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)

Tom Allen – Absolutely

By Peter Newling

A cold, wet, windy, unwelcoming Melbourne night and a climb up the cold, unwelcoming concrete stairs to the first floor of the Greek Centre were immediately offset by a warm welcome from the main attraction himself. Tom Allen greeted every guest personally, sharply dressed in an immaculate three piece pin stripe suit complete with silk pocket hanky.

He is a recognisable character. He has appeared on a number of the British panel shows that are shown here, including Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and of course Great British Bakeoff An Extra Slice. The personal greeting upon entering allowed time for an extraordinary number of pre-show selfies to be taken at the request of adoring audience members – not something I’ve seen too often at festival shows.

His impeccable appearance and his obvious fondness for show tunes give you a fair idea of what to expect even before Allen makes it onto the stage. Tom’s comic character is camp, acerbic, bitchy, self absorbed and animated. His suit and his tongue seem to compete for sharpness. His stories are punctuated with moments of fast paced angst, high pitched excitement and wonderful under-the-breath backhanders.

Much of his material is based on growing up gay in England, and his current status as a thirty-something gay guy still living with his parents. His story lines are very much experience and relationship based – and he is a very fine story teller indeed. He manages to balance pomposity and judgementalism with delightful (very British) self deprecation.

Allen excels at audience interaction. He has a wonderful knack for drawing very funny information from a number of unsuspecting punters early in the set, then revisiting that information at appropriate moments over the course of the hour. It’s a real skill, and adds significantly to the enjoyment of the show.

Absolutely is a show that has been toured extensively, and has a confidence to it that lets the audience know they’re in safe hands. It’s great he has bought it to Melbourne.

Absolutely is on at the Greek Centre (Mykonos Room) until April 21

Tom Allen: Absolutely

By Lisa Clark tom-allen-absolutelypic

In the past I’ve enjoyed Tom Allen as part of a group show and as a guest on The Great British Bakeoff an Extra Slice, so I thought I must check out one of his full festival shows. It was very much as I’d expected; very slick, very mainstream and very funny.

It is truly lovely to be greeted by Tom at the door while Liza sings Cabaret over the speakers, in case you were in any doubt as to what you were in for. This helps set up a chummy atmosphere that is extended into the traditional ‘getting to know everyone in the front row with backhanded insults’ as originally perfected by Julian Clary. Tom’s style is very different however, this is pure standup and he talks so fast you can feel exhausted, especially if you are trying to laugh at the jokes as they wizz by.

Absolutely is made up of several slabs of storytelling, bookended by two types of party. He begins in his childhood with the children’s party and finally, always the outsider, as the token gay at a Hen’s party. Tom points out the exhausting hideousness for all involved. In between Tom shares his trauma and joy in recently finally getting his drivers licence including that first terrifying time he had to go on a freeway, apparently, you’re not allowed to get on one as a Learner here in the UK!

Tom dipped his toes into a bit of politics, but only in the shallows and not for too long. He ticked off the topics of Brexit, refugees, Trump and had a nice dig at the privileged Baby boomers along the way. It’s strange for me to see a Festival show by a gay comedian who doesn’t mention same-sex marriage… Oh. Yes. That’s right, they’ve won that battle in the UK.

Tom Allen has been performing standup for twelve years, so he knows how to entertain an audience with well honed and hilarious stories. A polished Festival show you could take your mum to.

Absolutely is on at Pleasance Courtyard until August 27