Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Deadly Funny National Grand Final took place in Melbourne. Hosted by Dane Simpson, the show was a joyous celebration of fresh, fierce and funny new First Nations talent from around the country. Now in its 15th year, the Deadly Funny competition featured heats all across Australia throughout 2020 and 2021. Sixteen finalists were selected and today they took to the stage to compete for the National Deadly Funny title and a $2,000 cash prize.
The 2021 Deadly Funny winner is Jahmarley Dawson from Queensland, who won over the audience and judges alike. Special mentions were given to Cy Fahey, Ben Moodie and Kasey Johnson.
The judges, a panel of industry experts, said of Jahmarley’s winning set: “Good comedy needs skill and surprise and we loved the way Jahmarley combined great jokes with musical skill to generate huge laughs. The famous Telstra Dreaming evoked via didgeridoo is something none of us saw coming.”
This year’s Deadly Funny National Grand Final was the culmination of two years of workshops and events across the nation, after the 2020 program was paused due to COVID-19. Australia’s only dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander comedy competition, the Deadly Funny competition unearths and recognises bright and bold new talent from all over the country.
The Deadly Funny national finalists who performed today were Belle Mac (Kukatha/Wikangu, Kaurana, SA), Ben Moodie (Gamilaroi, VIC), Chris Crebbin (Waanyi Garawa, SA), Chris Dawson (Waanyi/Gamilaroi, QLD), Cy Fahey (Dja Dja Wurrung, ACT), Dave Human (Wiradjuri/Dunghutti, NSW), Duane Williams (Whadjuk Nyoognar Booja, WA), Elliott Rovedi (Wiradjuri, NSW), Jacob Keed (Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi, ACT), Jahmarley Dawson (Wanyii/Gamilaroi, QLD), Jay Wymarra (Ludang/Yadaykenu, Meriuam, Saibai Koedal, QLD), Kasey Johnson (Wiradjuri, Gundtjmarra, Yorta Yorta, Wemba Wemba, VIC), Mason Garwood (Noongar Wardandi, WA), Maureen French (Darug, NSW), and Paul Seden (Wuthathi, Mularag, NT). Finalist Eldine Likouresis (Adnyamathanha, SA) was unable to attend, so his performance from the South Australian heat was screened during the show.
Jahmarley Dawson joins the ranks of the country’s favourite Indigenous comedians including previous winners Kevin Kropinyeri, Steph Tisdell, Ghenoa Gela, Jalen Sutcliffe and Shiralee Hood, who have all gone on to stellar careers performing around the country.