Hunter duo crack into RAW Comedy NSW final

FUNNY MAN: James Connors quit his job at Newcastle Airport to follow his dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian like his heroes Jimmy Carr and Bill Burr.
FUNNY MAN: James Connors quit his job at Newcastle Airport to follow his dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian like his heroes Jimmy Carr and Bill Burr.

ASPIRING Newcastle comic James Connors is not expecting to eat on Tuesday. Pre-gig nerves are all encompassing and he is preparing for his biggest performance.

On Tuesday night the 23-year-old and Lake Macquarie’s Jack Tideswell will perform in front of 300 people at Sydney’s Fox Studios in the NSW final of RAW Comedy. It is believed to be the first time two Hunter-based comedians have reached the NSW final of the biggest open mic comedy competition in Australia in the same year.

RAW Comedy has served as a launch pad for Josh Thomas, Celia Pacquola and Luke McGregor and Connors is hoping his self-deprecating humour about being “a fat bloke” gets a chuckle from the judges. Two finalists from NSW will proceed to the national decider in Melbourne on April 16.

“I quit my job at the airport to pursue comedy because I wasn’t happy and I thought I didn’t want to do this for another 40 years and hate my life,” Connors said. “I took a chance and saved up some money and have basically been doing comedy full time with a couple of temp jobs.”

Tideswell, 31, is also a newcomer to stand-up comedy. The financial planner has been cracking jokes for the past year at the Crown and Anchor Hotel’s open mic nights and at pop-up comedy showcases.  

“The Newcastle comedy scene is steadily growing,” Tideswell said. “There’s several reliable rooms opening and neither of us have gone down to Sydney too much, and to get to the RAW standard you generally have to go down to Sydney a lot.”