The Mooseheads have been part of the Comedy Festival from the very beginning, making it easier for comedians to bring their best to the country’s biggest comedy festival for more than 30 years.
Brian McCarthy Memorial Trust
The Brian McCarthy Memorial Trust was established in 1987 by the friends of Brian McCarthy – a Melbourne comedian, actor and fringe comedy producer who was tragically killed in a car accident. Through a Moosehead Grant, the Trust has supported working comedians to stage shows that are innovative, unusual and often ill-advised.
At the age of 23, Brian McCarthy died on the way home from the opening of the Spoleto Fringe (now the Melbourne Fringe) at the Collingwood Town Hall. He had studied drama at Rusden College and was one of the pioneers of impro in Melbourne. He staged fringe comedy nights at the Prince Pat in Collingwood that provided comedians with a platform to push their ideas harder, to collaborate and experiment. He bought in ideas from theatre and impro and performed at the first Melbourne Comedy Festival in 1987 doing shadow puppetry above a pub in South Melbourne. He did Beckett and stand up and loved both equally. Brian was a ringleader and motivator who saw the potential of Melbourne’s creatively charged comedy scene and did more than most to propel it to become the thriving comedy community that we all get to still be part of.
Since 1987, the Moosehead has supported over 65 comedy festival seasons. The name “Moosehead” was chosen because it was Brian’s favourite beer at the time and he died at a life stage where your legacy is marked by your beer choice. The grant is funded by proceeds from the Moosehead Awards Benefit, held on the final night of the Melbourne Comedy Festival each year. The Moosehead tries to make it easier for comedians to collaborate and stretch their creative legs. Each year hundreds of Moosehead submissions are received from across Australia. The Moosehead alumni includes Judith Lucy, Lano & Woodley, Tom Ballard, Sam Simmons, Laura Davis, David Quirk, Kate McLennan and Hannah Gadsby.