Melbourne International Comedy Festival Reviews #3

Impure Thoughts


Claire Healy is just like you; she has impure thoughts that lie beneath the surface and has to refrain them on a daily basis. Telling a friend that their newborn baby looks like canned spaghetti? Calling out a sexist customer from one’s workplace? Answering honestly to your lover asking what you’re thinking about? Let’s be honest, we’re all constantly facing situations where our impure thoughts wouldn’t be appropriate. But Claire’s show isn’t one!

Beginning with a pact of impurity and non-judgement, the show leads us on a journey to our deepest, nastiest thoughts, put together in songs. Claire’s music, a perfect mixture of Beethoven and Aretha Franklin, will take you on a cathartic tour of the most inappropriate things you’ve always wanted to say out loud but never did.

Impure Thoughts reminded us of the excellent Is It Just Me? by Jude Perl from the 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. We will definitely look closely at Claire’s future projects as we’ve laughed to tears the whole time.

Impure Thoughts plays from Tuesday to Saturday up the the 22nd of April at 8pm at the Tasma Terrace, tickets are available on the MICF website and at the door.

Taking it up the Notch

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5)

Shirley Gnome is a Canadian singer of country music…or so she says! She gets on stage with a pink dress that would make jealous any japanese-style / lolita /, cow-boy boots and a glittery guitar to start her show with a song about putting things in her “ooh-hoo”.

In the first ten minutes, you will get uncomfortable and witness diverse fruits and objects fall from you-know-where. At this point. Shirley invite sensible souls to leave the show as “it only gets worse”. Taking it up the Notch celebrate all the things Shirley likes; nipples, the sexiest verses of the Bible, songs about having sex and of course, the wonders of being allowed to use the c-word in Australia.

Shirley Gnome is hilarious for those who have an open mind. Be ready to laugh a lot but also to feel awkward a little bit, as, let’s face it, she’s probably dirtier than you originally planned. We’ve been delighted to sing the c-word with this brilliant cabaret performer and to push our own limits with her, and we definitely recommend the show to all the mad cunts.

Taking it up the Notch season’s sadly finished but Shirley Gnome as a Facebook page you can sign up to for future information and general banter.

Trotsky and Friends

⭐⭐ (2/5)

Monash alumni Brendan Black discovered in 2015 that Leon Trotsky, Sigmund Freud, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and a handful of other emblematic personalities of the 1910’s had lived and worked in the same small area of Vienna roughly at the same time. This discovery inspired him to imagine what an encounter of these personalities would have looked like. As announced by the troupe, Trotsky and Friends tells the story  of what happens when big egos, big IQs and big amounts of alcohol collide in a confined space. Written entirely whilst sober, Brendan promises, this play aims to put the “party” back in the bolshevik party.

Halfway between a dirty pub night with your politically-engaged friends and a History class, Trotsky and Friends is a serious (in both ways!) break that you can take in between two stand up comedy show at MICF. The actors are all amateurs, but are definitely passionate about their characters. The solid work with the accent is definitely a highlight of the show. If you are a history nerd or if you’re just interested in some smart-ass jokes that will make you laugh until you think “hang on… isn’t it a little bit awkward to laugh about Hitler?”, you will appreciate this unique show. Take your brain cells on a date to La Mama Courthouse for some intellectual enjoyment.

Trotsky and Friends is playing until the 16th of April at la Mama Courthouse, tickets are available through the MICF website and at the door.


⭐⭐⭐ (3/5) 

Diana Nguyen enters the stage acknowledging her origins, and making fun of herself about it. Born in Australia, she defines herself as a banana; “white inside but not so much on the outside”. Naked is about Diana fighting her demons and finally saying out loud what’s been going on inside; objectified as a woman, victim of clichés as a member of “the Asian family”, shamed for sending naked pictures online and source of disappointment for a mum who wanted her to be a doctor, Diana opens up as the show goes on, and finally unveils a more fragile face of her personality to appear in front of us naked, yes, but strong and proud. We’ve enjoyed watching Diana the caterpillar becoming a beautiful butterfly in a colourful finale.
Diana Nguyen is the hilarious star of Five Ways To Disappoint Your Vietnamese Mother. Therefore, we went to this show we great expectations. Maybe too much expectations. Naked was funny, but seemed a little bit unpolished. Diana has some hilarious jokes and real talent, but there is a lack of rhythm. This problem with rhythm disappears when she gets back to topics she’s at ease with, such as her mum, who sometimes really steals the show.

Naked was sadly only played for a weekend but Diana Nguyen has a Facebook page you can follow for informations about her next tours and events.

The Birds and the Beats


Grant Busé is a singer and a comedian, but he also has a day job. And when he’s not singing, Grant Busé teaches sex education in high school. Naturally, he decided to give us the talk… but in songs.

Busé seems to be the result of whatever would have happened in Matt Corby and Amy Schumer had decided to procreate. His songs are catchy, the show has a great rhythm and even two or three expected jokes are hilarious, thanks to his presence and impressive charisma. For music lovers, it is important to note that Grant Busé bases his show on his amazing use of a loop pedal, performing multi-layered songs with beatboxing, neat guitar riffs and surprisingly amusing imitations of farm animals.

The Birds and the Beats is the kind of sex education class that teenagers would probably facepalm to (I mean, O-M-G, SO LAME, I mean, is he really rapping about how important it is to use condoms? I mean, whoa the shame). As adults, though, we can’t help but thinking “man, I wish Grant Busé had been my teacher”.
His energy was definitely contagious, and we’re not even ashamed to say that we’ve learned some actual shit that night! Go see Grant Busé whoever you are, because it’s educational hilarious, entertaining, awesome music and beautifully smart.

We must warn you that Grant Busé is very confident with sexuality and some spectators have found a little bit challenging the way very taboo topics had been discussed, but most of them were delighted to hear songs about masturbation, condoms, or  losing one’s virginity.

The Birds and The Beats plays at 9.30 at Number 12 La Barre Electronique every day except on Mondays for the whole duration of the MICF, tickets available at the door.

Roommates: The Musical

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Jude Perl has already established herself as a “hilariously spot-on” comedian. Recently interviewed by Lot’s Wife, this Monash alumni explained us a few weeks ago that Roommates: The Musical explored how different parts of ourselves interact, using the metaphor of a share house. In her two previous comedy shows, Jude Perl was wacky and silly, and that’s why we love her. However, Roommates: The Musical goes deeper. Jude’s jokes are still spot-on and hilarious, but in between the jokes, some well-placed comments make us reflect – and sometimes even we get emotional.

As students, we are almost all experiencing, or have experienced, life in a sharehouse. Jude’s smart insights about cleaning duty, lack of intimacy or chili sauce theft are hilarious, but as she goes beyond the jokes, she takes us on a journey to a peaceful and harmonious cohabitation between the different parts of ourselves. The inner-critic, the self-confident, the carefree happiness and the fear finally find a way to accept and embrace each other, and the laughs slowly fade as we start to relate and feelings get involved….until another joke comes in. We can’t recommend you enough to go see Jude Perl, so don’t miss the opportunity and head off to the Cooper’s Malthouse.

Roommates: The Musical plays at The Cooper’s Malthouse in Southbank every day except on Mondays for the whole duration of the MICF, tickets available through the MICF or the Cooper’s Malthouse websites or at the door.

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