Long after the main event has ended, the Sydney Comedy Festival continues to hand out laughs with their travelling showcase. The Loft, Warrnambool and The Capital, Bendigo will host MC Bart Freebairn along with headliner Luke Heggie (Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s 2010 Raw Comedy winner) and fellow funny-folk Greg Sullivan, Amanda Gray and Daniel Connell. We chat to Daniel ahead of the showcase.
Hi Daniel, thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte today. We hear you’re off the back of a consistent string of festivals over the last few years. What has this been like?
The past four or five years of festivals have been great fun, I’m slowly building a bit of a following so that makes each new show more exciting. There’s been a few memorable nights, the one that sticks out the most happened at the 2016 MICF, I had a group of six that had somehow sat down in my venue when they were supposed to be next door, they realised 15 minutes in that they were at the wrong show. I convinced them to stay, which they did. The same six came and saw my show at this year’s MICF (they were there on purpose this time).
And you made your debut on the Oxfam Comedy Gala to kick off this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Can you tell us a little bit about this experience?
It was a great night, very tiring but one of the better nights I’ve had since starting stand-up. It’s a long day, you’re in for rehearsals at 8am and the show is at 7:30pm, the day seemed to drag on forever. I remember waiting behind the curtain before I was introduced and thinking ‘holy shit, don’t stuff this up’. Once I was on stage it felt like another gig, just 10 times the audience. Then once it was over I felt very relieved. Looking back now, it’s nice to know I’ve done a Gala as it was something I’d hoped to do one day.
Taking a step back in time, how did you first come to realise you might like to pursue a career in comedy?
From about the age of 15, I thought that’s what I’m going to do. Then aged 18 I saw Jimeoin and Bob Franklin at the Batemans Bay RSL club and that sealed the deal for me. Travelling around and making people laugh seemed very appealing.
And since that first realisation, what has developed your career to bring you to where you are today?
Even though I’d decided early that it was what I wanted to do, I didn’t do my first gig until I was 25 as I was not too keen on public speaking. I did about a year of comedy in Canberra, then in 2010 I moved to Melbourne. I would say moving to Melbourne was what helped me develop my comedy the most, there’s so many opportunities to do gigs and get better. After about two or three years of hustling for gigs and meeting room runners around Melbourne I was able to get to the stage where I was performing four or five times a week, and that stage time helped me improve.
You’re set to hit the road on the Sydney Comedy Festival Showcase, what can audiences expect from this upcoming string of shows?
These shows are great fun to be a part of, the night always has a mixed bag of acts, so the crowds get great variety in each performance. Each act is only doing 20 minutes maximum also, so they’re cramming all their best material into their sets.
You probably get this all the time, but would you care to tell us something humorous?
At this year’s MICF I had a joke in my show about my Nan, after I finished the joke I heard someone say ‘I didn’t do that’. I put my hand up to block the spotlight and saw my Nan sitting in the audience, she wanted to surprise me, she certainly did.
Check out Daniel’s Facebook page here.
When & Where: Lighthouse Theatre Warrnambool – September 20, Mildura Arts Centre – September 21, Capital Theatre Bendigo – September 22 & Wesley Performing Arts Centre, Horsham – September 23