Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award Winners for 2016

by Lisa Clark

It has been an amazing year at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. In a first for the Festival – The Winner of the Barry Award, Zoe Coombs-Marr, is also the Winner of the Golden Gibbo. So it’s a Barry Winner who is brave and independent and we couldn’t be happier for Zoe. Presented via Skype (also a first) by last year’s winner Sam Simmons, the award was for Zoe’s show Trigger Warning starring her gender bending alter ego called Dave. There was Big Buzz around all the Winners this year, with none being a huge surprise and all being lauded and promoted by word of mouth and on social media for weeks. All of the nominees were favourites with everyone and those of us who got out to see them are very happy about them all being held up for celebration. It’s also a rare year where all the winners are Australian, and rightly so. So congratulations to Everyone!!

If Anne Edmonds and Damien Power are a bit sad about missing out on a Barry, they can be cheered by their Directors Awards win as True Australian Patriots and know that their own shows were loved too. True Aussie Patriots – Live was some of the best political and social satire seen on an Australian stage performed by some our best comedians (2 of them having been nominated for Barrys – the other Greg, didn’t do a solo show this year to be nominated, but won the Golden Gibbo as part of Fancy Boys two years ago.) Rhys Nicholson, can take heart in the fact that his new wife Zoe won the Barry and that their big fat gay wedding at the Festival Club last night will go down in Festival history and Legend.

I think I saw co winners of The Directors Award, Zanzoop – Feeble Minds, before a lot of ‘official’ people managed to and have been singing it’s praises to everyone ever since. A truly insane, intelligent, incredible, late night chat show hosted by the wise cracking green alien Zanzoop (Sam Campbell) that surprises you by having sweetness at its heart, performed by some sincerely talented, charismatic people. It also contains Best Newcomer Tom Walker who shines in both Feeble Minds and his own gentle and delightful immersive clowning show Beep Boop.

The Pinder Prize (Named after the late John Pinder who was an original co-founder of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and opened some of the first comedy rooms in Melbourne in the 1970s – The Flying Trapese and The Last Laugh Theatre Restaurant) is a brand new award at the festival which sends recipient – Tom Ballard – to Edinburgh Fringe to perform as part of the Assembly Theatre Program.

Remember that there is still another day of Festival shows tomorrow and some shows cancelled due to illness will hopefully be rescheduled in Melbourne Soon.

Readers from other states:  You can look forward to seeing some of these shows or performers in your town soon.

Here are the Award Winners for 2016Zoe as Dave


Winner: Zoe Coombs-Marr – Trigger Warning

Damien Power – Sell Mum into Slavery
Luisa Omielan (UK) – Am I Right Ladies?!
Tom Ballard – The World Keeps Happening
Anne Edmonds That’s Eddotainment
David O’Doherty (IRE) – We Are All In The Gutter, But Some Of Us Are Looking At David O’Doherty
Rhys Nicholson – Bone FideTom Walker


Winner: Tom Walker – Beep Boop

Demi Lardner – Life Mechanic
Guy Montgomery (NZ) – Guy Montcomedy
Rose Matafeo (NZ) – Finally Dead

GOLDEN GIBBO AWARD (Independant & Creative show)

Winner: Zoe Coombs-Marr – Trigger WarningTom Ballard pic

Asher Treleaven & Gypsy Wood – Peter & Bambi Heaven – The Magic Inside
Luis Brown – Lessons With Luis
Tommy Dassallo – Little Golden Dassallo

THE PINDER PRIZE (including a trip to the Edinburgh Festival):

Winner: Tom Ballard – The World Keeps Happening

PIECE OF WOOD (Peer Voted – Comedian’s Choice):

Winner: Chris Wainhouse – The AntichrisTrue Australian Patriots


Winners: (Anne Edmonds, Damian Power and Greg Larsen) True Australian Patriots – Live


Winners: (Sam Campbell, Cam Campbell, Tom Walker and Aaron Chen) Zanzoop – Feeble Minds

Peoples choice: Carl Barron Drinking with a Fork

Funny Tonne (Audience Member seeing the most [over 100] shows): Jeremy McPherson


Deadly Funny National Champion – Jalen Sutcliffe

Class Clowns National Champion – Lauren Duong from the ACT

RAW Comedy Award (Including a trip to the Edinburgh Festival)- Danielle Walker from Victoria

Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award Nominees

On Monday morning at the Spiegeltent the Nominees for the 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards were Announced with the aid of Guest Barry Humphries. You may have heard of him, The Barry Award is named after him.

Congratulations to all the phenomenal Nominees!

