Amidst the bustle of the 2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, 12 of the nation’s sharpest school-aged comic acts came together to take over Melbourne Town Hall and battle it out at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Class Clowns National Grand Final for their chance to be crowned the most hilarious teen act in the country.
The popular winner was New South Wales comedian Aaron Chen, who walked away with the Class Clowns trophy, a novelty human-sized cheque, $1000 in cash plus another $1000 for his school, North Sydney Boys High School.
Judges for the day included comedians Celia Pacquola, Lawrence Leung and Glenn Robbins and Casting Director at ABC TV, Alison Telford.
Runner Up was awarded to Matt Wallace from East Doncaster Secondary College in Victoria, tied with Elyza Day from Gippsland Grammar in Victoria.
Judge Celia Pacquola said, “The standard was incredibly high – young, talented and above all, funny! I loved witnessing what will be the start of many comedy careers, I look forward to watching and borrowing money from them in the future. “
Fellow judge Lawrence Leung said, "I think Class Clowns is a sneak preview of the future of Australian comedy. The grand finalists showed so much raw talent and hilarity, that the older comedians on the judging panel joked about sabotaging careers and stealing material. If the Class Clowns program was around when I was in school, I probably would've found my comedic calling earlier and not had that awkward Goth phase."
Class Clowns is a national secondary school comedy competition and workshop programme run by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Class Clowns holds workshops and performances in every capital city and also across regional areas of Australia. Mentored by professional festival comedians the performers have been encouraged with comedic advice from the likes of Dave Callan, Sam Simmons, Sammy J, Josh Earl and many more of Australia’s finest comedians. This nation wide search culminates in bringing the funniest school aged acts to Melbourne for the spectacular National Grand Final.
Since its inception in 1996, Class Clowns has been developing the art of comedy amongst the nation’s teenage comics from Darwin to Hobart, Perth to Launceston and in over 20 centres in between. The competition is supported by teachers’ notes and online resources, as well as year-round developmental and professional workshops.
Class Clowns alumni include Tom Ballard (Triple J), Josh Thomas (Talkin’ Bout My Generation) and Danny McGinlay.