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Sold out Deadly Funny Grand Final sees joint winners

Dechlan Brennan -

Monday night was the Deadly Funny Grand Final at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, hosted by renowned Biripi comedian Andy Saunders, and saw six Indigenous comedians from around Australia compete in front of a sold-out crowd. 

A celebration of the best new First Nations talent from around the country, the night saw the joint winners take home their share of the $3000 prize. 

Both Ngarrindjeri woman Kalah Lovegrove from South Australia, and Ramindjeri man Tyson Walker from Queensland thrilled the six judges with wildly different - but equally funny - performances. 

An emotional Ms Lovegrove, a single mother of four, told National Indigenous Times this was her first night away from her children in two years. 

“It feels amazing,” she said. “I am honoured and so excited.” 

Asked what she will do next, she laughed before saying: “I have no idea. Whatever they ask me to do.”

“I'll just go home and keep talking c**p to everyone else, tell them my stories,” before saying a long-term goal may be a show at Fringe Festival. 

Kalah Lovegrove performing (Image: T J Garvie)


Mr Walker said he did his first Deadly Funny ten years ago and said it was “amazing” to join the past winners, which has seen a Queenslander take out the prize for the last four years. 

Asked what was next, Mr Walker said: “Hopefully I get to do a few shows with some of the Indigenous comedians I’ve met over the last decade and see where that takes me.” 

Ms Lovegrove said she found out herself and Mr Walker were related two days ago, noting: “That’s intense. Both from South Australia; both Ngarrindjeri.” 

The evening also saw special performances by previous Deadly Funny winners and finalists Janty Blair, Kevin Kropinyeri and Dane Simpson. 

Host Andy Saunders told National Indigenous Times that events like Deadly Funny were “very important” for Aboriginal communities to help share more of their stories, but more was needed from mainstream outlets to platform Indigenous comedians. 

“I think we need to get out into communities a little more,” Mr Saunders said.

"The mainstream media has to be a little more involved, they have to include us a little bit more.

“We’re better than just being called up to talk about NAIDOC and reconciliation once a year on mainstream channels and talk shows. It's just not good enough.

"We should be infiltrating that space and showing people we are worthy enough to be there, because we do have the talent.” 

He noted he learnt all his jokes in “struggling loungerooms".

“Adversity creates funny,” Mr Saunders said. 

The six Grand Finalists were: Ben Moodie, Gamilaroi (VIC Finalist); Elliot Rovedi, Wiradjuri (NSW finalist); Kalah Lovegrove, Ngarrindjeri (SA Finalist);  Kirsten Lynch, Noongar (WA finalist); Tyson Walker, Ramindjeri (QLD finalist); and Zone Harlem, Wiradjuri (ACT finalist). 


The six Deadly Funny grand finalists (Image: T J Garvie)



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