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"Debuting at Melbourne Comedy Festival and trying not to freak out"

In conversation with Pakistani-Australian comedian, Amna Bee


Thank you for joining us Amna! Now quickly tell us about your performance at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this year!

This is my debut, solo show at Melbourne International Comedy Festival. And I’m trying not to freak out! I think because of COVID-19 and the lockdowns of last year, something in me prompted me to stop waiting for things to happen and just get up and put on my own show. I’ve had an interesting life (interesting being the operative word here) and I love to share my stories and perspective with audiences while making them laugh. My show ‘Don’t Tell My Family’ is about a Pakistani woman’s journey across borders, taboos and family expectations.

Dates and times: Apr 7&14 at 7.30pm; Apr 8, 11, 15 & 18 at 8pm

Venue:  Caz Reitop’s Dirty Secerts, 80 Smith Street, Collingwood

Tickets: $10 preview Apr 7; Wednesdays $18; Thursdays and Sundays $20

Link:  https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2021/shows/don-t-tell-my-family

Was comedy always “your thing”? Or did you make it happen...that’s very funny if true!

I’ve always been a bit of a smartass and I’ve loved public speaking, writing and reading humorous stories and pieces but I never thought about stand up comedy as something to do. I mean, I didn’t know it was an option for women. It was way out of my imagination. But then I was living in Alice Springs, NT and a comedian friend suggested I try standup. So I did! And haven’t looked back since.

Do you see a lot of Brown women around you in Australia doing comedy? 

Not a whole lot but there are definitely some strong Brown women comics in the Melbourne comedy scene.

What makes you a unique addition to the festival? 

I am from Peshawar, the wild, wild west side of Pakistan. I am what they call a tribal Pashtun. I was the first woman in my town to leave the country on her own and pretty sure I am the only woman from that part of the world who’s doing comedy here in Australia. My perspective and journey makes me a pretty unique addition to this festival!

Do you see desi comedy changing or evolving? We find a lot of “Brown mum” “Brown dad” jokes around but is it pushing itself further in your opinion?

Yes, desi comedy is evolving, especially back home in Pakistan and India. There are some fantastic comedians that are coming up and they have taken desi comedy to another level. It’s moving well past the dad joke genre. Check out one of my favourites Aditi Mittal (she has Netflix specials) to see what I mean.

Book your tickets to see Amna perform here!

About the author

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

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