Australia’s largest independent arts festival, Melbourne Fringe, has unveiled its boldest program to date, led by drag icon Lady Bunny, Community star Joel McHale and Australia’s adopted son Arj Barker.

Influential NYC actor/DJ Lady Bunny will present her Trans-Jester show, while McHale’s appearance adds to his first full national tour, bringing with him his latest book, Thanks For The Money.

The quality comedy continues with Playground Politics and It’s A Date’s Geraldine Hickey, Sammy J directed dark comedy Birds On Sticks, Lawrence Mooney’s Malcolm Bligh Turnbull set, a live podcast recording from Tony Martin and Geraldine Quinn, and Barker and The Umbilical Brothers trying out new material.

That only scratches the surface, as the beloved annual event, this year running from 14 September – 1 October, is placing a strong focus on emerging talent alongside an eclectic line-up of established acts with more than 440 events scheduled.

A number of stand-up shows cross intro theatre and cabaret, like acclaimed Fringe show Erotic Intelligence For Dummies by Helen Cassidy, and there’s also a stack of interactive, music, dance, circus and more events on the bill.

“Melbourne Fringe is about taking risks,” said Creative Director & CEO Simon Abrahams.

“For our artists, Fringe is a safe space perfect for experiment and discovery, where big names can sit alongside emerging artists and push the boundaries of their artform.” 

Head to the Melbourne Fringe website for all the details and tickets.