Barry Humphries Stripped Of Comedy Award Naming Honour After Transgender Comments

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival has removed Barry Humphries' name from its biggest award after he made widely-condemned comments about transgender people last year. 

The announcement to rebrand the Barry Award was made on Monday night before its nominees -- including transgender comedian Cassie Workman -- were released on Tuesday morning.

It will now be called the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award.

Festival Director Susan Provan said the move aimed to make the award gender neutral and better reflect Melbourne.

Barry Humphries is most famous for playing character Dame Edna Everage. Image: AAP

"As one of Victoria’s major events and one of the world’s greatest comedy festivals, it is time for the award for most outstanding show to be in our name," she told 10 daily in a statement.

"Removing gender from the award name is appropriate now -- not least to acknowledge that one third of all past recipients are women."

Humphries co-founded the festival in 1987 and is most famous for playing drag character Dame Edna Everage.

But he has been widely criticised in recent years for a number of transphobic comments, including calling being trans a "fashion" and asking, "How many different kinds of lavatory can you have?"

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"It’s pretty evil when it’s preached to children by crazy teachers," Humphries told the Spectator last year.

In 2016, the comedian described Caitlyn Jenner as a "publicity-seeking ratbag" in an interview with the Telegraph, and gender affirmation surgery a form of "self-mutilation".

Barry Humphries. Image: AAP

Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby, who has previously won the award,  has described Humphries as a comedian who "hates vulnerable minorities" and has "completely lost the ability to read the room".

Proven did not speak to Humphries' comments but said the award "is not tied to any one person".

"The award name celebrates Melbourne as the city that inspired the growth of our Festival," she said.

Award winners will be announced on April 20.

Featured image: AAP