Shahnee Hunter wins Comedy Festival’s Deadly Funny

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Shahnee Hunter wins Comedy Festival’s Deadly Funny

Credit: T J Garvie

Shahnee Hunter has won the Melbourne International Comedy Festival's 2023 Deadly Funny competition.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Deadly Funny National Grand Final took place on Saturday in Melbourne. Hosted by First Nations comedy legend Sean Choolburra, the line-up of nine finalists, was a celebration of the best new First Nations talent from around the country.

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Deadly Funny is Australia’s only dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander comedy competition. Part of a suite of development programs by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival which run year-round, the Deadly Funny competition has crossed the continent to unearth the most fresh, funny and powerful, comedians and yarn-spinners from the oldest culture on earth. Today they took to the Forum Melbourne stage to compete for the National Deadly Funny title and a $2,000 cash prize.

The 2023 Deadly Funny title was awarded to Shahnee Hunter from Djabugay, Ewamian, Mbabaram & Butchulla, Queensland. Special mentions were given to Nathan Wright and Tarsh Jago.

The nine Deadly Funny national finalists who performed today included Cameron Ribbons(Kamilaroi) the ACT finalist, David Human (Wiradjuri) and Jessie Human (Wiradjuri Dharug and Dharkinjung) NSW finalists, Dora Smith (Yawuru & Noongar) and Liz Narkle (Noongar) WA finalists, Matthew Bonson (Gurindji & Jawoyn) NT finalist, Nathan Wright (Alyawarr, Darnley Island & Jawoyn) and Tarsh Jago (Palawa) the VIC finalists, and Shahnee Hunter (Djabugay, Ewamian, Mbabaram and Butchulla) the QLD finalist.

As the winner of Deadly Funny, Shahnee Hunter joins the ranks of the country’s favourite First Nations comedians including previous winners and alumni Kevin Kropinyeri, Steph Tisdell, Andy Saunders, Janty Blair, Ghenoa Gela, Jalen Sutcliffe and Shiralee Hood, who have all gone on to stellar careers performing around the country.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival runs from 29 March – 23 April. For more information and to buy tickets, visit