Melbourne International Comedy Festival set to raise the roof of the Malthouse Theatre

Melbourne International Comedy Festival set to raise the roof of the Malthouse Theatre
Kaylah Joelle Baker

If laughter truly is the best medicine, then Melburnians are in for some good health with the return of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Running from March 30 until April 24, this year’s Comedy Festival is gearing up to feature more than 400 shows all around the city and beyond, with tickets already up for grabs.

Quickly distinguishing itself as a venue that knows how to create a buzz during this season, the Malthouse Theatre is back open with a packed schedule.

And executive producer and co-CEO of the venue Sarah Neal said she was “really excited” to share its program with audiences after experiencing “cancellation after cancellation” during the past two years.

“One of the greatest things about living in Melbourne is having festivals of this nature, and we love being a part of it,” she said.

“There are a lot of artists we work with who not only work in comedy but also in live performance and theatre more broadly, so there is a bit of crossover for our usual audience and it is great for us to attract new audiences into the space.”

With five stages to host performances, 200 shows have already been designated to the
Malthouse, including nationally and internationally established performers as well as a host of new emerging artists.

From Reuben Kaye in Malthouse Theatre’s Merlyn Theatre to Jason Leong in the Beckett Theatre and Kungari Comedy in the Playbox, Malthouse is getting ready to let the city know live comedy is well and truly back in Southbank.

“Having a hub here at Malthouse, having people back in a venue and having that vibrancy back is something we are all looking forward to and going to absolutely love,” Neal said.

As Southbank and the rest of Melbourne waits for the Comedy Festival to kickstart, Malthouse Theatre is also providing entertainment in the lead-up with its first inside theatre show “since COVID shut down Malthouse.”

Currently showcasing Stay Woke to audiences in the Beckett Theatre, this political comedy will run until March 13.

Also running over the weekend of March 11 to 13 for audiences who are hesitant to get back inside for performances, the Malthouse Outdoor Stage will be hosting local comedian Dave Hughes.

“The Malthouse Outdoor Stage is becoming a really intrinsic part of what we offer for audiences and a really great asset to have in the neighbourhood here at Southbank,” Ms Neal said.


When the weather is good, people are able to have a drink and be in a beautiful environment. And for people who still don’t feel comfortable with being indoors, it’s a great way to experience a show.


The Melbourne International Comedy Festival will officially begin on March 30 with the Opening Night Comedy Allstars Supershow at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda.

National favourites Carl Barron, Aaron Chen, Becky Lucas and Nazeem Hussain, and international comedian favourites Arj Barker, Stephen K Amos, Melanie Bracewell and Urzila Carlson will also be back on stages around the city throughout the Festival.

The 2022 Comedy Festival will also expand beyond the city with shows hitting the suburbs through “Neighbourhood Sessions” which will see acts performed at Thornbury, Narre Warren, Werribee, Footscray, Moorabbin, Preston and Broadmeadows •

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