The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is in full and funny swing. So which comedians are drawing the biggest laughs? Crikey‘s festival blog Laugh Track has been reviewing the shows and talking to the stars. Here’s their two picks so far…

Andrew McClelland in Truth Be Told | Matt Smith writes:

Andrew McClelland has in the past acted as an educator during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, in shows such as Time Ninjas (with Lawrence Leung) and last year’s Somewhat Accurate History of the Fall of the Roman Empire. This year he’s taken a right turn, and come up with Truth be Told, a carefully crafted group of stories from his personal life, all interwoven in a fashion that would make Quentin Tarantino proud.

In a word: brilliant. Hilarious, warm, and there were so many levels to it. My wife and I are still trying to mimic his Italian barber impersonation two days later. McClelland takes you on a tale with tangents, all held together with his attempts to pick up a possible lesbian. On the way he’ll tell us about a meeting with a French sniper, his appearance in a Czech music video, and an encounter with Melbourne’s s-xiest barber. Resplendent in a three piece suit, McClelland was at his best.

Without being pun heavy, it is Andrew’s stories and his command of language that makes his show so funny. It’s his impersonations and his reenactments that will have you holding your stomach as you laugh. This is McClelland in his best show yet. Read more…

The details: Truth Be Told is at the Victoria Hotel, 7.15pm, until April 24.

Lawrence Mooney in An Indecisive Bag of Donuts | Luke Buckmaster writes:

There is something quintessentially Australian about the performance style of Lawrence Mooney, but pinpointing precisely what is tricky. Like the qualities we equate with a true blue sense of humour, his brand of jocularity is riddled with contradictions: laidback and harsh, earnest and mean, loquacious and blunt, compassionate and misanthropic.

An Indecisive Bag of Donuts is 60 fast-moving minutes of jokes and stories. The show begins and ends with Mooney asleep on the stage in a sleeping bag; when the audience arrive, the fuzzy-faced demon awakes from his slumber, scratches his nuts, and, clad in PJ’s, gabs about the need to stop procrastinating and write a comedy show. There’s loosely linked but smoothly segued bits largely related to family and day-to-day activities. The apparent ease with which this magnificent bastard recites consistently hilarious material must rankle the spirits of other thoroughly decent comedians who seem to work twice as hard for half the result. Chances are he will bring the house down and make audiences laugh so hard their faces will ache come the morn.

There’s a good reason why comedians around the Melbourne comedy circuit speak of Mooney with a tone that borders on the reverential; he’s one of Australia’s best and boldest, a ferocious farceur who makes great comedy look like a cakewalk. Read more…

The details: An Indecisive Bag of Donuts is at the Melbourne Town Hall April 24.

Peter Fray

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