2010 National Grand Final
Thirteen of the nation’s sharpest school aged comic acts battled it out at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Class Clowns National Grand Final, on 7 September at The Malthouse Theatre, for their chance to be crowned the most hilarious teen act in the country.
The top prize was awarded to Queensland comedian Matthew Ford, who not only walked away with a novelty human-sized cheque, but also pocketed $1000 in cash plus another $1000 for his school, Cavendish Road High School.
Judges Bronwyn Pike MP (Minister for Education), Sammy J (Barry Award Winner 2010), Denise Scott (Comedian and TEN’s 7PM Project regular) and Virginia Lovett (MICF General Manager) were impressed by the diversity of all 13 acts, which included musical parodies, ensemble sketch comedy and stand-up. After much deliberation, it was Matthew’s confidence and outstanding comedic timing that won the judges over.
Runner Up was awarded to Ned Hirst (Daramalan College, ACT), Tasmin McFarlane and Polly Mauldlin (Melbourne Girls College, VIC) and Scratch Me Happy (Marist College, ACT).
Judge Sammy J said: “It’s sickening to see how far ahead these guys already are - they’ve already conquered first gig nerves and they cant even drive. I got to work with some of these students in the Queensland workshops and it was awesome to see how committed they are to their comedy.”
Emcee Tom Gleeson said: “Matthew had the relaxed, laid-back presence of a headliner who’s been doing this for the last 10 years. I just couldn’t believe that I could watch a 17-year old talk on stage for five minutes and be wanting to hear more. This 2010 Class Clowns Grand Final resembles what a Raw Comedy Grand Final used to be.”
Since March this year, the Festival has been tracking a rare breed of teen – witty, smart, in Years 9 to 12, willing to perform five minutes of original comic material in front of a crowd, and most importantly, they had to be freakin’ hilarious. After a series of heats, finals, semi finals and state finals across the country, the cream of the teenage crop was flown (or driven) to Melbourne to compete in the 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), Danny McGinlay, and Kynan Barker (writer for Rove).