The Golden Gibbo 

Asher Treleaven & Gypsy Wood – Peter & Bambi Heaven – The Magic Inside

Luis Brown – Lessons With Luis

Tommy Dassallo – Little Golden Dassallo

Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave Trigger Warning

Best Newcomer Barry Announcing the Barry's

Demi Lardner – Life Mechanic

Guy Montgomery (NZ) – Guy Montcomedy

Tom Walker – Beep Boop

Rose Matafeo (NZ) – Finally Dead

The Barry Award

Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave Trigger Warning

Damien Power – Sell Mum into Slavery

Luisa Omielan (UK) – Am I Right Ladies?!

Tom Ballard – The World Keeps Happening

Anne Edmonds That’s Eddotainment

David O’Doherty (IRE) – We Are All In The Gutter, But Some Of Us Are Looking At David O’Doherty

Rhys Nicholson – Bone Fide

There are more Awards that will be announced next weekend.

Also RAW Comedy Award for 2016 was won by Danielle Walker from Victoria


Anne Edmonds – That’s Eddotainment

By Lisa Clark Anne Eddmonds pic

People I barely know often ask me to recommend something for them to see at the beginning of the Festival and one of the names I often say is Anne Edmonds, because how can anyone not love Anne? Then tonight she began with the filthiest jokes about drinking cum I’ve ever heard her do and as I laughed like a drain I wondered what those acquaintances who took my recommendation thought. I also wondered if this mind boggling filth up the top is there to weed out the wusses. There were no walk outs the night I was there, everyone was too busy being doubled up with laughter.

Anne reminds me of a dotty, feminist Aunty who says the most outrageously hilarious things. She talks about her fascination with torture, despair and humiliation and yet remains so cheerful and congenial that laughing about the weird stuff doesn’t seem so weird and the show rolls merrily along. Even when she is cracking jokes about people falling and hurting themselves. She has a very charming Australian turn of phrase that is very endearing which allows her to bring high concepts down to earth and make them easily digestible for all.  Anne’s also great at wacky character voices (and faces) like unattractive Bernadette and the vain cancer patient who does duckfaced selfies.

There are a couple of times when Anne pops over the edge of taste and the audience has trouble going with her. It’s as if she’s constantly pushing us to see how far she can take things, but she doesn’t let that affect her performance, which is impressive. When she’s not skewering perfectly the way that bitches psychologically bully others and the vanity of people on Facebook, she’s surprising us by becoming somewhat political, which she handles magnificently, without the slightest hint of earnestness. Perhaps my favourite routine of the festival so far is her very clever gear about being annoyed by white South Africans. She pitches it perfectly on a very sharp edge. It’s a little frightening but so funny.

There’s no appearance of the banjo in That’s Eddotainment, which was a bit sad for a fan of four stringed instruments like me, but like Steve Martin, she doesn’t need it to entertain the audience. Last year I saw her warm up a very cold Marc Maron audience at The Palais in Melbourne with great skill and she had them all laughing and applauding with joy by the end. She reminds me of watching a young Judith Lucy or Sarah Millican, I can see great longevity in her comedy career. She’s a Star. Go and see her now, while she’s still in a small room.

Anne Edmonds – That’s Eddotainment is playing at The Town Hall for more information check the MICF website:

True Australian Patriots Live

By Elyce Phillips
True Australian Patriots

Les, Gary and Steve (Anne Edmonds, Damian Power and Greg Larsen) are the True Australian Patriots, a fringe group desperate to protect the Australian way of life from all manner of perceived threats. This comedy festival, they are stepping into the lefty heartland to teach us all a lesson about the dangers we face, and perhaps entice us to join them in their fight.

From the moment the audience entered the venue and saw the PowerPoint presentation displayed on stage – a truly magnificent collection of patriotic memes and yellow Monaro photos – the laughter was constant. Everything about this show is painfully funny. There are educational segments filled with crackpottery, baffling displays of Australian culture, and more weightlifting than you would expect. Bubbling underneath it all is the complicated relationship between the trio – a constant struggle for power and love.

Edmonds, Power and Larsen throw everything they’ve got into their characters, creating personas that are truly horrible and yet kind of endearing. Over the course of the show, you get some insight into how these people came together as a result of deeper issues in their lives. Les, Gary and Steve are perfectly unprofessional, regularly stuffing up lines, positioning themselves awkwardly on the stage, and getting upset when the audience laughs at them.

