I recently received news that I'm one of the recipients of this coveted award to support my upcoming Comedy Festival show.
I'm ecstatic over the announcement, mostly because it brings certainty when there hasn't really been much for the performing arts over the last two years. It's so nice to finally be able to lock something into the calendar.
The Moosehead makes it easier for comedians to create new work and to collaborate with others by contributing to venue hire and production costs. They are especially fond of ideas that are a bit left-of-centre – and I'd say mine certainly is. The show I am developing is a dark comedy partly inspired by working at a funeral home last year, as well as the taboos around death (especially having grown up with an extremely superstitious mother). There will be plenty of light and shade, bizarre and heartfelt moments too.
In the past, the Moosehead committee hasn't shied away from shows that feature death as a theme. Michelle Brasier's 'Average Bear' was sombre but executed with complete mastery of her musical and comedic talents. And I still crack up thinking about Stuart Daulman's show 'Death of a Daulman' which received a Moosehead in 2018. Stu happens to be performing it again as part of Comedy Republic's Replay Festival in December, in case you missed it.
It all seems fitting given the award was established in 1987, in memory of Brian McCarthy, a Melbourne comedian, actor and fringe comedy producer who was tragically killed in a car accident. Interestingly, the last time I was given a grant from the Comedy Festival it was in memory of Eurydice Dixon, an emerging comedian who was killed on the way home from a gig. I do believe in the power of the universe and I value these connections I've made with people who have passed away, but are somehow supporting me to continue making comedy.
Of course, I'm nervous to debut a brand new work. The last time I performed at the Comedy Festival was in 2019 with my solo show 'Before I Forget'. After the festival was cancelled in 2020, I was hesitant to put myself in the same position this year, so I decided not to put on a show. It gave me major FOMO when the festival ran according to plan, with no lockdowns and minor restrictions in place.
At the same time, I'm excited to get stuck into it and begin working with director Jason Marion, a previous Moosehead recipient who in recent years directed the award-winning Comedy Festival show 'Neal Portenza is Josh Ladgrove'.
Thank you to the Moosehead Committee for making this possible. I'm honoured to have made the list alongside some incredibly talented names: Alistair Tremblay-Birchall and Andy Matthews, Scout Boxall, Danielle Walker, Ben Russell and Maggie Looke, and Gabbi Bolt. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival will run from 30 March to 24 April, 2022. For more information, head to their website.