The Melbourne International Comedy Festival begins on Wednesday, and we've rounded up this year's best queer comedy acts to check out.
Stephen A. Russell

27 Mar 2017 - 11:45 AM  UPDATED 27 Mar 2017 - 11:45 AM

In a time when hard-won LGBTIQ+ rights are slipping backwards around the world and with plenty of nations yet to enjoy the level of freedom we have in Australia, sometimes you need a bit of light relief, or at least a razor sharp comic put downs of homophobic idiocy. 

That’s why we’re pumped for this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, with the line-up jam-packed with the  coolest queer comedians in town. 

Here are a few of our favourite picks.

Hannah Gadsby

According to the queen of comedy herself, this is it. Nanette is her final stand-up show ever - no doubt causing insane panic attacks in her management’s office. We’re not sure if this threat is all part of her ever-dry, self-deprecating style, but we’re not about to risk missing out, just in case. Enraged by last year’s plebiscite debate, Nanette is her most devastatingly funny show yet.

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Eli Matthewson

Rising queer Kiwi star Eli is unimpressed by the depressing revelation millennials are allegedly having less sex than their parents and seeks to right that heinous wrong with new show The Year of Magical Fucking.

Gavin Roach

While it’s possible Roach will be wearing slightly more than he does normally while in the shower, the 2016 GLOBE Community Awards Artist of the Year’s MICF debut All the Songs I Cannot Sing will see him work his way atonally through the repertoire he belts out like a shrieking cat while in there.

Stephen K. Amos

Popular UK stand-up and TV star Stephen K. Amos came out as part of his 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show, going on to front Batty Man, a Channel 4 documentary about homophobia in black culture. Although reluctant to be pigeonholed as the “black gay comic,” he has spoken about his joy at young queer folks coming up to him and sharing their stories after a gig. A funny guy whatever your bedroom proclivities, you have three chances to catch him this year - Talk Show, World Famous and Big Value Edinburgh Comedy. 

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Larry Dean

Glaswegian Dean once got in to a fight mid-foursome. Impressive work. Breaking up with his long-term boyfriend forms the backbone of Farcissist, his MICF solo debut after a standout showing in last year’s New Order line-up, and he’ll be lacerating his DOA love life and other misadventures.  

Zoë Coombs Marr

Scooping both the Barry and the Golden Gibbo Awards at last year’s MICF, Zoë Coombs Marr is so outrageously smart and super-funny she’s back for a second shot at last year’s renowned Trigger Warning. Once again, she’ll assume her problematic, men’s rights activist alternate identity Dave. There’s a strange charm to his incredibly un-PC rantings that will have you confused in the most hilarious way, as Coombs Marr smashes gender and sexuality stereotypes with gay abandon.   

Rhys Nicholson

Rhys Nicholson got gay married at MICF last year, sort of. Not to his long-term male partner, but instead to fellow comic Zoë Coombs Marr, who’s in a lesbian relationship. It was ridiculous, but that was kind of the point. “This is the best way we could figure out to show how pissed off we are,” Nicholson told SBS Sexuality during the 2016 festival. Though he claims he’s reined in the politics for I’m Fine, we doubt the neon-haired champ will be any less sassy. 

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Erin Hutchinson

Erin Hutchinson penned her 50,000-word debut novel at 12 years old, in a notebook with Winnie the Pooh on the front, which provides prime material for ripping herself mercilessly in MICF show Please Come Closer (Don’t Touch Me). Musing on Year 8 Sex Ed’s uselessness for young kid starved of queer identities, the past really is a foreign country for this flannel-wearing superstar.

Fortune Feimster and Liza Treyger

Chelsea Lately writer and The Mindy Project star Fortune raised $20,000 for charity by pashing Sarah Silverman last year, thereby getting her off the hook with her girlfriend. She also spent three hours in a car with Jennifer Anniston while filming Office Christmas Party. Solid achievements. She’s part of the Headliners troupe of US comedians attempting to make America great again, joined by Chelsea stable mate and fellow card-carrying queer comedian Liza Treyger. 

Geraldine Hickey

Sports mad Triple R Breakfasters host Hickey is never short of a funny word, with a laconic delivery that’s a winning ticket.New show Smithereens just might blow the bloody doors off as she returns to Spring Street’s Imperial Hotel.

Tom Ballard

Star of SBS’s First Contact, Tom Ballard is on fire right now, attracting nominations for best show at both MICF and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016. He’s unafraid of speaking out about internet outrage, race relations and Australia’s shameful treatment of refugees. That he manages to wring laughs and tears out of the latter topic is a testament to his strength in Boundless Plains to Share. He’s also hosting a Human Rights Law Centre fundraiser evening in honour of Iranian comedian Mehdi, locked up on Manus Island and Problematic is back too.

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Gavin Roach

While it’s possible Roach will be wearing slightly more than he does normally while in the shower, the 2016 GLOBE Community Awards Artist of the Year’s MICF debut All the Songs I Cannot Sing will see him work his way atonally through the repertoire he belts out like a shrieking cat while in there.

Mae Martin

Struggling valiantly through a bad bout of lurgy at her debut MICF appearance last year, Canadian comedian Mae Martin flipped the stereotypical comments about Justin Beiber looking like a lesbian on their head by acknowledging her similarity to him had most folks assuming she was a lesbian too. In fact, the host of BBC Radio 4 show Mae Martin’s Guide to 21st Century Sexuality thinks labels can go get stuffed, and is sure to upend more boxes with new show Dope.

Nath Valvo

Griping about Grindr gronks for giggles endeared Nath Valvo to comedy audiences everywhere, and he’s gone from strength to strength since that first stand-up gig back in 2015. Despite appearances on TV and at the Sydney Opera House, his parent’s aren’t happy he and his boyfriend haven’t produced the goods yet: kids. This sore point sparks the mayhem of Not in This House, and it takes in everything from bad taste in music to rimming. He’s also hosting the official MICF podcast.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival runs from March 29 to April 23. For tickets and more information, click here.