The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards were given out today live on the Festival’s (rather choppy) Facebook feed. Opened by Steph Tisdale and hosted by Joel Creasey.
Congratulations to ALL the nominees and winners!
Most Outstanding Show
WINNER: Rhys Nicholson – Rhys! Rhys! Rhys!
Aaron Chen If Weren’t Filmed Nobody Would Believe
Cameron James Electric Dreams
Danielle Walker Nostalgia
Geraldine Quinn Broad
Greg Larsen We All Have Bloody Thoughts
Laura Davis If This Is It
Rhys Nicholson Rhys! Rhys! Rhys!
– for a solo performer or group of performers doing their first Festival show
WINNER: Frankie McNair – Relax Your Knees
Will McKenna Appellation
Frankie McNair Relax Your Knees
Bronwyn Kuss Any Goss?
Steph Broadbridge Hot Chick/Tired Mum Sunanda Loves Britney
Mish Wittrup Soy Fat White
The Golden Gibbo
– in memory of the late, great Lynda Gibson – is aimed at finding a local, independent show that pursues the artists’ idea more than it pursues commercial gain.
WINNER: Alex Hines To Schapelle And Back
Mel & Sam Shit-Wrecked!
Maria Angelico The Disappearing Act
Geraldine Quinn Broad
Ashley Apap Ouch!
Aiden Willcox Lightly Familiar
Ross Purdy Hey Hey It’s Doomsday
Alex Hines To Schapelle And Back
Directors’ Choice Award
– awarded by the Festival Director in consultation with festival programming colleagues to a show they think deserves to be celebrated;
WINNER: Wil Anderson – Wilogicaland Bronwyn Kuss – Any Goss?
The People’s Choice Award
-for the most popular show of the Festival as determined by the ticket buying public;
WINNER: Urzila Carlson – It’s Personal!
The Pinder Prize
– honouring Festival co-founder John Pinder, and supporting a performer to travel to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
WINNER: Danielle Walker Nostalgia
The Piece of Wood
– comics’ choice award, selected by past winners and presented to a peer literally for “doin’ good stuff ‘n’ that”
Scotland’s capital city is bursting at the seams with talented artists as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe begins this week. As is usual many Australian acts are heading up to “sunny” Edinburgh to show the world what they’ve got. If you’re in town, be sure to check out some of these fabulous funny folk listed below.
We’ve compiled a list of all the acts we could find, along with links to the reviews of those shows that our Squirrel writers have seen at previous festivals. As usual we give the disclaimer that Festival shows are ever evolving beasts so the show that we saw could be rather different to current iteration.
If we’ve missed anyone, feel free to drop us a line (or contact us on social media)…
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.
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.
The 32nd Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been officially
Launched for 2018. Hosted by comedy legends Lano & Woodley, their reunion this year, after 12 years apart, in their new show Fly is one of the big thrills causing quite a buzz in a gigantic, exciting programme. There are more than 620 shows in this years festival. Some of the shows are encore performances and others that we Squirrels managed to catch and review at other festivals.
Feel free to click on the links below and read what we thought of these earlier iterations, keeping in mind that festival shows are ever evolving beasts that change and develop over time, so the new version may be quite different to one we saw.
See a favourite off the telly, See someone you’ve never heard of. Most of all have a wonderful time and keep an eye on Squirrel Comedy as the new reviews roll in and we keep you up to date on what’s happening via our Social Media.
For most of the year, Vau d’Vile in Fitzroy serves as a drag cabaret and restaurant venue. And what a fantastic venue it is. It has a lovely big stage, a wall covered in a rainbow flag made entirely of feather boas, and another wall covered entirely in Barbie Dolls – which is playful and creepy in equal measure. But for a few nights during the Midsumma Festival, the wigs and sequins take a break and the space is handed over to the Laugh Out Loud Big Gay Comedy team. Unlike most comedy nights, this one comes without a host, which adds a level of complexity to the start of the evening. First of all, there’s no-one there to set the scene and to get the audience excited about the night ahead. Instead it was up to the first act to come on and get the crowd in the mood. I’m not sure that’s such a great set-up, especially for the first performer who I’m sure would prefer to come on to an already warmed-up audience.
Fortunately, our first performer was Laura Davis who ran a very successful comedy room in Perth before moving to Melbourne. Laura is a very accomplished comic, having won the Golden Gibbo award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival back in 2015, amongst a string of other accolades. And rightly so – she’s very good at what she does. Her style is charming, down to earth and girl-next-doorish, a little reminiscent of Josie Long. You find yourself drawn in to her sweetness until the first c-bomb drops – and then you see that the raw honesty and disenchantment lie just millimetres beneath the surface. Laura shares a lot of herself with her audiences, which really helps cement the relationship. Her delivery is well paced, and her choice of words is perfect. You really should add Laura to your list of Aussie comics to see.
