Byron Bay has been moved into Queensland.

Well, not really, it’s all part of a joke — the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Raw Comedy competition, to be precise. Byron Bay will host heats of the Queensland section of the competition in February and March.

“Yes, we know Byron’s in NSW, but winners of Byron heats head to the Queensland semi-finals,” organisers explained.

“Australia is entering a long and hilarious Raw-cession as the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Raw Comedy competition has undiscovered comic geniuses across the country road-testing their punchlines on unsuspecting family members, friends and passers-by.

“Raw Comedy is Australia’s largest and most prestigious open mic comedy competition, with 59 gigs announced in every capital city and major regional centres across the country.

“Five minutes of new, original comedy material is all it takes to enter Raw Comedy – stand-up, sketch, double and triple acts, musical comedy are all welcome.

“Lucky jokesters successful in their heats will progress through a series of semi and State finals, before slugging it out at the National Grand Final at the 2009 Melbourne International Comedy Festival on 19 April.”

The National Grand Champ wins a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe.

The Byron Bay heats will have the town’s very own queen of comedy, Mandy Nolan, as MC.

The Byron heats will be at the Pandanus Lounge – Byron Services Club, Jonson Street, Byron Bay:

  • Heat 1 – Monday 16 February, 8pm.
  • Heat 2 – Monday 2 March, 8pm.

Registrations are open and close when the heats are filled. Visit www.rawcomedy.com.au to enter.

And if you’re not funny and are not entering, you can still come along and enjoy the laughs. Tickets cost $15 at the door or call (02) 6684 3443.

The event is supported by triple j.