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Oz standup site delivers laughs online

A new Australian Web site allows wannabe comics to test their material on visitors for free.

Think you're funny? Test out that theory using Standup Online.

As Jerry Seinfeld once observed, most people have a greater fear of public speaking than of dying -- so if they were at a funeral, they'd prefer to be the one in the box than the giver of the eulogy.

No-one knows about the terror of public performance better than the newbie stand-up comedian. Getting up in front of a bunch -- or worse, very few -- drunk punters and stammering jokes into a microphone to try and get them guffawing is no small feat.

For those wannabe joke-tellers who are not yet ready for the glare of the spotlight, an Australian Web site has been established to showcase amateur comedians to the world. Billing itself as "the world's first stand-up comedy social media Web site", Standup Online allows performers to upload audio or video of themselves doing standup, skits, impersonations or songs for free. Visitors to the site then give ratings out of ten and add comments.

There is also a weekly competition involving a "target" subject that comics can apply their wit to. Recent targets include Mel Gibson, who provided comedy fodder for performers both online and in the real world following his alleged drunken, anti-Semitic rantings earlier this year.

If you think your shtick will have them rolling in the aisles, or at least at their keyboards, sign up as a member and get uploading. Unlike YouTube or MySpace, where you may get lost in a crowd of lip-synching teens, Standup Online is focused on Australian comedy, meaning wisecracks about Sydney-Melbourne rivalry, AFL players or John Howard's morning walks won't be met with quizzical looks.