The 2021 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards

This afternoon the Melbourne International Comedy Festival announced the 2021 Award winners at the Toff In Town, with host Adam Hills. Adam mentioned how incredibly strong the majority of the shows at this year’s festival were and he was right. The duds were rare and everything that was good was Absolutely brilliant! It must have been very difficult for the judges this year.
We could not be happier to announce the winner of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award 2021 for the Most Outstanding Show is Geraldine Hickey! Hickey said in her thank you speech: “I’d kind of like to dedicate this award to anyone who’s in the middle of their career and at the tipping point of, Is this working? Should I keep going? No one notices me. Well keep going ’cause fuck I did and look at me now!” To big cheers.
Now, when is she getting to host a TV show / her own Netflix special? Soon I hope. She has been selling out live shows for years now.

Most Outstanding Show: Geraldine Hickey What a Surprise!
Nominees:
Aaron Chen – Sorry Forever
David Quirk – Astonishing Obscurity
Ivan Aristeguieta – Piñata
Luke Heggie – Lowbreed
Michelle Brasier – Average Bear
Nikki Britton – One Small Step
Reuben Kaye – The Butch is Back

Best Newcomer Award: Charlie Zangel – Cockatiel 
You may know Charlie Zangel who has been performing for years as Charity Werk
Nominees:
Anna Piper Scott – Queer & Present Danger
Chris Ryan – Big Hair, Big Dreams
Scout Boxall – Good Egg

The Golden Gibbo: Nat Harris & Hannah Camilleri! – Pet-Nat + Han ah  Chocolat.
An award given for creativity and bravery.
Nominees:
Claire Sullivan – Toast Rat
Woah, Alyssa! – Woah, Alyssa! 3
Ben Knight – Teacher
Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall and Andy Matthews! – Teleport

Directors’ Choice Award: Melanie Bracewell – The Rumours Are True 
A New Zealander you may know from her regular appearances on Have You Been Paying Attention, she accepted this in her netball uniform.

The People’s Choice Award: Daniel Sloss
This award is for most tickets sold across the 2021 Festival and UK comedian Sloss was very closely followed by Tommy Little.

The Piece of Wood: Greg Larsen – This Might Not Be Hell.
This award is chosen by other comedians in the festival for one of their own.

Funny Tonne: Winner Ben Carruthers
As I publish He’s seen 79 shows, and written 52 reviews, he said the emphasis was put on review quality this year.
The funny Tonners didn’t start their run until after the Festival had begun and were somewhat outshined by comedian Blake Everett, who is up in the 90s and has given nearly every one of them a quick positive review on twitter. And he is performing in his own acclaimed festival show Blake and Oliver Dig Their Own Graves and also did tech for award nominated Toast Rat.

Class Clowns National Champ: Dhruv Rhao (who was the youngest nominee) Runners-up: Jai Uhlmann and Sophia Marosszeky

The Deadly Funny Award:  Jahmarley Dawson   Special mentions were given to Cy FaheyBen Moodie and Kasey Johnson

Cancellation of MICF 2020

We at Squirrel Comedy are gutted at the news that this years Melbourne International Comedy Festival (amongst many other large public events) has been cancelled due to health concerns. Our Hearts go out to all the performers, producers, the tech people and support crew. Everyone who worked so hard and put their time, energy, love and money into creating a super, fabulous Festival.

Here is a statement from Festival Director Susan Provan:

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement about non-essential mass gatherings, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

The success of our Festival is in the way that comedy transforms our city for the inspiration and entertainment of hundreds of thousands of comedy lovers.

Our primary concern is the health and welfare of our artists and participants, staff and audiences. Cancelling the Festival is heartbreaking but the only decision possible to support the community’s efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

We’re devastated by the news but thank everyone for their understanding and support.

Ticketholders will be notified shortly regarding refunds.

No decision has been made about the Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow, due to commence in late April.