This is not a show for the faint-hearted. Edmonds, Power and Larsen stay true to their characters throughout and do not shy away from the content they’re satirising. The bulk of what comes out of their collective faces is deeply offensive, and a part of you does cringe at the thought that there are people out there who are genuinely that prejudiced. But through being bold and out-and-out stupid with this material, True Australian Patriots show these “patriotic” groups for what they are – collections of very sad people with completely ridiculous opinions that should not be taken seriously in any way, shape or form.

True Australian Patriots Live is a show unlike any other. It’s a total assault on all the senses, and an absolute masterclass in commitment to character. This big lefty was certainly shown what’s what and left the venue in tears.

True Australian Patriots Live is on at the Melbourne Town Hall Supper Room until April 16.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards 2015

Well what an amazing Festival it’s been this year. So many shows were on offer (over 500) that it took longer for the Award Committee to get their Nominations ready for announcement. So many we could only touch the surface in our reviews. We try to cover a broad range with a focus on smaller local acts. We’ve all seen a lot of shows and every one of us has put in a lot of voluntary work. We do it for love. Because we are fans of comedy and we want to share our love.

Thanks to the Squirrel Team, to the Melbourne International Festival team for giving Melbourne one of the best Festivals in the world and to the performers who give their hearts and souls to entertain people and bring us joy in many varied and amazing ways.

Awards are difficult. If the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has taught us anything it’s that there are Many different ways to make us laugh; from improvised silent clowning to Musical Comedy supported by a symphony orchestra at Hamer Hall to a solo wordsmith in a spotlight with nothing but their words. How can you say one performer is better than another? Yet it feels good to celebrate excellence and give performers something to aim for.

Honestly any comedian who performed all of their shows and feels good about them and the majority of their audiences is a success. Bravo!

Just a note to let you know that The People’s Choice Award this year was not a vote, as such. It went to the comedian who sold the most tickets.

Our Warmest Congratulations to:

Barry Award (Best Comedy Performer) Winner: Sam Simmons – Spaghetti For BreakfastLaura Davis Ghost

Golden Gibbo Award (Independant & Creative show) Winner: Laura Davis – Ghost machine

Piece of Wood (Peer Voted – Comedian’s Choice): Anne Edmonds You Know What I’m Like!

Director’s Choice Award winner: Matt Okine  – The Other Guy

Peoples choice: Wil Anderson – Free Wil

Funny Tonne (Audience Member seeing the most [over 100] shows): Sarah Trevarthen

And previously announced:

Class Clowns (Teen competition) Winner:  Will Mckenna (14) from Eltham College (VIC)

RAW Comedy (Newcomer competition) Winner: Angus Gordon (QLD), Runner Up: Rohan Ganju (Vic) Special Mentions: Sam Taunton (Vic) & Jess Perkins (Vic)

Deadly Funny National Final Winner: Nina Kirby  (VIC)

The Deadly Mentorship Award Winner: Karen Edwards (QLD)

Anne Edmonds You Know What I’m Like!

By Hannah Frazer Anne Edmonds You Know What I'm Like!

Honest and Hilarious Anne Edmonds brings big laughs from the moment she steps out on stage. The effortlessly funny lady reels you in immediately with her easily relatable stories, down to earth personality and her very well received pelvic thrusting.

From the trials and vomit riddled tribulations of early morning travel, when leaving for a family holiday New Year’s Day, to religion, her opinions on atheism and her catholic Middle Class Essendon upbringing. Edmonds doesn’t hold back with her eccentric and refreshingly honest show.

Bringing her stories to life with disturbing accurate characterisations and ending with lyrically moving banjo playing. Naturally and effortlessly linking stories and characters throughout. Edmonds kooky, lovable and unique comedy style is the reason for her growing fan base. You are even treated to a last minute special appearance and performance by ‘Pig Girl’. Something that should be missed by no one.

Not shying away from admitting that life can be far from perfect, the theme of sadness resonates throughout the show. Edmonds not seeking out reassurance or sympathy from the crowd, she simply admits to imperfection and how we are all together in sadness as we are in happiness and joy. As these are states and parts of life that none can avoid.

The reason you won’t be able to control your overwhelming feelings of like and love for Eddo is because she is not just a comedian on stage telling hilarious jokes. She is a comedian on stage telling your stories and making you laugh at yourself. She perfectly reflects the majority and how they will rarely admit openly to being.

The only negative thing that comes from seeing Anne’s show is that you want to leave AS Anne, and well it’s unfortunately just not scientifically sound. Get in quick for her run at this year’s festival before anyone else finds out about her and the opportunity is gone for good.

Anne Edmonds You Know What I’m Like! is playing at Melb Town Hall – Portico Room

For Bookings and information see the MICF website: