This massive event showcases some of the best comedic talent found anywhere on Earth, and is one of the three largest comedy festivals in the world. This year it celebrates its 29th birthday, featuring the same superb lineup of stand-up comedy, theatre, cabaret, television, radio, film, street performance and visual arts for which it has become famous.

The history

After being launched in 1987, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has gone from strength to strength, now garnering an attendance of more than 630,000 people. It is Australia's largest cultural event and boasts a large range of diverse attractions along with an affordable average ticket price of $27.

Along with the main event itself, there are also RAW Comedy gigs that take place all around the capital cities between January and April, with a Roadshow taking place between May and July around the country to round off the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

This year's lineup

Tickets to the opening night and various shows throughout the festival are on sale now, and the lineup is truly stellar. See Arj Barker light up the stage at the Melbourne Town Hall with his "Get in my Head" show, and laugh along with Cal Wilson as she performs "Undercurrents" throughout the duration of the festival. Other must-see acts include the always-hilarious Dave Hughes, James Acaster, Jimeoin, Ruby Wax, Sara Pascoe, Urzila Carlson and Wil Anderson. There are plenty of big names and local artists to select from, with a wide range of price points to ensure you can enjoy as much comedy as you like.

There are also shows that highlight several artists at once, including the Best of Edinburgh Fest. If that's not enough to satisfy your comedic craving, check out the range of community programs that operate throughout the festival. The final and showcase of Deadly Funny will take place during the event, showcasing the best adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island comedy talent across the nation. Deadly Funny Kids focuses on younger performers with workshops and confidence-building exercises.

What you need to know

There are more than 470 shows taking place this year, along with plenty of free family entertainment throughout Melbourne - particularly at Fed Square and City Square. Book your tickets online or through Ticketmaster, over the phone or at box offices. Make the most of public transport during the festival, taking V/Line trains to the heart of the city and using trams and buses to get around easily and affordably. While you're in the city, be sure to check out its array of indulgent restaurants, world-class nightlife and educational facilities such as museums and galleries to really soak up everything there is to offer in the Victorian capital.

Image above:

The Melbourne Town Hall is an iconic building in Melbourne, and the venue for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

(Courtesy of Kojach via Flickr Creative Commons)