The world of comedy gets a little bit bigger every year thanks to the RAW Comedy competition, which turns Australia’s best up-and-comers into the next big thing.
You only have to take a glance at the talent RAW Comedy has unearthed; Hannah Gadsby, Aaron Chen, Celia Pacquola and Ronny Chieng to name a few, to realise that earning recognition in RAW can be a bonafide path to success.
Blake Pavey is a Victorian finalist, working his way up from the heats to the big stage, where he’ll battle it out this weekend for the coveted top spot. Hailing from regional Victoria, he explains the world of comedy wasn’t an easy thing to get into, with opportunities usually only happening in the cities.
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“I grew up in a in a small country town and always wanted to do comedy,” Blake says, “but living in a town like that, there’s no real opportunities to get into it. That’s why I was lucky enough to accidentally blow up on Tik Tok and all that sort of stuff, and from there, it’s just sort been a natural progression into stand up.”
In a town with few opportunities, Blake grew up on the humour of his extended family, as well as the comedians on TV. “I was brought up around funny people, so it’s (comedy) has always been around me. Carl Barron was one that mum and dad showed me, and that’s how I got introduced to stand-up comedy,” he continues.
“On top of that, comedians in the US like Marc Maron, Bo Burnham, and all those types of blokes.”
Each comedian Blake namechecks has one thing in common: originality. They’re not scared to do something a little different and garner a lot of positive attention for it.
The idea of originality and being yourself in comedy is something Blake uses often, citing the use of his cystic fibrosis diagnosis in his comedy. After living with the disease for a number of years, Blake notes it was a natural addition to his comedy, which helps him make the best of a bad situation.
“I think my main goal is to try and find the humour in it all,” Blake says. “It helps with such a shitty situation I guess, it’s sort of a pretty natural thing for me though, I keep it pretty light-hearted. It’s good to bring it in because nobody can really copy it, which has been good too.”
Now a finalist for RAW Comedy, Blake has worked his way up from the heats, dazzling fans and judges from across the country with his original stylings. Entering the competition with few expectations, Blake has earned the attention of the industry through his engaging material in the heats.
“I pretty much just wanted to see if I could do it,” Blake says. “I rocked up to most of my heats and semi-finals not really going into it with any expectations, which I think is sort of the best way to be, so you don’t end up disappointed at the end of it if it doesn’t pan out the way you want it to.”
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The Aussie comedy community can be considered tight knit, with most people in the industry eager to help each other out. Blake says this is especially the case in RAW world, noting that the organisers have been highly encouraging in helping him throughout the competition’s many stages.
“They’ve (RAW Comedy) been great. I haven’t had a bad experience yet, which is good, they’ve been amazing through the whole process,” he says.
“It’s been so good to meet (comedians) at the heats who are at the same stage of their careers as I am, so it’ll be exciting to see where we progress in the next couple of years after RAW. It is a tight-knit community I’ve felt, especially the comedians that I hang around with regularly, you just build a camaraderie with them throughout.”
If you’re looking to find the next big thing in comedy, and get onto an act before they go mainstream, there’s no better resource than RAW. Blake notes that it’s an experience for people to come and see young comics before they hit their upward trajectory.
“It’s exciting to see people that are probably going to have a great career in comedy and media and whatever else they want to do. It’s exciting to see new talent on the rise.”
Watch these names: Cathal Leslie (ACT), Delhi Buoy (SA), Iona Colville (TAS), Nathan Powell (NT), Bron Lewis (QLD), Joshua Coutinho (QLD), Aves Robins (WA), Dom McGovern (WA), Blake Pavey (VIC), Heather Joan (VIC), Alexandra Hudson (NSW) and Guneet Kaur (NSW) will all fight it out for one of the premier comedy prizes of the year this weekend.
You can catch Blake at the RAW Comedy Grand Final this Sunday, April 10 at the Melbourne Town Hall. There are still tickets available here.
In partnership with Melbourne International Comedy Festival.