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Australia’s Top 10 MC’s

Ever squirmed your way through an event punctuated by flat jokes, painful silences and awkward transitions? Or a fundraiser where the only thing raised by the crowd was the event organiser’s temperature? Then you’ve probably met Bob from Accounts, whose performance at the Director’s 50th birthday bash back in 2015 secured him that excruciating gig as MC.

No offence to Bob, but not everyone gets to claim true ‘master’ status. Rembrandt had to earn his stripes. Andy Allen had to win his. But Bob? He probably doesn’t have the specialist skills and experience befitting a genuine Master of Ceremonies.

You wouldn’t leave your event AV to someone simply because they’ve got a cranking stereo system at home. So why leave Bob in charge of the crowd? 

We know the blood, sweat and tears that go into planning an event. We also know all those hours of painstaking work can be destroyed in an instant by hiring the wrong MC. You have a million things to worry about, but your MC doesn’t need to be one of them.

What does a good MC bring to the event?

Magic. Not saw-a-woman-in-half type of magic, but the ingenious ability to create the right energy and tone for the night. To keep everything running on time and to plan, filling gaps, improvising and keeping everyone engaged. To maintain a flow, smoothly segueing from one topic to the next, cleverly weaving presentations together, connecting the audience to the speakers.

Good MC’s do more than just run through housekeeping. They know how to read the audience and adjust on the fly, reigning in talkative tables, keeping the focus, all while working the room to make sure objectives are met. Need more bids on a silent auction? The MC will make it happen. Need people to dig deep for a cause? The MC will inspire them to give generously.

Think of an MC like the conductor of an orchestra, guiding and directing performers to keep everyone seamlessly in sync, bringing all the instruments together to create beautiful music.

Without a skilled conductor, the orchestra is chaotic and disjointed. But with the right MC? You can create a symphony.

Australia’s Top 10 MC’s

1. Hamish and Andy

Hamish and Andy MC

Hamish and Andy are Australia’s most popular media duo, renowned for their larrikin humour and talent as entertainers, writers and comedians. The ‘Hamish and Andy Show’ was the highest-rating radio show in Australian history, while their ‘Gap Year’ TV travel show earned the boys three Silver Logies, while Hamish also won Silver and Gold individual Logies. The duo has been just as successful in podcasting, topping the iTunes charts with the Number 1 Australian radio podcast. Read more about Hamish and Andy here.

2. Carrie Bickmore

Carrie Bickmore MC

Carrie Bickmore is a highly experienced media personality, best known for co-hosting Network Ten’s ‘The Project’ and her extensive work in radio. She has interviewed some of the world’s highest profile celebrities and has won multiple Logie awards thanks to her talent for combining comedy and news in a relaxed, relatable style. Carrie is also passionate about her charity work, and has raised over $17 million for brain cancer through her charity, Carries Beanies 4 Brain Cancer. Read more about Carrie here.

3. Kitty Flanagan 

Kitty Flanagan MC

Kitty Flanagan is one of Australia’s favourite comedians and is a regular on TV shows including ‘The Project’ and ‘Have You Been Paying Attention?’. Breathtakingly hilarious and exceptionally talented, Kitty has performed to sell-out crowds at comedy festivals worldwide, worked on English TV program ‘The Sketch Show,’ written for BBC, Channel Four and Sky Television in the UK, made a short film titled ‘Dating Ray Fenwick’ and created and starred in ABC’s popular comedy show, ‘Fisk’. Read more about Kitty here.

4. Anthony Laye 

Anthony Laye MC

Anthony Laye is a world-renowned entertainer, keynote speaker and MC. His skills as a mentalist and expert communicator allow him to create unforgettable experiences for audiences, with his performances combining breathtaking illusions, mind-reading and games to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Adept at expertly piloting the entire event experience, Anthony is famous for creating a lasting impression. Read more about Anthony here.

