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’s Netflix release in 2021, has seen the film reach a much wider audience.
A 3 time nominee for Most Outstanding Show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival [The Merger, Sportsman’s Night, Proxy Heroes] he has been prolific in his output of live shows racking up awards & nominations like parking fines. These include Spaznuts [Piece of Wood Comedians Choice Award at MICF] Proxy Heroes [MICF Outstanding show nomination] The Cave 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 2017 & 2020].
His most recent touring shows include his Lindy Hop inspired Swing Man [Nominated Best Comedy @ Perth Fringe]; his smash hit take down of wine snobbery with Paul Calleja, The Wine Bluffs; The Hall Committee, a 5 actor play commissioned by Wagga Civic Theatre and Create NSW; his critically acclaimed titular role in Kieran Carroll’s Newk: The John Newcombe Story, which will be again touring in 2023-24, and a reprise of The Merger [Play] which was included on the VCE Playlist.
In 2022, Callinan’s output has been typically profuse, with two solo show premieres. The first, Mayor for a Day, saw him don the robes across Victoria & NSW, as he immersed himself in communities to ambitiously produce a completely tailored comedy show culminating in his own local government pitch. The second, Double Feature, is a personal labour of love based on his mother’s 1946 diary, which stole hearts at the Melbourne Comedy Festival and is set tour nationally in 2023. Damian also managed to continue his relationship with the National Emergency Management Agency touring into drought, flood & fire affected regions for the 4th time.
Callinan has just added author to his list of credits, with the release of a junior fiction book Weird School, published by Penguin Random. He also recently took out the Silver Medal for Best Comedy Australian Podcast Awards for the 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 is also about to appear in a recurring role in the new series of The Newsreader [ABCTV] and has a lead ensemble role in Screen Australia funded web series The Emu War [Hot Dad] and Pivot [3 Wise Sheep].
In development, Damian has a comedy drama TV series with the working title of Finnegan’s Reef and is working on a Kennedy, Miller Mitchell project alongside The Merger director, Mark Grentell.