Ali McGregor: Late-Night Variety Nite Night {Melbourne International Comedy Festival}, The Famous Spiegeltent, April 7th 2023 – Comedy Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

For 16 years, Ali McGregor’s Late-Night Variety Nite Night has been a staple of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Despite it reaching cult status, I was a little late to the party, only discovering this epic variety Melbourne tradition last year. Stepping into the 2023 season on Friday April 7th, I was both curious and excited for what Ali would bring.

Adorned in a gorgeous black dress with silver and teal sequins that made the shape of a giant eyeball, and accessorised with a faux fur fluffy grey shawl and a handy silver flask bracelet, Ali McGregor looked incredible, and accompanied with her three-piece band consisting of a keyboardist, guitarist, and drummer, she sounded incredible too.

Appearing effortless, she quickly knocked it out of the park from the get-go with a jazz spin of the 80s tune Soft Cell’s ‘Tainted Love’. Explaining that The Famous Spiegeltent stage isn’t normally this huge, extended for a certain guest act, I was excited for the hand-picked line-up that Ali had specifically curated for the show I attended.

The line-up consisted of Lizzy Hoo, Sammy J, Seth Sladen, and Geraldine Quinn. Each guest provided a teaser of their talent and a snippet of their festival content. Lizzy Hoo revealed her beef about hot girls on social media and getting praise at the dentist, Sammy J sung about murdering an innocent man snoozing in the park on a nice day and how kids these days know nothing about nostalgia, and Geraldine Quinn shared her joy of penning an original show for the first time in 4 years, equipped with her booming vocals and a nice wig.

However, it was Seth Sladen that was my favourite of the guests that night. While Sladden was the only guest not on the comedy festival circuit, it didn’t matter at all as what they showcased was beautiful. The superb aerial hoop artist whom I had seen previously in Bass G Fam’s production of Oracle as Capricorn, performed twists and turns that were jaw-dropping and exquisite to a cover of ‘El Tango De Roxanne’ from the iconic musical film, Moulin Rouge. It was magnificent.

But the true queen of the night was none other than Ali McGregor herself. Not only did Ali ooze sass, regal energy, sex appeal, and confidence from head to toe, to her fingertips, but her vocals were stunning! While I adored her unique take on 90s hit Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’ that she shared was inspired by the 1989 film The Fabulous Baker Boys (I’ve never seen this movie but I’ll have to now), her mash-up of The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ married with Nirvana ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and Eurythmics ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ was to die for. I’d love to hear it again!

However, the pinnacle was McGregor’s performance of INXS’ ‘Never Tear Us Apart’, which not only was accompanied by her talented band, but also by the heavy rain being an unplanned additional instrument to her final number. Considering the weather, I was surprised she didn’t burst into Karma Police’ from Radiohead as I’m certain that song would totally be in her repertoire.

Ali McGregor is a genius, more than happy to share the stage with her friends while providing audiences recommendations for artists that you know are good. And she manages to do so while remaining the unequivocable star of the show. What’s great about the format of Ali McGregor’s Late-Night Variety Nite Night is that no show is the same, but the star of the show remains.

After 16 years at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, it’s no surprise that Ali McGregor has perfected her show while still making it feel fresh and exciting every time. This Australian queen is a true master of her craft and everyone should feel honoured to be in that spiegeltent and witness her in her element.

I was completely spellbound by McGregor’s wits and talents, and I will absolutely be coming back every year to her Late-Night Variety Nite Night from now on.

Ali McGregor’s Late-Night Variety Nite Night has two more shows left with her last this Sunday April 9th as part of the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

For more information on Ali McGregor and ticketing, visit:

Sign up to receive weekly updates on our most recent reviews.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *