Hannah Gadsby hits back at Barry Humphries’ transphobic comments

Hannah Gadsby has won the prestigious Barry Award for the most outstanding show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, but used her acceptance speech to speak out against comments made by Barry Humphries, for whom the award is named.

Gadsby was named the winner at the final Festival Club at Max Watt’s late on Saturday night, for her critically-acclaimed show, Nanette. 

Gadsby said that while she respected Humphries’ comedic skill, she disagreed with much of what he’s said. Humphries made headlines early last year when he referred to Caitlyn Jenner as “a mutilated man“.

According to Chortle, Gadsby accepted the award in honour of leading satirist John Clarke, who died earlier this month, rather than in Humphries’ name.

She said: “I don’t agree with a lot of the things Barry Humphries has said recently. It is not something I will walk past. With full respect, I would like to accept this award just for me.”

This is the second year the Barry Award has been won by a lesbian comedian whose show takes on bigotry, after Zoe Coombs Marr won in 2016 for Trigger Warning.

Gadsby also used her speech to thank the festival for providing spaces for more diverse voices:

“Thank you to the festival very much because I doubt I would do stand-up comedy without this festival and the situations they set up. I don’t have the constitution. I wouldn’t have fought it out in a pub.

“This festival has done a lot to encourage different voices so thank you for the support.”

Nanette deals with Gadsby’s experiences with homophobic abuse, and touches on several kinds of bigotry. Gadsby has said it’s her final ever stand-up show, and is doing an encore performance on Saturday, April 29 at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre.

Image: Hannah Gadsby accepting the Barry Award for the most outstanding show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival on Saturday.

8 responses to “Hannah Gadsby hits back at Barry Humphries’ transphobic comments

  1. I dislike Barry Humphries’ humour. So often cruel and snide and the Dame is a bore. Who cares what he thinks.

  2. Congratulations to Hannah for her recent show which I found not only funny but also startling and deeply courageous.

  3. It takes a certain kind of courageous honesty to speak out against icons like Barry Humphries. Especially one in whose name the Barry Awards exist. I suspect that the great man himself is a conflicted personality – negatively clever and wittily or caustically funny – perceptive and superior to the society and the fans with which and with whom he plays and directs according to his moods. From his pre-Dame days and through his superstardom I have smiled or laughed or alternatively been appalled by his barbs. Or been impressed – in his recent dramatic film roles. As one’s response should definitely be to such social critics – not of mindless adulation. So brava, Hannah.

  4. Well done Hannah. You’ll be missed. Also Thank you too for calling out Barry Humphries and his anachronistic BS.

  5. There must be something wrong with me, Neither Hannah Gadsby nor Adam Hills nor Josh Thomas has ever made me laugh. Can somebody please diagnose my condition? Is there some lobby group out there making sure thatthe mediocre get all the prizes. On the other hand even in normal conversation Barry Humphries and Jimoein always raise a chuckle.

    1. Are you suggesting that taste along with other human traits can be diverse? Holy crap, this changes nothing!

    2. Dear John. “Neither” is not being used correctly in your statement. Perhaps that’s why there’s some humour you get, and some you don’t? Nothing wrong with being unable to find the humour. Just don’t vote Hanson because you think the world should only make sense to you.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Newsletter Signup