2019 Melbourne International Comedy Award Winners



The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award for the best show: James Acaster (UK) Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999

Anne Edmonds- What’s Wrong With You? 
Cassie Workman – Giantess
Geraldine Hickey – Things Are Going Well
Nath Valvo – I’m Happy For You
Tom Allen (UK) – Absolutely 

Blake Freeman

The Best Newcomer: Blake Freeman – There’s Something There 

Dan Rath – Bubble Bath
Nina Oyama – Needs a Lift
Oliver Coleman – Poolside

Joshua Ladgrove

The Golden Gibbo Award (for an artistic independent production): Neal Portenza & Joshua Ladgrove –Neal Portenza is Joshua Ladgrove

Nominees for The Golden Gibbo Award:
Game Boys – Game Boys Cinematic Universe
Lauren Bok – Rock Out With Your Bok Out 
Margot Tanjutco – Vanity Fair Enough

Urzila Carlson

Oliver Coleman – Poolside
Patrick Collins – Mime Consultant / Patrick Collins And the Magic Shoe

People’s Choice Award: Urzila Carlson Loser 

This award signifies that Urzila Carlson sold the most tickets at this year’s Festival.

Aaron Chen

The Directors’ Choice Award: Aaron Chen – Piss Off (Just Kidding) 

Presented by Melbourne International Comedy Festival Director Susan Provan

The Pinder Prize: Sam Taunton – Straight From The Shoulder & Steph Tisdell – The Pyramid

This Award funds their trips to the Edinburgh Fringe
to perform at Assembly Festival. It was presented by Demi Lardner

Geraldine Hickey

Piece of Wood Award (Peer Award from other comedians):  Geraldine Hickey – Things Are Going Well

Presented by Greg Fleet who created the Award and Heath Franklin last year’s winner.

Funny Tonne Winner: John Souness

Deadly Funny National Grand Final winner: Fabian Woods

Fady Kassab

RAW Comedy Grand Final Winner: Fady Kassab (NSW)  
Fady has won a trip to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival to compete in So You Think You’re Funny?.
RAW Runners-Up: Suraj Kolarkar (QLD) and Laura Hutchinson (WA)

Class Clowns National Grand Final Winners Patti Fawcett (Bendigo South East College, VIC)
Class Clowns Runners-Up:
Whose My Parents? (Ben Depoma, Cyrus James-Hankin, Soren Pryor) from St Theresa’s Catholic College Abergowrie, QLD, and Nic Doring (Alexandria Park Community High School NSW)

Oliver Coleman – Poolside

By Lisa Clark 

Last time we last saw Oliver Coleman he was working as a duo with Emil Freund in Uncompetent. It was a really enjoyable show and this is no different, except that Oliver proves that he can pull off a fabulous wacky sketch show as a solo artist.

Oliver welcomes us to the space in character as a loud and overbearing pool man with a big fake moustache called Mr Squires. It certainly gives you the vibe of what you are in for. He begins by outlining the rules. There are many and they are very silly. Poolside is full of really interesting funny ideas, big props, gags and one-liners, and he doesn’t stray from the poolside theme too often. Though we did find ourselves in a New York comedy club at one point. But it’s worth it. Oliver brilliantly plays a tough old school New York comic as well as his wife, who cleverly has the same style New York accent. It’s a bravura performance of a character cameo and well worth the segue.

Oliver Coleman with his winning style and excellent comic physicality reminded me of Duff crossed with Francis Greenslade doing a Sam Simmons style show. It’s mostly very loud and in your face, with the occasional quieter moment. He’s not too confronting as to be unbearable though. In his shorts he’s like a big hyper kid who’s had too much red cordial, he’s having fun and really wants us to join in. He never jumps into bullying the audience, but certainly plays around the edges. He makes an effort to be kind to his 2 audience helpmates which keeps the audience on side.

Poolside is jam-packed with laughs and doesn’t let up. There are no dull spots. The delightful centrepiece of Poolside revolves around him stressing over latecomers filling the few empty seats. I wonder how he will manage that when this excellent show starts selling out? He better have a backup plan because those seats are going to be crammed in with punters once word gets around.

Oliver Coleman Poolside is on at Tasma Terrace til Apr 7


Aussie invasion of 2018 Edinburgh Fringe

It’s not long now until the world’s largest fringe arts festival begins in warmer climes and again a massive contingent of Australians and expats are headed to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Many have traveled the Australian festival circuit and have been whipped into shape for international audiences. Some have been previously reviewed by Squirrel but remember they will have been further polished and may have been revised and reworked.

Hannah Gadsby

Last year Australian, Hannah Gadsby won Best Comedy at the Fringe, she’s had to cancel her Edinburgh Fringe run this year but there’s a lot more amazing comedy talent coming up from down under. If you are travelling anywhere near Edinburgh this August, have a look at the following list of shows and consider going to see an Australian act.

AC/DC: Australian Comedians / Dope Comedy
(MC Daniel Muggleton & various Aussie guests)
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

Adam Vincent – Stuck in the Suburbs With You 

Adam Vincent

Laughing Horse @ Espionage

Aidan ‘Taco’ Jones – 52 Days
Laughing Horse @ City Café

Alex Williamson – So Wrong, It’s Wrong
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Alice Fraser – Ethos

Alice Fraser

Underbelly, Bristo Square

Andrew Roper – What Is Best in Life?
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Ange Lavoipierre and Jane Watt – Luxury Split Bill
Just the Tonic at The Caves

Anthony Jeannot – Life Coach (Age 14)
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Ben McCarthy – Nevermind
Paradise in The Vault

Blaise White Changes the World
Three Broomsticks

Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana Do Comedy and Commentary to Bad Wrestling Matches
Monkey Barrel Comedy Club

Brendon Burns – Mansplainin’

Brendon Burns

Heroes @ Boteco

Brett Blake – Reckless
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

Calling My Tribe – Boo Dwyer
Assembly George Square Theatre

Changing Jennifers – Improvised Improv

Claire Sullivan – I Wish I Owned a Hotel for Dogs 

Claire Sullivan

Gilded Balloon Teviot

Squirrel Review:

Claire Sullivan – I Wish I Owned A Hotel For Dogs

Clara Cupcakes

Clara Cupcakes – The Worst
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Squirrel Review:

Clara Cupcakes – The Worst

Comedians Against Humanity (MC Yianni Agisilaou)


Pleasance Dome

Squirrel Review:

Comedians Against Humanity: Hosted by Yianni Agisilaou

Comedy Boxing: New Challengers
Laughing Horse @ Espionage

Damian Clark – Extra Show
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Daniel Connell – Mr Personality 1988

Daniel Connell

Gilded Balloon Teviot

Squirrel Review:

Daniel Connell – MR PERSONALITY 1988


Daniel Muggleton – Mouth Breather
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

Demi Lardner – I Love Skeleton

Demi Lardner

Assembly George Square Studios

Dilruk Jayasinha – The Art of the Dil
Assembly George Square Theatre

Felicity Ward – Busting a Nut
Pleasance Courtyard

Frank Hadchiti – The Lesbian Whisperer
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Fringe Wives Club – Glittery Clittery 
Assembly Roxy

Garry Starr Performs Everything
Underbelly, Cowgate

George Dimarelos – A Book Lovers Comedy Show
Laughing Horse @ City Café

George Dimarelos – George Michael Is Greek
Laughing Horse @ City Café

Gillian English – She Wolf 

Gillian English

Voodoo Rooms

Good Evening Edinburgh, It’s Sam Kissajukian
Laughing Horse @ Espionage

Grant Busé – The Birds and the Beats
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Huge News with Kyron and Menschy
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Is This the Worst Quiz / Game Show Ever? (Edinburgh Regional Championships) Hosted by Yianni Agisilaou
Sneaky Pete’s

Ivan Aristeguieta – Juithy 

Ivan Aristeguieta

Pleasance Courtyard

James McLean – Good Manners Gone Bad
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Jez Watts – #1 Comedy Great Fun Best Show
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Jimeoin – Result!
Pleasance at EICC

Jimeoin – Roast Chicken Result!
Pleasance at EICC

John Robertson – Sweaty, Sexy Party Party
Just the Tonic at The Tron

John Robertson – The Dark Room
Underbelly, Cowgate

Jon & Nath Like to Party
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Josh Glanc – Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chamedian 

Josh Glanc

Underbelly, Bristo Square

Squirrel Review:

Josh Glanc: Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chamedian


Kyle Legacy – The Fresh Prince of Comedy
Laughing Horse @ Espionage

Larissa Moran – Love Like 90s R’n’B

Laura Davis – Ghost Machine

Laura Davis

Underbelly, Cowgate

Squirrel Review: 

Laura Davis – Ghost Machine


Mick Neven and Jacques Barrett – Australian Beauty

Mick Neven – Charm Offensive
Sneaky Pete’s

Nathan Lang – The Stuntman
Just the Tonic at The Caves

Neal Portenza’s Final Edinburgh Show Will Be a Bad Magic Show on a Bus.