5. Ed Kavalee 

Ed Kavalee MC

Ed Kavalee is a popular Australian actor, comedian and radio host famous for his lightning-fast improvisation skills and comedic timing. He’s been a regular on the radio as well as on TV shows including ‘Thank God You’re Here’ and ‘Have You Been Paying Attention?’. Ed also starred in the Australian film ‘Any Questions for Ben?’ and co-wrote and produced the tele-features ‘Scumbus’ and ‘Border Protection Squad’. Read more about Ed here.

6. Melissa Doyle

Melissa Doyle

Melissa Doyle is an award-winning journalist with 30 years of experience in the Australian media. She has covered significant news events as host of Channel Seven’s Sunrise and public affairs programs, with her experience as a live anchor covering breaking news earning her numerous journalism awards including a Walkley Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards. Melissa was also made a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to the community. Read more about Melissa here.

7. Natalie Bassingthwaighte 

Natalie Bassingthwaighte

Natalie Bassingthwaighte is one of Australia’s most versatile entertainers, excelling as an actress, singer and host. With regular appearances on TV shows like ‘Neighbours’ and ‘Underbelly’, Nat also achieved global success as a solo artist and with her band, The Rogue Traders. Nat’s warm and bubbly personality also made her a popular mentor on shows like ‘The X Factor’, while she received multiple Logie nominations as host of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. Read more about Nat here.

8. Waleed Aly

Waleed Aly

Waleed Aly rose to prominence as a spokesperson for the Australian Muslim community and co-host of Ten’s ‘The Project’. He’s a frequently published political and social commentator, as well as a qualified lawyer and White Ribbon Day Ambassador. Awarded numerous accolades, including the Gold Logie Award for Most Popular Australian TV Personality and multiple Silver Logies for Best Presenter, Waleed is undoubtedly one of Australia’s most popular media talents. Read more about Waleed here.

9. Julia Morris

Julia Morris

Julia Morris is an accomplished and highly sought-after entertainer, with over three decades of experience in the media. She has won several prestigious awards for her stand-up comedy, writing and television work, with hosting and acting credits including ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ and ‘House Husbands’, numerous Broadway musicals and sell-out stand-up comedy shows at every major comedy festival in the world. Read more about Julia here.

10. Chrissie Swan

Chrissie Swan

Chrissie Swan is an award-winning media personality with two decades of experience in television and radio. Her hosting credits include Nova 100’s ‘Chrissie, Sam & Browny’ breakfast show and ‘The Chrissie Swan Show’, as well as TV programs including ‘The Circle’, ‘Can of Worms’, ‘Would I Lie to You?’ and ‘The Masked Singer’. With true down-to-earth Aussie relatability, Chrissie is one of Australia’s favourite public figures. Read more about Chrissie here.

The right MC for your event will depend on the demographics of your audience and the tone you want to set. What’s right for a construction industry Awards Night won’t necessarily work for a beauty product launch or a fundraising gala! If you have a brief for us we’d be happy to provide you with a curated list of MC’s specific to your needs… just get in touch with us for a chat to get the ball rolling!

Master of Ceremonies – Their Role in Events & How to Hire One

master of ceremonies speaking at a corporate event

We speak with event managers holding a wide range of events across numerous industries, some corporate and some ticketed. One thing they all need is someone to start off the event, link the various parts together, maintain audience engagement and take control if something goes wrong. That person is the Master of Ceremonies.

In this article I’m going to answer some of the common questions I’m asked about the role of master of ceremonies and how to hire one who is most suitable for your event.

What is the Role of Master of Ceremonies?

Also commonly referred to as an MC (or an emcee), the role of the master of ceremonies are somewhat obvious. They need to welcome your audience when your event starts, introduce speakers and politely wrap up and farewell the audience at the end. But in practice, this involves a great deal more than that, including being comfortable to handle impromptu moments to ensure your corporate event runs smoothly.

