Funny Tonne – part two, MICF 2024

The second batch of top reviews from the Funny Tonne, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival's fledgling reviewers for 2024.
Image is a pink/red background with a tonne weight on it, bearing the inscription Funny Tonne

As part of ArtsHub‘s partnership with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF 2024) this year, we are also sharing a twice weekly round-up of some of the best reviews from the 2024 Funny Tonners. If you’re unaware of this component of the Festival, it’s where the MICF arms a small group of ‘die-hard fans of funny to dive deep into the Festival program and pen engaging and enthusiastic show reviews’.

ArtsHub will be judging a winner at the end of the Festival but in the meantime, here’s the next batch from this year’s Funny Tonners – Bella Jones, Ryan Hamilton and Alex Osborne…

MICF 2024 Emma Holland. Image is a blue background with a radiant sun in the middle, obscured by a young woman, who is wearing a blue jumper over an apricot roll neck top. She has a plait on the left hand side of her head and a racoon waving over her shoulder.
Emma Holland, ‘Here Comes Mr. Forehead’. Image: Supplied.

Emma Holland: Here Comes Mr. Forehead


As you enter the venue, Emma Holland will greet you, while scootering around the stage. And
somehow that’s the most normal part of the show. Armed with a wizard costume, game show cards,
Facebook Marketplace account, and a PowerPoint slideshow, Holland’s latest comedy offering is a
unique hour of chaos, in the best way possible.

Sometimes in pursuit of being “quirky”, comedians sacrifice being funny, but Emma Holland manages
to completely avoid that problem, perfectly mastering the balancing act of absurdity and hilarity.
The audience is treated to bird jokes, dick jokes and bird-dick-jokes. Her witty and razor sharp
delivery is thrilling to witness. With a healthy amount of audience participation and a finale that
would satisfy the pickiest wine connoisseur Here Comes Mr. Forehead is must-see!

by Bella Jones

Paul Williams: Mamiya 7


Comedian and musician (yes musician, check his music out, it is amazing!) Paul Williams is best
known as the Taskmaster’s assistant on the New Zealand iteration of Taskmaster where he’s beloved
for the deadpan, endearing awkwardness that he brings to the role. And deadpan, endearing
awkwardness is kind of my shtick so I eagerly lined up early for a good seat.

Mamiya 7 details William’s adventures in buying a second-hand film camera off eBay and finding a
used roll of film in it. It’s a vague premise that gives little away, which turned out to be wonderful
because the next hour of comedy was some of the best you could hope for. It almost feels remiss to
give away any spoilers as this might be best experienced without knowing, but to give a taster, the
audience is treated to stand up, hilarious songs, incredible photoshop, and one of the best love
stories heard at the comedy festival.

by Bella Jones

Annie Boyle: Annie Are You OK?


Annie Are You OK? would be worth the admission price for the name alone. But don’t let the pun
title fool you, Annie Boyle seemingly nonchalantly performs one of the most unique and touching
comedy shows to grace this festival. Detailing a night out to see Delta Goodrem perform at a gay
club, each line is more random and surprising than the last. The crowd never quite knows what will
happen next in the story, and each revelation only draws the audience in more.

The Fleabag comparisons are obvious, due to the one-woman show nature and Boyle’s tendency to
look to the side or “offscreen”, but this performance is also wholly original and enjoyably Australian.
Prepare to hear about Madonna (no, not that one), Chicken Run (yes, that one) and to laugh
through tears after hearing from a DJ called G-Sus.

by Bella Jones

Belinda Anderson-Hunt: The Sun and the Hermit


There are a lot of ways I could start this review. I could start with statistics highlighting the exclusion of
women from the comedy industry. Or maybe I could talk about gender performativity or even try
and decrypt what The Sun and The Hermit mean when pulled from a Tarot deck. Instead, I want to tell you that this is a very funny show. Funny haha. Book ticket now. Done? Let’s talk.

