Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Deadly Funny National Grand Final took place on Saturday in Melbourne. Hosted by Kevin Kropinyeri, the lineup of 12 finalists, was a cheeky, loud, black and proud celebration of fresh and funny new First Nations talent from around the country.
For 16 years the Deadly Funny competition – Australia’s only dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander comedy competition – has crossed the continent to unearth the freshest and fiercest, comedians and yarnspinners from the oldest culture on earth.
On Saturday they took to the Forum Melbourne stage to compete for the National Deadly Funny title and a $2,000 cash prize.
The 2022 Deadly Funny title was awarded to Janty Blair from Butchulla, QLD, who had the audience and judges in stitches. Special mentions were given to David Human and Dora Smith.
The judges, a panel of industry experts, said of the finalists: “The Deadly Funny Grand Final performances were a great representation of the next generation of First Nations comedy from all over Australia. It was a really eclectic mix of all ages, all perspectives.”
The 11 Deadly Funny national finalists who performed today included Bel Mac (Kukatha/Wikangu, Kaurana, SA), Ben Moodie (Gamilaroi, VIC), Cameron Ribbons (Kamilaroi, ACT), Dave Human (Wiradjuri, Living Dunghutti country, NSW), Dora Smith (Yawuru/Noongar, Broome & Perth, WA), Gavin Sempel (Dharawalm, VIC), Janty E Blair (Butchulla, QLD), Jessie Human (Wiradjuri Dharug and Dharkinjung, NSW), Kylan Abrum (Yidinji, QLD), Maureen French (Darug, NSW) and Nathan Wright (Larrakia/Wurrumungu, NT).
As the winner of Deadly Funny, Janty joins the ranks of the country’s favourite Indigenous comedians including previous winners Kevin Kropinyeri, Steph Tisdell, Ghenoa Gela, Jalen Sutcliffe and Shiralee Hood, who have all gone on to stellar careers performing around the country.
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival continues to 24 April. For more information, visit: www.comedyfestival.com.au for details.
Image: Janty Blair – photo by T J Garvie