybe even get a taste of Richard's humour first by checking out the videos previously featured on this blog. (at the Portland Hotel, 115 Russel St, Melbourne)
Sammy J - Cyclone
I haven't featured any videos with Sammy on this blog although I did blog about his show during last year's festival. My girlfriend and I decided to check out his show after bumping into him handing out flyers on the street (we decided to reward his hard work) and we weren't disappointed. Sammy won "Best Newcomer" last year so we weren't the only ones who thought he was funny. Cyclones don't hit Melbourne very often so this is a special event. (at Melbourne Town Hall, cnr Swanston & Collins Streets)
Tommy Dassalo - The Third Guy
Everybody remembers that Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon and most people know that Buzz Aldrin was second but who remembers the third guy on that mission? Tommy brings history's forgotten faces to life and furthers his own quest to avoid being a forgotten third guy himself in his new show. Tommy is widely touted to be huge one day so see him now (actually, right now - go look at the videos on the feature page) while he's still medium sized. (at Melbourne Town Hall, cnr Swanston & Collins Streets)
So that's my recommendations for now. With all the chaos of moving house I probably won't get to see as many shows as I'd like but if I hear of any more gems I'll let you know.