These guys are really Deadly!! In whitefella language that means they're seriously Funny!! Kevin Kropinyeri (The Bald) and Andy Saunders (The Beautiful) had the Regent Room at the Melbourne Town Hall in fits of laughter from beginning to end.
A wonderfully mixed crowd in terms of age and ethnicity happily joined in the fun. The whitefellas in the audience were given an open invitation to laugh with Kevin and Andy, while being warned of the consequences if they chose to laugh at them. You'll have to see the show to get the joke. There followed some wonderful take offs of different kinds of laughter, as well as the dangers of cross-cultural translation – misunderstanding can be lethal. Then Kevin handed the stage over to Andy to work solo.
You may know Andy from his online Aboriginal comedy sketch show WhiteBLACKatcha. His face is expressive, his physicality impressive and his comic timing impeccable. I love the way he tells of using white ignorance to escape the police: Have you seen a six foot Aborigine run past? No, he answers in an Indian accent. As he says, he is a pioneer in his family: the very first to complete a, wait for it, layby, and everyone wanted to wear the jocks he brought home. He made fun of growing up black, being a parent versus not having kids, politics, and even the naming of cyclones – Who's scared of a cyclone named Pam or Nathan, what about Trump?.
Then it was Kevin's turn to take the stage solo. Kevin Kropinyeri won the 2008 Deadly Funny competition and helps to mentor emerging Indigenous comedians; he will emcee the tenth Deadly Funny National Grand Final, part of this year's MICF. He has a background as a state grade footballer and basketballer, visual artist and youth worker and the laughs came from anecdotes about his experiences. He's met whitefellas who don't believe he is Aboriginal, and others who ask why it is that Aborigines have a problem with drink. His responses are hilarious. He talks about how and why Black and White have a very different experience of jail, and tells of the little blonde, blue-eyed boy who came up to him and announced 'I want to be an Aborigine when I grow up'. Every one of these negative experiences are turned into LOL moments. It's only afterwards that you may realise that there is real tragedy underlying these experiences. Comedy, as always, is very much the flipside of Tragedy and, in talented hands, can be used to expose the dark underside of society whilst making us laugh.
In the safe and funny hands of Kevin and Andy the laughs come thick and fast bringing everyone together in a massive LOL experience. A final song has the audiences joining in with choruses of AW … DEADLY!!!
Melbourne International Comedy Festival presents
The Bald and the Beautiful
Kevin Kropinyeri & Andy Saunders
Venue: Melb Town Hall - Regent Room | Cnr Swanston & Collins Sts, Melbourne
Dates: 25 March – 17 April 2016
Tickets: $25 – $33