Raw Comedy ” Canberra Heat One

1 February 2008, Street Theatre

by Amy Dowler

The first of the Canberra Raw Comedy heats was an entertaining if largely unremarkable night. The comedy was for the most part parochial to the extreme ” jokes about Dickson”s China Town, 2CC radio, an entire set on Summernats ” and conventional: lines starting with “you know, the other day I was thinking””?? abounded.

Neither of these things is a problem so long as the material is actually funny, and the overwhelming majority of what we heard from this intrepid bunch of amateurs was. Another two elements made the night a success: its brevity, and a blissful absence of the increasingly endemic bastard child that is kooky musical comedy (bar an amusingly inane sequence of banana eating to music).

The winner was worthy, his set being the cleverest and least inclined to go for easy laughs of the night. The judges did well not to reward the comic following the victor who was certainly the crowd”s favourite but who owed a lot of his laughs to his predecessor for having put the crowd in such good humour.

The lasting impression of the night for me was one of admiration for those with the courage to stand up and willingly put themselves in what is surely one of the most terrifying positions a person can be in, as well as contempt for those who think it”s funny or clever to exploit the vulnerability that goes with putting yourself on an empty stage with nothing but your wit and a microphone.

To whoever heckled the 18 year-old debutante, who although sweat-on-palm-inducingly nervous showed a fair amount of promise before being completely thrown by your comments, grow a brain, a heart, something, and I look forward to seeing you on stage at next year”s heats.

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