Clients often tell me that they felt their master of ceremonies did the job of two, even three people. The initial welcoming of guests can often feel like a mini keynote presentation or stand-up comedy skit. A professional MC will make guests feel welcome, capture their interest and provide thought provoking commentary and important information.

There is also an element of event management, with the master of ceremonies informing the guest of useful information at the start of the event including the schedule and other crucial information where the bathroom and exits – and most importantly – where the bar is!

Most importantly, they can think on their feet when things don’t go to plan! Let’s say one of your speakers doesn’t appear when they’re called up on stage. A great master of ceremonies will keep calm and improvise, keeping your event on track. They can think on their feet and their ability to hold the attention of the audience is crucial to the success of your event.

Do I Need a Professional Master of Ceremonies?

There are certain events where a professional master of ceremonies is crucial! Failing to factor this into your event plans would create confusion, with no one to steer the evening and ultimately leave your guests feeling disappointed.

Awards Nights

These events are held to not only reward award recipients, but also a greater number of employees or organisation members for their efforts during the previous financial or calendar year. They can lift the morale of dissatisfied employees and maintain morale and reputation in highly successful organisations.

Awards nights have the capacity to feel boring when awards and thank-you speeches are performed continuously. An expert MC can sense audience when an audience is losing interest and provide well timed humour and anecdotes.

Some organisations may also invite external key stakeholders so there is pressure to showcase yourself as professional, generous and someone they would wish to remain associated with.

Internal Conference

Large corporations will hold scheduled conferences to report on their business results and inform employees about their future plans. A good MC will use the short breaks between speakers to provide light entertainment and keep the audience engaged for the dryer speaker topics. You may wish to seek a master of ceremonies with motivational speaker qualities and can keep your team hungry for greater achievements.

Industry Conference

Industry organisations will organise high quality conferences with interesting speakers and engaging master of ceremonies (or corporate MC) as a way of retaining and growing their members and developing an active community within their industry. You may be able to seek a professional master of ceremonies who has expertise in your industry, or a valuable skill such as change management or sales expertise.

Product Launch

Product launches are all about using that five minutes when everyone is looking at you, to do something impressive and memorable. We recommend selecting a master of ceremonies who reflects your product and brand values and resonates well with your target audience.

Special Events

You may be seeking to reward employees for their performance during the year, seeking to impress and develop relationships with valuable clients. These events can include Christmas parties, end-of-financial-year celebration, or held in conjunction with sporting events such as Formula One or Melbourne Cup. Master of ceremonies are often selected for these events who can entertain and provide laughter without conflicting with your corporate values.

Fundraising Events

Charities often go to great lengths to host stunning gala dinners and events to raise funds from philanthropists and other high net worth individuals. A highly entertaining, often celebrity, master of ceremonies and a classy, formal venue are necessary to attract the right audience.

The master of ceremonies will host fundraising activities such as auctions and will use their wit and charisma to make the guests feel cheerful, entertained and generous with their wallets.

How Much Do Master of Ceremonies Charge?

The ‘going rate’ for a master of ceremonies differs greatly depending on availability. reputation, celebrity and demand. The short answer is that it’s often up to the individual MC, and they may factor in their schedule and interest in your event.

This isn’t like most forms of business where there are numerous brands vying for your business. These people are highly successful and often have a celebrity status. It’s likely that there are constant requests for their services, enabling them to be selective.

It’s important to remember that many of these people are not solely employed as an MC. A professional master of ceremonies with years of experience is likely to have their time occupied with business commitments and other commitments such as charity, media, sporting and/or family, and may travel regularly as part of this.

Your master of ceremonies rate may be as little as $5000, and as much as $50,000. This won’t include travel and accomodation costs which are also funded by the client. Be prepared to pay for costs such as airfares, taxis and a hotel room if your ideal master of ceremonies resides from interstate.

