The first laugh

Melbourne festival kicks off

The 19th Melbourne International Comedy Festival has kicked off with a sold-out  televised gala.

Mike Wilmot, former Perrier winner Demetri Martin and camp singer Bob Downe, pictured, were among the highlights of Wednesday night's high-profile show, hosted by local comic Dave Hughes.

A total of 25 of the 200 acts appearing at the festival took to the Regent Theatre stage, starting with comedy trio Gud who persuaded the 1,500-strong audience to don cardboard masks of TV sports presenter Eddie McGuire.

Others on the bill included Rich Hall, Chris Addison, Jeff Green and Sean Lock.

Bill Bailey, Stewart Lee, Ross Noble, Daniel Kitson, Danny Bhoy, Perrier-winning showw Jackson’s Way, and Phil Nichol are among the British acts appraring at the festival.

The gala, in aid of Oxfam, will air on Australia’s Channel 10 on April 3. Oxfram’s Andrew Hewett says, "The Melbourne International Comedy Festival gala has supported Oxfam for 10 years raising more than AU$500,000 for our work.  We are delighted to be supported by the festival.”

The festival runs until April 17 - see the official website for the full programme.

Published: 23 Mar 2005

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