Zoe Coombs Marr takes out top gong at Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Australian Arts Review MICF Zoe Coombs Marr as DaveZoe Coombs Marr has taken out Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s most prestigious award, the Barry at a ceremony at the Festival Club at Max Watt’s last night. Zoe also won the Golden Gibbo Award* – becoming the second comedian to win both awards since the Gibbo was first awarded 12 years ago.

In Trigger Warning -­ the second outing for Zoe’s beloved/monstrous alter ego -­ Zoe performs her acclaimed critique on bad stand-­up in an hysterical endurance drag adventure. One of Australia’s weirdest and wildest comedians, Zoe has performed extensively in Australia, New York and the UK. A regular panel member on Dirty Laundry Live, Zoe is also known for TV appearances on ABC’s The Chaser’s Media Circus, How Not To Behave, Backseat Drivers, and Live at Bella Union (SBS).

The Barry recognises the Most Outstanding Comedy Festival show, and is one of the world’s most highly regarded comedy awards. It launched in 1998 as the ‘Stella Award’ before being renamed in 2000 to honour the Festival’s founding patron Barry Humphries.

Zoe joins a long list of illustrious comedians including Sam Simmons (2015) Denise Scott (2014), Rich Hall (2013), Dr Brown (2012), Russell Kane (2011), Sammy J and Randy (2010), The Pajama Men (2009), Nina Conti and Kristen Shaal (2008 joint winners), Daniel Kitson (2007), Mike Wilmot (2003), Ross Noble (2002) and The Mighty Boosh (2000).

“The Barry Award shortlist this year was incredibly strong and very varied,” said Susan Provan, Melbourne International Comedy Festival Director. “The Judges loved all the shows nominated. Zoe Coombs Marr’s Trigger Warning was scored highly by all judges right across the panel with a consistency that is rare in the subjective world of comedy. I think it is an exciting win for a performer who is truly outstanding in both a national and international context.”

The inaugural Pinder Prize, honouring Festival co-­founder John Pinder, was awarded to Tom Ballard. The award enables the recipient to present their show at the Edinburgh Fringe at the Assembly venues, and is intended to support a performer doing great work to develop an audience in the UK.

Other Awards presented at the Max Watt’s included:

Best Newcomer: Tom Walker – Beep Boop

Piece of Wood: Chris Wainhouse – The Antichris (selected by past winners of the award)

Directors’ Choice: Zanzoop – Feeble Minds / True Australian Patriots – Live

People’s Choice: Carl Barron – Drinking With a Fork (for the show selling the most tickets in the Festival)

Funny Tonne: Jeremy Macpherson (164 shows – awarded to the most die-­hard comedy fan who has reviewed the most shows during the 2016 Festival

The 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival officially closes tonight (Sunday 17 April). The Roadshow tour begins this Wednesday, and continues through to July visiting more than 80 towns and cities across Australia. For more information, visit: www.comedyfestival.com.au for details.

Image: Zoe Coombs Marr as Dave (supplied)

* the Golden Gibbo Award is presented 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.

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