Canberra’s Dayne Rathbone has been named the best up-and-coming amateur comedian in Australia after taking out the prestigious Triple j Raw Comedy competition for 2011.
Rathbone overcame 11 other finalists and more than 1000 entrants from around Australia to win the national final. He wins a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to perform in the world’s premiere comedy competition, So You Think You’re Funny.
“It’s quite unreal,” he told the Herald Sun. “I went in Raw Comedy last year and didn’t even get past the first round.
“I was expecting more of the same thing year so it’s quite bizarre. I’m honoured.”
Meanwhile, Canberra comedians generally continue to make their mark on the national comedy scene.
Rathbone’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) show Capital Punishment, which also features Canberra performers Emo Parsonson, Kale Bogdanovs, Greg Kimball and Rafe Morris, has sold out six of its eight shows so far – regularly turning people away at the door and delighting audiences from start to finish.
Capital Punishment continues at the Melbourne Town Hall (backstage room) from Thursday to Sunday nights until April 24. While arrangements are yet to be finalised, the troupe is planning to hold a run of return shows in Canberra to thank local audiences for their support. Stay tuned.
Daniel Connell, another Canberra comedy product, has been a standout in the festival showcase The Comedy Zone – a selection of the hottest new talents bursting onto the scene as spotted by comedy festival talent scouts. Toby Halligan and Matt Keneally performed alongside Wil Anderson in Political Asylum, while both embark on their own individual festival shows.
Twins Ben and James Stevenson are also putting in strong performances in their first solo festival show.
Locally, 2011 is shaping up to be the best year yet for Canberra comedy. With no fewer than four regular venues in Canberra (all consistently packed), regular high-class interstate headline acts coming to town and a huge network of quality local performers – the scene has never been stronger.
Comedy ACT spokesman Tim Duck says it’s a reflection of how much the scene has developed in the territory over recent years.
“There’s just so many people coming out of the woodwork wanting to perform comedy in Canberra at the moment, it’s brilliant. As more performers get on stage and more people come to watch – the standard of the shows keeps improving out of sight.”
For all details on gigs, venues, courses, or anything to do with comedy in the ACT – head to the website at www.comedyact.com.au.