Melbourne Comedy Festival announces its 2024 award nominees | Including John Kearns, Sarah Keyworth and Rose Matafeo

Melbourne Comedy Festival announces its 2024 award nominees

Including John Kearns, Sarah Keyworth and Rose Matafeo

John Kearns, Sarah Keyworth and Rose Matafeo are among the nominees for the biggest prize in Australian live comedy.

Estonian clown Julia Masli – the hit of last year’s Edinburgh Fringe – and Australian stand-up turned TV comedy star Celia Pacquola also made the shortlist for most outstanding show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Kanan Gill becomes the first Indian comic to be nominated, and Australia-based Takashi Wakasugi the first Japanese nominee.

The ten-strong list is rounded off by Australian acts Lou Wall and Oliver Coleman and Kiwi Ray O’Leary.

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At the festival, Kearns is performing his show The Varnishing Days, which began life as a work in progress at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe. Keyworth ’s show My Eyes Are Up Here is about their top surgery, and debuted in London last month; while Matafeo’s On And On was a two-week work-in-progress ahead of its Edinburgh debut.

Up for best newcomer – an accolade reserved for Australian and New Zealand acts – are Bridget Hassed, Dylan & Molly, Laurence Driscoll, Maddy Weeks, Noah Szto and Sam Gebreselassie, all pictured below:

Newcomer nominees

Earlier this week, the nominees were announced fro the Golden Gibbo, in memory of the late Lynda Gibson and honouring local, independent acts with artistic ambition. They are Matt Bell, Dougie Baldwin, Granny Bingo, Alex Reynolds, Mel McGlensey, and Helena Ruse & Pippa Mills.

Winners of all the awards will be announced on Saturday morning in Melbourne, which will be the early hours UK time.

The award was launched in 1998 as the Stella Award and was renamed the Barry Award in 2000 in honour of Barry Humphries

It was renamed again in 2019 as the award for most outstanding show, which was seen as a snub to the late Dame Edna creator, who had sparked controversy with his comments about trans people. At the time, festival director Susan Provan said his viewers were ‘a factor’ in the decision, but added that a rename had been under consideration for some time.

Previous winners have included Hannah Gadsby, Sam Campbell, James Acaster and Ross Noble, as well as last year’s victor, Gillian Cosgriff.

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Published: 16 Apr 2024

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