**** STARS

By Bronwyn Cook

I’d like to start this review by saying…I LOVE MELBOURNE.

Walking along Southbank Boulevard to the Arts Centre I did so many mental fist pumps, “Yes…Melbourne is BACK!” Restaurants were buzzing, street artists were out in force and Melbournians were simply just enjoying a lovely late March evening.

And LIVE THEATRE! Having enjoyed Come From Away and Harry Potter’ recently, plus a cabaret show or two, and punishing my credit card with Moulin Rouge pre-sales, it’s just incredible to be able to enjoy another art form…live comedy.

After its 2020 cancellation, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (or more correctly, the Melbourne Local Comedy Festival given our border situation) is well and truly back with a bang this year with over 350 shows to choose from.

Kicking off the first weekend of the festival is The Project and channel 10 darling, comedy veteran Peter Helliar, whose “Theiyr’re” shirt I immediately coveted. Helliar is one of those comedians whose humor is consistent, no matter the medium. Dry, irreverent and topical, sprinkled with smart, insightful observations, and at times a little Loopy.

Helliar keeps the show moving along at a nice pace, covering a variety of topics from COVID & lockdown (if you haven’t been entertained by his Instagram feed during this time, catch up now), politics, sex, celebrity charity causes and chip flavours.

It’s a challenge to review a comedy show without revealing the best punchlines! And to be honest, it’s really the vibe of a comedy show that’s more important for me to convey.

Helliars vibe is the funny guy next door who you would happily spend an afternoon at the bar or around a bbq with solving the world’s problems, whilst still staying good people just wanting to live a happy life.

I will leave you with Helliar’s pearls of (Instagram) wisdom to ponder “The standard you walk past is the standard you choose to accept”.