Celebrating the freshest, fiercest and funniest new Indigenous talent from around the country, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Deadly Funny National Final and Showcase took place at The Forum on Saturday 6 April 2019.
Now in its 14th year, the competition took place in every state and territory in Australia. Twelve finalists, selected from a nation-wide series of workshops and heats, took to the stage to compete for the National Deadly Funny title and a $2000 cash prize.
The 2019 winner was Fabian Woods of Western Australia, who had the audience and judges (Kevin Kropinyeri, Caroline Martin, Celia Pacquola and Sam Simmons) in stitches from the get-go, with nonstop punchlines and tales of growing up in a low socio-economic community.
Host Steph Tisdell, and special guests Luca & Tyler Saunders, Dhungala Baarka and 2018 Deadly Funny winner Leon Filewood all performed for the audience in the only dedicated comedy program for Australia’s traditional owners.
“Every single act on stage smashed and nailed it,” said Deadly Funny producer Wes Snelling. “From Jay Wymarra who exclaimed post-show – I don’t care about winning, I just played The Forum! – to Kasey Johnson doing her second ever gig, to host Steph Tisdell hugging the audience verbally and bringing the laughs throughout the show’s entirety.
“The content was overwhelmingly diverse with new big ideas and realities being brought to the table and delivered with exquisite comic timing. The true success was the camaraderie developed by the performers, and the love in the room from the 500-odd audience members from all walks of life was palpable.”
The Deadly Funny National Final and Showcase is the grand final event for the competition that unearths and recognises bright and bold new talent from all over the country, and the only dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander comedy competition.
Fabian joins the ranks of the country’s favourite Indigenous comedians including previous winners Kevin Kropinyeri, Ghenoa Gela, Jalen Sutcliffe and Shiralee Hood, who have all gone on to stellar careers performing around the country.
The Deadly Funny National Final will be broadcast on SBS & NITV later in the year. For more information, visit: www.comedyfestival.com.au for details.
Image: the 2019 Deadly Funny National Final (supplied)