The Barry Award, named after Barry Humphries, the first patron of the Festival, recognizes the Comedy Festival’s Most Outstanding Festival Show, specifically aiming to seek out those performers who are enhancing the art form of comedy and acknowledging their vision.

The judges for the 12th Annual Barry Awards - who range from industry professionals to media – came to a consensus on the shortlist a couple of minutes before midnight on Saturday night.

In what has been a very tough decision (hence seven nominees this year instead of the usual six) the contenders for the 2009 Barry Award are as follows (in no particular order):
Tim Minchin (AUS) – Ready For This?
Rich Hall (USA) - Otis Lee Crenshaw Featuring Special Guest Rich Hall
Jesse Griffin (NZ) – Wilson Dixon Rides Again
Sarah Millican (UK) – Sarah Millican’s Not Nice
Asher Treleaven (AUS) – Open Door (Moosehead Award Recipient)
The Pajama Men (USA) – Versus vs Versus
Henning Wehn & Otto Kuhnle (DEU) - 1000 Years of German Humour

“The shortlist is satisfyingly eclectic this year, recognising a range of performers who truly represent the incredible diversity of festival artists and the always wonderful subjectivity of opinion on the art of comedy,” Festival Director Susan Provan said.

To be eligible for this prestigious award, a show must have had at least 10 performances as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in the particular year.

Past Barry Award winners have included: Kristen Schaal and Nina Conti (2008), Daniel Kitson (2007), Demetri Martin (2006), Keating! The Opera (2005), Maria Bamford (2004), Mike Wilmot (2003), Ross Noble (2002), Brian Munich & Friends (2001), The Mighty Boosh (2000)

The Barry Award will be presented on Saturday 25 April at the Hi Fi Bar and Ballroom, in what is traditionally the last night of the Festival Club.

Other awards be presented on this night include The Melbourne Airport Best Newcomer Award, The Age Critics’ Award, The Directors’ Choice Award, The Piece of Wood (comics choice award) and The Golden Gibbo.

12th Annual Barry Awards

Venue: Festival Club, Hi-Fi Bar, Swanston St
Date: Saturday 25 April
Tickets: Full $15, Concession $12 at the door only
Times: 11.15pm

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