One thing I’ve really enjoyed in the comedy landscape over the past decade or so is the recapturing of old performance art-forms. Many will be familiar with the work of Nina Conti and others in reinventing ventriloquism. Some will be familiar with Sam Wills and his mime work – one of the few performers I’ve seen get a standing ovation at the Edinburgh Fringe. Our second act tonight is doing her bit to reclaim the arts of magic and mind-reading as a comedic form. Cath Jamison is billed as Australia’s leading female magician, but her set sits neatly in a night of comedy. Her rapport with the audience is excellent, and there are laughs-aplenty as she baffles and bamboozles her willing crowd. Testimony to the comfortable relationship she establishes early in her set, people are actually willing, if not eager, to volunteer when asked. The tricks vary in complexity, but there’s no doubting her showmanship, confidence and love of what she does. She has certainly put the fun back into an art-form that, for a while, was favouring ego over talent.
Our third and final comic of the evening was the experienced Bev Killick. Bev’s style is bold, brash and abrasive. There’s nothing demure or understated about this comic – she’s very upfront and not afraid to offend. Her on-stage persona is like the fun-but-vulgar aunt at the Christmas gathering that family members either adore or are scared to death of. Her material covered the well trodden paths of modern child-raising methods, and how she went about traumatising her own kids. It wasn’t until half way through her set that she realised that absolutely no-one in the audience had kids, so the material had no particular relevance. In an attempt to change track, she went to audience interaction. This led her into a discussion with a shy young man who revealed that he had not come out to his parents for cultural reasons – the comedy dried up, and a tangible awkwardness engulfed the room. But she soldiered on with more material about raising kids and the perils of having teenage boys. Whilst many in the audience really enjoyed the middle-class-bogan patter, I came away wondering if this comic had put enough thought into what people coming to a Big Gay Comedy Night might actually relate to.
It’s great that the organisers of the Big Gay Comedy Night were able to put together such an eclectic mix of acts for the evening, I’m sure there will be a lot more fabulous performers to look forward to. If you’re in the market for some stand-up during the Midsumma Festival, make your way down to the Vau d’vile. There’ll be something for everyone!
The Laugh Out Loud Big Gay Comedy Night is playing every Sunday and Thursday evening from Jan 14 to Feb 4 at Vau d’Vile, 62-70 Johnston Street Fitzroy.
In 2017 I decided to set a challenge for myself to write up every show that I saw in my Lisa’s Live Comedy Big Year Blog. Well. As you can see, it became harder to keep up with in the second half of the year, even though it seems that is when things are usually quieter, I was wrong and life stayed pretty busy and when it was not it was because I was ill. I still kept other records of my gigs and so was able to list them all, but not reviews sadly, so I don’t have reviews of a lot of my comedy experiences for the last part of the year. I also wanted to keep a pictorial record of gigs, but it’s not always possible to take photos and even in the regular comedy rooms, I was not good at taking subtle photos and got caught out and commented upon/told off. Then my flash went off by mistake. Arrrggghhh! So I gave up on my own photos and got some much better ones from room runners or friends with more experience.
Of course I spent a lot of time at my regular comedy haunt Local Laughs, but managed to visit several other rooms as well. I have had a lot of wonderful comedy experiences this year, especially during the trip to the UK which included seeing Daniel Kitson’s Something Other Than Everything at the Roundhouse in London and two weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where highlights included seeing The Doug Anthony Allstars still making jaws drop in their home away from home, new discovery Jayde Adams just blowing the room away at The Pleasance media showcase with her surprising vocal talent and the hilarious story that goes with it, seeing Yianni do his best work in some time because it came from his life and his heart, Adam Vincent slaying packed rooms with deep dark tales of suburbia and playing interactive Wifi Wars at midnight.
Other highlights of the year include the final shows of the debauched boutique comedy legend that was The Shelf and in particular the performance of Fringe Wives Club who brought the house down and made everyone rush out to see their show. Andy Zaltzman did the searing political comedy, Plan Z, that everyone had expected from Ex Bugler John Oliver when he last toured and finally I adored Sammy J’s Magnum Opus – Hero Compex for a 2nd time, to find it had evolved, as the story had in real life and it was joyful to watch everyone’s jaw dropping and howling with laughter as the story unfolded, knowing where it was going. Under the radar: Not enough people were talking about UK comedian Kieran Hodgson at MICF but my goodness Maestro was a gorgeous show and the joyful weirdness of Aussie duo The Lioness who’s show Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock had a much too short run in an out of the way venue.