Neal Portenza

BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Netflix and Amazon Prime Are All Welcome
Heroes @ Bob’s BlundaBus

Nick Elleray – It’s Been Emotional
Just the Tonic at The Grassmarket Centre

Oliver Coleman – Delicious
The Coffee House

Plumbing the Death Star Live
Just the Tonic at The Caves

Rhys Nicholson

Rhys Nicholson – Seminal

Underbelly, Bristo Square

Ruven Govender – Ethnic Cleansing
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

Sam Campbell – The Trough

Sam Campbell

Monkey Barrel Comedy Club

Sam Kissajukian – Alcohol Is Good for You
Laughing Horse @ Espionage

Sharnema Nougar & David Tieck – Two Little Dickheads
Just the Tonic at The Mash House

Sofie Prints – Jesus Was a Rape Baby
Three Broomsticks

Steen Raskopoulos and Carlo Ritchie – The Bear Pack

Bear Pack

Underbelly, Cowgate

Squirrel Review:

The Bear Pack – Carlo Ritchie and Steen Raskopoulos

Steen Raskopoulos – Stay
Underbelly, Cowgate

The Stevenson Experience – Spot the Difference
Assembly George Square Studios

Stuart Bowden – Our Molecules
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tenuous Link – Unexpected Inheritance
PQA Venues @Riddle’s Court

Tessa Waters – Fully Sik 

Tessa Waters

Heroes @ The SpiegelYurt

Thao Thanh Cao – Appropriately Inappropriate
Laughing Horse @ Harry’s Southside

The Ashes: A Comedy Showdown
Liquid Room Annexe/Warehouse

The Nasty Show
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Thomas Green – Doubting Thomas
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Time Out With Ross Voss
Laughing Horse @ Moriarty’s

The Travellin’ Man Comedy Showcase (MC Aidan ‘Taco’ Jones)
Laughing Horse @ Harry’s Southside

The Travelling Sisters – Toupé 

The Travelling Sisters

Gilded Balloon Teviot

Squirrel Review:

The Travelling Sisters – Toupé

Tom Walker – Honk Honk Honk Honk Honk 

Tom Walker

Underbelly, Bristo Square

Squirrel Review:

Tom Walker: Honk Honk Honk Honk Honk

Tri-Nations Comedy
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

Wil Greenway – Either Side of Everything
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Yianni Agisilaou – I, Human
Pleasance Dome

Coleman & Freund : Uncompetent

By Colin Flaherty

In Uncompetent, Oliver Coleman and Emil Freund have created a sketch show with all the essential elements for a good time. Bold characters that project to the back wall? Check! An economical script with plenty of punchlines? Check! Performers willing to do anything for a laugh? Check! Props? Check! The only thing remaining is for an audience to strap themselves in for an hour of crazy sketch action.

Coleman and Freund are reminiscent of Monty Python in their delivery and the way they structure the show. Sketches veer off in a myriad of unexpected places and sometimes end oddly, transitions are abrupt and their wacky characters are suitably over the top. Add plenty of silly voices, dodgy foreign accents and huge gestures, and you have the perfect homage to the deities of sketch with plenty of modern twists and references.

A clever framing device of “Market Research” is a great way of incorporating some mild audience interaction that is never at the expense of the punters. The patter is tightly scripted and puts themselves clearly at the butt of the joke. The late hour allows the guys to indulge in some risqué concepts and genuine gross out moments that simultaneously repulse and delight the crowd.

Every sketch goes into many hilariously surprising directions with a unique crazy logic to keep everyone on their toes. There are a few sombre moments that stick out like sore thumbs amongst the lunacy. These don’t necessarily lead to punchline but transition into something else while keeping the audience glued to every word. These segments fit perfectly with the overall plot, despite the performers cheekily criticising their own narrative structure.

The boys bounce effortlessly off one another and sell the shit out of their wonderful script. Neither are above making themselves look stupid and although Freund generally plays straight-man they can switch roles when the need arises. With minimal costuming (save for one pivotal character) they conjure a world of grotesque and strange characters and utilise plenty of props that look like effort has gone into constructing them while still having a thrown together feel. Reactions to musical and lighting cues, sound effects and voiceovers are pulled off without a hitch.

Coleman and Freund are an awesome powerhouse in two handed sketch comedy. This late night hour of silliness is a brilliant way to cap off your night.

Uncompetent is on at the Tuxedo Cat until April 5
Visit the Comedy Festival website for details


5 Good Reasons to See Coleman & Freund – Uncompetent

1. It’s not quite stand up, it’s not quite sketch, it’s not quite theatre… it’s where all three meet at a late night party and get funky.

2. It’ll be like seeing The Beatles before The Beatles were famous; and if The Beatle’s were just Ringo Star’s pet iguana and a microphone.

3. For every ticket you don’t buy we buy a Hillsong album.

4. Because Ollie is very good at diagnosing minor skin complaints. Bring us your rash!

5. We almost forgot to mention… It’s cheaper than most other shows!!!!$!$$!$!!!$!$!!!$$$!!!!$$!$!$!

Coleman & Freund are Uncompetent at The Tuxedo Cat til Apr 5
For more information see the MICF website: