Melbourne International Comedy Festival is back for another thigh-slapping instalment, bringing the laughs to venues big and small around the city.

Today Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley launched the iconic, internationally-renowned event which this year includes 5000 local and international comedians in 550 shows and 6,860 performances.

Bringing together some of the biggest names in comedy with new voices, the program ranges from a Comedy Club for Kids to Upfront, featuring comedy’s fiercest and funniest women; a new showcase from India’s premier comedy festival, Bengaluru, to perennial favourites like the Great Debate, now in its 28th year.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, supported by the Andrews Labor Government, is shaping and showcasing the next generation of talent through programs like RAW Comedy, Class Clowns, Deadly Funny and Deadly Funny Kids and The Comedy Zone.

Following the four-week Melbourne season, the Festival Roadshow will visit 79 communities across Australia, including 26 in regional Victoria, before travelling to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and India.

The festival will run from 29 March to 23 April. For further information, visit

Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley

Melbourne International Comedy Festival sets the stage for some of the finest performers of today, while providing a springboard for the comedic talents of tomorrow.”

“Each year Melbourne International Comedy Festival continues to grow in size and profile. It’s Australia’s largest cultural event, one of the top three comedy festivals in the world and an icon of our creative state.”

“We are proud to support the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, an investment that not only pays off in laughs it delivers a significant economic return as well.”