The 2021 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards

This afternoon the Melbourne International Comedy Festival announced the 2021 Award winners at the Toff In Town, with host Adam Hills. Adam mentioned how incredibly strong the majority of the shows at this year’s festival were and he was right. The duds were rare and everything that was good was Absolutely brilliant! It must have been very difficult for the judges this year.
We could not be happier to announce the winner of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award 2021 for the Most Outstanding Show is Geraldine Hickey! Hickey said in her thank you speech: “I’d kind of like to dedicate this award to anyone who’s in the middle of their career and at the tipping point of, Is this working? Should I keep going? No one notices me. Well keep going ’cause fuck I did and look at me now!” To big cheers.
Now, when is she getting to host a TV show / her own Netflix special? Soon I hope. She has been selling out live shows for years now.

Most Outstanding Show: Geraldine Hickey What a Surprise!
Aaron Chen – Sorry Forever
David Quirk – Astonishing Obscurity
Ivan Aristeguieta – Piñata
Luke Heggie – Lowbreed
Michelle Brasier – Average Bear
Nikki Britton – One Small Step
Reuben Kaye – The Butch is Back

Best Newcomer Award: Charlie Zangel – Cockatiel 
You may know Charlie Zangel who has been performing for years as Charity Werk
Anna Piper Scott – Queer & Present Danger
Chris Ryan – Big Hair, Big Dreams
Scout Boxall – Good Egg

The Golden Gibbo: Nat Harris & Hannah Camilleri! – Pet-Nat + Han ah  Chocolat.
An award given for creativity and bravery.
Claire Sullivan – Toast Rat
Woah, Alyssa! – Woah, Alyssa! 3
Ben Knight – Teacher
Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall and Andy Matthews! – Teleport

Directors’ Choice Award: Melanie Bracewell – The Rumours Are True 
A New Zealander you may know from her regular appearances on Have You Been Paying Attention, she accepted this in her netball uniform.

The People’s Choice Award: Daniel Sloss
This award is for most tickets sold across the 2021 Festival and UK comedian Sloss was very closely followed by Tommy Little.

The Piece of Wood: Greg Larsen – This Might Not Be Hell.
This award is chosen by other comedians in the festival for one of their own.

Funny Tonne: Winner Ben Carruthers
As I publish He’s seen 79 shows, and written 52 reviews, he said the emphasis was put on review quality this year.
The funny Tonners didn’t start their run until after the Festival had begun and were somewhat outshined by comedian Blake Everett, who is up in the 90s and has given nearly every one of them a quick positive review on twitter. And he is performing in his own acclaimed festival show Blake and Oliver Dig Their Own Graves and also did tech for award nominated Toast Rat.

Class Clowns National Champ: Dhruv Rhao (who was the youngest nominee) Runners-up: Jai Uhlmann and Sophia Marosszeky

The Deadly Funny Award:  Jahmarley Dawson   Special mentions were given to Cy Fahey, Ben Moodie and Kasey Johnson

Daniel Sloss X

By Jess Welch 

If you haven’t seen Daniel Sloss yet, you’re missing out. Clever, cheeky and often “controversial”, Sloss is a comedic force and only getting better every year. Now in his 4th year of attending MICF, he’s become a must see for many and for good reason.

For such a young man, Sloss is making quite a name for himself. Though the same couldn’t be said for his shows. In the succinctly named X, following his equally eloquent and nebulous Dark, So and Now, Sloss tackles problems that seem impossible to make funny. If you know Sloss, you’ll know that this isn’t a new brief for him. In Dark and So (later renamed Jigsaw for the Netflix special) he talked about death and disability and relationships and love respectively. Having now broken up thousands upon thousands of couples, his shows clearly have an impact.

Like most other comedy, Sloss isn’t for everyone. But he definitely appeals to many, selling out all over the world, deservedly so. At the X show I attended, two women in the 5th row walked out about 20 minutes into the show. Admittedly, the first part of the show isn’t his most profound material, but it serves a purpose and if you trust him, the payoff is entirely worth it. I don’t know what they would have thought if they’d stayed, but I hope they would’ve thought the show was more than just jokes about genitalia.

Because X is a 90 minute show of two acts. The first part is the more traditional stand up fare. He discusses the well worn topics of sex and the differences between men and women. It’s not new ground for a comic to cover, but Sloss brings his own flavour and it’s a learning experience, no matter your gender. The second act is where Sloss shows his true form. Like many other comics, he discusses the Me Too movement and sexual assault. But his take on it is wildly different. I can’t say why or how, because that’s the journey you need to take with him, but it’s unlike any other show you’ll see. I teared up and I would be surprised if I was the only person affected that way.

It’s raw, it’s honest, it’s brutal and it’s uncomfortable. But it’s also not graphic, or victim blaming or inappropriate. It’s at times hilarious (the woman across the aisle was laughing so hard I thought she might hyperventilate), it’s also tragic and it’s perfectly done. With full respect to Sloss, it might be his show, but he’s not the ultimate hero. Sloss has a way of seeing and articulating things we all think, but in ways we never could. He covers well worn trails, but in new ways. It’s a rare gift and Sloss wields it with skill. When I saw Dark, I worried he couldn’t beat it. Then I saw So, then Now and now X. He is constantly surprising his audience and it’s incredible. He is getting better and I can’t wait to see what’s next. 

While his Netflix specials are masterpieces, Sloss needs to be seen live to fully appreciate just how brilliant he is. If you can get a ticket, grab it and trust him. You’re in good hands. 

Daniel Sloss performs X at The Forum.

See website for details