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On the final Saturday of the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the Australian comedy industry came together to celebrate the highlights of this year’s Festival. After 25 days – and with one to go, the Festival has seen over 636 shows with more than 7,000 individual performances and countless laughs.
Hosted by Zoë Coombs Marr at The Famous Spiegeltent, the nominees were joined by special guests and past winners. Taking out the top award for the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award for Most Outstanding Show was Gillian Cosgriff – Actually, Good.
Nominees included: Emma Holland – Save The Orangutans; Guy Williams (NZ) – Comedy Plus Time Equals Tragedy (NZ); Hannah Camilleri – Lolly Bag; Jordan Gray (UK) – Is it a Bird?; Laura Davis – Well Don't Just Stand There Dancing; Leo Reich (UK) – Literally Who Cares?!; Liz Kingsman – One Woman Show; Rosie Jones (UK) – Triple Threat; and Tom Ballard – It Is I.
The Best Newcomer Award, for the best solo performer or group of performers doing their first Festival show, went to Aiden Willcox & Isaac Haigh – Songs from the Heart in the Hole of my Bottom.
Nominees included: Andrew Hamilton – Jokes About the Time I Went to Prison; Bron Lewis – Probably; Freddie McManus – Freddie McManus Is Stoppable; He Huang – Bad Bitch; Ray O'Leary (NZ) – Everything Funny All The Time Always; and Sashi Perera – Endings.
The People’s Choice Award for the most popular show of the Festival, as determined by the ticket buying public, went to Urzila Carlson – Just No!
Directors’ Choice Award, awarded by the Festival Director in consultation with festival programming colleagues to a show they think deserves to be celebrated went to Takashi Wakasugi – Japanese Worry. A special ‘legends’ mention was made for Circus Oz, back with a smash hit new show 30 years after their first Festival appearance.
The Pinder Prize, honouring Festival co-founder John Pinder, and supporting a performer to travel to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, was given to Hannah Camilleri for Lolly Bag.
The Golden Gibbo – in memory of the late, great Lynda Gibson – which is aimed at finding a local, independent show that pursues the artists’ idea more than it pursues commercial gain – was awarded to Gillian Cosgriff – Actually, Good.
Nominees included: Andy Balloch – Am I the Drama; Con Coutis – Con vs Con vs Con; Liam Sparrow-Grange – The Magical Tram of Thought! and Woah, Alyssa! 5.
The Piece of Wood comics’ choice award, selected by past winners and presented to a peer literally for “doin’ good stuff ‘n’ that” was awarded to Dan Rath.
The Funny Tonne was awarded to Caitlin Burns – selected by the Funny Tonne review panel as giving us the best show reviews for 2023.
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