The annual Raw Comedy Quest, comedy's version of Battle of the Bands, will hit Porridge Watson next month for its Whanganui heat.
Organiser Ben "Tito" Caldwell said it was the second time the show had come to Whanganui and he was keen to get more performers involved this time around.
"The landscape of comedy in New Zealand is changing, and more and more regional scenes are starting up," Caldwell said.
"Whanganui has been through a few spits and spats in terms of getting some regular events started, but Porridge Watson are really keen to see something stick and stay.
"Hopefully they'll become the home for Whanganui comedy, and Raw Quest is a good way for people to dip their toes in and seeing if it's going to be something they'll enjoy."
Caldwell said there were 12 slots available at the Whanganui heat and he hoped they would all be filled by locals, whether they be experienced or first-timers.
"You're incredibly vulnerable up there on stage because, essentially, you have one purpose - to make people laugh.
"If you're doing anything else, whether it be a speech or music or anything else, it doesn't matter if you elicit other emotions from people.
"When you're a comedian you have one goal, and if you don't achieve it can be quite soul destroying."
"Bombing" was a part of performing stand-up though, Caldwell said, and it was something he'd had his "fair share of" in the past.
"It's something you try to avoid, but it's also a bit of a necessity to go through those rough gigs and experiences, so you can learn from them.
"The good thing about comedy is that people will find their voice. It's about persistence and honing your craft. If you get the processes right and everything lines up, there's no reason why you won't get the laughs.
Competitors at Porridge Watson will have six minutes to impress the judges, Caldwell said, with X-factor, originality, content, audience reaction and stage presence taken into account.
One local comedian who is already booked to perform is union organiser and self-described "failed political candidate" Heather Warren.
Warren said she had been dabbling in stand-up comedy for the past few years.
"I was mainly inspired by friends Chris and Dean telling me I was funny and I should make jokes in front of people," Warren said.
"Chris had a show, so I went along and people did, in fact, laugh, so I just kept going."
There was a "mixture of emotions" heading into the Raw Comedy Quest heat in Whanganui, Warren said.
"My greatest challenge is that I've never performed in Whanganui, all the shows I've done have been in Palmy.
"Also, I spent 13 years living in and going to school in Whanganui so more people know me here ... maybe.
"I'm pretty excited to make jokes at people who may not have heard my jokes at all yet, but I'm also really nervous because competition when you have imposter syndrome seems like a bad idea."
Caldwell said a notable success story from last year's event in Whanganui was the emergence of local comedian Kajun Campbell Brooking, who he said was "as close to a natural" as he had ever seen.
Brooking performed his first-ever set at the 2020 Raw Comedy Quest.
"Kajun doesn't just rely on that natural stage presence though, he works really hard at his craft as well, and he's always open to advice and feedback.
"He's always looking to improve and that's what helps make a great comedian."
Raw Comedy Quest for the central region includes heats in Whanganui, New Plymouth, Napier and Palmerston North, with the grand final in Palmerston North in May. The competition is open to anyone who has been performing for less than three years, including first-time performers.
The regional winner and runner-up will progress to the next stage of the quest in Wellington. From there, they'll battle it out for a spot in the national final in Auckland in October.
The Whanganui heat of the Raw Comedy Quest, with guest MC Te Rina Taite, is at 8pm on Thursday, April 8, at Porridge Watson, 30 Drews Ave.
People can enter the Raw Comedy Quest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Information for participants will be emailed to them.
To go into the draw to win a double pass to the show, email email@example.com with your name and contact details.