2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards

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!

Best Newcomer

– 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 – Wilogical and 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”

WINNER: Tina Del Twist!

5 Good Reasons to see Ross Purdy: Hey Hey It’s Doomsday

1) The show is about a fascist takeover of a country by a totalitarian warmonger which I’m not sure holds much relevance currently.

2) It’s on at the late night slot of 11:15 so it’d be bedtime for all the lame-os and more room for the cool skater punks who this alternative comedy show was lovingly made for.

There’s a talking tumour puppet

4) A middle finger to the Australian media landscape as well as a pinky, an index finger and a thumb to middlebrow sensibilities.

5) Boasts cameos from Little Carmine from The Sopranos to Gilbert Gottfried to Schappelle Corby.

Ross Purdy performs Hey Hey It’s Doomsday at various times and venues


Late Night Party Boyz : Rebel Without Applause

By Colin Flaherty

The Late Night Party Boyz (Ross Purdy and Damien Vosk) bill themselves as absurdist sketch which is not far off the mark. In this not so late show they throw everything at the wall, some of it sticks while the rest leaves you scratching you head. Their high energy performance ensures you won’t be bored.

The advertised theme of rebellion kinda fit this collection of sketches that went in all sorts of surprising directions. Scenes regularly overshot their natural conclusions just so they could club us over the head with some social commentary even though this was repeating what we had already seen in the body of the sketch. There was plenty of cartoon violence complete with wacky sound effects and grotesque characters to chuckle at. Video segments with comically underwhelming punchlines were very repetitive, which was by design but not a joy to sit through.

Things regularly got meta with sketches discussing the scenes we had just witnessed. Offhand comments and rants about the tropes and shortcomings of sketch shows were a none too subtle wink to the audience combined with a slap to the face.

Audience participation varied from being warm bodies for them to project back-stories onto through to somewhat embarrassing situations usually involving foodstuffs. The “Mr Ice cream” sketch was fascinating to witness as it was so creepy from the outset that absolutely everyone was reluctant to play along. It’s a good thing they had some amusing patter and an additional character to throw on stage to fill in the very long time before the action could proceeded.

Purdy and Vosk played everything big and bold, bringing this cavalcade of weirdos to life. They certainly weren’t afraid of looking foolish for the sake of a laugh and we readily giggled at the degrading things they did to one another. The debris left on the stage at the end was an apt reminder of how the duo had given their all to entertain.

If you like it freaky, messy and too clever for it’s own good, you’ll have a grand time at this hour of lunacy.

Rebel Without Applause is on at The Tickle Pit at The Croft Intitute until April 20

Ross Purdy in Kentucky Fried God Murder

1) Following on from last year’s “Clownbaby”, Ross Purdy is upping the ante as if it needed to be upped but he’s upping it anyway. “Surreal” or “absurdist” doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of this insanity. “Dadaist” maybe?

2) Not for the faint of the heart, for the real freaks who wanna get amongst it. So if you’re a real freak who loves getting amongst it, here’s the it to amongst.

3) Someone FINALLY makes fun of Christianity.

4) A brand new adorable baby-like character the festival will fall in love with!

5) Adelaide critics say “Like Lars Von Trier and David Lynch tried to out-mindf*** each other” and that Purdy goes “full Brando in Apocalypse Now” and is “just waiting to see which Dennis Hopper comes out of the jungle to tag along” which means you – the audience, which by my perspective is better than being Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet.

Kentucky Fried God Murder is on at The Tickle Pit at The Croft from March 27 to April 6

5 Good Reasons to See Ross Purdy – Clownbaby

1) It’s a late night comedy show without the pesky inconvenience of a late night time slot.

2) The closet thing to an Adult Swim cartoon being performed live on stage.

3) Ross is in sketch comedy duo “Late Night Party Boyz” along with Damien Vosk and written for “Dr. Duck” so he’s been around the block a few times, alright mister, he’s cool, he’s hip – your old man is still with it, Rodney. Sorry that last part was for my son.

4) You’ve got nothing else to do. I know what you do. I see where you live, and you’re hardly living up as the Queen of England I tell you that much. A Queen of the England that wouldn’t see this show is no Queen of mine – which is why I want Australia to be a Republic.

5) Show contains traces of: Reality talent shows, ’90s teen movies, La La Land & Ryan Gosling, milk, Triple J, 1970s businessman biopics and a whole section about the final days of the Cold War that was cut due to its jarring tonal shift and introduction characters into the show that up to that point were nowhere to be seen.

Ross Purdy – Clownbaby is on The Sub Club, 33 Elizabeth St (entry via Flinders Court) 6:15pm, Sundays 5:15pm March 28th to April 8th (No Show April 4th)

Dr. Duck – General Quacktitioner

By Colin Flaherty
Dr Duck
After a triumphant debut at last years’ festival, Dr Duck (Andrew Keen, Seon Williams, Ross Purdy, Olivia Solomons, Jon Walpole and Eidann Glover) are back with another hour of sketch madness. Sinister fishermen, an inept James Bond, bureaucratic Neanderthals and an educational piece of fruit are some of the crazy characters we meet in this amusing smorgasbord of scenes.

As with most sketch comedy the quality varies with each scenario but there are enough great ideas to keep you amused over the hour. Some are single joke premises that form a series of recurring jokes with a tepid punchline. One sketch is blatantly signposted as filler but despite being full of clever meta references it does exactly what it says on the tin. Other scenes go on a bit long and the punchlines aren’t quite as punchy as they could be. The upshot is that the journey usually contains plenty of hilarious lines, eye-rolling puns and wacky concepts to keep interest up and laughs rolling.

This is broad comedy and the cast sell the material hard; projecting to the back row and exaggerating all gestures and vocal inflections. It’s always great seeing performers exude their enthusiasm to the audience to make sure everyone has a great time. Purdy is less theatrical in his performance than the others but the oddball roles he is given are appropriate for his delivery style and have plenty of wacky dialogue to carry them.

The cast build their worlds using minimal props and lots of mime which works a treat. Transitions between scenes are pleasingly brisk and the choice of music accompanying the blackouts are cheekily related to the preceding sketch for an added giggle.

General Quacktitioner is a solid offering from this young sketch troop. I’m sure they’ll have enough interested in this fun hour to come back next year with another Anatidae/Medical pun title.

General Quacktitioner is on at The Tickle Pit until April 9