Canberra Comedy Festival ready to rain on Melbourne’s parade

Simon Valentine 16 March 2017
canberra comedy festival 2017

The Canberra Comedy Festival is in its fifth year now and has seen both national and international names take the stage. This year sees more of Australia’s favorites make the trip up to the capital, plus a few international guests, including Jimeoin, Jeff Green and Stephen K Amos. Along with other events, like the Raw Comedy state final, and the Festival Club each night, there’s no excuse to get out and see some comedy.

But I can say with confidence, you’ve got what it takes, Canberra. Having been in town for last year’s festival, plus having a good knowledge of Melbourne’s juggernaut, I can tell you there are areas where Canberra’s Comedy Festival kicks Melbourne’s smug little behind. I mean sure, the Melbourne one is well over 30 years old, but just you get back in your recliner there and go back to your knitting, Melbs, and let me tell you five reasons why Canberra’s got the goods when it comes to the art of comedy-festival-putting-on.


As most who have lived in Melbourne can attest to, it’s a real pain in the arse to get into the city in busy periods, and that’s particularly true during the comedy festival. Battling traffic, trying to find a parking place that doesn’t require a second mortgage, and one where you don’t have to walk a dozen city blocks to get to where you need to go.

Sure, you could catch the public transport, but then you’ve got to put up with uneasy looks from strangers. I could either be talking about the fabled public transport officers, who seem to have the slightly warped view that not having the right concession card is grounds for capital punishment, but then again, I might be talking about people from Frankston.

But here in Canberra, the 20-minute capital, it couldn’t be easier to get out to a comedy show, with plenty of parking, and only half the roadworks.

Well, Melbourne has a lot of roadworks. Thanks, Mr Barr.


Hipsters. Without those bearded trendsetters, we would still be safe in not knowing Kale was a thing.

Well, Canberra, we’ve not only got less hipsters, but ours are more useful ones at that. They spend less time in Fitzroy making deconstructed Caesar Salad or Beetroot Lattes (yes, Beetroot Lattes exist. Seriously, Melbourne,) and more time in Braddon making burgers and craft beer. And who doesn’t love burgers? I vote that makes our hipsters the best.

Some of them even do stand-up as well. And they’re damn funny. Even the vegan ones.


We’ve got the better coffee.

No, that’s not related to the Canberra Comedy Festival. I just know it ruffles Melbourne’s feathers a lot when they get told their coffee isn’t the best.


Most comedians come up to the capital, all ready to roast the public sector, because let’s face it – that’s part of the fun. We even do that ourselves, especially when they make recruitment videos.

Then they pass through Queanbeyan…

That’s all I’m saying, being that I’m actually living in the border town at the moment, and would rather not be beaten up. But credit to the Q for being that shield that makes the comics go a little easier on the capital.

It’s only a week

It might seem like having a four-week run of the Melbourne Comedy Festival is a good thing, with the luxury of seeing multiple shows that would otherwise clash, plenty of chances for a great night out, and discovering new talent to keep an eye on.

The thing is, we’re Canberrans. We’ve got stuff to do, places to be. We need to keep an eye on our pollies in case they have any more investment properties hidden behind the couch. We need stuff dialled down to the facts – the bare essentials.

Besides, there’s another food festival coming up that we need the cash for.

That’s why our week of comedy is enough. That week is condensed down to the best of the best entertainers. The cream of the crop. Sure, they’re the comedians that probably don’t have an overseas tour to get to, and we might have lured them with the false promise of a spare room at the lodge, but they’re damn kind enough to buy into our ruse and make the trip up the Hume to visit us. That makes them the best in our book. Thanks for coming, guys.

The Canberra Comedy Festival runs from March 20 – 26. For more information visit

Simon Valentine moved to Canberra in 2015. While he is currently living in the border town of Queanbeyan, you can still find him wandering around suburbs such as Civic and Manuka, being quite indecisive about which cafe has the better Egg and Bacon roll.

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