Acts from the British stand-up circuit have dominated the nominations for the most prestigious award in Australian comedy.
Three out of the six acts shortlisted for the top prize at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival are from the UK: Tim Key, Dave Gorman and Paul Foot, while Dr Brown, the absurd creation of American Philip Burgers, who now lives in the UK is also in the running.
The list is completed by Australian acts Felicity Ward and Wil Anderson, best known as host of the advertising-based panel show The Gruen Transfer.
It is certainly a turnaround from 2010, when it was an all-Australian shortlist, with Sammy J and Randy ultimately taking the prize. Anderson was also nominated in that year.
But the Barry usually goes to an international act, with only two of the last ten winners being from Australia – Keating: The Opera was the other, in 2005. And last year it went to Russell Kane for Smokescreens And Castles, a show about his father.
It is the second year running Foot has been nominated, this time for the shows he launched at Edinburgh last summer, Still Life. Key’s Masterslut and Dave Gorman’s Powerpoint Presentation also debuted at Edinburgh.
Dr Brown’s is a new show titled Befrdfgth; Ward’s, The Hedgehog Dilemma, is about her problems with relationships and alcohol’ and Anderson’s, Wilarious, covers his health problems and feelgood philosophy.
Meanwhile, the nominees for the Golden Gibbo award, which rewards independent local shows which put artistic ambition first, are Lessons with Luis, Tie her to the Tracks, Michael Williams, Aunty Donna and Watson - Shakespeare Fight Club
The winners will be announced soon after midnight local time next Saturday night, along with the festival’s other awards.