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.

We accept the invitation to walk together with First Nations people towards a more positive future for Australia, as described in the Uluru Statement From The Heart.

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Deadly Funny FAQs


Cheeky, 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.

How do I register?
Registrations are now open. << Click here >>  to get registering.  Stay in the know by following us on our facebook page. More heats to be announced soon!

What are the benefits of participating?
You will get the chance to work with a professional comedian to develop your material and stagecraft, the opportunity to perform in front of a live audience. Each state winner wins a $1000 cash prize, plus they will be flown to Melbourne to compete in the National Grand Final for the chance to win $3,000!

When are the workshops held?
For the 2024 program, workshops and heats are scheduled to take place prior to the end of 2023 and early 2024, with the National Grand Final taking place in Melbourne in April 2024. Stay in the know by following us on our facebook page.

What is involved in the workshop?
All participants with a professional comedian to refine their comedy, hone their yarns and get comfortable with the microphone, and being on stage in general.

How many people are in the workshops?
Each heat has a maximum of 18 places.

What do I have to do to prepare?
Think about your funniest jokes and yarns, what do you tell your friends, family and community to make them laugh? What makes you laugh? The more jokes and stories you have up your sleeve, the more fun you can have in the workshop, where our mentors can help you with structure, punchlines and looking comfortable on stage.

How do I get started writing a comedy set?
Comedians all work differently, some people test their material out in front of friends, others keep notes on their phone, and others again sit down and write scripts, word for word. Whatever method works for you, it’s worth having some written prompts down to help you stay on track when you’re on stage. 

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.

Once you register you'll have access the full series of video resources which we’ll email you details for, 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 industry development program/Deadly Funny participants.

Can I do the workshops but choose not to compete?
Of course! While it’s very much encouraged, no-one is going to force you to get up on stage! Often people who are nervous before a workshop gain the necessary confidence in the process of working with the facilitator.

I’m nervous about participating. What should I do?
Nerves are a very natural part of live performance – they keep performers on their toes and can sometimes lead to some brilliant moments on stage. We would encourage you to come along to the workshop and see how you are feeling after working on your material.

If you really don’t feel ready, then consider coming along to the show to see what it’s all about – it is a (cheap and sometimes free!) rollicking good time and may provide some inspiration for your own written or performance work in future years.

I have accessibility requirements, how do I arrange assistance?
Please email for any assistance in access requirements.

How much does it cost?
Nothing, it’s FREE to participate in Deadly Funny.

When do registrations close?
Registrations remain open until the day of each workshop, or until the maximum capacity of 18 places has been reached.

I registered but didn't get a confirmation. What do I do?
We always reply, don't worry! Sometimes the confirmation emails go to your junk folder. Check there, and if you can't find your email, contact us at

Who can I talk to for more info?
You can reach the Deadly Funny producer via email on

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