Watching a stand-up comedian perform, always makes me envious of his/her talent to get people laughing, but when a comedian is successfully delivering his material to an audience in a foreign language, and is still able to generate laughs, that’s pretty damn incredible. Such is the case with Venezuelan-born Ivan Aristeguieta.
Aristeguieta, a successful Brew Master (this explains his passion for beer) turned full-time comedian, migrated to Adelaide three years ago, and became an Australian Permanent Resident this past September. Since arriving down under, Aristeguieta has taken on the challenge of becoming part of the comedy tapestry of Australia, performing solely in English. Anyone else would be discouraged to do so, but Aristeguieta has risen to the challenge.
Comparing any foreign country to Australia can be fun, but seeing that Venezuela is such a polar opposite of Aristeguieta’s new home, it makes for some hilarious story telling, and a new appreciation for the simple luxuries which we may take for granted, i.e. toilet paper in public toilets.
Something which Aristeguieta should be commended for, is that he does not badmouth either country in the process, just pokes some fun... well, Venezuela does get a bit of a well deserved lashing, but Aristeguieta does not “hate” on his native country, he explains that his love for Venezuela can be equated to the love for one’s mother – “I love my mother, but I can’t live with her. I love Venezuela, but I can’t live there.”
Aristeguieta’s cultural observations are spot on: Australian’s are fond of their beer, camping, BBQs, original slang vocabulary, simple down-to-earth pub grub, among many more, and it’s his manner of describing these which is refreshingly original, but most importantly, belly busting funny.
He also brings to light, some common social faux pas which he’s encountered: Getting the Latin American country wrong when introducing him at a party, “This is my Mexican friend Ivan.” Touchy topics, “You’re from South America? Got some cocaine?” But he does not approach it in a holier-than-thou manner, instead, he manages to spin it into quite a cracker.
A great deal of Aristeguieta’s audience, on the night I attended, was Venezuelan. Nodding and clapping in agreement with what he was saying, much like a Baptist pastor’s flock of believers concurring with the sermon being delivered. They screamed with delight at the comparisons and revelations, but the rest of the folks in attendance thoroughly enjoyed the material as well, so much so that, they lingered on and were reluctant to leave their seats, in anticipation of more material, when the show concluded.
Permanent Resident’s Aristeguieta is destined to become a staple in the Australian comedy scene, successfully blending the two cultures he is a part of, and making its differences universally appreciated by both Aussies as well as Latinos through the laughter he generates.
2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Venue: Melb Town Hall - Portico Room | Cnr Swanston & Collins Sts, Melbourne
Dates: 26 Mar – 19 Apr, 2015
Tickets: $23 – $18
Bookings: 1300 660 013