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)

Tim Key : Single White Slut

By James Shackell

You can tell there’s a bit of quiet buzz surrounding this show. As I look around the Fairfax foyer pre-gig, I spot a few familiar faces: MICF institution Denise Scott, local funny man Tommy Dassalo (with youthful comedy Entourage in tow) and that guy from the RACV house-call ads. It fits with what I’ve read about Tim Key – the comedian’s comedian, the one other stand-ups go to see for inspiration, illumination and possibly because it’s a slow night mid-week.

Barry Award nominee, winner of the Edinburgh Comedy Award, and former Footlights member, Key comes with a serious pedigree. So it was with some excitement that I joined the star-studded audience at Single White Slut, the third of the very successful Slut Trilogy. I didn’t really know what to expect. Comedy? Poetry? Nouveau-meta art installations? Key is known for delivering up unorthodox and genre-warping shows and, sure enough, this was one of them.

We enter the auditorium to see Key on stage wearing a denim onesie, red socks and a smile. On stage is a bed, a Guinness can, two boots, a full mug of beer, a black filing cabinet and scattered playing cards. What follows is 80-odd minutes of some of the strangest anti-comedy you’ll ever see: a dark, elliptical tangle of short poems, anecdotes, audience participation and silent theatre. It’s a hard show to remember. Not forgettable, just intangible, like steam.

There were jokes in there somewhere. And a story about gouging Anne Hatheway’s eyes. Possible owls were mentioned. I’m sure at one point Key tried to have a threesome while listening to Michael Vaughn’s autobiography on audiobook. And something about a red balloon floating onto the stage…

Tim Key doesn’t tell jokes. And he doesn’t do punchlines. His poems are funny as hell, but always in an oblique and unexpected way. Some end like a knife in the dark, others like a truck between your eyes. All are completely bizarre, brilliant and unpredictable.

See this show now, then boast to your mates when it takes home a Barry.

Single White Slut is on at Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio until April 20