About Damian Callinan

Damian Callinan is a multi award-winning comedian, actor & writer. He is best known to audiences as the lead actor, screenwriter & co-producer of The Merger, the feature film adaptation of his one man show of the same name. You may also recognise his dial from his work on Skithouse, Before The Game & Backyard Ashes & regular guest appearances on shows such as Spicks and Specks & the Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala.

However, it’s The Merger that has greatly expanded his profile & reputation. The Netflix hit film that also stars Kate Mulvany, John Howard and Fayssal Bazzi, was selected as the Gala Centrepiece at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2018 and was theatrically released soon after, to wide acclaim. The film consistently picked up awards & nominations including the Cinema Australia Audience Award, two AACTA nominations, Best Film & Best Screenplay at Ozflix Independent Film Awards & was also shortlisted for the coveted Cinefest Oz Prize. In 2019 the film was selected as the touring feature for both the Dublin & Glasgow International Film Festivals. The film has found a much broader audience since its Netflix release, where it has regularly trended.

A 3 time nominee for Most Outstanding Show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival [The Merger, Sportsman’s Night, Proxy Heroes], Damian has been prolific in his output of live shows racking up a swathe of awards & nominations. These include ‘Spaznuts’ [Piece of Wood Comedians Choice Award at MICF]; ‘Cave to the Rave’ [ABN Amro Edinburgh Foreign Exchange Award]; ‘Sportsman’s Night’ [Melbourne Fringe Best Comedy]; ‘The Lost WWW1 Diary’ [Nominated Best Comedy @ Perth Fringe & Victorian VCE Playlist] & most recently Perth Fringe Comedy Awards for ‘Swing Man’ and ‘Double Feature’, his celebrated new show based on his mother’s 1946 diary. This cinematic take on his parents 61 year romance, stole hearts at Festivals & regional arts centres across Australia in 2023, & will continue to tour into 2024.

Callinan has also forged a reputation for creating tailored, immersive shows for regional audiences. Road Tip (2013-2014) & Town Folk (2017) saw him link up with documentary film makers John Cherry & Hamish McIntosh, to create live shows with a film component capturing the essence of each town that they visited. Damian distilled those concepts down to a solo live show with a stills/photoshop AV component, with ‘Damian Callinan is Mayor for a Day’ (2022). As the incumbent head of council, Damian immersed himself in myriad community engagements, then riffed on stage about what he would do when his term on council began. In ‘What a Relief … it’s Damian Callinan’ (2020-2022), he played close to 50 country halls in disaster impacted communities, under the auspices of the National Emergency Management Agency, tailoring up to half of the show in a single day.

In 2024 Damian premieres his new community engagement project, ‘Hall Stories’: a multi format venture that will combine a live show based on Damian’s collected stories, observations, monologues & photo montages from hall touring. The show is a playful examination on the unique role that community halls play in rural life. In the deluxe version, the show will be partly tailored to the specific hall, and culminates in the delivery of a podcast encapsulating the oral history of the hall.

Damian’s second World Premiere of 2024 will be ‘Unlikely Friends’ at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Hosted by Damian, he is joined on stage by two comedian/improvisor guests who portray disparate figures from history, in an improvised chat show format. Over the hour, Damian teases out just how the likes of Joan of Arc and Don Bradman became Unlikely Friends. The shows will later be released as a podcast.

Damian will also be treading the boards in 2024 in ‘The Plan & Other Plans’ by Bridie Connell and Grace Rouvray with the Hothouse Theatre, Albury, as well and touring in the titular role in ‘Newk: The John Newcombe Story’ story with Nick Clarke Management.

In recent times, Callinan has added author to his list of credits, with the release of a junior fiction book Weird School, published by Penguin Random. The book was shortlisted for the 2023 ‘State Library of NSW – Russell Prize for Humour Writing’. He also took out the Silver Medal for ‘Best Comedy’ at the 2022 ‘Australian Podcast Awards’ for ‘The Bodgy Creek Community Podcast’.

Damian’s recent screen work includes a leading guest role in the final season of ‘Rosehaven’ [ABCTV] and a guest role on ‘Spreadsheet’ [Paramount +] alongside Catherine Parkinson. He appeared in a recurring role of ‘The Newsreader’ – season 2 [ABCTV], a role that he will reprise in Season 3.  Damian will soon appear in a regular role in the soon to be released ‘White Fever’ [ABCTV] You may have also seen his hero image on the poster for ‘The Emu War’ [Hot Dad Productions]. Damian plays the lead role if Major Meredith in this take on this obscure chapter in Australian military history. The film has already taken out Best Film at Monster Fest, and is set for cinema and streaming release in 2024.