Well, that's that then and thank god. The last week of the fest was a killer what with comedy fatigue and a head cold which is only now subsiding. It's all done with, however, so if you missed some good shows, sucks to be you. If you missed some bad ones, well done. Here are a few notables worth a look in the future for those of you still reading with nothing better to do (how about Yahtzee?)
KRISTEN SCHAAL - As You Have Probably Never Seen Her Before
I really enjoyed Schaaly but she came in second for me (after Nina Conti), given that I thought she was doing really well something that isn't quite as hard. SNL-style New York quasi-absurdism isn't really as tough to pull off as ventriloquism, and more people are doing it. That said, her Kristen Schaal is a Horse routine will probably be the thing that lasts longest in folks' memories of the 2008 MICF.
REGINALD D HUNTER
Hunter does straight-ish standup but does it super-well. He's one of the rare standups heading into button-pushing offensive territory in a way that I appreciate, mainly because his terribly perilous quips about paedophilia, anal exploration and rape aren't coming from a bad place, but from a decent-seeming guy who doesn't mean what he says any more than you would. He's talking about stuff knowing that it skirts the very edges of acceptability, but never quite tips over that edge. Very funny, very likeable chap.
FEAR OF A BROWN PLANET
Winners of the Best Newcomer Award - and worth it. These two guys aren't quite at the top of their game, but watching this year's show suggests that they'll likely one day be a force to be reckoned with in local comedy. They're a pair of Muslim Aussie comics who take on racism and xenophobia in an utterly hilarious way that uses anger to fuel some brilliant humour.
PAPPY'S FUN CLUB
Totally stupid British private schoolboy sketch comedy. Loathed it, then loved it, then ended up onstage miming to a Bob Dylan track.
SAMMY J IN THE FOREST OF DREAMS
Winner of the Age Critics Award. Sammy J's star keeps on rising, but the star of this puppets-go-wrong show (think Meet the Feebles, Avenue Q etc) is Heath McIvor, the puppeteer behind the dozen or so weirdo critters who share the stage with Sammy. Highlight for me was the sudden appearance of an 11-foot tall fightin' fox called Mega Squire.
KENT VALENTINE - A Fistful of Rainbows
Valentine hasn't been around that long but you wouldn't tell given the sweet little piece of storytelling he provided for this year's fest. It's two tales - the first pretty inconsequential but the second an absolutely charming recounting of his time spent in Denmark on student exchange, where he befriends a trio of unlikely men in their 90s who are obsessed with reliving the Viking adventures of their ancestors.
DAVE CALLAN - Daylight Savings for the Doomsday Clock
I've liked Callan for years, but haven't seen him for a few. His show this year was a winner, even if it was a bit Powerpoint-heavy. It's a lecture on what's wrong with the world and what to do about it, but it manages to be both insistently funny and not-too-preachy. It also manages to be over now, so there you go (went).