If you’re healthy, while you can, please support the local comedy rooms. If you find yourself stuck at home, almost all of the performers who were to appear at the festival have some content online (be it videos, podcasts, etc) for you to enjoy. If you can, throw them a buck or two as all performers have invested large amounts of time and money into the preparation of their shows. In some cases this Festival is often their main source of income and they help make Melbourne a top festival city and tourist destination.

So everyone stay safe and hygenic out there. We all need a laugh in these trying times.

Ethnic City

By Hooi Khaw

Ethnic City is a new  month long run of standup comedy gigs in Melbourne that brings to the stage a lineup exclusively made up of performers of colour. After going on a marketing rampage, with shout outs in The Age, The Herald Sun, and Triple R radio, Ethnic City sold out the 53 seat theatre at The Improv Conspiracy on opening night. The hype lives up to the expectation, boasting formidable lineups since the start of the run. The buzz of the audience is palpable, as they mill about the licensed bar, waiting for the show to start.

In an industry that is often decried for lack of representation, diversity has become a hot topic, and shows like Ethnic City create a space where performers can be appreciated for their talent and not seen as a token (with that added pressure to “represent”).

Room runner, local comedian Brendan Wan speaks to us in more detail about Ethnic City:

H: What is the intent behind Ethnic City?

B: The intent behind Ethnic City was to create a show where not only Performers of Colour can showcase their talents but also give audiences from diverse backgrounds a chance to see members of their own community do their thing on stage. Sometimes, it’s as simple as seeing someone that looks like you on stage that gives others the confidence to pursue their own certain projects. It’s no secret Melbourne’s creative arts industry lacks diversity. I know far too many incredibly talented ethnic actors, writers and comedians who need to create projects in order to pursue their artistic goals as their ethnicity isn’t regarded as marketable. When I started comedy, especially improv, I could count the number of people of colour on one hand. Gradually more people of diverse backgrounds have been welcomed on stage but we still have a long way to go until ethnicity isn’t regarded as unique.

H: What is your approach to balancing new comers and experienced comedians of colour?

B: I guess this is the same case with any comedy show, you have a big name headliner who initially attracts the general audiences and then the up-and-coming talent to support. I’ve been luckily enough to have the bigger name acts of Lawrence Leung and Sami Shah involved to perform at Ethnic City and they’ve been incredibly supporting of the whole show.

H: Have you been actively recruiting the acts, or are people asking for slots?

B: I’ve been actively recruiting acts but as the show has gone on for a few weeks, there have been a few people approaching me for spots. In the stand-up comedy side of things, I’m in a fortunate position to have more performers than I actually have spots for. But the nature of the show is that it’s a variety show, since comedy comes in all different genres, so finding ethnically diverse acts in other areas of comedy ie improv, clowning, cabaret, sketch – that’s been a bit of a challenge.

H: You’re currently booked for a four week run, what are your plans for Ethnic City moving forward?

B: There are definitely plans for Ethnic City to come back! However there will be a bit of a hiatus for the next few months since I’ll be involved with a few projects. There’s a lot of effort and behind the scenes work required to do this kind of show so juggling full-time work, with several projects can be stretching me real thin. So when it does come back, I’ll be giving it 100% commitment.

Ethnic City is on Friday’s 7pm at The Improv Conspiracy from the 24th of May 2019 until the 14th of June 2019. See website for Details –

https://improvconspiracy.com/shows/ethnic-city

2019 Melbourne International Comedy Award Winners

 

2019 AWARD WINNERS

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

Nominees:
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 

Nominees:
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)

Festive Season Comedy in Melbourne

Comedy for Christmas! Or Festivus! Or celebrating surviving 2018!

What a great idea for a festive get together with your comedy loving buddies.

Every year the comedy venues of Melbourne put on their Christmas shows and there are also quite a few one-off Christmas themed special shows happening. If you are not in Melbourne, check out the gig guides, some of these performers are touring and there should be similar nights happening in comedy clubs near you.

