Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Gday Barry!

Saturday witnessed all manner of mirth and merriment at the penultimate night of this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival club at the HiFi Bar, not the least of which was a pole-dance-off between rapidly-shirtless Adam Hills and Hannah Gadsby. Their performance, an undoubted highlight of the evening, soon segued into the presentation of the festival awards, in a brief ceremony overseen by MC Lehmo.

The winner of the festival’s prestigious Barry Award (named after inaugural patron Barry Humphries) was British comedian Daniel Kitson, for his show It’s the Fireworks Talking. Upon accepting his Barry, which recognizes the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Most Outstanding Festival Show, the endearingly shambolic Kitson launched a vitriolic attack upon the festival’s major sponsor, The Age, and specifically the authors of the paper’s Diary column, Suzanne Carbone and Lawrence Money, who described Kitson as ‘aesthetically challenged’ in the April 23 edition of their column.

In contention for the top award this year were nominees; David O’Doherty (IRE) for David O’Doherty is my name, Fiona O’Loughlin (AUS), Kate McLennan (AUS) for The Debutante Diaries, Russell Howard (UK), We Are Klang (UK) for We Are Klang invite you to a Klangbang, and Will Adamsdale and Chris Branch (UK) for The Receipt.

Also awarded on the night were:

  • The Melbourne Airport Best Newcomer Award, the winner of which jets off to experience the Brighton Comedy Festival in the UK, which was awarded to 19 year old Brisbane boy Josh Thomas, for his show Please Like Me.
  • The Age Critics’ Award, the gong for best local show, won by Lawrence Leung’s Lawrence Leung Learns to Breakdance.
  • The Directors’ Choice Award, established in 2005 and awarded by the Comedy Festival Director in consultation with other visiting Festival Directors, and presented to Justin Hamilton for Three Colours Hammo, a trilogy of shows.
  • The Piece of Wood, the comics’ choice award selected by past winners and presented to a peer literally for “doing good stuff ‘n’ that”. This year’s piece of wood winner was Andy Zaltzman for Andy Zaltzman Detonates 60 Minutes of Unbridled Evening.
  • The Golden Gibbo, named in memory of the late, great Lynda Gibson and awarded to a local, independent show that pursues the artist’s idea more strongly than it pursues any commercial lure. The winner was The Glass Boat (Claudia O’Doherty, Charlie Garber and Nick Coyle), with Alzheimers the Musical - A Night to Remember! (Maureen Sherlock, Carol Yelland and Lyn Shakespeare) the runner’s up.

After the presentation of the awards, a somewhat lifeless band took to the stage, encouraging the crowd (myself included) to move off en masse to the less salubrious but far more atmospheric confines of Trades Hall, where award winners, runners up, judges* and the general public partied until 5am, at which point we were kicked out when the bar closed.

Me, I then went on to the Peel, and kept drinking til 7am, where upon I strolled home, not feeling too much the worse for wear, and proceeded to fall asleep while fully clothed.


Now, bring on the next festival, I say!

*Yes, me included.


Anonymous said...

do you think someone's being just a teensy bit oversensitive about the Diary comments? i haven't been following the whole thing in The Age, but if "aesthetically challenged" was all that was said, wouldn't a better response from daniel have been to poke some fun back, not have a hissy?

Anonymous said...

oh, and thankyou for the fest reviews; i enjoyed reading them very much... particularly liked your rating system.
wish i'd managed to see more shows!

richardwatts said...

Hi anonymous - glad you enjoyed reading my reviews, and my rating system. Part of the reason Kitson was so pissed off with Diary was that they'd publicised his 'secret' gig, which he felt was in poor form. That said, it was also advertised on the Comedy@Trades website, so go figure...