RAW talent earns a spot at Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Published 12:00pm 13 April 2023

RAW talent earns a spot at Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Words by Jodie Powell

A former Grace Lutheran College student has earnt a place as a runner-up in the RAW Comedy National Grand Final.

Meg Jager, who graduated from Grace in 2014, had beaten talented comics from around Queensland to earn a place in the national grand final, at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival on April 16. 

Jager only took up comedy two years ago, and was thrilled to win the state final of the competition for emerging stand-up comedians.

Previous national winners include Hannah Gadsby and fellow Queenslander Josh Thomas.

“It’s surreal. It meant everything to me,” Jager says.

“I’ve worked so hard the last two years at various gigs and open mics.

“It felt really, really great – especially because I didn’t think I’d win.”

From karaoke to comedy

Jager says she grew up watching Adam Sandler and Drop Dead Fred on repeat and she’s always been fascinated by how people speak.

“I would look up famous Oscar speeches and analyse why they worked.

“Comedians have to have the ability to say a lot of things in the tiniest word count and avoid being superfluous with their language.

“When people are not overly expressive, the weight is in what they’re saying.”

Jager says she’s always enjoyed performing, but admits comedy is a whole different beast to her previous experience.

“Me and my best friend were always going out to karaoke and then we started going to comedy gigs.

“She said we should give comedy a go, so I just wrote my five minute set and ran it by her and she thought it was funny.

“I went to an open mic where there were about 50 people and I won.

“It was my golden ticket – people were messaging me to come and do gigs.”

Juggling gigs

All of a sudden Jager found herself performing five nights a week, juggling time on stage with her full-time job as an English and History teacher.

“After my first year of comedy and teaching I was exhausted – doing gigs and sitting up until 2am marking essays.

“Teaching has never been my dream, so I didn’t renew my contracts and I signed up to every comedy festival.

“I was visiting all these different cities and I thought ‘I might as well go all-in and check out the scene and do some spots’,” Jager says.

On the school stage

RAW talent earns a spot at Melbourne International Comedy Festival

She says the comedy circuit’s a far cry from karaoke and her roles as a book and a male villager in the Grace Lutheran College production of Beauty and the Beast when she was in Year 11 – where she discovered an affinity for the stage.

“Baring your soul to strangers every night – it does feel so personal, which is silly as well.

“When you’re in the arts you make friends and at the end of it, I am competing with them.

“You can rehearse in front of a mirror, but you don’t know if it’s good until you’re in front of people.”

Sage advice

While Jager’s material draws on her own life experiences and observations – including as a teacher – she says she would never tell a joke about a student she’s taught.

“My sets are all fiction – I can’t stress that enough – but they are based on my own life and observations.

“It’s observations about what teenagers would do, observation about the difference between men and woman.

Jager’s advice to would-be comedians ahead of her spot in the national grand final of RAW?

“Panic a lot,” she laughs.

“I know my set back to front – it’s the set that got me through RAW and I’ve been doing it for just under a year.

“Something I tell myself is ‘know your set back to front, they’re just another audience’.”

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