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All Star comedian Kevin Kropinyer credits Deadly Funny for changing his life

Rhiannon Clarke -

Cheeky, loud, black and proud, Deadly Funny is the biggest First Nations comedy showcase in Australia and is hitting all corners of the nation with a series of heats.

Wednesday night Fremantle Arts Centre was lit up and echoed with laughter as comedy All Star and Ngarrindjeri man Kevin Kropinyeri hosted the event.

In its 18th year and proudly presented by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Deadly Funny searches to find the funniest and most talented First Nation comedian.

Fremantle Arts Centre echoed with laughter (Image: Rhiannon Clarke)

Mr Kropinyeri, who had previously won the Deadly Funny competition in 2008, expressed how this achievement had a profound impact on his entire life.

"It changed my life. And It changed my life in a positive way," he said.

"I'll tell you now, when I was sitting in a jail cell 21-years-ago, a broken man with no healing…I never thought I would be travelling the world bringing big laughter, I never thought I would be travelling all over Australia.

"I never thought I'd be a blackfulla name through Aboriginal Australia and deadly funny did that for me."

Liz Narkle, Pearl Smith, and Kristen Lynch, all first-time comedians, formed the lineup for Perth's comedy show. Out of the three, Ms Lynch emerged as the winner and will now have the opportunity to compete at the renowned Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Kristen Lynch will be flown to Melbourne to compete in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (Image:Rhiannon Clarke)

Mr Kropinyeri emphasised the significance of comedy festivals such as deadly funny in providing a platform for indigenous comedians to express themselves, contributing to the development of a thriving blackfulla comedy scene.

During his early days in comedy, there were no specific "Black comedy events," but in recent years, there has been noticeable growth in this regard.

"When I first started it was only Sean Choolburra and then it was me and for a lot of years it was only me and Sean," said Mr Kropinyeri.

"Now we have over 25 deadly good bookable comedians that are making a living off stand up comedy and you know what? Deadly funny is paving the way."

Mr Kropinyeri said it's important for Aboriginal people to come to events and have a good laugh after a year of tension.

Mr Kropinyeri previously won Deadly Funny back in 2008 (Image: Rhiannon Clarke)

Mr Kropinyeri reiterated a statement made by his close friend, Mr Choolburra, often referred to as the godfather of Aboriginal comedy.

"He said to me 'Kevin, we're not comedians but healers'. It gets me a little emotional because a lot of our people are going through a lot, and when they come to our shows they say 'I never laughed so much and tonight I needed that'," he said.

Mr Kropinyeri urged the upcoming generation of deadly funny comedians to step forward and embrace their potential, as they could be sitting on a gold mine of comedy material that could lead to a promising future.

"Don't die saying I should've…fear and shame will stop you from reaching your full potential so get up and have a crack," he said.

Ms Lynch will compete in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from which starts on Wednesday 27 March and finishes Sunday 21 April 2024.

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