Goodbye Channel 31

I was first introduced to C31 Melbourne and Geelong performing on Champagne Comedy & The Comic Box in my early days in comedy in Melbourne 20 years ago. People like Lou Stomm, Matthew K Sharp, C.J. Jenkins, Ged Cogley & all the countless volunteers who gave up & comers like myself the chance to get our mugs on the telly and have some fun in a safe and friendly environment were the backbone of an institution. They gave so many people a start. After recording an interview or filming a stand-up set, it was a thrill to tell the family and friends to tune in, this was before the days of social media! Before anyone and everyone had their own TV show on their phones. This was actual television! I would drive down to Melbourne to do a gig on a Monday night at the Armadale Hotel, drive home the same night, a round trip of 3hrs. Then a couple days later a bunch of us would sit up late to watch it on the "fuzzy channel" (reception wasn't great in the country but it made it even more exciting to tune in) and it felt so cool. Being a country kid trying to do something like comedy means you have to move to the city, but having something like community television to help people develop their skills is essential. It might sound silly to you, but getting a chance to be on a silly amateur TV show meant the world to someone who came from a rural town where there wasn't a lot of encouragement to go out and chase your dreams. I was even recognised in public for it. People at open mic gigs would come up and say they came because they'd seen me on TV and I remember fondly when some guy came up to me when I was at Flemington races and he said, "hey man, I saw you on Champagne Comedy you are really funny!" I can't tell you how much something like that meant for a kid starting out in comedy. It gave me such a buzz and encouragement. The shows were repeated on weekends late at night and afterwards Fish Cam would come on. Many a nights I've fallen asleep watching Fish Cam! I've always said when I get my own home I'll get an old TV and turn it into a fish tank. That is still going to happen. And when it does I'll sit down and tune in and raise a glass of champagne to the memories. The station has been a huge support for diversity from all cultural backgrounds and allowing people to learn the craft and build a community. I'll forever be grateful for all the dedicated crew who worked together as a creative family to make something special. It's a sad day to learn after 25+years this station will be no longer, but instead of getting sad, let's celebrate what it has achieved. Thank you for everything.❤️

PS. If you read this far, let this not be the death of so many voices, let it be an incentive to switch off the commercial TV, stop reading the propaganda Murdoch papers, Sky News etc and start watching World News on SBS or if/while the ABC is still going (at the time of writing🙁) support that, find your own source of news online, don't believe everything you read in the mainstream media (it usually has a bias and sponsored agendas), and if you're a young kid starting out, don't lose faith, there's loads of online streaming possibilities, amazing technology and an audience for it, there are many like-minded people just like you who want to explore and create.

#GoodbyeC31

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