Here is the Squirrel Comedy annual End of Year – Christmas Gig list in roughly date order – of the local ones we could find out about… 

MON 26 Nov – SUN 2 Dec
A Very Kransky Christmas 

At Alex Theatre –  135 Fitzroy St, St Kilda at 7.30 pm

The Kransky Sisters are on a Christmas Tour of Australia and will grace Melbourne with their hilarious Gothic musical-comedy delights for three nights. (They are also touring Sydney and Perth)

Prices – Adult: $49.90 Conc: $44.90

Bookings: https://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=KRANSKY18

Sat 1 Dec
The Wheeler Centre Presents: Show of the Year

At The Athenaeum Theatre at 7pm

Host Casey ‘Tasty’ Bennetto And A Cast Of Writers, Comedians And Musicians, Including Mama Alto, Steph Tisdell, Shaun Micallef, Jan Fran, Michele Lee, Candy Bowers, WāNi Le Frère, Rebecca Shaw, Laura Jean Mckay And Alan Duffy.

https://www.wheelercentre.com/events/the-show-of-the-year-2018

Sat Dec 1 – 9.30pm
Jackie Lime’s Year End Rear End  

At The Improv Conspiracy Theatre

L1 / 19 Meyers Place, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3000

The one and only Jackie Lime is back for his final appearance of 2018. Join Jackie, Indiana, Bitch Boy and a whole slew of special guests to celebrate a massive year with the Talkie Time family in an improvised kind of way.

Price $5 at the Door or $5.50 online to guarantee a seat.

Booking: https://www.improvconspiracy.com/shows/unit/2768/buy-tickets

Dec 6 – 7 – 9.30pm
The Chaser & The Shovel Presents: The War On 2018

At The Village Roadshow Theatrette – 179 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, Vic 3000

Join Charles Firth (The Chaser), James Schloeffel (The Shovel), Mark Humphries (Channel 10’s Pointless) And Special Guests To Be Announced As They Dissect Everything From The Leadership Crisis To The Banking Royal Commission.  (Also touring Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane)

Price: $34 – $104.04

Bookings: https://events.ticketbooth.com.au/event/the-war-on-2018-melbourneHzchcPM

Thurs 8 Dec at 7pm
Merry Salt-Mas! One Hour Of Improvised Christmas

At the Improve Conspiracy Theatre at 7pm

Help them ease into the silly season by suggesting something Christmassy to spring them into an hour of improvised comedy. The Heralayan Salt Lamps’ signature show involves creating a completely improvised show with 8 people on stage at once.

Price: $10

https://www.facebook.com/events/291125438188379/

Tues 11 Dec at 8pm
Catfish Comedy Christmas

At The Catfish upstairs, Fitzroy

Standup Comedy with Daniel Connell, Danielle Walker and Brett Blake  and more great acts To Be Confirmed

Doors open 7:30, $12 entry and don’t forget to try the Philly Cheesesteaks

Sat 15 Dec at 3pm
Don’t You Know Who I Am? 2018 XMAS SHOW

At The Catfish upstairs, Fitzroy

30 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy VIC 3056

Live podcast recording. The last live show of the year. An all-star cast raising money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation all hosted by Josh Earl from 3:00 PM

Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=446103

Mon 17 Dec at 8.30pm
Local Laughs XMAS SHOW

At The Local Taphouse 184 Carlisle St. St Kilda East

– MC Andrew McClelland, Cal Wilson, Tom Ballard, Sami Shah, Ethan Cavanagh, plus a host of special Christmassy guests.

Price: $25/20

Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=175052&

17, 19, 20, 21, 22 Dec at 7pm
A Christmas Tale a Girls Act Good Production 

At The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne

The all female Verbatim Theatre play that takes a comedic and heartfelt look at the Aussie festivities and celebrates how we can come together to remember the magic of Christmas. Yes! Verbatim Theatre! That is Funny! And about Christmas!

