This year, there will be no 'Barry Award', named after the iconic Barry Humphries, who has referred gender reassignment surgery ' self-mutilation' in 2016. The title of the gala has been renamed the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award.
Festival director Susan Provan said Humphries's comments were 'not helpful' and definitely played a part in the name change as the festival has been considering the move for a while. Provan said discussions about the name change had been going on for a long time before the judges decided on the nominees. "We wanted the new award to celebrate the breadth of the artists that participate in the festival."
Workman, a transgender woman who has been nominated for her show Giantees said she was honoured to be nominated. "In so many ways, it is symbolic, of a society that sincerely wants to support and uphold trans people and their stories. This is truly wonderful, and I couldn't be more excited."