It’s that time of year again, where queues stretch around the block, trams get packed, and Melbourne lights up with laughter. Running from March 29 to April 23, the 37th annual Melbourne International Comedy Festival may just have the biggest line up of South Asian acts in recent years.
From homegrown heroes such as Dilruk Jayasinha and Nazeem Hussain, rising stars Suren Jayemanne and Guneet Kaur, and international names like Sonali Thakker and Anirban Dasgupta, there’s plenty of laughs to go around, so go support these fantastic South Asian acts.
Logie winning comedian Dilruk Jayasinha’s show Heart Stopper is sure to win hearts at this year’s festival. One of the country’s most sought after comics, Dilruk has recorded two stand-up specials and featured as part of last year’s opening night gala.
Singapore’s favourite drag comedian Kumar will perform some of her greatest jokes for the last time in Kumarsutra – Greatest Hits, a show revisiting the last three decades of her career. Her sharp, controversial brand of observational humour has established her as one of the most iconic and respected comedians in South East Asia.
Guneet Kaur, RAW Comedy National Finalist 2022 will debut her much awaited first solo hour, Manic Pixie Dream Goblin about “being the messy queer mid-20s goblin woman that she is”. A regular across the Sydney circuit, Kaur’s deadpan, quirky take on the world is not to be missed.
Suren Jayemanne, 2023 Moosehead recipient, will take to the stage with The Bag of Vegeta, directed by comedy veteran John Safran. His critically acclaimed show Industry Darling Adjacent in 2021, and appearance on ABC’s Comedy Next Gen have established him as an original and imaginative voice and one to watch over the next few years.
WOMEN UP FRONT
If you’re eager to support young local South Asian talent, look no further than the Australian South Asian Centre’s Brown Women Comedy line-up. Featuring Melbourne mainstay Amna Bee, Australia’s Got Talent semi-finalist Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa, Tik Toker Daizy Maan and host of Uncultured podcast Kripa Krithivasan, these award-winning comics won’t be holding back on the laughs.
Festival veteran Aarti Vincent will be performing alongside Lisa Lee, Marilyn Leder and Pradeepa Timmermans in Tight Mums, Loose Units, a cheeky take on motherhood featuring stand-up and songs. She’ll also be doing a set in Hindi as part of Comedy Dhaba’s Shuddi Desi Comedy, also featuring Rajat Chopra and Ateev Dang.
FRESH INTERNATIONAL TALENT
Darlings of the Indian scene Sonali Thakker and Anirban Dasgupta will feature as part of the Best of Comedy Zone Asia line-up, a must-see for any Indian stand-up fans and always a highlight of the festival. Their unique personal stories, released to rave reviews on Amazon Prime, will have you in stitches.
The globally renowned Daniel Fernandes will be bringing his solo show Infernal to Melbourne, an hour of incisive and bold humour on internet culture. For those not in Melbourne, fear not, as the show is set to tour nationally after the festival.
If you can’t choose who to see, or want to find some new names to follow, don’t miss the M&Ms Comedy Spotlight Night, a one-night only event at the renowned Festival Club. Hosted by much-loved personality Nazeem Hussain, this special will feature the best up-and-coming diverse comedians on the Australian scene.
Catch the full line-up of acts at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival here