The Competition

Calling all funny high-schoolers!

Each year hundreds of secondary school students from Years 9-12 participate in Class Clowns across the country – discovering and refining their skills in writing and performing comedy and taking it outside the classroom to a wider audience. 

Class Clowns uses artistic activities such as drama, performance and writing to hone comedic talent, build self-esteem, confidence and resilience, and amplify the voices and perspectives of young people.

Participation is FREE!

Registrations for the 2024 competition are now open. Sign up now or head over to our calendar page to see when Class Clowns is coming to your neck of the woods.


Step 1: Teachers, parents or guardians register students to participate

Step 2: Students write or develop 3-5 minutes of comedy material, ahead of the workshop

Step 3: 2-hour workshops are held around the country during February/March, where a professional comedian will help students rehearse and refine their acts

Step 4: Following the workshop, students have the chance to perform at a Class Clowns Heat - in front of a live audience at a show hosted by a professional comedian

Step 5: The funniest entrants are selected by guest judges to go through to State Finals

Step 6:  State Final winners are invited to participate in the National Grand Final for a chance to win a cash prize of $1,500 for themselves AND a $1,000 workshop package for their school


•    Class Clowns is open to all Australian secondary students in Years 9-12 or 14-18 years old
•    Students must have a 3-5 minute act ready to go, that they would like to rehearse and refine 
•    A maximum of three people can be part of each act
•    Routines should be original, well-rehearsed, avoid the offensive, and funny! 
•    Any style of comedy is welcome. Sketch acts, stand up, physical, musical, or anything in between!

Not quite ready for a competition? We also offer tailored, one-off comedy ‘Crash Courses’ that can be brought to your secondary school or performing arts venue, or delivered online via Zoom.

Crash Course can be delivered as part of existing English, Drama and Student Wellbeing programs. Find out more about Crash Courses here.


Want to try comedy, but not sure where to start?
How do you write material?
What if you bomb on stage?
What is the secret to success?

We think the best people to answer these questions are the comedians who’ve “been there, done that”!

We asked some of Australia’s funniest folk for tips and tricks to get you started on your comedy journey and they’ve given candid answers to tricky questions. Join Rhys Nicholson, Dane Simpson, Cal Wilson, Ivan Aristeguieta, Michelle Brasier, Geraldine Hickey, Claire Hooper and Annie Louey, as they guide you through writing jokes, stagecraft and everything in between.

Why try comedy? Hear from Ivan, Michelle, Geraldine, Claire, Annie, Rhys, Dane and Cal in this in introductory video on why you should give comedy a go!

To access these resources simply register for Class Clowns and we’ll email you details for the full suite of videos, including:

  1. How to write material
  2. What not to do
  3. What to do before hitting the stage
  4. What to keep in mind on stage
  5. What are the judges looking for?
  6. What if you bomb?
  7. How to use the stage

These invaluable resources are exclusively available for Melbourne International Comedy Festival Class Clowns participants.


'How grateful we are to have had our students share in this fantastic and unique opportunity! We had 14 students take part in Class Clowns from PBC (including 1 national finalist!) and each of them loved the experience of workshopping and performing in front of industry professionals, stepping out of their comfort zone and above all else, making people laugh. They were able to build on what they already had by listening to and using constructive feedback which is a life skill in itself that holds huge value. What an amazing platform for young people to build on their skills and explore this beautiful artform.' 
Erin Hull, Teacher, Palm Beach Currumbin State High School, Queensland

‘Class Clowns is about brand-new talent and ideas, building confidence in young people and watching them experience the pure joy of being on stage’ 
Anne Edmonds, Comedian, Writer, Podcaster

‘It’s wonderful to work alongside the Melbourne International Comedy Festival – Class Clowns Workshop in the Wimmera region. Any program that enhances young people’s perspectives and experiences we are happy to partner with, the comedy workshops introduced another dimension and aspect of performing Arts.’ 
David Law, Indigenous Academy Manager Community Development at Anglicare

‘We love Class Clowns. So much. We get to hang with the next generation of Aussie comics and help them take their talent to the next level.’
Aunty Donna (Sketch Comedy Group)

Still got questions? Check out our FAQs page here.

A Message From The Class Clowns Alumni

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