Raw Comedian

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By: Ross Purdy

I’ve toyed with the idea of getting into comedy; whether it be a writer, an actor, forming a sketch comedy troupe (the difficult part being no one to form one with, or I could be wildly different and revolutionary and be a one man troupe),or stand up.

The problem with getting into stand up, particularly, is finding places to do it, something I initially had difficulty with (as well as the reluctance of getting out there), until I heard of Raw Comedy.

Raw Comedy is a yearly nation wide open mic comedy competition presented by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and is held between January and April. So far it has aided in launching the careers of many big names on the comedy scene. It’s free to enter and open for anyone 18 years and over.

I entered the competition after a little while of “Ah, should I do this? Or, uh, not?” and in the middle of December I received an email confirming my place in it.

I had participated in the qualifying heat at The Corner Hotel on January 19th amongst other aspiring comedians who, while waiting for their time to go on, were gnashing their teeth, biting their nails and nervously walking around in circles backstage with dread and excitement at the same time – or maybe that was just me…

Over the weeks leading up to my Raw Comedy heat, I tried figuring out what I should do in my spot; what style should I go for? Should I do this or do that? Constantly revising until I started rehearsing a week or so before my performance, while not letting up on the rewriting with the constant anxiety of “Is this funny enough?”, “Would I be able to do this on stage”, “How would this translate”, etc…

It was my first time up on stage performing stand up, not counting all those school presentations that I used as an opportunity to say stupid stuff in front of the class, and when the actual day came along I woke up with a sense of “everything is going to go wrong!” as I often do when it comes to anything that I attempt and do in my everyday life. As I made my way to The Corner with family and friends coming along separately to support me, it was now, in laymen’s terms, “make or break time”..

The show began with the MCs, popular comedians Lawrence Leung and Celia Pacquola, warming up the crowd made up of people coming along to support someone they know and/or to support local comedy. Then one by one the competitors all came out to perform to the audience while my own spot was fast approaching. I stood calm and collected but on the inside I was a nervous ball of energy rolling around the place like some sort of energised ball.

My time finally came up, and as I was going through my five minute spot it seemed to be going okay, as in, the audience wasn’t dead silent with the sound of crickets being audible. There was even a couple of times where there was applause after some bits, so I guess that was another good sign, but then I came to the end of my act and I ended up getting a little lost and talking too fast and because of it a music cue that I had asked the technician to do at a certain part was abruptly cut and so I believe it didn’t even register to the audience.

Although I myself did not make it into the finals I would like to congratulate all the people who did and wish them luck. I’d like to think I did well considering it was my first time and there seemed to be at least a little bit of a positive reaction from the audience during my bit, not to mention an editor of YAWP Comedy Magazine also getting in contact with me about writing something for it. It’s encouraged me to try my hand at some other open mics, starting with getting a spot at Station 59 in Richmond’s open mic comedy night on March 6th.

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