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 13th 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 the contenders for the 2010 Barry Award are as follows (in no particular order):

• Damian Callinan - The Merger: Sportsman’s Night 2
• Josh Thomas - Surprise
• Asher Treleaven – Secret Door
• Wil Anderson – Wilful Misconduct
• Sammy J and Randy – Ricketts Lane
• The List Operators For Kids

“The shortlist this year recognises a range of performers who truly represent the incredible diversity of festival artists. I’m extremely excited that for the very first time we have an all Australian line-up including our youngest ever nominee as well as our first kids show nominee”.  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: The Pajama Men (2009) 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 17 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), The Golden Gibbo and Bulmers People’s Choice Award.

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