MICF announces 2019 awards shortlists

Four-time runner up for best show, Anne Edmonds.

Sydney stand-up Anne Edmonds has been nominated for the fourth year in a row for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival award for most outstanding show.

Also in the running for this year's prestigious MICF award, previously called the Barry Award after festival co-founder Barry Humphries, are Melbourne comics Geraldine Hickey and Nath Valvo, Sydney’s Cassie Workman, and Britain's James Acaster and Tom Allen.

Nath Valvo in his Melbourne backyard.Credit:Joe Armao

Edmonds lost out to Zoe Coombs Marr’s alter-ego Dave in 2016, to Hannah Gadsby’s unstoppable Nanette in 2017 and to co-star Sam Campbell last year. Campbell won the prize for his madcap solo show The Trough, but he also played the son to Edmonds' Helen Bidou in Welcome to the Spinnaker Lounge.

Perhaps Edmonds' 2019 show, What's Wrong With You? will finally get her over the line.

Cassie Workman

For those unfamiliar with the name Cassie Workman, the comic, also from Sydney, has been in the biz for years but under a different given name: Michael. Giantess is her first show as Cassie, and partly tells the story of her transition to a woman.

Hickey is also a seasoned stand-up, and a breakfast presenter on Melbourne community radio station Triple R. Things Are Going Well is the first of her shows to be nominated for an award at the festival.

Geraldine Hickey.

Fellow Melbourne comedian Nath Valvo is also nominated for the first time; his show I'm Happy For You has been receiving rave reviews.

And from the motherland, Acaster's career has skyrocketed since being picked up by Netflix and his two-week run of Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999 sold out early in the festival before he added new dates and upgraded venues.

James Acaster.Credit:ABC Publicity

Allen is well known to audiences from appearances in TV shows such as The Great British Bakeoff, and his festival show Absolutely is living up to the hype.

Also announced on Tuesday were nominees for the Golden Gibbo independent artist award and the best newcomer award.

Tom Allen.

The Gibbo nominees are Game Boys, Lauren Bok, Margot Tanjutco, Joshua Ladgrove, Oliver Coleman and Patrick Collins.

The best newcomer contenders are Blake Freeman, Dan Rath, Nina Oyama and Oliver Coleman.

Joint winner of this year’s Pinder Prize, Steph Tisdell.Credit:Jim Lee Photo/MICF

Up-and-comers Sam Taunton and Steph Tisdell were awarded joint winners of the 2019 Pinder Prize, which will see them head to the Edinburgh Fringe in August to perform a run of shows at the biggest comedy event in the world.

The rest of the winners are set to be announced on Saturday afternoon, along with the MICF people’s choice award for most popular show, the directors’ choice award, the piece of wood award chosen by fellow comics, and the funny tonne award for the festivalgoer who sees the most shows.

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