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First Nations Funnies

Get ready to giggle, folks, as up-and-coming comics take to stages across the Territory to compete in Deadly Funny, Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s national comedy competition unearthing the freshest and funniest First Nations talent.

By Tierney Seccull

Heats are rolling out across the country open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over the age of 18, with winners going on to battle it out at next year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF). Susan Provan is MICF’s Festival Director and says it’s important to amplify First Nations voices and stories.

“Deadly Funny has grown because the stories and perspectives, and the great wit and humour of the First Nations people we’ve been working with and that are out there, is really important,” she says.

“They have, in the past, not been as represented as they should be in the great context of mainstream Australian comedy. We want to make sure those stories and those voices are heard, and that there is an easy, accessible way for talent to work its way into the larger comedy industry.”

Delivered in reduced formats in recent years due to the pandemic, this is the first full-scale event in three years. Budding comics participate in a three-hour workshop with a professional comedian before taking the mic to share their comical prowess for up to five minutes.

Previous winners and participants have gone on to do some pretty big things. This year, Deadly Funny alumni co-presented shows with the Aboriginal Comedy Allstars at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with a few shows at London’s Soho Theatre on the side. Provan went along for the ride.

“Those shows did so well! They pretty much sold-out in Edinburgh and there were two smashing shows at Soho Theatre. There is such an appetite for that work, for those performers and their stories.”

If you’re a bit unsure if you’ve got what it takes, Provan says you might be surprised.

“You might not think you’re funny, but if you’ve got some good yarns … we want to hear what you’ve got to say. Give it a go!”

Take a comical crack and you might just find yourself on the first of many stages. If you prefer your comedy as a supportive audience member, head along to see some of the deadliest First Nations talent the NT has to offer.

Deadly Funny
COST $15


Photos: Tiffany Garvie

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