Stepping on stage with the bright lights glaring back at you, the crowd eagerly awaiting a hilarious five-minute comedy routine might be the scariest possible idea to you. Taking the first step to becoming a comedian – aka entering in the RAW Comedy Heats – may be the best decision of your life, as Geelong born and bred Jonathan Schuster knows all too well about.
“I didn’t really plan on pursuing comedy until I entered it and I never even thought being a comedian was a possibility. Then I did well and I’ve been doing it ever since,” he says.
The alternative for Jonathan could have been much more dismal, as before he pursued comedy he worked for an infringement agency.
“I was there for three years but went travelling in between and it was very easy to fall back into that job because I’d already worked there, so I made sure I got fired so I could never go back to work there,” Jonathan says.
“It was almost like a survival thing, which is going alright so far aside from being super broke. But the scary thing was I would just go in every day and work this horrible job. I could have done that for the rest of my life.”
The dream is to find a job you want to be in for the rest of your life, something that you don’t agonisingly get ready for in the morning, already counting the hours for when it will be over. The first step to getting there is to try, and if comedy is your thing you may want to look over that application.
It’s not necessarily going to work out the first go either, as Jonathan applied once before his win in 2007 but wasn’t the greatest at filling out forms. Even his five-minute act wasn’t as smooth sailing as you’d think for where he is now.
“I’ve forgotten exactly what happened but I remember Corinne Grant was hosting and on stage and the guy backstage said, ‘Yeah go on now’ – even though she was still talking,” he says.
“So I kind of walked out on stage while she was still performing and it was really awkward. Then people started laughing and she turned around and said, ‘What are you doing?’ and that really started to get some laughs. I think it was lucky in a way that there was a mistake because when I did come out I’d already had some laughs and people were really supportive and really enjoyed it.”
His career mightn’t have had the smoothest start but since getting on board with RAW Comedy it’s helped him set up his comedy career and in turn gain skits on ABC with his group the Fancy Boys.
Jonathan will be coming back to Geelong alongside two other comedy experts, to judge the heats of the RAW Comedy competition. While he can’t give away exact pointers on what will make you a winner, he gives some sage advice on being honest.
“I feel like honesty is a big thing with comedy. If people can see that you’re being genuine – that it comes from a place of truth – they can relate to that,” he says.
To purchase tickets and for more information visit comedyfestival.com.au/raw.
When&Where: Heats: Geelong Performing Arts Centre – February 28
By Amanda Sherring