The 21st Annual Comedy Festival Awards were held today, Saturday April 21, 2018, the final Saturday of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, at Belleville Melbourne to announce that the 2018 Barry Award Winner for the Most Outstanding Festival Show is Sam Campbell for his show The Trough.

 Sam Campbell, who has previously been awarded the 2016 Directors Choice Award and was also the nominee for the 2015 Best Newcomer Award, accepted the prestigious prize from previous winner Hannah Gadsby, who Skyped in from New York for the occasion.

Upon accepting the award, he thanked his favourite comedians, exclaiming that “Anne Edmonds is the best comedian in the world” – Sam also starred in Anne Edmonds’ Helen Bidou – Enter the Spinnaker Lounge Show in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Other comedians recognized for their efforts in the 2018 Melbourne International Comedy festival were:


  • Danielle WalkerThe Best Newcomer Award: Awarded to a solo performer or group of performers doing their first Festival show
  • Lano and WoodleyThe People’s Choice Award: Awarded to the most popular show of the Festival as determined by the ticket buying public.
  • Double Denim The Directors’ Choice Award: Awarded by the Comedy Festival Director in consultation with other visiting festival and program directors
  • Demi LardnerThe Pinder Prize: The Pinder Prize honouring Festival co-founder John Pinder, one of Australian comedy’s most influential producers and biggest fans. The recipient’s show will be presented as part of the Assembly Theatre program at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe.
  • Cam VennThe Golden Gibbo: In memory of the late, great Lynda Gibson, $2000 cash plus the Golden Gibbo statue (which looks suspiciously like a bottle of red wine) is awarded to a local, independent show that pursues the artists’ idea more than it pursues commercial gain
  • Heath FranklinThe Piece of Wood: The beloved (and much bitten) comic’s choice award selected by past winners and presented to a peer literally for “doin’ good stuff ‘n’ that”
  • Alasdair Bryant The Funny Tonne winner, for the person who saw the most Festival shows

 CEO and Director of the Festival, Susan Provan, described the 2018 award-winners as “an eclectic and exceptional group of artists representing the breadth of comedy practice found at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. The decisions were enormously difficult for the judging panel given the range of incredibly strong shows that made the shortlists and the results were extremely tight.”

Launched in 1998 as the ‘Stella Award’ (and won by Miss Itchy) before being renamed in 2000 to honour the Festival’s founding patron Barry Humphries, the Barry Award celebrates the most outstanding Festival show. The judging panel is made up of experienced and professional comedy-lovers from the worlds of media, TV and live theatre production.

The show msut be performed at least 10 times, and a comic can only win the Barry award once.

The 2018 Barry Award winner will join a long list of illustrious comedians including:

Hannah Gadsby (2017), Zoe Coombs Marr as ‘Dave’ (2016) 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 (2008), Daniel Kitson (2007), Mike Wilmot (2003) and Ross Noble (2002)

To see this year’s nominees, visit: