On Friday 19 April at the Melbourne Town Hall, 13 of the nation’s sharpest school-aged comic acts competed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Class Clowns National Grand Final for their chance to be crowned the most hilarious teenager in the country.
The winner for this year was James Warren from Rosny College in Tasmania, who captivated the judges with his quick wit and dry comedy style.
James walked away with the Class Clowns trophy, a novelty human-sized cheque, $1000 in cash plus another $1000 for his school.
Runner up places were awarded to Lachie Clarke from Trinity Grammar in Victoria, Emma Hogan from Concordia College in South Australia and Sam Perry from Darwin High School in the Northern Territory.
Judges for the day included Festival Director Susan Provan, comedians Josie Long and Frank Woodley and Mullinars casting agent Nathan Lloyd.
The feature act of today’s show were sketch comedy geniuses The Pajama Men and the hosts were comedians Matt Okine and Deanne Smith, giving the young competitors of Class Clowns a taste of working alongside professionals of the comedy world.
Class Clowns Producer Karin Farrell said after the competition, "The quality of the performances today took even the judges by surprise as seasoned professionals like Frank Woodley and Josie Long were in pieces backstage trying to decide on a winner! The calibre of these contestants highlights that there is most definitely a place for young people in comedy – and that they are right there on the heels of the current crop of comedians, poised to add their own unique and fresh take on how they see the world.”
Class Clowns is a national secondary school comedy competition and workshop programme run by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Class Clowns workshops and performances are held in every capital city and also across regional areas of Australia. Mentored by professional festival comedians the 2013 performers have been encouraged with comedic advice from the likes of Wes Snelling, Xavier Michelides, Sam Simmons, Sammy J, Harley Breen, Dave Williams 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 February this year the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been encouraging a healthy dose of hijinks in the nation’s classrooms, on the hunt for the funniest kids in years nine to twelve.
After a series of heats, finals, semi finals and state finals across the country, the cream of the teenage crop were 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) and Josh Thomas (Talkin’ Bout My Generation).