612 shows. 100 venues. 26 days. The 32nd annual Melbourne International Comedy Festival is here – and it’s big. So we asked a bunch of comics here for the event to do the hard work for us.

Maureen McGillicuddy (Kyle Minall), from A Visit with Nan in a Caravan

Broadsheet: Tell us about your show A Visit with Nan in a Caravan in one sentence.
Maureen McGillicuddy: The grannies invite you into their van, make you a cup of tea and tell you some hilarious stories about their travels around Australia.

BS: Which local act are you most looking forward to seeing?
MM: Jude Perl. Her show last year was absolutely delightful and she has a really unique and charming voice.

BS: Which international act are you most looking forward to seeing?
MM: We saw Viggo Venn’s Pepito at Adelaide Fringe and it was very funny. We thought we knew everything that could be done with a cucumber, but he surprised even us.

BS: Which curveball act is on your agenda – something or someone that's under the radar but worth us checking out?
MM: Natalie Palamides’s Laid is right up there. Edie saw her overseas and came home to the caravan raving. It's equal parts bizarre, beautiful and hilarious!

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Zack Dyer

BS: Tell us about your show, which is part of The Comedy Zone in one sentence.
ZD: The Comedy Zone is a showcase of five of the best up-and-coming comedians from around Australia.

BS: Which local act are you most looking forward to seeing?
ZD: Probably Tim Hewitt in Hewy's Cooked Adventures: he's a good mate of mine and a fellow Queenslander. It's his first solo show and his ability to spin a ripper yarn is second to none. Also Danielle Walker in Bush Rat, another friend and Queenslander. She is an incredible comedian.

BS: Which international act are you most looking forward to seeing?
ZD: Ari Shaffir. I love his Netflix special and I've heard him on so many podcasts for years and his dedication for doing as much comedy as often as possible is an inspiration for me. A true gig pig.

BS: Which curveball act is on your agenda – something or someone that's under the radar but worth us checking out?
ZD: Andrew Portelli and Ben Searle in The Malaka Brothers Ride Again and Matthew Vasquez and Ash Greblo in Comedy Mad Dogs. Four guys that aren't well known yet but will be soon enough. Get in early so you can be the cool one of your group that knew about them first!

Michael Shafar

BS: Tell us about your show Kosher Bacon in one sentence.
MS: The show is about paradoxes and things that make no sense like “kosher bacon”, “round squares” or “yummy tofu”. A lot of the show draws from childhood experiences that I thought made sense at the time, but looking back on them I realise how bizarre they were. For example, when my friends and I were all turning 13, the local DJ at our bar mitzvah parties was also our local MP. To put that into context, imagine going to a wedding every week for a year and at each one Tony Abbott is leading the Nutbush. We thought that was normal.

BS: Which local act are you most looking forward to seeing?
MS: I'm very keen to see Peter Jones's new show. He's been killing it around the country for years, so his show is going to be very tight and very punchy.

BS: Which international act are you most looking forward to seeing?
MS: Ari Shaffir. Not only is he also Jewish, but we also have similar names, which is very important in selecting a comedian.

BS: Which curveball act is on your agenda – something or someone that's under the radar but worth us checking out?
MS: Tim Hewitt is making his debut at the comedy festival and he always has me in stitches.

Tegan Higginbotham

BS: Tell us about your show Watson World Tour in one sentence.
TH: Watson World Tour is late-night sketch comedy from the team who did Who’s Afraid of the Dark? and that weird Tampon sketch you might have seen online.

BS: Which local act are you most looking forward to seeing?
TH: Adam McKenzie's show Laser Light. It's about his battle with cancer and it's going to be hilarious and pretty f*cking great.

BS: Which international act are you most looking forward to seeing?
TH: Louise Beuvink – A Modern Guide to Etiquette.

BS: Which curveball act is on your agenda – something or someone that's under the radar but worth us checking out?
TH: Alex Jae and Paige Hally in Garbage up Late.

Aurélia St Clair

BS: Tell us about your show, which is part of The Breast of the Fest, in one sentence.
ASC: The Breast of the Fest is a tasty showcase of stand up comedy featuring some of Australia’s brightest up-and-coming talent, plus a different mystery guest every night. (St Clair is also appearing in Neapolitan, a showcase of local talent that also includes Josh Webb and Mathew Hespe.)

BS: Which local act are you most looking forward to seeing?
ASC: It’s hard to pick just one! Geraldine Hickey, Celia Pacquola and Danielle Walker are on my must-see list.

BS: Which international act are you most looking forward to seeing?
ASC: I’m excited to see Zainab Johnson and Dulcé Sloan, appearing in Headliners. I’ve been following both of them for a while and can't wait to finally see them live.

BS: Which curveball act is on your agenda – something or someone that's under the radar but worth us checking out?
ASC: Check out Jacqueline Mifsud's show Be Better!, she is absolutely hilarious.

Tommy Little

BS: Tell us about your show The Last King of Stupid in one sentence.
TL: My show is about Drake, hummus, vaginas and old people. There really is something in it for everyone.

BS: Which local act are you most looking forward to seeing?
TL: Tom Walker, go and see him because he needs the money.

BS: Which international act are you most looking forward to seeing?
TL: Urzila Carlson, this South African/Kiwi/Aussie is the best.

BS: Which curveball act is on your agenda – something or someone that's under the radar but worth us checking out?
TL: Helen Bidou, this is an absolutely nuts comedian playing a character who also happens to be absolutely nuts, I can't wait.

Adam Rozenbach

BS: Tell us about your show Hold My Beer in one sentence.
AR: Hold My Beer is the story of the time Adam’s parents left him behind on their trip to Paris, forcing him to deal with pesky burgla– no, hang on, that’s Home Alone. Hold My Beer is an overqualified dickhead on stage for an hour.

BS: Which local act are you most looking forward to seeing?
AR: Becky Lucas. She’s guaranteed to become a household name, once every household learns her name.

BS: Which international act are you most looking forward to seeing?
AR: Kyle Kinane. Funny and dark – just how I like it.

BS: Which curveball act is on your agenda – something or someone that's under the radar but worth us checking out?
AR: Helen Bidou – no idea what to expect but how can a show written in a departure lounge at Denpasar Airport not be great?

Lauren Pattison

BS: Tell us about your show, which is part of New Order, in one sentence.
LP: I’ll be performing on New Order doing a set that packs a punch, dealing with everything from babyfaces to boozing, alongside three other of the UK’s finest exports.

BS: Which local act are you most looking forward to seeing?
LP: Aunty Donna! I think they’re hilarious but I feel like seeing them in front of an Australian crowd will be something else.

BS: Which international act are you most looking forward to seeing?
LP: It’s a toss up between Larry Dean, who makes me belly laugh every time I see him and Sophie Willan. Sophie’s show I missed in Edinburgh but heard wonderful things (and she’s certifiably wonderful) so I’m determined to catch it.

BS: Which curveball act is on your agenda – something or someone that's under the radar but worth us checking out?
LP: I’m not sure if she counts as under the radar but she’s slid under mine until I met her in Perth and now I am in love! Georgie Carroll is bloody brilliant and is well worth your ticket money.

Natalie Palamides

BS: Tell us about your show Laid in one sentence.
NP: A woman lays an egg every day and has to decide if she’s going to raise it or eat it.

BS: Which local act are you most looking forward to seeing?
NP: Neal Portenza! That dude is wild!

BS: Which international act are you most looking forward to seeing?
NP: Viggo Venn’s Pepito. Our times clashed in Edinburgh and I’ve been dying to see his solo show!

Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2018 runs from March 28 to April 22. Find the full program and book tickets here.