A blackfella walks into a bar . . . .
Jalen Sutcliffe is one of those people that things keep happening to. Funny things. So funny that his friends kept telling Sutcliffe he should be on stage.
So Sutcliffe, 19, gave it a shot — and now he’s been crowned one of the funniest new stand up comedians in Australia. Which in itself is quite a funny story.
A few Saturday nights ago, Sutcliffe wasn’t too sure how he came to be backstage as a finalist at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Deadly Funny Final and Showcase, among competitors from across Australia, who all had way more experience than him.
After all, it was to be only his second time on stage as a funnyman.
The first was when he took out the Brisbane heat of the competition.
He didn’t even have a script.
But Sutcliffe’s performance about suffering from the condition BBL — big, brown and lovely — had the audience in stitches. His finale where he did a strip tease down to a lap-lap brought the house down. And at the end of the night he was crowned the Deadly Funny winner for 2016.
No one was more surprised than Sutcliffe.
“I usually make jokes with everyone where I live and make them laugh,” says Sutcliffe, who is studying for an advanced diploma in music at Brisbane’s Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts.
“I’d never thought of putting it into stories and doing stand up comedy, but a few people were like just give it a go.
“I’m the class clown, I guess.”
Sutcliffe did his preparation for the Melbourne Comedy Festival in the shower.
“I thought I could tell a few stories about things that had happened to me,” he says.
“It was just all off the top of my head. It made it more authentic and genuine….
“Usually stuff happens to me that people laugh at or laugh with, depending on how they are feeling I guess. I’m glad that funny things happen to me because then I can tell them.”
The Deadly Funny competition scours Australia for the hottest new indigenous comedy talent. This was its tenth year.
Sutcliffe, who also sings soul music and plays the guitar, says he hopes to continue with comedy. “I’ve only done it twice and it’s been very good to me so I think I might stick with it,” he says.