Class Clowns is the annual development platform turned competition for school age comics. It’s a supportive, curated area where young comedians can hone their skills, get tips from professionals and perform on stages in front of hundreds. Alumni include Tom Ballard, Joel Creasy and Adam Knox. This year’s Class Clowns state finals are on 25 March in Victoria, 26 March in Queensland, 28 March in New South Wales and of course, the big Grand Finale on 21 April, late during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, which will be filmed for broadcast. We caught up with Victorian Finalist Tom Slocombe to get some first hand insight into the mind of a Class Clown.
First of all congratulations! Tell me a bit about yourself & what you think your style of comedy is?
My style of comedy, well normally most of the ideas that I have come from talking to my friends and stuff. I’d say something really funny and then later on I’ll write it down, so I’ll end up with a big list with all these funny things and then I try to find a way to bridge them all together. A little bit of a mix of everything.
Was it just that kind of messing around with your friends that lead you to do Class Clowns?
Yeah, a lot of that kind of stuff. I was doing a class last year that required a lot of presentations to be done, so I put lots of jokes in that. So that also has given me some experience of standing in front of lots of people and making jokes.
So you feel pretty comfortable onstage in front of a crowd of strangers?
The strangers part yeah – it’s just when I know who I’m talking to, that’s the hard part! Strangers can’t really bring it up again like six months later.
How you feeling about going into the finals? Somehow I think people you know will probably be watching!
Aw yeah they probably would be watching, except because it’s in a theatre they turn down the lights on the audience so you can’t really recognise them, which makes it a bit better.
And you’re pretty confident going in?
I’m fairly confident, because I know that I’m good enough to get there in the first place.
That’s a really good way of looking at it!
So… are you a class clown?
Yeah most of the time! Pretty distracting I guess.
Do you have a favourite subject at school at the moment?
I’m kind of into history and stuff like that.
Do you know what you want to do after school?
See how this comedy thing pans out I guess?
Yeah. Doing this would also increase chances of getting a better job, because you can say “oh I did Class Clowns” and they’ll be able to see you’re good at presentations and things like that.
Who would you say your comedic influences are?
I think, this might sound a lot I’m forced to say this, but I’m not: my parents. I can’t pinpoint one person who influences me, because I’ve watched so much comedy growing up.
What do your parents do that’s funny?
They’ll just say something or do something a bit stupid but on purpose to try and make a joke.
What do they think about you doing Class Clowns?
My dad’s a bit jealous that I’ve managed to get this far at my age when he’s been trying to do a comedy routine himself and he hasn’t really gotten one down yet. He keeps telling me that when he’s finished it it’s going to be the best routine ever. So I’m still waiting to see what that’s going to be like.
And your mum?
She’s quite proud of it. I’m not really sure what she thinks because I haven’t asked her directly, but I’m pretty sure as long as I’m not doing drugs or whatever my mum is happy.
Will you be spending any time at the comedy festival this year?
Probably yes. I go to comedy shows all the time, and it helps because it’s the school holidays so I’ll have time to go to shows. I haven’t had much of a look through the catalogue yet though.
Tom is performing at the Victorian State Final on Saturday, 25th of March at the Arts Centre Melbourne. Tickets are available online, or through the Arts Centre.