By Kimberley Lovegrove © | Ngarrindjeri
My story into comedy is unlike no other. In 2013 I decided to move to Melbourne to start my new life. Every year Melbourne hosts Australia’s largest comedy gathering ‘Melbourne International Comedy Festival’. It hosts many Australian and international comedians as well as finding Australian next big comedian. One of these competitions is Deadly Funny, searching for Australia’s funniest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person. I first entered Deadly Funny in 2014 after hanging out with my cousin during one of his gigs the year before.
It was two weeks until the 2014 Melbourne heat, Deadly Funny and I had no idea what my set was going to be. I had never written a joke before, it just comes out naturally. So I called my cousin Kevin and I was all like “hey cuz, how do I write a joke?”. He explained the process, it was like writing a brief short story. “Put ya main topic as a heading and the put the hit as in the joke line as a dot point”. From this, I managed to come up with my first set which was about how I found I was Aboriginal, meeting my family for the first time and how I tend to act like a ninja at times, nearly got a friends sibling re-admitted to hospital after she had her appendix removed. Funny times, for me not for her. She was in immense pain.
It was the day of the Melbourne heat and I was a nervous wreck. At each heat, they have a workshop before the performance to help you strengthen your set with another established comedian. They gave great advice about how to act with the microphone and how to interact with the crowd which I found very valuable. After the workshop, everyone chilled out in the green room while the crowd filled up Northcote Town Hall. I still remember having to climb over people to get to the stage because it was over-pouring, people even had to sit on the floor.
I stood centre stage, the light in my face and I started doing my set. There is something about hearing the laughter that just fills me up with joy. For me I don’t do comedy for the money or clout I do it to take people out of their lives, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. That has always been my dream, to have a gift that is worth any cheque.
Since my first set in 2014, I participated in Deadly Funny until 2018 and represented Melbourne in the nationals in 2017 and 2018. I was very honoured to be able to do that. But since then I’ve done multiple gigs in community and have been able to establish a show outside of the comedy festival to bring laughter into the community, Deadly Comedy Deadly Funny has changed my life and has given me the stage to tell my story. My story is unlike any other. This may come as a shock to many people but I haven’t always known I was Aboriginal, growing up I actually believed I was Sri Lankan as my sisters from my mum are Sri Lankan and I never asked the question of who my father was. When I was a teenager, I could see the differences between me and my other siblings.
What I love more than anything is telling other Sri Lankan people I “used” to be one of them. The look of confusion of their face is bloody priceless. The questions they tend to ask is “like how did it happen, what doctor did you….wait I’m confused”. Their confused faces cracks me up.
Still to this day people think my joke about being a former Sri Lankan is a made-up, people this is nothing but true facts. All of my material is true. I spit nothing but facts.
Growing up I wasn’t shown what I could be capable of. I was lost for a while and it wasn’t until I was united with my siblings from my father that I began to grow into the woman I could be. I learned more about the impact I could have on those I connected with.
I never thought in High School I would move away from home and have an emerging career as a performer. I knew I was destined for great things but not to the point I find myself in now. I come from a long line of hard-working people and I am beyond proud of all I have accomplished and what I am yet too.
Comedy has always been at the forefront for me when expressing myself and without it, I wouldn’t be Kimmie!!!
This article is part of Blak Bloggers, a pilot program as part of YIRRAMBOI’s Resilience in Isolation, supporting First Nations to keep creative during physical-distancing.
If you are a First Nations creative experiencing physical distancing in isolation, we invite you to submit your content proposal. Contact our Collaborations Producer Kalinda Palmer via firstname.lastname@example.org for further details and have your writing published by YIRRAMBOI. This is a pilot program and a paid opportunity.
Image credit: Kimberley Lovegrove, photo by Jacinta Keefe Photography.