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)

Nina Oyama: Needs a Lift Review

By Nick Bugeja  

Nina Oyama might be a familiar face. Maybe you’ve seen her on Utopia, or SBS a few years back or Tom Ballard’s Tonightly. Or, more likely, you saw her throw up on a mass scale at a pub in rural New South Wales.

Oyama hails from the city of Bathurst. On its tourism website, Bathurst is said to have “rich heritage, museums, and a thriving arts scene”. This isn’t the immediate impression you get from listening to Oyama’s recollection of the region: where K-Marts are considered an upper crust institution, where there’s nothing to do but drink yourself blind, and also apparently pick up innumerable road fines.

The show is framed around Oyama’s unusual aptitude for picking up fines for speeding, driving without a valid licence, and not displaying her P-plates – all of which has to disgrace her father, who’s a well-known figure in taxi driver circles. It’s doubtful that she was pleased about these at the time, but her recklessness has provided Oyama with a wealth of amusing jokes.

Unlike plenty of other comics I can think of, Oyama has a self-consciousness that serves her comedy well. Instead of regurgitating trite and tired lines about house prices, the price of avocados, or the incompetency of our politicians, her set frequently mocks them intelligently. She’s not afraid of self-deprecation either, but again this is adopted in a genuine, honest way – maximising its interest to us and its comedic value.

All performances are embellished to some degree, but there’s a strong sense in which we’re getting to know Oyama over the duration of her show. She’s not just spitting out randomly funny jokes, but material that clearly has some personal resonance for her. And this makes her performance all the more engaging.

At 25 years of age, and presumably not wanting to return to Bathurst anytime soon, it seems that Oyama has more than a few good years left. Effervescent, likeable, and self-aware, she’s got all the tools to flourish in Australia’s comedy ecosystem. The years of her getting by as a “human possum” – stealing fruit off trees in Brunswick – are over, you’d have to think.

Nina Oyama: Needs a Lift is showing at the Forum until 21 Apr