From antelope meat in the I’m a Celeb jungle to fine dining cooking in the MasterChef kitchen, Dilruk Jayasinha has tasted the full spectrum of reality TV cuisine. Now he returns to where he does his best work, the stage, to serve up a brand-new hour of delicious stand-up for Perth Comedy Festival, hitting The Rechabite on Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15. MELISSA MANN caught up with Dilruk Jayasinha to find out why Perth audiences are in for a treat. 

Welcome to the Perth Comedy Festival 2022! What have you been up to for the last year?

Last year was quite a 180 degree turn for me given the show I wrote in 2020 was all about how I love being single in Melbourne and how I hate cooking and yet in 2021 I got into a relationship with a woman who lives in Mandurah and I went on Masterchef! So apparently the universe loves to reverse the themes of my show – perhaps this year I should’ve written a show about how much I love not having a million dollars in my bank account and enjoy those sweet seven digits in my debit card balance next year.

Growing up in Perth we’re primarily used to seeing male comedians from the US and UK. Reading the Perth Comedy Festival program I was struck by the wonderful diversity of performers like Oliver, Nazeem, Sami, Fabian, Aaron, and a huge female line-up, just to name a few. Why do you think the Australian comedy scene is becoming more reflective of our community?

I don’t know, but if I had to guess I reckon it is one of the benefits of the internet’s ability to bring more content from around the world to your phone. I think that maybe more people see that there isn’t the “one way” to do comedy or “comedy is only for people like this” etc and feel that perhaps maybe they too have a space to bring their stories and voices to the stage.

You are a household name now. How do you feel your comedy has grown over your career?

I think my growth with my work is reflected in how much more authentic I am on stage these days. When you start out I was inspired by a variety of different established comedians and there was a “Frankensteining” of their styles in my first couple of shows. But the more I’ve gotten comfortable as performer the less there’s a difference between the guy you seen on stage and the version of me my family and friends know.

Who are your comic inspirations? Either growing up or now?

My first love was Eddie Murphy’s stand-up specials that I watched when I was 11. Since then I go through seasons of finding inspiration from various comedians for different things. It ranges from Bill Burr and Kristen Wiig to Celia Pacquola and Wil Anderson.

I took part in a joke writing workshop at a Fringe Festival and it was hard! Does it come naturally to you, or do you have a process?

If people knew just how long I struggle with trying to make my material look “effortless” on stage, it would seem quite unsexy. Nothing I’ve ever done in my work, or personal life, that I’m truly proud of has ever come naturally to me. It actually is quite useful knowing I’m not talented at anything, because it means I don’t have any expectation of quality when I set out to do something. It’s really freeing to know that I’ll always be crap at everything when I start and if I want to be better I have no other option than to buckle down and do the work.

If you weren’t being a comedian, what would you like to try?

I think these days I feel I would like to get better at cooking and maybe train as a chef. I think it taps into the similar insecurities that drive my comedy work ethic – “Let me gather these ‘stories/ingredients’ and mix them up in a way that I think is palatable and serve it up to you to consume and hopefully you’ll enjoy what I’ve brought to the table…and if you like this, then maybe you’ll like me!”

If you could send a message to yourself pre-COVID, what would it be?

The next couple years are going to absolutely suck, and just because your situation might not be as bad as other people in your friendship group or the greater world, doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to acknowledge that what you’re going through sucks and that you might need help getting through it. Checking your privilege shouldn’t have to come at the expense of raising your hand asking for help.

Any tips to first time comedians starting out?

Just do it! Don’t wait for your material to be good enough to before you book your first gig. Every great creator of any art form who has inspired you to have a crack at it yourself, at some point was a crappy new creative too. So hypothetically if you assume you’re gonna suck for the first three years or more and it still feels like something you’d be driven to keep doing, then you might as well get those yucky three years out of the way now. Don’t wait till you feel like your work matches the quality of the greats that came before you. Fail gloriously with a big smile on your face because with each setback you’re bringing yourself closer to the standard of the creative you one day hoped you’ll be.

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