Calling Bendigo's young comics

Bendigo’s youngest comics are being encouraged to take to the mic as part of the annual Class Clowns competition.

The competition, run by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, will hold its heats in Bendigo at The Capital theatre on March 1.

Wannabe comedians will get to participate in workshops with professional comics who are travelling across the country to unearth fresh talent.

Grace Townsend and Liam Noble put their comedic timing to the test during Class Clowns last year, and the duo plan to get up on stage again this time around.

Grace said the program was a great stress buster for the Bendigo Senior Secondary College year 12 students, both self-confessed “class clowns”.

“Last time it was mid-year during VCE and it was a stressful time so we were looking for something to de-stress,” she said. “I figured Class Clowns was a good thing to do. Me and Liam entered as a double act. We got through to state finals and it was just a blast.

“You just gotta do it, it’s incredible and I wish I had done it earlier.”

Grace said she based her comedy on “everyday” experiences.

“I love seeing everyone’s faces follow your journey and laugh at the things you probably found embarrassing, it’s fun sharing that moment,” she explained.

“I always like the jokes about the parents, they are fun. My parents are extremely supportive but I find them hilarious.” 

This year’s heat winners will get to perform at the Class Clowns National Grand Final, held on 19 April during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, for the chance to win $1000 for themselves and $1000 for their school.

Anyone aged 14 to 18 can enter as a solo act or in a group of up to three members. 

All participants need to do is come up with their own original five minutes of stand-up, sketch, musical parody or something in between, then perform it in front of a live audience.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival director Susan Provan said the competition was great “jumping off point” for new comedians.

“Every time I watch a comedian I hope to be surprised by a completely fresh and unexpected pathway to a big laugh,” she said. “Class Clowns participants routinely deliver what I hope for – very funny, authentically original perspectives.”

Class Clowns alumni includes big names like Tom Ballard (Triple J) and Josh Thomas (Talkin’ Bout My Generation).

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CLOWNING AROUND: Grace Townsend and Liam Noble took part in Class Clowns last year.  Picture: Jodie Donnellan

CLOWNING AROUND: Grace Townsend and Liam Noble took part in Class Clowns last year. Picture: Jodie Donnellan


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