Jonathan Duffy has come far. Literally. This Australian comedian has made Icelanders laugh until they cry on several stand-up events in the past two years. On Saturday he brings on stage in Tjarnarbíó his most personal work, Australiana.
“The show is all about what it was like growing up in Australia, what I miss about it and ultimately why I left. It’s certainly different to what audiences have seen me do before because it’s really heavily influenced by music. It’s closer to the sort of thing I used to do back in Australia when I did solo shows.” Although different from other shows fans will recognise their Jono.
“Of course I will be cheeky, I can’t help myself. I will be making jokes just like I have come to be expected for, however this show is a bit more intimate. With the funny stuff I also talk about some incredibly painful experiences and what I learned from them. The entire piece is more of a journey than an hour-long barrel of laughs. Back in Australia my solo shows were more known for being a rollercoaster ride, but don’t worry, I never like to end on a sad note.”
The show is in English and to be enjoyed by locals and non locals alike.
“I’m speaking about the country I came from and in particular my experience as a gay kid, falling in love when I never thought I could in a homophobic environment and what exactly made me want to go to the other side of the world, so in a way, it doesn’t really matter where you’re from if you see this show.”
“Of course I will be cheeky, I can’t help myself. I will be making jokes just like I have come to be expected for, however this show is a bit more intimate.”
He says that Icelandic humor and Australian humour aren’t really that different. “Both nations have a dark sense of humour, love the underdog and don’t like to toot their own horn too much. I’ve noticed that comedy in Icelandic sometimes relies on playing with words. I think that’s great. It’s also really reflective of a nation that’s very protective of its language. Australian humour is often about what you’re not saying. Australia is an incredibly young nation made of immigrants. I like to think we’re great at getting everyone on the same level because in Australia we tend to feel that everyone is as shit as everyone else.”
Jono admits that performing Australiana makes him more nervous than usual. “It’s so personal and has so much singing in it. I often used to tell people that I’m not a singer, I’m just a comedian who can hold a tune. Then I did some work with Hera Bjork last year and she taught me that’s the wrong attitude to have, so now before this show I focus on getting the sound check right, making sure I’m warmed up and trusting that I know what I’m doing.
But what really makes me nervous before shows in this country is stressing over whether people will come or not, Icelanders aren’t known for booking tickets ahead of time. It’s endearing and nerve wrecking all at once. That’s what nobody tells you when you’re a young performer. Most of your time is spent getting people to come. I’ve been doing this long enough to know though that if you give me a room full of people, I’ll give them a good time they won’t forget.”
The show in Tjarnarbíó starts tomorrow night at 20. Australiana will be shown on two other dates, the 4th and 12th of february. Tickets at midi.is.