Straight up, Sydney-based comedian Sam Campbell was the winner of the coveted Barry Award. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival's award given to the most accomplished show. Sam's show at the Festival, The Trough is listed as the craziest comedy show at the whole ruddy Festival. Looks like he was right and delivered; as one that will knock you off your feet and carry you to an ethereal paradise. No stranger to awards, Sam has won Directors' Choice Award 2016 in Melbourne and the Best Newcomer Award 2015 in both Sydney and Melbourne.
The Golden Gibbo Award Winner was none other than Cam Venn, currently at the Festival with Charles Horse Lays An Egg. To quote All Over Adelaide, "it's the most beautiful train wreck of an experience that I had ever seen and I mean that as the highest compliment I can possibly give", so there you have it. A comedian, theatre maker and physical performer, the creator of Balls Deep has been delivering family theatre and roving for over a decade with Cave Mann Productions. The Golden Gibbo is given in memory of the late comedian Lynda Gibson to the most independent show of the year that goes outside the square.
Top L-R: Barry Award Winner Sam Campbell & Golden Gibbo Winner Cam Venn. Bottom L-R: Best Newcomer Winner Danielle Walker & & Directors' Choice Award Winner Michelle Brasier & Laura FRew
Best Newcomer at this years Festival was taken out by Danielle Walker, in Melbourne with Bush Rat. Winner of 2016 RAW Comedy, it was a pet name given to her by her grandfather, who once gave her a magnifying glass so she could burn her dead dog's name onto a piece of wood for a headstone. That there set the tone of the future, wouldn't you say?
Michelle Brasier & Laura Frew of Double Denim Adventure Show have to be stoked about being winners of the Directors' Choice Award which is selected by the Festival Director (Susan Provan) and her team. Current winners and past nominees of the 2017 Golden Gibbo Award, their show has been given the thumbs up as being, raucous, absurd, fun, sharply-observed, daffy, ditzy and a little bit dirty.
The Pinder Prize offers financial support to Aussie artists to take their show on the road all the way to the world famous Edinburgh Festival. This year, the award goes to Demi Lardner who is currently in I Love Skeleton and no stranger to winning awards. In 2017 she won Directors' Choice in Melbourne, winner of Underbelly Award at Adelaide Fringe, and winner of Best Newcomer in Sydney 2016, but nominee in Melbourne for the same award. In her current show, Demi is the primary source of nutrition for infant mammals. In stand-up since she was 15, Demi attracts sell-out tours and TV shows.
It seems Lano & Woodley, currently in Fly, know no bounds when they're together. Reformed just this year after a very long break (a whole 12 years) of being a duo, they've won the People's Choice Award for the largest number of tickets sold at the Festival this year. Looks like the masses have spoken, and their absence as a team has only made the heart grow fonder. Heath Franklin the Best Comedy Nominee Perth Fringe 2018 has taken out the Piece of Wood Award.
Founded in 1998 by comedian Greg Fleet who presented the Award this year, is awarded to the best show as voted by a committee of comedians. It's traditional for winners to bite the award, and that he did. Heath Franklin's Chopper Bogan Jesus has been listed as; In the beginning, God created the moustache… and it was good. Then he took the next six days off because once you've nailed it, treat yourself to a lie-down.
Last but definitely not least, the Funny Tonne Winner went out to Alasdair Bryant, who consumed a massive 76 numbers of comedy shows with an eye on the prize to be immortalised as a true legend of comedy. The Funny Tonne is a challenge set by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Generally 3, but this year set to 6 participants, it involves these chosen die-hard comedy lovers being given a special Festival Passport that gets them into every show for free. They try and set a record for the most number of shows seen, but the 2015 record of 178 shows set by Sarah Trevarthen is a hard one to beat.
A good afternoon had by all at the Belleville, it was an atmosphere of fun, socialising, and networking as the famous mixed easily with the masses. Plied with bite-sized pieces of deliciousness served on many platters and a bar stocked with beverages, hard and soft, the venue was the perfect melting pot for the 2018 Awards. Check out the other nominees and winners on the website. Congratulations to the winners, the nominees and every comedian that has participated in this years' Festival, to give us a ton of guffaws! This may be the last day for the Festival (22 April), but it's never quite over as it goes on the Road next for Roadshow 2018.