Based in Toronto, Aliya Kanani is a woman of the world, having lived and travelled in about 30 countries. Where you From, From? debuted in MICF 2019 and has been doing the international festival rounds (COVID permitting) and now full circles back to Melbourne.
While the show is about race, feminism and sexual taboos, Kanani opts for a sense of the universal, rather than locating her jokes in a particular culture. She wants everyone to relate, regardless of "where they are from".
She gives some clues to her own cultural background, but never really paints a full picture of herself, instead telling us she used to make up all sorts of stories when adults would ask her where she was from. If you believe her, she is one of eight people in the world with an international passport. Telling tall tales became easier and easier for her with so much practice – which could explain why, after a career as a flight attendant, she eventually gravitated to acting and comedy!)
Performed at Khokolat, a basement bar in Hardware Lane, the show has a more casual air then the military precision of comedy events at the Melbourne Town Hall or other main hubs. The pub manager was wrangled in for Kanani's introduction; there was not a techie in sight and the audio was just passable. Just like the venue, the presentation felt old school, with Kanani rifting with the crowd and encouraging interaction. The low-fi vibe brought things back to basics – just straight-up stand up to a very diverse crowd of about 30.
Seemingly "random" airport security checks, a love of meeting new people and marveling at the confidence of little girls, Kanini moves through a lot of material, all with a feminist spin. A yarn about why she moved from sketch to stand-up comedy ties it all together and brings home her theme of speaking your truth, rather than creating art that fits into someone else's paradigm.
2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Where you From, From?
Venue: Khokolat Bar | 43 Hardware Ln, Melbourne VIC
Dates: 1 – 23 April 2022
Tickets: $20 – $25