Give It A Go

So, do you make people laugh? Want to make a living at it?

The first step is to go and watch a lot of others doing live comedy and start to understand what makes them tick on stage. Write down some ideas and polish them into a few minutes of material. Then:
[tab:Open Mics]
Open mics offer a chance for up-and-comers to polish their acts with the encouragement of experienced MCs and headline acts, and for the audience to see developing material from new performers taking risks. Comedy rooms offering open mic nights are the nurseries of tomorrow’s headliners. Support your local open mic night!

Good advice for those thinking about having a go at open-mic from Perth’s The Laugh Resort [link], the old mic in hand site [link] and NZ’s The Classic [link]

Experienced performers are out there offering courses in stand-up, improvisation, mime, comedia dell’arte and other useful comic skills. All these courses help to fine-tune the presentation of one’s comedic material to best engage the audience.

The Courses page currently has details of several stand-up and some impro courses running in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Submit details of other courses via email.

Check the rules for each contest on their websites before requesting a spot!

There are a couple of big national competitions, but there are also many regional open-mic contests, some with decent prize-money, happening around the larger comedy clusters. If you know of one happening near you, please send me an email so I can add it to the list.


  • RAW comedy

    Open-mic competition for newcomers, with its final at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and its prize of a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival complete with a spot in the finals of The Gilded Balloon’s prestigious So You Think You’re Funny? competition. Join the mailing list to be notified of registration opening for the 2011 comp.

  • Green Faces

    Canberra Irish ClubJuly/August (registration from June) – organised by A-List Heats are organised according to State of residence. A-List coordinates transport/accommodation.

    • 1st Prize: $2500.00 cash plus a weeks bookings (Thursday-Saturday) at either the Sydney Comedy Store or The Sit Down Comedy Club in Brisbane.
    • 2nd Prize: $750 Cash plus five paid support spots through A-List Comedy Clubs.
    • 3rd Prize: $500 Cash plus five paid support spots through A-List Comedy Clubs.


  • Quest for the Best

    Comedy on the Rox, Glebe Australia’s richest open mic contest with a $5000 prize. Heats start in February/March and progress over 27 weeks to quarter finals and preliminary finals, with the Grand Final in November.

  • Comedy Court

    Star Bar, Sydney (formerly Planet Hollywood, 600 George Street, Sydney) Weekly on Fridays: 20 comedians compete each week for up to $1500 in cash and prizes and a paid gig hosting the next competition! With digital voting pads, the audience decides the winners on the spot. (Includes a contest within a contest – “in the Witness Box” – open mic for comics who sign up on the night) Contact: 02 9547-2578

  • 5 Minutes of Funny

    New contest for 2010 run by A-List – prize $1000 plus a gig supporting a top touring comedian. Heats during January and February 2010 at 2 A-List rooms – Old Manly Boatshed on Mondays, Oatley Hotel on Wednesdays. Finals at Manly in March. To enquire about “5 Minutes of Funny” and to receive a registration form please email yet confirmed if this will be repeated in 2011.

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[tab: Writing]
Sydney has a new Comedy Writers Group where performers/writers can workshop their material, founded November 2010. Check out their page on Facebook for meeting details.

News of open mic nights, courses, contests and other comedy opportunities (writing, film etc) will appear in the avagoyamug category.