I call bullshit. Susan Provan & MICF cancel people.

by Kieran Butler

“We have not cancelled him. We don’t cancel people. We don’t ban people,” Ms Provan said

This is bullshit.

In late 2012, Susan Provan attended a secret meeting in St Kilda to discuss how to ban me, not just from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, but from festivals around the world where Provan has considerable influence.

I had already had shows banned from the Melbourne Fringe in both 2010 and 2011. The Melbourne arts industry was already well practiced in the dark art of selective censorship.

Was anyone else in the room where it happened?

Of course. But I had a spy on the inside. Furthermore, months later, Bev Killick bragged to me that I had indeed been black listed from festivals all over the world. The meeting happened at her house in St Kilda. It turned out to be completely true. Festivals around the world closed their doors to me.

In 2013, my friend Paul Provenza and his show ‘Set List” were produced by MICF and Susan Provan. Provenza was skeptical about my story of being banned until Provan expressly forbade him from putting me on his “Set List” stage. She removed me from a line up. That is the definition of banning someone.

Susan Provan bans and cancels people. That is a fact.

MICF cancelled Barry Humphries in a swoon of self congratulation. ‘That old dog will go away to die’ the kids must have thought. Like me – and the countless others who have felt the wrath of Susan Provan over the past 30 years.

Problem was, Humphries did die. Who saw that coming? And it turns out, unsurprisingly, that in Australia everyone loves you when you’re dead. Andrew Hansen even wrote a song about it. Rolf Harris really should neck himself. He’ll be remembered fondly. Like George Pell. Just you wait.

I predicted last Sunday morning that the MICF would be hypocrites on all this. Initially, Susan Provan had an each way bet, but pointedly confirmed there would be no tribute for Humphries. But Provan has an Order of Australia. Only rank hypocrisy will do from that lot.

So now, after a back flip worthy of any LNP government, there will be a MICF tribute to Barry Humphries. Provan has done this before with those she has kicked to the kerb. After they die. Dave Grant comes to mind.

The MICF cancelled Humphries. This is a fact. Removing someone’s name from an award is designed to deliberately tarnish their legacy. Nothing less. The comedians who barracked for it at the time, jacked off over it with glees. Tearing down the titans of the past they were. Like all Young Turks. Cos they’re building something better. Apparently.

That something better was partially revealed in what tends to unearth the future of Australian comedy: MICF’s Raw Comedy. In the 2022 National Final one contestant clearly implied that my comedy comrade, Eurydice Dixon, wasn’t cute enough to be murdered in a park in broad daylight. That won second prize and a bunch of flowers.

If he saw that, I can only imagine that Barry Humphries would have shat himself in fear at the sheer genius of kids today!

For my part, I am particularly chuffed that MICF cancelled me. Always was. When they did it to Barry Humphries, I felt just a little bit vindicated.

Who knows? Maybe they’ll put on a tribute to me in the not too distant future. I fucking hope not. I really do. Who wants to be venerated by liars and hypocrites?

Kieran Butler

By Kieran Butler

Former chair.
Happy committee member.
Architect of micfringe!

One reply on “I call bullshit. Susan Provan & MICF cancel people.”

Well said and I agree with all you sentiments. As an old aquaintance of Barry I am disgusted at this pathetic action. This is why the MICF has lost is lustre. I am sorry to hear of your peorsonal banning , so you need to take action.

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