Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards for 2018

This year instead of being presented in the middle of the night at the Festival Club as is traditional, The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards were instead presented at 1pm in the afternoon at Belleville. It was more relaxed and civilised with drinks and nibblies (and better lighting for photos) and it was great knowing that everyone in the room was involved and invested in the results, but sort of sad that it was restricted to invite only. I was very lucky to be invited, but other fans on the rim of the festival, but just as invested would have been sad (as I was when this happened once in the past) to not be a part of that middle of the night wild excitement and joy when a favourite, or someone you’ve discovered wins an award.

I can’t deny that there was some surprise as well as delight for Sam Campbell’s win. Although he has been performing in Sydney for a while and getting some TV work (you may have seen him on The Checkout), he’s still pretty much under the radar of the general public. We fell in love with his work when we saw Zanzoop! early in it’s run in 2016 and spent the rest of the Festival telling anyone who would listen that they should go and see the strange talk show hosted by a wise cracking alien in a back alley nightclub. This year we loved both shows he was involved with; his own, The Trough and Anne Edmond’s Helen Bidou – Enter the Spinnaker Lounge where he played Helen’s long suffering, very awkward son Connor.


Hannah Gadsby Presenting The Barry Award from New York

Barry Award, for the best show: Sam Campbell The Trough  

Nominees for The Barry Award:
Alex Edelman (USA)- Just for Us 
Anne Edmonds – as Helen Bidou – Enter the Spinaker Lounge
Tim Key (UK) – Megadate
Lano & Woodley (Colin Lane and Frank Woodley) – Fly!
Rose Matafeo (NZ) – Horndog!
Celia Pacquola – All Talk
Natalie Palamides (USA) – Laid


The Best Newcomer: Danielle Walker Bush Rat 

Danielle Walker

This award was presented by Sarah Dodds of Soho Theatre who will be bringing Danielle to London to make her Debut at The Soho Theatre.

Nominees for The Best Newcomer Award:
Paul Williams(NZ) – Summertime Love
Stephanie Tisdell – Identity Steft
Garry Starr – Performs Everything
Lewis Garnham – The Smartest Idiot You’ll Ever Meet
Nadia Collins – Virgin Bloody Mary


The Golden Gibbo Award (for an artistic independent production): 

Cam Venn

Cam Venn for 
Charles Horse Lays An Egg
The prize is a Bottle of Red Wine and was presented by Lynda Gibson’s Niece Emma Maye Gibson, also known as Betty Grumble

Nominees for The Golden Gibbo Award:
Sophie Joske and Anna Piper Scott  – Almost Lesbians
Garry Starr  – Performs Everything 
Julia Rorke & Elysia Hall – Not Another F***** B**** In India
Michelle Brasier & Laura Frew
(Double Denim) – Double Denim Adventure Show]

Lano & Woodley

People’s Choice Award:
Lano & Woodley – Fly!

This award signifies that Fly! sold the most tickets at this year’s Festival.


The Directors’ Choice Award:
Michelle Brasier and Laura Frew for Double Denim Adventure Show



The Pinder Prize: Demi Lardner – I Love Skeleton 
This Award funds her trip to the Edinburgh Fringe
to perform at Assembly Festival.



Heath Franklin

Piece of Wood Award (Peer Award from other comedians):
Heath Franklin – Bogan Jesus 


Funny Tonne Winner: Alasdair Bryant (76 Shows)

Deadly Funny National Grand Final winner: Leon Filewood (QLD)

RAW Comedy Grand Final Winner: Bec Melrose (NSW)  
Bec has won a trip to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival to compete in So You Think You’re Funny?.
RAW Runners-Up: Gavin Sempel (VIC), Emma Holland (ACT)

Class Clowns National Grand Final Winners Liam Adam, Carlin Carruth & Kyle Bennett (QLD) as ‘Awkward’!
Class Clowns Runners-Up:
Dusty Diddle (VIC),
Nina Cowley-Mousinho (QLD)
Shiloh Rea (QLD)
Nicholas Doring (NSW)

Colin Lane Presents

By Jayden Edwards

“Take a chance you stupid hoe” modern day Shakespearian Gwen Stefani once said. It’s this inspiring line taken from her song “What you waiting for” that Colin Lane uses as his mantra, his reason to give it his all and “decide to try”.

After a four year absence, and some gruelling daytime cooking show hosting (which he appreciates, don’t get him wrong), Colin Lane is back at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with his new show Colin Lane Presents. And what Colin presents is a hour of wonderfully awkward, self depreciating and angry silliness.

The show starts off with Colin at his awkward best, standing atop his piano with his head obscured by the top of his stage, wondering how to gracefully continue. After a dragged out barrage of oh’s, ah’s, um’s, some fidgeting and a pair of scissors, Colin is revealed. There’s spatterings of laughter throughout the ordeal, and the audience is a little slow to warm to it all. But once the show moves on, and grows more and more wonderfully and intentionally off track, the punters jump on board.

There’s beautifully irreverent silly songs plus hilarious observations on that little car voice we all put on when no one can here us, the point of backwards type on Ambulances (or Ecnalubma’s) and whether hating dogs makes you an arsehole. It’s the little things in life that Colin likes to dissect, rather than big scary complex stuff, but backed by Coin’s childlike enthusiasm you’ll be as focused on them as he is, laughing all the way.

Towards the middle of the show, that patented funny-awkward kicks into overdrive after a ‘botched’ routine and nervy-angry one way argument with his technical director Jane (not her real name, she wouldn’t tell him her real name). After she gets up and leaves, Colin is left to run things himself; his fiddling and padding becoming the show. It’s a clever ploy, and a goldmine for material, although things do border on becoming a little too real at times, awkward wise.

As good as Colin’s material is, it’s his facial expressions, physicality and off the cuff stuff that really pack a comedic punch. There was a moment in this show where he interacted with a punter who got a bemused stare-down that had the audience in hysterics. That’s the stuff you can’t learn, you’ve either got it or you don’t, and it’s a great trick to have up your sleeve to pull an audience back.

The show ties up nicely as Colin returns to that Gwen Stefani mantra to pull himself though and get that re-railed train back on track.

Presents is a simple idea, executed brilliantly by a naturally gifted performer. If you’re after laughing without too much thinking, Colin’s your man.

Although the show should of been called ‘Take a chance you stupid hoe’, really.

Colin Lane Presents is on at the Melb Town Hall – Regent Room until April 20