The REAL reason Barry Humphries’ family refused to allow Victoria to co-host his state funeral – after the Melbourne International Comedy Festival denounced the legend
- Family does not want Victorian government involved
- Humphries will be honored at a state funeral in Sydney
- Humphries angry at Andrews government over prize renaming
Barry Humphries’ family is considering canceling his state funeral over concerns over government involvement from Victoria’s Andrews, which the late comedian strongly opposed.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that the service would be held in Sydney, but that the Victorian and NSW governments and the Commonwealth would be involved.
The late comedian’s family – who died last month – declined the Victorian government’s offer to host the funeral in Melbourne, despite it being the city where he was born and raised and spent much of his life.
The enmity between Mr Humphries, his family and Daniel Andrews was fueled by the government’s failure to prevent the comedian’s name from being dropped from the 2019 Melbourne Comedy Festival’s Barry Award.
Barry Humphries’ family (pictured with wife Lizzie) is considering calling off his state funeral over concerns over Victorian government involvement
The change was made by the festival’s management, who objected to Humphries’ controversial description of sex reassignment surgery as “self-mutilation”.
The family have therefore declined the Andrews government’s offer of a state funeral and are reportedly dismayed to discover that the same government will be involved in the Sydney state funeral.
Entertainment reporter Peter Ford says his loved ones are now “deeply saddened” by the situation and have considered shutting down the service completely.
“They said from the start they didn’t want the Victorian government involved, they didn’t want their fingerprints anywhere near it and yet you have the Prime Minister announcing that Victoria is a co-host,” he said. 3AW on Thursday.
“Daniel Andrews talks the same way and he says the family doesn’t agree on certain aspects of what’s going to happen.”
Humphries was known for his character Dame Edna Everage. He passed away last month at the age of 89
At the time of the award’s renaming, there was outrage that the name of Mr Humphries – who launched the inaugural festival in 1987 and was undisputed as Melbourne’s biggest comedy export – was being removed.
However, the Labor government, benefiting from strong support from the arts community, did nothing to prevent this.
“It would have been entirely possible for Daniel Andrews, who was the Prime Minister at the time (of the award’s cancellation) to pick up the phone and say ‘this is wrong,'” Ford said.
“That might be against protocol, maybe against etiquette, but that’s what the family believes, and he didn’t do it and we know the outcome.”
The entertainment reporter said Mr Humphries, who died aged 89 following hip surgery, was “incredibly lucid” until he died and would have given his family “very clear” instructions not to get the Victorian government involved .
“The family can pull the plug at any time if there is no clarity,” he said.
Victoria’s Deputy Prime Minister Jacinta Allan told reporters that protocol teams would work with the comedian’s family.
“So let’s let the family work out these arrangements and there are appropriate points with different protocol teams for those discussions with officials about any arrangements Victoria could be involved in,” Ms Allan said.
She added that she had “no advice on the status of Mr Humphries’ funeral.”
“I was not involved and it is not appropriate for me to be.
“He was an Australian icon for decades and such a feature of our lives, but this is also a family that has lost a beloved man of the family, so let’s leave the family to make these arrangements.”
It was believed that Humphries strongly opposed the Andrews government for doing nothing to prevent the comedian’s name from being dropped from the Barry Prize at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and did not want it involved in his state funeral.