Top End Comedy’s Super Saturday

by Won Ton Destruction

Last Saturday was definitely an epic date on the Top End Comedy calendar. With barely any time to recover from Shaggers at Darwin Railway Club on Friday night, a carload of comics headed out to support a Tour de Cure fundraising event in Palmerston on Saturday afternoon, and we also had a healthy population at the Raw Comedy NT final at Darwin Entertainment Centre that evening.

For something a little different, a small Top End Comedy contingent made their south-of-Berrimah debut as part of a fundraising event for Renae McGarvie. Renae is the only Northern Territory participant in Tour de Cure, which is a 1,576km bike ride from Sydney to Hobart (minus the Bass Strait bit, of course) that raises funds for cancer research, support and prevention projects. The Tour de Cure goes from 28 March until 6 April.


Top End Comedy was repped by Brad Stott, Won Ton Destruction, and Rachael Bettiens, with the added bonus of Nik Coppin who may or may not have been tricked into coming along for the ride. Rumour has it that due to Renae working for NT Police, this whole gig might have only happened in order to assist Brad with a Get-Out-Of-Watchhouse-Free card (a likely tale), but we were nevertheless keen to regale the crowd with stories of childhood bicycling woes, tattoos lost in translation, how you know when romance is dead in a long term relationship, and what not to say in order to woo a vegetarian lass.

Saturday’s event added a whopping $4,200 to Renae’s fundraising total, and if you’d like to help by donating to such a great cause, you can click here.

It was a mere handful of hours later that brought us amateur comedy’s night of nights, the Raw Comedy NT final at the Darwin Entertainment Centre. It was great to see that comedians who frequent Top End Comedy gigs dominated the bill, which included the likes of Garry Condoseres, Matt Haubrick, Stephen Beyer, Nikolas Moraitis, Clayton Bennett, Ryan McArthur, Brad Stott, Timothy Read, Amy Hetherington, Rachael Bettiens, and Won Ton Destruction.


Here’s a brief reflection from Ryan McArthur, looking back on how he made it from page to stage:

12 months ago I was sitting in my bedroom wondering what I should do with my nights before I took a chance on an open mic night. I would never have thought that within a year I’d be on the stage of the entertainment centre in front of 500 people… The Darwin comedy scene has come so far in such a short time, and that was evident from the high standard of the performers this weekend.

And this was Stephen Beyer’s reaction to being a part of Raw Comedy for the first time:

It was an amazing time, sharing the stage with some of the best and freshest local comedians Darwin has to offer, and to perform on a big stage in front of a full appreciative crowd. Exhilarating.

Judging from the laughs coming from the audience throughout the evening, all the comedians were stellar and provided a veritable yum cha of food for thought. Some of those thoughts might’ve been the kind that keep you up at night or hold you back from living a normal life, but hey, what do you expect from Darwin comedy?

The prize of representing NT at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival was given to Michael Kelly, a newcomer to the scene who apparently told only one person that he was even going into the competition. Time to break the news to your friends that you’re off to Melbourne, Michael!

joe and michael

If you didn’t catch Raw Comedy this year, never fear, there is still a chance to see the winner in action at the Happy Yess Good vs. Evil showdown on Thursday 3 April, as well as a bunch of other funny people.

At the end of the day, I must say that the real winner is the revival (uprising?!) of comedy in Darwin. Hope to see more of y’all super soon, either out in the audience or on stage with the rest of us!