Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards for 2018

This year instead of being presented in the middle of the night at the Festival Club as is traditional, The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards were instead presented at 1pm in the afternoon at Belleville. It was more relaxed and civilised with drinks and nibblies (and better lighting for photos) and it was great knowing that everyone in the room was involved and invested in the results, but sort of sad that it was restricted to invite only. I was very lucky to be invited, but other fans on the rim of the festival, but just as invested would have been sad (as I was when this happened once in the past) to not be a part of that middle of the night wild excitement and joy when a favourite, or someone you’ve discovered wins an award.

I can’t deny that there was some surprise as well as delight for Sam Campbell’s win. Although he has been performing in Sydney for a while and getting some TV work (you may have seen him on The Checkout), he’s still pretty much under the radar of the general public. We fell in love with his work when we saw Zanzoop! early in it’s run in 2016 and spent the rest of the Festival telling anyone who would listen that they should go and see the strange talk show hosted by a wise cracking alien in a back alley nightclub. This year we loved both shows he was involved with; his own, The Trough and Anne Edmond’s Helen Bidou – Enter the Spinnaker Lounge where he played Helen’s long suffering, very awkward son Connor.


Hannah Gadsby Presenting The Barry Award from New York

Barry Award, for the best show: Sam Campbell The Trough  

Nominees for The Barry Award:
Alex Edelman (USA)- Just for Us 
Anne Edmonds – as Helen Bidou – Enter the Spinaker Lounge
Tim Key (UK) – Megadate
Lano & Woodley (Colin Lane and Frank Woodley) – Fly!
Rose Matafeo (NZ) – Horndog!
Celia Pacquola – All Talk
Natalie Palamides (USA) – Laid


The Best Newcomer: Danielle Walker Bush Rat 

Danielle Walker

This award was presented by Sarah Dodds of Soho Theatre who will be bringing Danielle to London to make her Debut at The Soho Theatre.

Nominees for The Best Newcomer Award:
Paul Williams(NZ) – Summertime Love
Stephanie Tisdell – Identity Steft
Garry Starr – Performs Everything
Lewis Garnham – The Smartest Idiot You’ll Ever Meet
Nadia Collins – Virgin Bloody Mary


The Golden Gibbo Award (for an artistic independent production): 

Cam Venn

Cam Venn for 
Charles Horse Lays An Egg
The prize is a Bottle of Red Wine and was presented by Lynda Gibson’s Niece Emma Maye Gibson, also known as Betty Grumble

Nominees for The Golden Gibbo Award:
Sophie Joske and Anna Piper Scott  – Almost Lesbians
Garry Starr  – Performs Everything 
Julia Rorke & Elysia Hall – Not Another F***** B**** In India
Michelle Brasier & Laura Frew
(Double Denim) – Double Denim Adventure Show]

Lano & Woodley

People’s Choice Award:
Lano & Woodley – Fly!

This award signifies that Fly! sold the most tickets at this year’s Festival.


The Directors’ Choice Award:
Michelle Brasier and Laura Frew for Double Denim Adventure Show



The Pinder Prize: Demi Lardner – I Love Skeleton 
This Award funds her trip to the Edinburgh Fringe
to perform at Assembly Festival.



Heath Franklin

Piece of Wood Award (Peer Award from other comedians):
Heath Franklin – Bogan Jesus 


Funny Tonne Winner: Alasdair Bryant (76 Shows)

Deadly Funny National Grand Final winner: Leon Filewood (QLD)

RAW Comedy Grand Final Winner: Bec Melrose (NSW)  
Bec has won a trip to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival to compete in So You Think You’re Funny?.
RAW Runners-Up: Gavin Sempel (VIC), Emma Holland (ACT)

Class Clowns National Grand Final Winners Liam Adam, Carlin Carruth & Kyle Bennett (QLD) as ‘Awkward’!
Class Clowns Runners-Up:
Dusty Diddle (VIC),
Nina Cowley-Mousinho (QLD)
Shiloh Rea (QLD)
Nicholas Doring (NSW)

Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2018 – Previously reviewed shows

The 32nd Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been officially

Lano & Woodley

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.

Previously Reviewed Shows:

The Bear Pack
Phoebe O’Brien’s review from Edinburgh Fringe 2017 :
Booking details:

Ben Volchok Presents…
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Chris Lassig Dr Chris’s Theory of Everything
Conor Merrigan-Turner’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Elizabeth Davie – Super Woman Money Program
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Geraldine Hickey – It’s My Show
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Hit By A Blimp – I’m Here
Colin Flaherty’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Elyce Phillips’review from Melbourne Fringe 2013:
Booking details:

Laura Davis – Ghost Machine
Elyce Phillips’review from MICF 2013:
Booking details:

Lauren Bok – Between a Bok and a Hard Place (Originally performed as A Bok In Progress)
Colin Flaherty’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Luke McGregor – Almost Fixed it
Lisa Clark’s review from MICF 2017:
Booking details:

Matt Harvey – War of the words
Conor Merrigan-Turner’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Phil Wang – Kinabalu
Colin Flaherty’s review from Edinburgh Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Political Asylum Comedy – Late Night Riot!
Angela East’s review from MICF 2017:
Booking details:

Rob Hunter – Late O’Clock
Andrew Holmes’review from MICF 2012:
Booking details:

Sean Bedlam – Death to America
Colin Flaherty’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Soothplayers -Completely Improvised Shakespeare
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2015:
Booking details:

Snort With Friends
Elyce Phillips’review from MICF 2017:
Booking details:

Wanda and Mel
Lisa Clark’s review from Melbourne Fringe 2017:
Booking details:

Rose Matafeo: Sassy Best Friend

By Phoebe O’BrienSassy Best Friend

New Zealand comedian Rose Matafeo is inspired by rom-coms. Although, she may feel she embodies the ‘sassy best friend’ character who frequently crops up in those soppy classics as the name of the show suggests, evidently she makes for a strong lead showcased in her follow up to her debut show ‘Finally Dead’.

