Barry Humphries’ name removed from comedy award after transphobic comments

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The prestigious award is being renamed from the Barry Award to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award, after Humphries’ made anti-trans comments in an interview last year. 

“How many different kinds of lavatory can you have? And it’s pretty evil when it’s preached to children by crazy teachers,” Humphries said in an interview with The Spectator Magazine in 2018.

Susan Provan, the festival’s director explained the decision, saying: “It is time for the award for most outstanding show to be in our name to celebrate the city that inspired the growth of our festival and its outstanding artists.”

She also said that Humphries’ comments were “not helpful” and “definitely played a part” in the decision to chance the name.

Humphries’ co-founded the festival in 1987 and the award had been named after him since 2000.

This isn’t the first time Humphries’ had made transphobic comments, in 2016 he called gender re-assignment surgery “self mutilation”. As well as calling Caitlyn Jenner “a publicity-seeking ratbag”. However he has since then claimed that the comments were “grossly misinterpreted”.

In a statement, Zoe Coombs Marr, a comedian who won the award in 2016 said: “I’m so proud of the comedy festival for doing what Barry Humphries himself seems unable to do – listening to criticism, moving with the times and stepping up to the plate”.

Barry Humphries, an Australian comedian, is best known for his character Dame Edna Everage.

As Dame Edna, Humphries has appeared in several films, hosted television shows and has written several books. Dame Edna is best known for her lilac coloured hair and cat eye glasses.

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