The fun of buying Melbourne International Comedy Festival tickets

I see a lot of comedy during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF).


As in 40+ shows this year.  This means dealing with multiple ticketing agents, including 2 variants of Ticketmaster.  Yes I could buy at the door.  Artists like ticket sales.  I like buying a ticket as it means I don’t run the risk of a sold-out show.

In an ideal world, there would be a “one stop shop” for all ticket purchases.  The MICF Ticketmaster combined purchase option goes partly towards this.

Ticketmaster – via MICF website.

The Good:
It saved me 15% over 10 tickets.

The Bad:
Some shows which are definitely Ticketmaster ticketed shows, don’t show up in the combined transaction list.

The Ugly:
There are issues with the “Combined purchase” option.  MICF are fixing them when they find them.  Dropping shows from your purchase list is the biggest issue so far.

Ticketmaster – other
If the show you want to see is not in the MICF “Combined” list, you have two options:

  1. buy individual tickets at Ticketmaster’s website, at great expense or
  2. go to a Ticketmaster outlet and buy all your tickets there.

I went to an outlet.

Works well, site search can be a bit difficult.  Print your own ticket(s).

Seatadvisor countdown
From the start of your booking session, you have ten minutes per show session.  So if you’re into a) going to multiple shows, and b) adrenaline; you’ll love the race between you and the expiring tickets.

One show, one purchase.  No way to combine purchases.

Comedy reviews.

I now know why I loath comedy reviews.

They are one person’s subjective view of one particular performance.  Most (all?) reviews don’t mention what the AUDIENCE thinks, only the reviewers thought based on their years of reviewing comedy.

Their years of reviewing comedy …

Surely the important measure is whether the audience liked it or not?

If we’re going to put up with reviews, wouldn’t we at least be better of ditching the “*” system?  My vote is for a system like the “Little Man” system of the San Francisco Chronicle.


Robert Ebert explained the system here.

Comedy at MICF 2015

You could replace the banjo with a shotgun, in this pose.

You could replace the banjo with a shotgun, in this pose.  (photo courtesy Anne Edmonds)

32 shows, 26 nights.

Saw some great comedians at Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Don’t trust the reviews” is what I learned.  Youtube, recommendations from comedians I enjoyed and friends proved to be the best strategy.

The standout comedians for me were:

* –  saw these performers more than once.  It was the very talented DeAnne Smith who said to me “Come see my show it, it grows.”.  Which was good advice.
(list sorted in alphabetical order)

Creepiest thing at MICF 2015
At Gen Fricker‘s show, turning to the bloke next to me
“So how do you pick which shows to see?”
I’m single and hope to pick up a female comedian.’


Comedians I missed from 2014
But firstly, out of the 10 comedians I missed last year, I saw four of them. (Celia Pacquola, Jennifer Wong, Rose Callaghan & Hayley Brennan).  They were all good.

Had a ticket to Alexis Simmonds, but couldn’t make her show, darn it!

The other four didn’t have solo shows at MICF.  Perhaps next year.
(Cam Knight, Sonia Di Ioria, Lana Schwarcz & Beau Stegmann)

More next year …
There were comedians I wanted to see, Claire Sullivan and Susie Youssef come to mind; as they asked me while they were flyering. I just couldn’t find a gap in my schedule.  For MICF 2016, I’m going to try this advice from Erin Davidson

  1. First step is to put in all the ones after 9:45pm and before 6pm. You should be able to see all of those.

  2. All the shows over 1 hour go to the bottom of the list.

  3. Next step is to pick venues that have 4 shows all in a row. I remember one night I stayed in the same room at the town hall. The only problem is you don’t always know which actual rooms the artists get until the festival starts.

  4. Be prepared to be flexible. Sometimes shows are cancelled, shows are added, shows are moved and shows run late. If you can’t get to see shows at the same venue, at least stay in the one area.