16 Tips To Win The Comedy Comp, By Top Former Winners

Heidi Vogel, Bridget Maw, Virginia Baird (Feb 4 2020)

We asked 3 of the most successful NCEA Comedy Writing Competition writers of all time to fess up on their secrets to winning (and how you can too).


Heidi Vogel (7x winner)

1. Make sure to test your jokes on your friends and family, but not too often unless you want to be disowned. Jokes can be a very effective torture method, so feel free to practice on your enemies as well.

2. The funniest jokes are the ones that the audience can relate to. LearnCoach’s audience is mostly NCEA students, so if you want to write jokes about having good grades, decent mental health and an adequate will to live, this competition may not be for you. 

3. Short and snappy jokes are more likely to be funny as NCEA has left New Zealand illiterate.

4. People love jokes about current events or topical news. For example, the movie “Cats” and the US government are brilliant to write about since they are practically already jokes.

5. Don’t give up! Humour is very subjective so whether your tone is sarcastic or witty, or whether you’re writing about unicorns or natural disasters, someone somewhere will find it funny. Even if you are not a naturally funny person, keep giving the competition a go. I personally have yet to make any of my friends laugh. I am pretty sure they had a heart attack when I told them that I had won a joke competition. 

6. And finally, I find that the early hours of the morning are the best time for joke writing. At 3am when you’re delirious and deranged, things just seem to be a whole lot funnier.


Bridget Maw (12x winner)

1. Persistence is key when it comes to entering the comedy competition. Even if you think what you’ve written is absolute rubbish, enter it anyway!

2. If you’re stuck on what to write about, take a look at some previous examples of winning jokes on LearnCoach’s website. These are some of the best jokes that have been entered in the competition so far, so take inspiration from their formats. 

3. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family for feedback. If they don’t find what you’ve written to be funny, chances are that no one else will. 

4. Writing about topics which are relevant and relatable is a crucial factor for winning the comedy competition. If you were to write a joke about an obscure topic, chances are no one else would be able to relate to your joke. A joke about current affairs, however, means that readers are able to understand and relate to your joke, and therefore increase your chances of winning. 

5. Originality is another important factor for winning the comedy competition. If people see the same or a similar joke over and over, it gets old quickly. Try to create your own, new jokes, to keep the competition fresh!


Virginia Baird (3x winner)

1. Procrastinate from studying, then have a solid rant with your friends about how NCEA is the cause of all your problems.

2. Use up all the hot water in the shower thinking about one liners.

3. If it makes your friends laugh, causes your parents to ask questions and children cry, you know it's a winner.

4. If your parents laugh at your joke, abort mission immediately. The staleness of the joke could be too much for this world of ours.

5. Most importantly, remember, "It takes a thousand cringes to finally win the LearnCoach comedy competition.'' - ancient proverb 


Follow this advice right now and get paid for it!
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For NCEA Students
By NCEA Students