We asked regular RAW Comedy judges from around the country (so-called "Hanging Judges") to nominate their favourite Do's and/or Don'ts of RAW Comedy. Here's what they said:
1. Always prepare your show. No matter how off-the-cuff you might usually be, preparation/rehearsal compensates for any stage jitters. Preparation also indicates commitment - which bodes well with the judges. It shows.
2. If possible, try to see some RAW Comedy heats before your own. Often, there are trends in material so, if you see a trend emerging, then you can steer away from it in your own set. Repetition is boring and, of course, unoriginal.
3. Use the stage to your advantage rather than hiding in the corner (unless that's your schtick). This is your time to shine so command attention by opening up to the audience, engaging with them (look out at them) and using the mic correctly (a muffled voice means they literally can't hear you).
4. Hit the ground running. You only have five minutes to make an impression so don't go saving your best until last or leading up to it with a long, drawn-out story. Get the audience and the judges on-side - immediately!
5. Ask for feedback after your performance - and be open-minded about what feedback you're going to receive. You may think you're the funniest in the room but your humour just may not translate. Look, listen and learn.
1. Don't abuse the audience (or the judges), especially if your set's going badly. Unlikeable comedians don't wash. If you're falling short of the five minute mark and you don't have enough material, just cut it short. It's better to bow out gracefully than disgracefully.
2. Don't imitate or steal material from others. While you think it is unlikely the judges will pick up on this, they most certainly will! Dave Hughes has been successful because nobody else is Dave Hughes. Be yourself.
3. Don't step on your own punchlines. If a joke has gone well, give it time to breathe - let the audience laugh before moving on. Similarly, if the joke has not gone well, move on quickly! Good timing is very important.
4. Don't be vulgar for the sake of a cheap joke. While there's still room for profanity and rude jokes, you need to be clever to pull off something new. The audience has heard every sex joke before - don't be groan-worthy! Also, there's a very fine-line between funny and just plain offensive.
5. If you've been in RAW Comedy before, don't use old material from previous years. The judges will be trying to gauge whether you have the 'legs' to go onto bigger and better things. Show them you're more than a one-joke wonder!