Melbourne International Comedy Festival Review: The Comedy Zone

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MICF: The Comedy Zone

By Fran Miller-Pezo • Apr 9th, 2011 •

The Comedy Zone
Trade Hall
March 31 – April 24
Tickets: $18/$22.50

The Comedy Zone is a showcase of talent from five of the best upcoming comedians from around Australia hand picked by the comedy festival. The show takes place in the decaying Old Council Chambers, with plaster and paint peeling from the walls. However, once the show is underway, it’s quick to forget about the slightly odd setting for this performance.

Opening The Comedy Zone was MC for the night, Daniel Connell. Hailing from the ACT, Connell was given the task to warm up the room. He mostly looked nervous, performing while latecomers arrived and climbed over each other to find the remaining seats. There were definitely some funny pieces, however delivery let him down until his final two stories, where he finally found his rhythm.

The second act of the night was Scooby-Doo sidekick lookalike Luke Heggie from New South Wales.The deadpan Heggie had a slow start, from what was starting to look like a bit of a difficult crowd. Heggie works from the style of comedy which focuses on short jokes for quick laughs, in a similar style to famous comics like Jimmy Carr. Even though one-liners deliver a constant stream of punchlines, it often seems more difficult for the comedian to win over a crowd with, but by half way through his set, the audience warmed to Heggie. The audience reacted best to the jokes of a low brow nature and hate of bad grammar

Queenslander Henry Stone followed up with his slacker humour. There probably wasn’t much in his set for anyone over the age of 30, focusing on subjects like flat life, Grand Theft Auto and rap music. Stone was the first of the performers to make interaction with the audience, and it paid off well, providing plenty of laughs. I suspect in a few years time, with a developed and polished act, Stone will be a festival must see.

Connell came back on and announced the video guest performer of the night, Jaydos. Known for YouTube video guides to music festivals. Jaydos provided a guide to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival as an interlude between the live acts.

Jennifer Wong, the only female comedian on the bill, shone on stage. Wong began by telling the audience about her shyness, and attempting to overcome it by taking a first aid course. Wong certainly didn’t look shy on stage. Her presence was strong, and she had a confident and polished delivery. Wong’s comedy career started with her first stand up performance six years ago and includes work as a writer for Good News Week. So it’s unsurprising she showed the talents of a more experienced performer on the stage.

The final performer was local act Ronnie Cheng. One thing was certain from the moment he stepped onto the stage, Cheng was the star of The Comedy Zone, with his in-your-face comedy, which showed a great deal of energy and enthusiasm. Baiting the audience with bombastic confidence, he tackled the most un-politically correct issues. If Cheng doesn’t make it big on the Australian comedy scene soon, there will be a whole room worth of people who saw this performance, who will be surprised.


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