Bookings: https://thebutterflyclub.com/show/a-christmas-tale-2018

10, 12, 13, 14 & 15th Dec at 7pm
’Tis the Season…

At The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne a\

Winner of the prestigious Julie Michael Cabaret Award, ’Tis the Season is performed by Maverick Newman and Stacey Thomsett. It’s a comedy about divorce, dysfunction, love and Christmas!

Cost: $25-34

Bookings : https://thebutterflyclub.com/show/tis-the-season

Dec 20, 21, 22 at 8pm
A Swingin’ Bella Christmas!

At The Melba Spiegeltent this year, the legendary palace of festivity and frivolity adjoining Circus Oz /Melbourne Polytechnic / Collingwood TAFE / Collingwood Tech (depending on your era)!

– a finger-snappin’, toe-tappin’ romp through traditional carols, modern favourites and specially-written original songs of the season, executed with airy panache by a horn-laden bevy of brilliant performers known throughout the civilised world as The Bella All-Stars!

Out front, MCs Casey Bennetto and Geraldine Quinn will be joined by special guests:
Selina Jenkins – Thur 20th December
Nina Ferro & Tripod – Fri 21st December
Mike McLeish – Sat 22nd December

Limited tickets remaining
Bookings: https://www.bellaunion.com.au/

Sat 22 Dec at 8pm
Basement Comedy Club – Special Xmas Show!

European Bier Café, 120 Exhibition St Melbourne

There will be fantastic Comedians on the bill as ever….TBA

Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=263827&

Sun 23 Dec at 8pm
The Little Dum Dum Club Orphans Christmas Live Podcast

Downstairs at Basement Comedy Club,

European Bier Cafe, 120 Exhibition St, Melbourne CBD

Come and hang out with The Dum Dums: Karl Chandler and Tommy Dassalo and heaps of their comedian friends. + a little bonus Christmas gift with every ticket sold!

Bookings: http://littledumdumclub.com/?events=orphans-christmas-december-23-8pm

Melbourne Fringe Awards 2018

I hope everyone had a wonderful Melbourne Fringe this year. The best thing about Fringe is discovering performers who are being daring and brilliant. It’s always fun to pop into the Fringe Club too and discover a performer or show on stage who you may have overlooked in print.

Our congratulations to all the Award Winners and especially to comedy legend Bob Franklin. A jaw dropping show that had me crying with  laughter.

I’m not listing all the Winners here, just the ones that may interest our niche readers. Though if you are especially keen on furniture (or any of the wide range of Fringe Arts), check out the website.

Best in Category Awards  

Best Cabaret
Creatures of the Deep
Jude Perl: I Have A Face

Best Circus
Casting Off

Best Comedy
Bob Franklin – Yours Sincerely
Squirrel Review: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13209

Special Awards 

Melbourne Fringe Living Legend Award 
Susie Dee (actress, Director)

You may have seen Susie in Winners & Losers, Bad Eggs, Funky Squad or my favourite Australian short film Bonza
For more information on Suzie and a list of previous recipients,
please see here.

Venue of the Year
The Melba

Best Emerging Artist
Supported by Quealy Winemakers
Lou Wall’s Drag Race

People’s Choice Award 

Baby Bi Bi Bi

Touring Awards

The QLD Tour Ready Award 
Supported by Brisbane Comedy Festival
10 Things I Hate About Taming of the Shrew

The Summerhall Award 
Supported by Summerhall, Edinburgh
My Best Dead Friend

The WA Tour Ready Award 
Supported by FRINGE WORLD Festival
Cam Venn – Charles Horse Lays an Egg
Squirrel Review: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=12659

Artist Development Awards

Best Emerging Performance Ensemble
Supported by Theatre Network Australia
DOG SHOW

Best Emerging Producer
Supported by MILKE
Tom Backhaus – Dazza and Keif Go Viral

Queer Development and Mentorship Award
Supported by Midsumma Festival
Erin Pattison, Samantha Andrew & Annabel Larcombe – Baby Bi Bi Bi

For for the full list of Award Winners go to the Melbourne Fringe Website :
https://melbournefringe.com.au/festival-info/melbourne-fringe-awards/