Rose has a gift. From the get-go she’s so energetic and engaging it’s impressive. Exuding charm and confidence her quick witted, natural storytelling instantly grabs the crowd with seemingly exceptional ease for an hour of pure joy. Her comedy is teamed with theatrics, physicality and musical elements which are clearly a nod to her high school musical days.

As the seats surround her quickly fill, she casually chats to the earlier seated guests.
She’s relaxed and comfortable in her self-made buzzing bubble and luckily we’re all invited in.

Rose will have you eating out the palm of her hand as what’s on offer is a delicious take on stand up, sketch and improv that is relatable and powerful. You’ll be leaning in just that little bit closer to catch everything she says, even the loose throw away comments will get a laugh. Including the laugh of recognition to the mention of Dolly Magazine and the never ending list of unnecessary personality quizzes these magazines could churn out for young women to use to decipher their own behaviour like ‘Which Spice Girl Are You?’

Her continuously upbeat presence contrasts to some of the heavier themes that are sprinkled throughout the show, however her delivery remains strong and clever while discussing issues relating to the mental impact the pill can have on women and she underpins the reality of the lack of diversity and white washing in Hollywood cinema with an adjustment to the Rhianna song ‘Work’, to ‘white’.

Sassy Best Friend is punchy and delightful, while elegantly wrapped in an 80’s rom-com/teen flick. A must see.

Sassy Best Friend is on at Pleasance Courtyard until August 27

Snort With Friends

By Elyce Phillips

Snort are a bunch of up-and-coming New Zealand comedians, banding together to do some great longform improv. With a rotating cast of performers and guest monologists every night, no two shows will be the same. I caught a performance where the cast included Rose Matafeo, Guy Montgomery, Donna Brookbanks, Alice Snedden, Tom Sainsbury and Brynley Stent.

With Friends runs the Armando improv format. One person will deliver a monologue prompted by a word provided by the audience, and then the team will perform scenes based on that monologue. On the evening I attended, there was a monologue from Snort member Alice Snedden, as well as from special guests Aaron Chen and Tom Walker. The best part of the stories is seeing how each performer interprets their prompt. “Kookaburra” led to a story about cricket gear, “pickle” to an in-depth description of a meal you can buy in Marrickville, and “abyss” to some bad wrestling gimmicks.

The Snort crew have a great rapport and play fast and loose with the format. Some of the best moments in the night came from scenes left to run a bit too long, confusing interactions and cast members throwing each other under the bus in general. This is clearly a group that is comfortable enough playing together that they know they can test each other’s limits. Stent was a standout as a maid/pickle saleswoman/camel saleswoman with an unplaceable broad accent. Sainsbury and Brookbanks were fantastic as a couple on the run after having a Christmas that was a little too “edgy”. Snort have hit a sweet spot with their improv – silly but not out-of-control, unpredictable yet skilful.

Snort With Friends is a wonderful hour of late-night mayhem and is a must-see for improv fans.

Snort With Friends is on at the Victoria Hotel Acacia Room until April 22

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


Rose Matafeo – Finally Dead

By Elyce Phillips Rose Matafeo pic

This MICF, Rose Matafeo is hosting her own funeral in Finally Dead, bringing together her loves of event management, death and attention. It’s a darkly amusing hour of stand-up, skits and songs that reveal this New-Zealand-based comic as one to watch.

In Finally Dead, Matafeo takes the audience through the plans for her funeral – from the catering to the music – and along the way covers a diverse range of topics, such as sandwich etiquette, airplane conversations, and the works of Sean Paul. Matafeo has thought her death through, a lot more than the average person in the audience. But as she points out, we’re all going to die, so you really should have this stuff planned. It’s macabre, yet joyful, as we see how Matafeo would choose to celebrate her life.

Matafeo is an incredibly charismatic performer. Her comic timing is impeccable, and she had the audience in stitches throughout. If you can convince punters to participate in mime without any hassle, you’re definitely doing something right. Matafeo also shows off her excellent singing chops in a couple of brief segments. Joining her onstage is Paul Williams, who brings his “improv skills” into the mix – often uninvited.

The level of production that has gone into Finally Dead is impressive. Attention has been paid to lighting and sound cues, there are costume changes and props, and all of this adds to the show. It’s ambitious, and Matafeo has succeeded in pulling it off. It all feels very polished.

Finally Dead is the most fun you’ll have at a funeral this year. I’ll certainly be adding Matafeo to my must-see list in years to come.

Rose Matafeo – Finally Dead is on at the Victoria Hotel Vic’s Bar until April 17