Recommended ReadsOctober 29th, 2019

“They’re cowards”: How Aussie TV is failing our top young comedians

McKinley Valentine
McKinley Valentine, Senior Content Strategist

Australia has some of the funniest stand-up comedians in the world but you wouldn’t know it from our TV shows. People pay $80 to see Dylan Moran tour (justifiably, he’s great) but have no idea there’s a tonne of comedians of that calibre performing for $20 at Comedy Festivals, Fringe Festivals, and your favourite pub on a good night.

It’s actually pretty impressive how good our local comedians are, when you consider that they all move to the UK or US after a few years because there’s no opportunities for them here. (And it’s not just Australian comedians who feel they have to choose between country and career: we have an international diaspora of incredibly talented musicians, actors and scientists who couldn’t get the support they needed in Australia.)

We can’t blame punters for not going to see local comedy: people don’t know about these comedians because there’s no shows giving them any airtime, so how would you hear about them? And since bad comedy is really bad, it’s hard to take a gamble on an unknown.

Comedian Matt Okine says “a comedy career like Carl Barron’s couldn’t happen today. (...) That guy has sold the most tickets out of any Australian comedian in ages just based on a few appearances on a weekly show (The Footy Show) that gave comedians a chance, and we don’t have that at the moment and it’s a real shame.”

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