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”
Looking for a bit of Late Night Fun that’s not as exhaustingly late as Festival Club? Are you a bit nerdy, fond of word games, possibly a fan of Celebrity Letters And Numbers or Taskmaster New Zealand (season 2)? Then Guy Montgomery’s Guy Mont-Spelling Bee might just be the show for you.
Guy is one of the best comedians to come out of New Zealand in recent times, why he isn’t hosting a TV Show of his own, is anyone’s guess. He’s charming, super funny, yet laid back and able to improvise goofy quips with his guests who are playing with varying levels of competitiveness.
Tonight’s guests were; Melanie Bracewell from New Zealand who has done one of Guy’s Spelling Bees over there and has her eye on the prize, Rhys Nicholson who made jokes about feeling out of place, but in the end was the people’s champion, Sam Campbell who’s main contribution was coming up with unexpected hilarious interjections and Phil Wang from the UK, Melanie’s serious main competitor. Of course a lot of the fun is the banter between the guests and Guy and also watching Phil Wang’s face drop as he realises this isn’t a traditional Bee, and he’s not the master he expected to be.
Guy has worked out some really funny ways to do a Spelling Bee competition live on stage, because just spelling words might be fun for spelling nerds but won’t make for a very exciting or hilarious comedy festival show. For the main rounds Guy has words on slips of paper kept in three receptacles. Contestants could choose from; the bucket which has the hard 3 point words, a bag holds the 2 point words, and the 1 point easy words are in a cup and if you choose the easy words you will find they are all insults.
The hardest round on our night was a new one made up by Guy where they had to spell the country of the flag he was holding up, so first they had to guess what country the flag belonged to. They were not very familiar flags. This game might not stay on, or maybe he has to make the flags a bit easier for a show that is not for flag enthusiasts. There was also a round of homophones that was hilarious, and reminiscent of the fake game show on 30 Rock called (erroneously) Homonym.
The best round of Spelling Bee was when he made them spell words the same way a 6 year old had spelt them to him. She had also put the words in very cute sentences. It was also hard, but super hilarious. Rhys said ‘I’m finally going to wipe the floor with the lot of you’ and he did! It brought the house down.
Guy Montgomery’s Guy Mont-Spelling Bee sold out one of the biggest rooms in the Town Hall last week. The audience were spelling along with the performers and clapping before Guy announced that they were right. There are a lot of spelling fans out there. I think this show has legs and might make even make a great TV show, so get tickets now before it sells out, becomes a TV show, or possibly even, a cult.
Guy Montgomery performs Guy Montgomery’s Guy Mont-Spelling Bee with different guests each week at The Town Hall in The Supper Room on Friday nights at 10.45pm Throughout the Festival.
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)…
Michael Shafar was diagnosed with testicular cancer 2 years ago and of course as a comedian some of the terror was probably leavened by ‘I’ll get some great material from this!” and so he has, but the main thing that will live with you after seeing 50/50 is that Michael Shafar is a fabulous comedian.
This is not a heavy, heart wrenching comedy festival show at all, in fact it doesn’t feel like a very cancer heavy show. Michael deftly weaves the story of his cancer experience lightly through his show and only occasionally drops a bit of terrifying information and quickly moves on to more jokes almost before you’ve had time to register it. How many tumours?! Oh…
Up the top he jokes about all the little annoying things you have to put up with while going through cancer, like strangers asking personal questions and wanting to hug you. I also learned about the drug Ketamine which proved useful seeing the next comedian of my evening Rhys Nicholson.
Michael comes across as pretty cheerful for someone who’s been through hell and back. Even when he’s angry at things, like antivaxxers and smokers, he remains pretty chipper. He also talks about giving up his law degree to do comedy and other non cancer related things and the laughs keep rolling. I can see the influence of Wil Anderson’s style here and if you’re a fan of Wil’s you will, no doubt, enjoy Michael’s work.
He is still in his 20s but Michael seems more mature, he has been around the comedy scene for a while and is a confident, talented comedian. If you have been through cancer, or a loved one who’s had it, this could be a great catharsis for you, but go along anyway, it’s just a very good comedy festival show.
$2 from every ticket sold will be donated to Cabrini Hospital in Malvern where Michael underwent his treatment.
Michael Shafar performs 50/50 at the Victoria Hotel til Apr 21
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.
Midsumma Comedy Extravaganza was exactly that, a big extravaganza of gay comedy. Thomas Jaspers has put this together brilliantly with every performer in the right part of the bill doing what they do best and they all chip in to help create a party atmosphere.
The audience are up for it and the performers delivered. Joel Creasey was, of course, a consummate host providing a lot of goss about living on the island and hanging out with Marcia Brady on a reality show. He’ll be dining out on that for many years to come no doubt. His finding-himself-at-an-orgy material also goes down a treat.
First up on the deck is the relaxed and affable Kirsty Webeck, who’s standup I’ve seen only once before and tonight I can appreciate how she’s developed the new comedy ideas she was trying out then, into some pretty solid material that had the audience in fits. It was a beautiful and hilarious set about dealing with other people’s perceptions of you. Her Festival show this year is bound to be a cracker. Kirsty is creating a strong and confident, crowd pleasing stage persona and is definitely one to keep an eye on.
I’ve not seen Bobby Macumber in a few years and realise, I’ve been missing out. She’s developed into a very fine storytelling comedian. Bobby is definitely in her comfort zone here, playing on the home ground and it’s a joy to experience. Families-being-embarrassing stories, but from the gay family member’s perspective and the room was in full empathy with her hilarious experiences.
Rhys Nicholson is a comedian at the top of his game and match ready for the Festival season. This is mostly new material, which I heard him talking about later on Dave O’Neil’s fabulous podcast – The Debrief, but you would never know Rhys hadn’t been doing it for a year. Sharp and sassy as ever, he knew this was a safe space to get laughs from some very adult sex and drugs material and he was right. Definitely the highlight of the evening and often the highlight of any comedy evening, Rhys is on his way to stardom.
Perhaps knowing that Rhys is a hard act to follow, Joel Creasey was back to reset the audience ready for a lesser known comedian Lori Bell who brought an Adelaide perspective to the night. Lori is better known as Granny Flaps and has been performing as Granny for several years, I’ve not seen her perform stand up as herself before and it was right up there with the high standard of the rest . I hope to see a lot more of her.
Finally Dolly Diamond brought the cabaret to the night. Dolly does good old fashioned British cabaret, she feels like a cross between Dick Emery’s Mandy (“Oooh You Are Awful”) and Julian Clary. She does fairly good insulting crowd work, is quick on the witty aside and has the audience join her in a song or two. I saw her die the death at the Festival Club a couple of years ago with material that came across as dated and tired, but here she shines with radiant exuberance, being a total contrast with the rest of the night and gives the audience a big finish with a silly singalong to go home on.
This was a fabulous one off experience at Midsumma, an explosion of joy in the comfortable surrounds of the Fairfax Studio at The Arts Centre that was packed out with happy punters. Hopefully the well named Extravaganza will be back next year with another memorable line up.
Midsumma Comedy Extravaganza was at The Fairfax Studio at The Arts Centre on Jan 24.