Moosehead Awards

About The Mooseheads

Brian McCarthy Memorial Trust

In 1987, the Brian McCarthy Memorial Trust was established in memory of Brian McCarthy – a Melbourne comedian, actor and fringe comedy producer who was tragically killed in a car accident. Since its inception through a Moosehead grant, the Trust has supported, encouraged and developed comedians for their originality, bravery and humour with innovative new works that assists in the presentation of a show in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Brian McCarthy

At the young 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. Brian was the youngest of seven children to Irish immigrant parents. He studied drama at Rusden and was one of the pioneers of theatresports in Melbourne and appeared regularly on the ABC TV series Theatresports. Brian was a motivator and performer – he was someone who pulled together the core elements of comedy performance and believed that anything was possible, as long as it was new and interesting.


Since 1987, the Moosehead has supported over sixty-five comedy festival seasons. The name “Moosehead” was chosen as the grant presented by the Trust, as it was Brian’s favourite beer at the time . The grant is funded by proceeds from the Brian McCarthy Memorial Moosehead Awards Benefit, held on the final night of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival each year. Through the Moosehead grant, the Trust supports exciting and different concepts that are often mental and overly ambitious! Each year hundreds of Moosehead submissions are received from across Australia. The Moosehead Steering Committee (made up of comedians, producers and friends of Brian McCarthy) try to find new platforms for working comedians by spotlighting an idea rather than just turning out another show. The Moosehead alumni features a large list of highly respected Australian comedians, including Judith Lucy, Lano & Woodley, Anthony Morgan, Dave O’Neil, Alan Brough and Corinne Grant.