Melbourne International Comedy Festival acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we work and live. We acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' spirit, imagination and rich history of storytelling and humour that is an inspiration to all Australians.




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Deadly Funny


Cheeky and loud, black and proud, Deadly Funny is Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s national comedy competition unearthing the freshest and funniest First Nations talent from across the country.

What is Deadly Funny?

Deadly Funny is a national comedy competition open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over the age of 18. We want you to get behind the mic and work with some of Australia’s finest First Nations comedians and storytellers.

Entering its 16th year, Deadly Funny has seen the likes Steph Tisdell, Kevin KropinyeriAndy Saunders, Shiralee Hood, Dane Simpson and Sean Choolburra join the program as both participants and mentors – and you could be next!

To participate, all you need is five minutes of funny material. Material can be stand up, musical, sketch, physical/dance or character based, or simply the telling of a good yarn. You can participate as a solo, duo or trio. Sign up, come along, run through your ideas with a professional comedian in a three-hour workshop, and then jump on stage for a public performance.

Need more reasons to enter? Those who progress from their heat will be flown to Melbourne to perform at the 2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and compete for the Deadly Funny crown and a $2,000 cash prize!

The Rules

  • Open to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders aged 18 and over (if you are under 18, check our the Class Clowns program here)
  • Acts should be 3-5 minutes max!
  • Acts can be 1-3 people
  • Routines must be original
  • Acts can be stand up, musical, sketch, physical/dance or character based

For info on what the judges are looking for read the Deadly Funny judging policy here.

Sign up 

Registrations for Deadly Funny 2022 will open soon. Check back later or follow Deadly Funny on Facebook to stay up to date with news and announcements.

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.

But first…

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 the full series of video resources simply register for Deadly Funny and we’ll email you all videos, including: how to write material, what not to do, what to do before hitting the stage, what to keep in mind on stage, what are the judges looking for, what if you bomb and how to use the stage.

These invaluable resources are exclusively available for Deadly Funny participants.


Melbourne International Comedy Festival openly encourages participation from people of all backgrounds and abilities, and is committed to providing a safe, inclusive and respectful environment for all. If you need any assistance with your registration or have any questions regarding the physical requirements to compete in the Deadly Funny workshop and competition, please contact or (03) 9245 3700.

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Deadly Funny workshops and heats will be announced soon. All workshops and heats will take place prior to the National Grand Final at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in April 2022. Check back for event details or follow Deadly Funny on Facebook for all event announcements. If you sign up for a Deadly Funny workshop/heat you'll be notified by email when event details are confirmed.

Event Date Times Venue Tickets
Melbourne, VIC TBC TBC   Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre
Click here for the venue's COVIDSafe Plan

Brisbane, Qld

TBC TBC   Citipointe Church West
Click here for the venue's COVIDSafe Plan

Fremantle, WA



Fremantle Arts Centre
Click here for the venue's COVIDSafe Plan
Adelaide, SA TBC TBC


Tandanya - Inparrinthi Space
Click here for the venue's COVIDSafe Plan

Sydney, NSW

TBC TBC   The Comedy Store
Click here for the venue's COVIDSafe Plan
Darwin, NT TBC TBC  

Darwin Entertainment Centre
Click here for the venue's COVIDSafe Plan

Canberra, ACT TBC TBC   Tuggeranong Arts Centre
Click here for the venue's COVIDSafe Plan
National Grand Final April 2022     2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival   

Check back later for more information on Deadly Funny events dates or follow us on Facebook to stay up to date!

COVIDSafe Comedy - for more information on the Festival's COVIDSafe practices and to read a copy of our COVIDSafe Plans click here.

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Have more questions about Deadly Funny? Check out our FAQs page.