MICF 2024 Belinda Anderson-Hunt. Image is a young woman in a purple and white striped shirt, mostly submerged in a pond that is covered in green slime/moss.
Belinda Anderson-Hunt, ‘The Sun and The Hermit’. Image: Supplied.

Anderson-Hunt is caught in an attic of sorts, forced to perform under the illumination of a searching
spotlight. A series of characters loosely chart the stages of womanhood from girlhood to death but,
despite their skilful performance, Anderson-Hunt isn’t saved from the same fate.

‘The stage is a prison’ declares one of her characters, and so too is the performance of gender.
Anderson-Hunt uses clown to critique the reinforcing structures of patriarchy and the limited paths
women have to rebel within it. In doing so, The Sun and The Hermit marries a profound intellectual
rigour with razor sharp clowning.

I’m making this show sound wanky and high concept, but it’s actually just very silly and goofy and
accessible – an absolute pleasure to watch. Anderson-Hunt’s crowd work is a treat and their physical
comedy is spectacularly grotesque. I won’t be able to get the image of them eating a corn cob out of
my mind anytime soon. It’s like if Nanette was made by a clown. A must-see of the festival.

by Ryan Hamilton

Marie Kallevik and Anna Marie Simonsen: Troll


Troll is a joyful, intimate and chaos-filled 50 minutes that journeys through the tale of The Three Billy
Goats Gruff
, but not as you know it! 

The story is communicated by two trolls speaking mostly Norwegian, as they explore the strange
space around them and tell their very dramatic story. 

Audience participation truly makes this show special, especially with crowd work being something
artists and audiences are sometimes scared of. In frank terms, social anxiety is scared of these trolls. 
The performers utilise physical comedy and clowning to their advantage, shaping the beings as
misunderstood and curious. Their ability to improvise and build on audience reactions also sparks
mass amounts of hilarity for all involved. 

by Alex Osborne

Lou Wall: The Bisexual’s Lament


Lou Wall proudly embraces both the comedic and the tragic in their new show The Bisexual’s
. Within this hour, Wall reflects on the past year and the heartbreaking and downright
strange events that occurred within it. Grappling with a rental crisis and selling bed frames on Facebook Marketplace take on whole new lives as full musical numbers!

MICF 2024 Lou Wall, Image is a red background to a young red headed woman with hair in a scrunched bun wearing a white shirt, with a black jacket draped over her shoulder, squatting to the right and facing the camera.
Lou Wall, ‘The Bisexual’s Lament’. Image: Supplied.

With fast, witty lyrics and vibrant PowerPoint slides, the audience is visually entertained

While the show does have some brutally raw moments, they provide deeper context into Wall’s
process with grief and strengthen the show’s overall message. Overall, this piece is a thought-provoking look into the positive and negative aspects of life, and how a good laugh can sometimes make all the difference.

by Alex Osborne

MICF 2024 Con Coutis. Image is a futuristic backdrop with squares travelling away as if lining a tunnel. In the middle is a young man of European appearance with a dark wavy mullet, scraggly beard and confronting expression. He is holding a gun with a mic in the end of it.
Con Coutis, ‘Con 2077’. Image: Supplied.

Con Coutis: Con 2077


Con Coutis is the last comedian in the world in his latest show, Con 2077. There’s no one doing
comedy quite like him, using a combination of sound effects and clowning to create an endlessly
evocative sci-fi world. This is his best show yet, filled with that signature technical prowess, physical
humour and campy plots. His physical comedy is so good that at times I forgot he was miming, and
his crowd work left me genuinely wondering if he had planted folks in the audience.

Con 2077 is a celebration of comedy’s healing potential and honestly could be read as a metaphor of the long-term consequences of an underfunded cultural sector – but don’t quote me on that. What you need
to know is that Con Coutis, the last comedian on Earth, is definitely funny enough to save the world.

by Ryan Hamilton

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