Today, on the steps of the Melbourne Town Hall the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award nominees for Most Outstanding Show and Best Newcomer were announced.
As the Festival enters its final five days, the nominees represent the most applauded and talked about shows of the month. With well over half a million tickets sold, the Festival is on track to match pre-pandemic levels. Foot traffic numbers from the City of Melbourne demonstrate the return of crowds, with footfall sensors tracking spikes in activity around the Melbourne Town Hall CBD hub. Last week, activity was at 109.5% of 2019 levels and on Friday (April 14) foot traffic of 120% against the 2019 benchmark was recorded.
To celebrate the first really big, back-after-COVID Festival, a bumper list of ten nominees has been announced for the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award for Most Outstanding Show: Emma Holland – Save The Orangutans; Gillian Cosgriff – Actually, Good; 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.
Best Newcomer nominations – for a solo performer or group of performers doing their first Festival show –include: Aiden Willcox & Isaac Haigh – Songs from the Heart in the Hole of my Bottom; 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 Golden Gibbo – in memory of the late, great Lynda Gibson – is aimed at finding a local, independent show that pursues the artists’ idea more than it pursues commercial gain. The 2023 nominees are: Andy Balloch – Am I the Drama; Con Coutis – Con vs Con vs Con; Gillian Cosgriff – Actually, Good; Liam Sparrow-Grange – The Magical Tram of Thought! and Woah, Alyssa! 5.
Winners will be announced on Saturday with additional awards bestowed including; Directors’ Choice, awarded by the Festival Director in consultation with festival programming colleagues to a show they think deserves to be celebrated; the People’s Choice Award for the most popular show of the Festival as determined by the ticket buying public; The Pinder Prize, honouring Festival co-founder John Pinder, and supporting a performer to travel to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; and the Piece of Wood comics’ choice award, selected by past winners and presented to a peer literally for “doin’ good stuff ‘n’ that”.
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival closes on Sunday 23 April.