The 19th Annual Comedy Awards kick off tonight at Max Watt’s from 11pm. The nominees for the 2016 Barry Award are Anne Edmonds, Damien Power, David O’Doherty, Luisa Omielan, Rhys Nicholson, Tom Ballard and Zoe Coombs Marr. Meanwhile, Demi Lardner, Guy Montgomery, Rose Matafeo and Tom Walker are all up for the festival’s Best Newcomer Award. Finally, the winner of the Golden Gibbo Award for Best Independent Production will be chosen from Asher Treleaven & Gypsy Wood, Lessons with Luis, Tommy Dassalo and Zoe Coombs Marr.
MICF ENTREES (Early Shows, until 7pm)
Last year, Anne Edmonds won the festival’s Piece of Wood Award. To catch you up to speed, the Piece of Wood is awarded to the best show as voted by a committee of comedians which includes all past winners of the award. That’s huge. Basically, the people who know what they’re talking about – the people who live and breath comedy – have spent the past year raving about Anne Edmonds. Now she’s gone an earned herself a nomination for the 2016 Barry Award. Needless to say, That’s Eddotainment is a must-see show. Another performance was recently announced, Edmonds playing the Melbourne Town Hall 4;45pm today. There’s also a later show (7:15pm) and 6:15pm tomorrow evening. Don’t delay – book tickets now.
If you’re weighing up whether or not to see Justin Hamilton’s festival show this year, allow us to issue a reminder: he has won the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Directors’ Choice Award (2007) amd Piece of Wood Award (2003). Spoiler: he’s at the top of his game right now. Be sure to catch his latest show, Hoot, 6pm tonight at the Melbourne Town Hall.
MICF MAIN MEALS (Prime Time, 7pm-10pm)
Cabaret star Gillian Cosgriff recently announced that she would be performing an extra show in a bigger venue. To The Moon And Back, loosely revolves around – you guessed it – space. And the future. And Gillian’s fear of the future. It’s music comedy courtesy of a terrifically talented award-winning performer. Head over to ACMI to see Gillian Cosgriff’s show To The Moon And Back. It kicks off at 6pm.
Approaching the end of their third consecutive festival season, Korean comedy troupe ONGALS channel childlike mischief, presenting an exhilarating mix of magic, slapstick and circus shenanigans. Praised as “equal parts hilarious and inventive” by Beat Magazine, Babbling Comedy is an all-ages spectacular with “word-of-mouth hit” written all over it. Prepare to be wowed and amazed by four gifted comic performers, Sat 7pm and Sun 6pm at The Famous Spiegeltent.
At the end of her second Melbourne International Comedy Festival, UK comic Luisa Omielan now boasts back-to-back Barry Award nominations. Her show Am I Right Ladies?! promises to build upon the exceptional form she showed last year in What Would Beyonce Do?! “It’s kind of a manifesto of where I’m at in my life. I talk about body image, mental health, career choices, I talk about being single as opposed to being in a relationship and just pursuing a lifestyle that I want to maintain,” she explained to Beat Magazine in a recent interview. “It’s like part two of Beyoncé – a more grown-up-woman version of what happened next, after Beyoncé. It’s a manifesto of being a 21st century woman, I guess.” A combination of energetic, empowering and downright hilarious, Luisa Omielan is not to be missed. You have only two more opportunities to see her strut her stuff. Get down to the Victoria Hotel, tonight 9.45pm and tomorrow night, 8.45pm.
Moving onto another 2016 Barry Award nominee,Casio-keyboard-comic David O’Doherty may boast the longest show title of the festival. “It’s quite a pretentious quote that I was able to ruin by egotistically inserting my own name into the middle of it and associating myself with Oscar Wilde,” he recently explained to Beat Magazine. O’Doherty has been an MICF favourite for many years, audiences flocking to the Forum to appreciate his self-proclaimed brand of very low energy musical whimsy – or VLEMWy, for short. Expect brilliant, charming stand-up peppered with a few quirky tunes. Catchy O’Doherty while you can, today 5pm and 7:15pm, as well as Sun 6.15pm at The Forum.
Rhys Nicholson was already an easy contender for the most dapper stand-up comic at the festival, and now he’s a contender for the 2016 Barry Award, his nomination announced earlier this week. Nicholson’s expertise ranges from playfully filthy quips, to potent one-two punch lines, with a dash of acidic self-deprecation added for good measure. Just two more performances of Bona Fide remain: tonight at 8.15pm and tomorrow night at 7.15pm, both at the Roxanne. It’s a must-see this festival.
MICF DESSERTS (Late Shows, 10pm onwards)
Remember Harold the Giraffe, the icon that single-handedly empowered children and young people to make safer and healthier choices through education? Comedy troupe WATSON do, and they’re here to mine The Life Education Van for comedy gold. You’d know the award-winning sketch group from their season of sell-out spectacle, Who’s Afraid of the Dark?. They’re the first to admit this new show is a drastic change of pace, but one thing’s for sure: it will be every bit as fun. Join Tegan Higginbotham, Adam McKenzie and Liam Ryan for their final show this evening as they present very own guide to being a fully functional adult, 10.45pm at the Melbourne Town Hall.
Does a show like this count as punching up or punching down? Either way, True Australian Patriots has been scoring positive feedback from all corners, including the likes of Declan Fay and Celia Pacquola and Mel Buttle. Comedians Damien Power, Greg Larsen and Anne Edmonds are bringing their well-crafted caricatures of abrasive, self-important, foul-mouthed patriots to the Melbourne Town Hall, satirising racist bogan culture with expert precision. Dismissing the United Patriots Fronts and Reclaim Australia as pretenders, the True Australian Patrons are here to take action, via “re-education and philosophy about things like Halal, islamafications, sharita squads, skits and discussions, weights programs and fighting demos.” You have one last opportunity to see True Australian Patriots, the show that has cult-following written all over it. Catch them 11pm tonight at the Melbourne Town Hall.
MICF SPECIALS (One-Offs and Discounts)
Sure, there’s an awards ceremony and everything, but Comedy Bonanza will still kick on at the Festival Club. For those not up to speed, Comedy Bonanza is a variety show that features a who’s who of local and international stars. Tonight’s line-up is a doozy, featuring Matthews, Corey White, James Acaster, Kyle Kinane, Luisa Omielan and Joel Creasey.