Just for Laughs Sydney is launching its brand new show called First Nations Funnies at the Sydney Opera House this month.
The new hotly-anticipated show will feature the best First Nations comedians from around the country including Dane Simpson, Janty Blair, Kevin Kropinyeri and Jay Wymarra and The Block’s Andy Saunders.
The First Nations Funnies show will take place at the Sydney Opera House on the 30th of November 2022 and tickets start from $44.90. You can purchase them via Sydney Opera House here.
Ahead of the inaugural show, we sat down with the hilarious reality star Andy Saunders to discuss what we can expect from the show, his biggest professional achievements, and the obstacles he has faced as an Aboriginal male in Australia.
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Can you tell me about your background and how you got into comedy?
I am a proud Biripi man, born and bred in Taree NSW on the Mid North Coast. I am a dedicated father of 4 and a loving husband of 1. My background is who I am, I have always represented my Aboriginal heritage as my identity because I have always thought it was cool. My childhood was sometimes a bit uncertain which helped me be funny at a very young age. Funny for me was an escape from situations that were hard to laugh in.
Comedy was my thing and I, fortunately, had people around me to nurture it, like my grandparents and gorgeous mother. I would have to say that my grandmother was one of the funniest, but in her own way, I found myself laughing constantly at her looks, her songs and everything else she had in her comedy arsenal.
My grandmother would ask me to tell jokes at family gatherings like Christmas and other relevant events to get the party started or when it got a little quiet. She would ask everyone to gather around the living room and I would tell jokes that were way out of my age range to a family audience of around 60. It was like crack and I was hooked from a very early age to make people laugh, I loved it and still do.
What obstacles and challenges have you had to face to get to where you are today?
Being an Aboriginal male in Australia can be a challenge but I have done what my uncles and grandfather did before me and worked my ass off to get to where I am. I do everything for my family and I try to make my family proud.
All I want to do is give my kids everything I never had like bed sheets and toilet paper and flash stuff like that. Most of the challenges for me is being happy with what I have put out there, but I think that this is a general thing for all performers.
Another challenge were ninjas, there are so many at comedy gigs and it is hard to fight them, anyway, onwards and upwards.
How important is it for you to represent Indigenous People in comedy?
Australian comedy is a shallow pool as it is so it is of utmost importance to create pathways and opportunities for upcoming Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander comics and performers. We are a group of humans with ridiculous amounts of untapped talent and I think we are finally moving into a time where the world is starting to notice.
Which comedians inspire you?
My favourite comedian of all time is Scott Morrison, he was so funny!
But, to be honest, I love watching unknown comedians and pretty much anyone who gets up for the first time because I know how hard it is. For me it is the possibilities that a new comic can create, I love it.
What is your biggest professional achievement?
When I robbed the bank of…..wait, you mean comedy, okay, I have always wanted to be on Just For Laughs and the Channel 10 Gala and I was able to achieve that dream when my mum was still alive to see it. I love her so much for what she endured for us and miss her every day but I love the fact that she got to be a part of that success.
What’s your favourite joke you’ve ever written?
I wrote a joke about Transformers and referred it to the Australian Assimilation policy a while back and I performed it on one of the Gala’s. I like this joke because it takes the piss out of something ridiculous but also shines a light for people who have no idea.