How to Ask Someone to be your Master of Ceremonies

It can be difficult to ask someone to be your master of ceremonies due to the inability to access their contact details. It’s unlikely that their direct phone number is publicly available. Their emails and social media accounts are likely to receive hundreds of messages each day and may be managed by an assistant. Personal assistants and managers act as gatekeepers, protecting their client from anything that could waste their valuable time.

The most effective way to ask someone to be your master of ceremonies is to contact the speakers bureau who represents them. The speakers bureau can jump over any barriers as they already have a relationship with the master of ceremonies and their key personnel.

The speakers bureau does more than make an enquiry, they will also:

  • Discuss your needs and inform you if the master of ceremonies your interested in is suitable for your event
  • Negotiate a price to fit your budget
  • Manage the MC’s travel arrangements
  • Ensure the MC is briefed and aware of their requirements and running order of the event

To make the process more efficient it’s important to have a budget in mind and communicate this with the speakers bureau. They can save your time by guiding you to speakers within your budget.

In the event that your chosen master of ceremonies is unavailable, the speakers bureau will be able to draw on their experience in helping similar clients and help you find another suitable MC.

How to Introduce a Master of Ceremonies

When introducing the master of ceremonies, you should think about it as reciting the key points of their autobiography. Explain why they were selected, what relevance they have to your audience and why they are lucky to have them hosting the event.

To create a bit of buzz and increase event attendance, it’s a good idea to announce your master of ceremonies choice ahead of the event. Don’t be afraid to use this as a selling point!

Most Popular Master of Ceremonies Include

Hamish McLachlan

master of ceremomies hamish mclachlan

Hamish is one of our most recognisable and in-demand master of ceremonies. AFL fans will be accustomed to his smooth professional calling of football matches and his witty, entertaining interviews. He is a likable gentleman who is versatile, adaptive and can engage a broad range of audiences.

Hamish was extremely charismatic and a great host for a relaxed, upbeat event. Great at engaging with the crowd and was certainly professional when the situation called for it. He seemed to genuinely care about the success of the night and was keen to be across the details he needed to be. Overall, very happy with Hamish’s efforts, and would love to work with him for future events…


Read more about Hamish McLachlan

Beverley O’Connor

master of ceremonies beverley o'connor

Beverley O’Connor is a highly regarded journalist and broadcaster on the ABC, who specialises in politics and economics. She presents with warmth and energy, and is a great choice for a professional and discerning audience. She is an inspirational female who became the first ever female director at the Melbourne Demons AFL club and is also an avid campaigner for the BCNA, promoting breast cancer awareness.

Read more about Beverley O’Connor

Tim ‘Rosso’ Ross

master of ceremonies tim rosso ross

Tim Ross is a man who wears many hats. He became well known as a comedian from his work on TV and radio, as part of the ‘Merrick and Ross’ duo. In recent years Tim has used his presenting skills to branch out into his other passion, architecture. He has performed stage shows, television shows and written books in this area and curated his own exhibition.

Tim’s dry wit and humour makes him a popular choice as a master of ceremonies across wide range of topics, including architecture, design, planning and Australian social history. Like all good comedians he is highly adaptive in any situation and can connect with your audience and entertain.

Read more about Tim Ross

Adam Zwar

master of ceremonies adam zwar

If your main goal is to provide pure entertainment for your audience, Adam Zwar is your man. Adam is an accomplished actor, voice artist, comedian and writer, who will leave your audience in stitches. He is best known for his work co-creating the hit shows Wilfred and Lowdown, and for his earlier work in classic Australian drama such as Underbelly, Stingers, Blue Heelers and Sea Change. We often recommend Adam to clients who are seeking someone witty, but won’t overstep the line and leave you red faced.

Read more about Adam Zwar


Next Steps

If these four master of ceremonies don’t suit your audience, take a look at our complete list of master of ceremonies – there’s about 300 to choose from (and the list is still growing).

If you’re still unsure, contact us and we would be happy to guide you some recommendations. Directors Justin McNeany and Leanne Lamb have over twenty years’ experience in connecting event managers with the most suitable master of ceremonies.