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Sri Lankan-Australian comedian, Sashi Perera makes you laugh, albeit creepily

"One of my only regrets with comedy is that I didn't start earlier"

Meet Sashi Perera, a Sri Lankan-Australian improv and stand-up comedian and get this, a former refugee lawyer. She was the only Australian comedian featured as “One to Watch” by the UK’s 2021 Funny Women Awards. 

Her new show, Good Ghouls, with Rose Bishop is set to go live this season at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. 

Dilpreet speaks with her about the show, what Melbourne’s comic scene is like for South Asians and what makes her tick.

Dilpreet: Sashi, how did comedy happen for you? We hope the story is funny. 

Sashi: I moved to Melbourne in 2018 and felt like such an oddball. Most of my friends were married with amazing jobs, having babies or renovating houses. I couldn’t relate - I lived in a seven-person sharehouse, wanted to switch careers and got dumped over text on a startlingly regular basis. I signed up for RAW Comedy, an open mic competition - it was my first time doing comedy and I loved it. I found an entire community of oddballs at the state final and everything just kept going from there. 

Dilpreet: What was it like being a performer during Melbourne's six (ish) lockdowns?

Sashi: Super disheartening. My first comedy show was cancelled when the world melted down in March 2020, it was such a bummer. I had my day job but so many talented friends lost so much work. I did gigs online and at restricted capacity between lockdowns but the energy was so zapped. The first gig back at full capacity was like that first gasp of air you take after betting your brother that you can hold your breath underwater longer than he can. A necessary joy. 


Dilpreet: Good Ghouls is a little scary for a comic show. I remember not sleeping for many nights after googling ghouls once. What’s the show about?

Sashi: The show is a stand-up comedy about all the funny things that make us tick - with a bit of improv and silliness mixed in, nothing scary, we promise! We’re channelling the twins from The Shining in the poster but I’ve not watched it, it's creepy and I’m also a scaredy-cat. The title comes from Rose’s love of creepy stuff. Both of us have a side to us that makes us total little creeps - this show celebrates that. 


Dilpreet: It’s rare to see South Asian women comedians in Australia. How do you see the scene changing with more of us cropping up - even if accidentally.

Sashi: One of my only regrets with comedy is that I didn't start earlier, it just didn't occur to me that it was a space I could fit into. There's an ever-growing number of us in Melbourne - it's a supportive network and the transition from us being a "diverse act" on fringe gigs to a legit "act" in the mainstream is slowly happening - it's exciting. I hope it encourages South Asian women who see themselves increasingly represented on stage or on TV to go - hey, this looks fun, I want to DO this. Don’t wait till your life falls apart to try it, like I did!

Dilpreet: How is 2022 looking for you? Please share how our readers can come watch you!

Sashi: I'm so excited about this year - I get to perform with Rose who’s a good friend and an excellent comic - and hit every live show I can. Come see us in Good Ghouls! I promise you'll laugh heaps and it won't be scary - you'll sleep better than a baby because I've heard they don't sleep at all. It’ll be a joyous ride with no emotional reveals that punch you in the gut - just a bunch of funnies for a whole hour. 

Good Ghouls runs from 12 to 24 April, you can buy tickets here.

About the author

Dilpreet is the founder of South Asian Today. More about her can be found here.