The Comedy Zone

The Comedy Zone provides a tantalising tasting plate of comedians discovered through RAW Comedy and Class Clown competitions. Five comedians ­take to the stage to give you a veritable concoction of the finest up-and-comers.


Amos Gill was the chosen MC. His friendly smile assured the audience that though he is young, he’s got this. We were right to trust him. His presence was commanding, his jokes were sharp, his smile was contagious. Amos was the runner up for the prestigious Raw Comedy competition in 2012.


First up after Amos we had the freshly 19-year-old Neel Kolhatkar. You believe his youth to be either an elaborate lie or at least a redundant fact when you witness Neel swagger onto the stage. His confidence is entirely justified: this guy is extremely funny.


Neel won the Melbourne Comedy Festival Class Clowns competition in 2009. Since then he has sauntered his way onto stages across Australia with far more confidence than one so young should be capable of. Neel’s impressions are truly brilliant, you could easily think you were watching a seasoned actor in his golden year. Just when you believe you cannot be more impressed, Neel raps and sings like an absolute champion.


Next up we had the ladies representing, though ever so tentatively. Victoria’s own Hayman Kent walks apologetically onto the stage. Don’t trust her seemingly awkward demeanor, this girl knows exactly what she is doing. The audience looked engaged but unsure as Hayman softly greeted them. The instantaneous look of surprise that ensued was amusing as Hayman delivered the audience with ease to their first loud laugh. For one so cute, it seems unfair that she is simultaneously so incredibly witty.


Ivan Aristeguieta salsas onto the stage. Not in the journalist putting a sneaky racial spin on his walk kind of way, he quite literally entered the stage doing the salsa. I challenge you to not instantly warm to a guy who salsas onto the stage with the warmest smile you may have ever seen.


There are times when observations from a newcomer to Australia about our national traits can be tiresome, this was not one of those times. Every single insight felt fresh, newfangled and faultlessly funny. Ivan even threw in a Schapelle Corby reference to the audiences utter delight.


Finally we had Tien Tran, the winner of RAW Comedy in Western Australia. His delivery was pan-faced, guileless, and well crafted. Tien’s audience was entreated to a mixture of insightful social commentary and jokes about AIDS and monkey rape.


His material is versatile, his delivery is well-timed and his humour is just the right mix of scathing and silly.


The Comedy Zone is renown for selecting those people who will do great things and this year their selection has been impeccable. If you don’t know what show to see at the festival, it’s worth seeing these guys before their ticket prices soar.



The Comedy Zone is on at Trades Hall, Old Council Chambers until Sunday April 21.