RAW Comedy Rules

Australia's Most Prestigious Open Mic Competition


Entry at all times remains at the sole discretion of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival ("Festival"). However, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival operates along the following guidelines:

  • You must be a permanent resident of Australia. If you are studying in Australia on a student visa for three years or more, please email raw@comedyfestival.com.au to discuss your eligibility.
  • You must be at least 18 years old on the date of your first heat. If you are under 18, you may be eligible to perform as part of Class Clowns, our national secondary school comedy competition. Visit classclowns.com.au for more information.
  • As of January 1, 2024, you must not have earned more than $750 from performing live comedy. ‘Performing live comedy’ includes: fees for performing live gigs, income earned from performing solo festival shows, and corporate gigs. If you’ve sold more than $750 in box office ticket sales for a show you have participated in, please email raw@comedyfestival.com.au to check eligibility.
  • If you've been in RAW Comedy before, you can enter again, but a maximum of three different years.
  • If you've been in the National Final, or two State Finals, you can't enter again.
  • You can only enter once in any given year. You cannot enter in different states in the same year.

Your spot

  • Stand-up, music, sketch, all forms of live comedy are welcomed.
  • Your spot must be no longer than 5 - F I V E - minutes.
  • Your spot must be totally original.


  • We programme all the Finals with the best acts we've seen up to that point across the whole competition. That means if you 'win' a heat you're not guaranteed a spot in the next stage, but it's a pretty good indication. It also means we will wild card people from time to time.
  • If you're from a regional centre, you are responsible for your own travel to your state capital city for the State Final. 
  • The Festival takes care of your flights to Melbourne if you get into the National Final.

Other Terms and Conditions

  • By entering you agree to: the audio and/or visual recording of your spot by the Festival (or other bodies as authorised by the Festival) for use in whole or part in any manner the Festival considers appropriate including for associated promotional purpose in or in association with the RAW Comedy program; and alignment with potential Festival sponsors. You promise us that you are not using any material or writing (e.g. music) in your spot that you are not allowed to, or that we can't broadcast in turn.
  • You may not record your spot without the express permission in advance of the Festival and the person running your gig. Any agreed recording cannot then be published on any platforms, including but not limited to; your personal or other website, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter, without express written permission of the Festival.
  • By registering you agree to receive email communications from the Festival in relation to the RAW Comedy program.