How should you prepare for RAW Comedy 2011?

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Registrations for the 2011 competition open November 22nd are now open, so mark your calendars.

  The Heats are held January through March in all States with snippets broadcast as promotions on ABC-Radio, the Grand Final will take place in April at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) and will be televised on ABC-TV, and the winner gets a trip to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

So, what should you be doing now if you fancy yourself as somewhat of a funnypants, and you want to give RAW Comedy a go in 2011?


  1. Make sure that you understand the rules of the competition and double-check that you qualify as a competitor under them, and whether you can manage to get to the venues.
  2. Strip out anything in your set that is not entirely original/unique to you (even if you came up with this stuff on your own – sometimes comics do get the same idea independently) – if the judges have heard it before from someone else then you will almost certainly be marked down.
    Highly Recommended:

  • Go and watch as much live comedy as you can. Watching comedians only on TV will not prepare you for the realities of interacting with a live audience. Pay attention to the different comedy styles to work out where you fit and where you can bring something new to the stage, because the judges are looking not just for who can perform well and make a career in comedy, but especially for who’s got something exciting and innovative to offer, so look out for predictable performances, work out why they’re predictable, and aim to avoid falling into that trap.
  • Check out the RAW FAQ, the Judging Policy and What the Judges Say , then think critically about your own strengths and weaknesses as a performer in light of that. In particular, think hard and be honest with yourself about whether there’s anything you need to change about your material or performance to highlight your strengths before you rock up to compete.
  • Refine and rehearse your material – cut down your setups and punchlines to be tight and clear, work on your delivery and make sure that you keep the whole set well under the 5 minute time limit.
  • Get yourself along to your state’s Heats venue and check out the space where the contest will happen, ideally while a comedy show is happening there! If you live too far away for a recon trip, at least try and find a recording of a show on YouTube that happened at the venue, to get a feel for the room.
  • Ask comedians you see at shows about their own experiences with RAW and take some notes.
  • Once you’re basically happy with the structure and length of your routine, perform your set as often as you can, and not just in front of friends and family. Those who get through to the finals are nearly always those who’ve got some experience already in performing to the general public. Volunteer for some Open Mic spots and ask the other performers for feedback when you do.

If you find this list of recommendations a bit daunting, and think perhaps you don’t have time to do all that before January, you can always give it a go anyway – it’s guaranteed you’ll learn something about yourself and comedy! Or perhaps you could look into one of the comedy courses that can help you sharpen your routines and get used to performance so that you can be ready for 2012.

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