The wonderful Moosehead Awards Benefit and grant program is now 30. Don’t worry though, it’s still supporting innovative, out there comedy, and it isn’t going to settle down any time soon. The benefit show closes out the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and is consistently one of the most insanely packed line ups of the year. Previous acts include Wil Anderson, Celia Pacquola, Sara Pascoe, Ronny Chieng, Luke McGregor and Dave Hughes.
The grant, and the benefit, both go towards memorialising Brian McCarthy, a talented comedian who tragically died in a car accident at 23. It seems hard to put it better than the press release does – “Brian was a motivator and performer – he was someone who pulled together the core elements of comedy performance and believed that anything was possible, as long as it was new and interesting.” In 1987, the Brian McCarthy Memorial Trust was founded to aid ambitious show ideas and performers at all stages of their careers. The grant was named “Moosehead” after Brain’s favourite beer. Since then, the grant has helped over ninety shows find their feet at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Moosehead alumni features a large list of highly respected Australian comedians, including Judith Lucy, Lano & Woodley, Anthony Morgan, Dave O’Neil, Alan Brough and Corinne Grant.
This year’s recipients are Tom Ballard (Triple J, Reality Check), Laura Davis (winner of the MICF Golden Gibbo and the Fringe Best Comedy in 2015) and Kate Dehnert. Popculture-y was lucky enough to sit down with all three comedians to chat about their upcoming shows, and while the in depth interviews will be online soon, Ballard, Davis and Dehnert are all thrilled to be working with Moosehead. Each is putting on a wild, thought provoking production that will surely be one of 2016’s MICF highlights. As always, each of these shows is funded by the money made at the benefit show, so there’s even more incentive to go, if a secret line up of some of the world’s best comedians wasn’t enough. In the words of Kevin Whyte, one of the Moosehead Steering Committee members – “It’s a night where the comedy community comes together to fund our future, toast our past and showcase the best acts in the world in one of comedy’s global capitals – Melbourne.”
The 30th Brian McCarthy Moosehead Awards Benefit is on at 8pm on Sunday the 17th of April at the Melbourne Town Hall.
Boundless Plains to Share, Tom Ballard’s show, is on at Trades Hall at 5:15pm Saturdays, 4:15pm Sundays, and 8:15pm at the Melbourne Town Hall on Mondays from the 26th of March to the 17th of April.
Marco (Polo), Laura Davis’ show, is on at the ACMI Games Room at 9:30pm from the 24th of March until the 17th of April.
Shabamalam, Kate Dehnert’s show, is on at the ACMI Games Room at 8:15pm from the 24th of March until the 17th of April.