2011 Comedy Festival Picks

I've seen a whole bunch of shows this year. You may have read some of my gut-shot reviews. In those I was trying to get the most instant feeling about a show as possible. Get them down and get them published. That's by-the-by.

Right now I just want to tell you about shows you need to see because they are really clever and funny.

Yes, two things: clever and funny.

Justin Hamilton - Circular

Ignore pretty much all the reviews you've read about Justin's show. This is so much more than just a straight stand-up show. He plays with the structure of a comedy show in a way we haven't seen before. It's a genius concept carried out with a light touch. Also, if getting all meta about comedy structure isn't your thing, then just enjoy the jokes. There are so many ways to enjoy this show and it will be your last chance to see Justin in Melbourne for a while.

Tig Notaro

She was nominated for the Barry Award but don't let that stop you from going to see her. In this case, believe the hype. Her style of comedy is unlike anything I've seen before. She uses silences to bring the audience to her. Take all the expectations you have and just let them go. She's one of those one-of-a-kind geniuses that others will try to emulate in years to come.

Maria Bamford

Let me ask you one question: Do you want to see one of the best comedians in the world in a fairly intimate setting?

If you answered "Yes" then you need to see Maria Bamford.

She won the Barry in 2004, which is before it became tainted by Nina Conti's stink. She swaps characters effortlessly and says the things that most people only think, all-the-while being super-conscious of everything she is doing to the audience.

Update 19 April, 23:29.

I'm reliably informed that Maria Bamford's run finished last Sunday. You've missed out and you only have yourself to blame. Sorry for giving you a bum steer. I'm going to see Bob Franklin's show later this week. You should try to get tickets to that. I haven't seen David Quirk yet but he's been excellent in past years and Josh Earl's show is delightful (and conveniently on at the same time as Bamford's was). Also, Sammy J and Randy have put on a couple of extra shows and they're doing great work.


Justin Hamilton is a friend of mine. Sometimes we hang out and talk about comics and Lost. I've got plenty of friends with shows in MICF. Justin's is something so completely different, it needs to be seen. At the time of writing, Justin does not follow me on twitter. Make of that what you will.