Former tightrope walker Zack Dyer has won the national open mic comedy competition, Raw Comedy 2017 – and a spot at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe later this year.
Strolling onto stage in T-shirt and baggy pants, sporting Big Hair and handlebar sandy moustache, he opened with the line: “I know you must all have clocked the hair and moustache and be thinking, ‘This must be Terry’. Or, ‘I’ve seen this guy have sex on an old VHS’.”
Confident and controlled, he filled his five-minute slot with observations about Liveable Melbourne after moving here from Queensland 12 months ago, such as 24-hour Kmarts, not having an AFL team and apologising for his home state voting Pauline Hanson back into the Senate.
Ms Hanson was the only politician to get a mention from the dozen finalists competing for the top comedy title, but no fewer than three contestants included her. Only one compared her to a seagull though, and he won.
Runner up in the contest was Bonnie Tangey from NSW, whose geek-girl schmick worked well by lulling the audience into a false sense of nerd safety, then hitting home hard with a killer punchline. Her haiku dedicated to her ‘friend’ Tom was a killer.
Second runner up was Shaquille Blackley from Perth who, after analyzing the potential weirdness of his own name, turned his attention to strange turns of phrase and the possibility of what might make the next big app. Maybe a meet-up site for those with STIs?
More than 1000 wannabe comedians entered this years Raw Comedy contest, with regional heats leading to state finals and the National Final featuring as part of Melbourne’s International Comedy Festival. The only conditions for entering is that you’re over 17, haven’t been in it before, and haven’t earnt more than $500 from comedy. If you look at how long some of these guys have been performing, it reveals a lot about the realities of making money from stand-up.
The final will be televised on SBS and online and is worth watching.
Hosted by Susie Youssef, the show opened with Andrew Bensley from ACT, who hit a nerve with the crowd when he bemoaned the challenge of making your CV look interesting when you’re 30 and still work in a cinema.
Next up was Isabella Roldan from Tasmania, who has a Chilean background but not enough of a grasp of Spanish to avoid making some eye-watering blunders when chatting to her grandad.
Jason Williams from Darwin asked some very pertinent questions about brand new computers that insist on an update and white goods that are too smart.
He was followed by laidback place-getter Shaquille Blackley and fellow runner up Bonnie Tangey.
Queenslander Oliver Twist is having trouble with magpies attacking him but, on the upside, has found his dark skin has brought him a superpower – the ability to pull over a police car whenever he pulls on a hoodie; useful when witnessing a robbery.
Billy D’Arcy from NSW is a laid-back lover, not a fighter, so has some issues with bossy personal trainers. And being compared to a shelf.
Adelaide’s Carla Wills has deliberately cut her fringe short to make it easy to recognize and connect with fellow feminists. She’s practicing to become a female pervert.
Josh Webb, from Melbourne, is worried that Jim’s Mowing will one day take over the world and still battling confidence issues from primary school but managed to conduct the whole audience as his backing beat for a rap performance.
Brad Hollis from Adelaide has four superannuation accounts and wants to keep them all, but he’s even more proud of the way he rinses soap off himself in the shower. Pure genius.
Sharon Andrews has recently moved to Torquay and it’s messing with her gaydar. She’s also fascinated with those new camel-toed undies but a bit wary of jockeys who look and sound like little lesbians; too confusing.
Finally up stepped Zack Dyer with his seagull jokes.
If you can’t wait for the SBS screening, you can check out Zack alongside David Rose and Izzy Ali at The Last Jar, 616 Elizabeth St, 9.45pm until April 23.
Sydneysiders can see Bonnie Tangey in heat seven of the Stand Up and Be Counted Comedy Festival at Bondi Junction RSL on May 16.
Raw Comedy National Grand Final
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall
Date: April 16, 2017
Tickets: $29 – $36.50