Danny Bhoy began stand up comedy in 1998. A year later, he won The Daily Telegraph Open Mic Award, Britain’s biggest competition for comedy newcomers. He is now on his second major tour of Australia, gracing the Manning Entertainment Centre in March with a not to be missed show.
> Was comedy always for you? What jobs did you do before getting your break?
Well, I did quite a lot of jobs actually. In 1998 I was a graduate and got a degree in histor. That’s become a bit of a waste now, hasn’t it? I did all sorts, really. Temp work in offices, shops and bars. And then I tried comedy at night. Slowly, comedy started taking over the day routine!
> There are lots of people who try comedy and fail. How did you feel when you realised you had made it?
I don’t think you ever make it – that’s the great thing and most frustrating thing about comedy. There is always more to achieve, because I never feel like I have done the perfect gig. There is always another step to take up the ladder.
First it’s accomplishing five minutes … then it’s 20 minutes you’re on stage for, until you have your own show and then sometimes a two hour show. Then you try to compile a DVD, then you want to go to another country and try and crack it there. It’s always evolving, and what people find funny is always changing, so as a comedian you have to move with the times a bit.
> Growing up, which comics did you look up to?
I think probably Billy Connelly. At Christmas I would watch him with the family on TV, and he really was the first of his time. He was the first to say it was OK not to tell jokes, and instead tell stories and build a rapport with the audience. He was captivating and innovative to watch, so he would very much be my childhood idol.
> You are performing in Taree in March. Have you been to the area before?
I have actually, yeah! I remember it being quite a good gig, too.
> You have seen more of Australia than many Australians have. Do you have any favourite places to visit?
Yeah, I have seen more of Australia than Australians have, and nowadays people come to me and ask where the best place to holiday is! I have seen the good the bad and the ugly.
Favourite places and places that mean a lot to me are those such as Melbourne. Melbourne was the first place I went to, and gigged at, and they were very good to me. I have a fondness for the place. I like up the coast – Byron Bay, Lismore, Lennox Head for winding down. And the cities are great. Regional NSW is also quite good fun too.
> Will you be presenting a different show from your previous tours this time round?
It’s a whole new show. I suppose it’s sort of my telling stories again, and I have plenty more this time around. I hope that the people who enjoyed the last one will like this one too, because it’s a good night out.
> Many comedians look to move into television. Is that something you aspire to?
Well if it happens, it happens. I didn’t get into comedy to be a film star – I wanted to be a comedian. If I end up being just that, then I have hit my target, and anything else is just a bonus.
> Have you got a support act touring with you this year?
No, just me. Because I rattle on so much, it’s probably best that it’s just me, so I can sort out my own head!
> How do you come up with ideas for your material?
Well, I suppose a mix of experience, travel, observation. Picking up on cultural differences. Things that have happened to me. Comedy is not an exact science, so you take your inspiration from wherever you can get it!
> Most embarrassing moment on stage?
So many, so many! I suppose in England. Last year I did a show, and onstage I found a mobile phone in the back of a couch mid performance and I phoned a number, trying to find out who it belonged to. Anyway, the owner’s girlfriend answered and she came to collect the phone and when I gave her the phone on stage, she was scrambling through the messages as the crowd applauded.
Suddenly she just smashed the phone on the floor – the text messages had revealed that her boyfriend was having an affair! So that was embarrassing! I thought I was doing the right thing, being a good Samaritan, but during the course of the gig … I had managed to split up a relationship.
> What is your all time favourite joke?
Well, I don’t really have one, because I prefer to hear live stories! They are the best!
> Being on the road so much, what are the things you can’t live without?
Well at the moment, mozzie spray! Because I am in Australia, whatever motel I check into, the room seems to be covered in those beasts. I more or less coat it in anti repellent spray – it’s the thing I need most of at the moment!
> Thank you Danny.