Edwin Tetlow, a man who until now was hidden talent. God knows how because he is 6 feet 8 inches tall and pretty hard to miss! But in all seriousness Edwin was crowned Canberra’s RAW Comedy state winner last week and will now be swooping into Melbourne with a magpie rendition to take on the rest of Australia in becoming the RAW Comedy 2019 winner.
RAW Comedy is a part of Canberra Comedy Festival and aims to unearth local talent who have the potential to take on comedy in the big leagues. Edwin heard about Raw Comedy after seeing some previous finalists turn their comedy hobby into careers and also after reading Anh Do’s book “The happiest refugee”, where Anh Do himself speaks about his performance in the competition.
When Edwin gets on stage his alter ego ‘Stretch’ kicks in and somehow his funny turns on. Edwin aka Stretch usually starts off with some self-deprivation humour about his height.
“Some people call me ‘Stretch’ – which is usually my opening line for most comedy gigs. Stretch is my nickname, due to the fact I look like a bit like a human cherry picker. But Stretch is also my alter ego who is a bloke that comes out of nowhere to talk about something trivial then lose his shit over it.”
Edwin is inspired by Ricky Gervais who always says “write about what you know and then try to make the ordinary, extraordinary.” Such advice led to Edwin’s comedic sets about issues such as Magpies or Tinned Tuna.
“I start by rattling off a few tall person jokes before launching into what is hopefully a polished rant with heavy undertones of observational anger. Those two subjects might seem a little counter intuitive with regard to having comedic potential, although I find that the more insignificant the subject matter is, the more I enjoy writing jokes about it.”
While taking out the win for Canberra, it turns out Edwin doesn’t have that much stage experience – at all – nonetheless, Stretch is bloody hilarious I saw it for myself.
“ACT (Canberra) only had two separate heats prior to the State Final. I was fortunate enough to win both. It was very competitive, and I thought all the comedians who performed that night really brought their A game. Interestingly, Victoria had roughly about 10 heats and two finals, so, being relatively new to Comedy, and coming from the ACT; a bit of a smaller, and perhaps underdog state, I do feel a bit like the ‘Jamaican Bobsled team’ that somehow made it to the Olympics.”
Do doubt, relating to being shit scared of magpies is one thing, but Edwin physically embodying a magpie was where the serious laughs kicked in.
“As far as the magpie idea is concerned, you’ll be surprised to know that the idea actually came from quite a pleasant child hood memory. My brother did an impression of the magpie we were watching in the garden (imitating the way it moved its head around) and I just about pissed my pants. I actually wrote the entire set around that one joke.”
When it came to research to back up his hilarious impersonation of a magpie fiercely moving its head, Edwin drew on a Canberra Times article which advised readers to “make friends with the magpie” to complete his set.
“There were a series of Magpie articles in the Canberra Times getting circulated during the swooping season, and I found them to be a real gold mine for piss taking. The rest of it was mostly just obsessive brain storming and letting my imagination run loose. Although, on the way home from work one day I once saw a guy in a convertible getting swooped by a magpie while parked at the traffic lights. I’m not even joking.”
Edwin knows the magpie act will only fly him so far in Comedy, he is currently working on a few others to see if he has what it takes.
“I am currently developing an “armoury” of other scripts I’ve written which I’m yet to perform live, such as “Pablo Stretchobar”, and “Charlie the useless sniffer dog”. Thus far, I’ve only performed stand-up comedy four times (including Raw Comedy). But it is my goal to get up on stage more often than I have as nerves have often gotten the better of me. Plus, I tend to get a bit obsessed and fixated by the whole process, which at times, can really annoy the shit out my fiancée, Jessica – who is also the most loving and supportive partner I could ask for.”
Needless to say Canberrans seem to love putting their funny pants on at night with Edwin saying there are a bunch of opportunities to test out his funny-metre in the Capital.
“The comedy community in Canberra are extremely welcoming, friendly and supportive, and it is a very safe space to get up and have go! Also, the level of effort they put in to making events happen is also quite remarkable. I feel like it’s getting to the point where you could almost see a Comedy night any night of the week if you wanted to.”