Its always hard sorting out a shortlist of the best comedy shows. I have picked out 5 outstanding experiences and they are set down in the order that I saw them.
5 VERY GOOD SHOWS OF 2017
Wil Anderson Fire at Wilat The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. January 22
Lineup: Wil Anderson, Supported by Justin Hamilton
January’s highlight was definitely seeing Wil Anderson and Justin Hamilton in a theatre full of excited fans. Both consummate comedians at the top of their game. Am determined to see Wil’s solo show this year and looking forward to it. I’ve been missing seeing Justin around the traps since he moved to Sydney but am hoping to see more of Wil Anderson, now he’s taken a job in Melbourne breakfast radio.
Hannah Gadsby: Nanette April 6
Hannah’s final festival show was indeed a showstopper. It was a show about the Zeitgeist, about equal rights, about truth – in life and in comedy, about standing up and being listened to. It was powerful, moving and of course funny. A masterpiece of Standup. During her interview on Comedian’s Comedian at MICF, Stuart Goldsmith shrewdly asked what would happen if this amazing show won all the awards, like The Barry and even the Edinburgh Fringe Best Comedy award?
Would she still quit comedy? Well all of those predictions have come to pass (including a Helpmann Award along the way) and Hannah is still going strong. Having sold out many shows at the Victorian Arts Centre and The Sydney Opera House she is adding further shows this month to the Opera House, followed by Perth and then a month from February in London at the Soho Theatre. They are selling out.
All comedians should go out on this sort of high. The world is her oyster and she’s certainly making the most of it all. Whatever she chooses to do next, I wish her all the happiness.
Craig Ferguson – The Craig Ferguson Show, Gilded Balloon @ Rose Theatre, Edinburgh. August 7
Craig Ferguson’s quirky tonight show was a staple in our house and I’m missing his Peabody Award winning interviewing style on late night TV. I’ve been hoping he might at least tour his standup comedy here in Australia, as he has happy memories of performing here in the 80s (as do I), but sadly there is no sign of this, especially as he is now busily hosting a successful drive time radio show. Craig decided to record some of his radio shows live from Edinburgh, taking advantage of all of the gathered performers from around the world to appear as guests, and all of the Squirrels were lucky enough to attend in the wee hours of the Festival. The Rose is a lovely old theatre in the New Town with a great atmosphere and the packed audience had an awesome time. The live radio broadcast lasted for 2 hours and consisted of two very entertaining in-depth chats with performers who were often old friends of Craig. In our case an old close friend impressionist/comedian Jan Ravens and Scottish writer Iain Rankin. Ron later saw the show with guests Daniel Sloss and Tommy Tiernan and Craig had Aunty Donna on the show towards the end of the run. Its a pity there is no podcasts of these recordings and that the radio show is not broadcast outside of the Americas.
Childproof the Podcast Recording at The Bella Union Bar, Carlton. September 20-22
Episodes 1 to 6 over three nights – written by Tony Martin & Serina Rowell
Performed by Tony Martin, Geraldine Quinn, Roz Hammond, Andrew McClelland, Damian Cowell, Lachy Hulme, Djovan Caro, Simon Rogers, Casey Bennetto, Serina Rowell, Cristina Laria, Sam Petersen and Jay Mueller as the Narrator.
A brilliant sitcom in 6 episodes about a couple who chooses to be childless while they navigate the changing, diminishing, modern workplace in radio and book publishing and their changing, diminishing friendships as their friends succumb to parenthood and all that entails. The episodes are easily as entertaining & funny as other recent Australian ABC comedies, so it’s surprising that they were knocked back for Television broadcast. The talented performers were all having a ball playing the various characters and Jay Mueller made a brilliant honey tongued Narrator. This was a unique and special experience this year.
These shows were recorded for podcasting and so you can listen to them all here.
Frocking Hilarious at The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. November 17th
Denise Scott, Cal Wilson, Fiona O’Loughlin, Anne Edmonds, Celia Pacquoa, Demi Ladner, Tessa Waters, Laura Davis, Kelly Fastuca, Geraldine Quinn, Double Denim.
A fundraiser for Action Aid curated by the inimitable comedy goddess Janet A Mcleod. All of the performers brought their A Game and there was not a weak spot on the night. It really felt like a Comedy Gala and we were all pretty privileged to be there laughing our arses off. Great to have a majority of women in the audience too. It wasn’t just some of the best Australian women in comedy it was some of the best Australian comedy on stage.