DeAnne Smith, comedian

Success is being happy, being creative and having ample time to enjoy friends and family …

DeAnne Smith frequently reduces entire audiences to tears, of the happy kind, and has graced stages at comedy festivals around the world including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the Iceland Comedy Festival and Just for Laughs Montreal and Chicago to name a few. Her casual cleverness, razor-sharp wit and extraordinary ukulele skills have earned her legions of fans the world over and she’s coming to The Arts Centre Gold Coast as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow. DeAnne spared a few minutes to chat with The Weekend Edition Gold Coast about horrible advice, neurosis and making people laugh for a living.

You’re performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow, what hints can you give us about your show?
I can say that you will be surprised and entertained. The comedians I’m with on the Roadshow are all hilarious and unique. There’s something for everyone!

The ukulele makes an appearance in a lot of your shows. Do you have any other hidden talents?
I’m quite good at juggling. This skill has only made it into the act once, though, when I was performing for kids and panicked!

You Tweeted some concerns about cyber security this week. What prompted these concerns?
My girlfriend (who’s in Canada) and I try to keep the, let’s politely call it ‘romance’ alive while I’m traveling. I realised recently that every sexy photo she’s sent me is also stored in a mysterious tech cloud somewhere. Some savvy cyber nerd must be having a field day.

You’ve performed all over the world and won a swag of awards, what would you consider to be your career highlight so far?
One big highlight was performing for Roseanne Barr during NBC’s Last Comic Standing and having her tell me she loves me and that I’ve got ‘swagger’. I still haven’t come down from that high.

Where do find inspiration?
Everywhere! At the moment, examining my own neurotic thought processes is providing a lot of humour. I almost had a breakdown in a cafe the other day when the barista asked me if I wanted my milk cold or steamed. I don’t know, what’s normal? I just want to be normal! (I wish I hadn’t actually said this. I did.)

Were you the class clown at school?
Not at all. I was quite reserved in school.

And back then, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A judge. But then I realised I’d have to go to law school and be a lawyer first, so I opted for stand-up. It’s like being a judge without the work!

Do your friends and family always appreciate your hilarity?
Yes! I asked my 90-year-old grandma if she wanted me to get a tattoo for her, as I was getting one for my other grandma who had passed away. She said that she didn’t approve so I asked her if she wanted me to get ‘I don’t approve’ tattooed on me, she laughed and actually wrote out the phrase for me! It’s now tattooed on my arm and we both love it.

Do you ever tire of people asking you to tell them a joke when you say you’re a comedian?
I generally say that I don’t give it away for free, which gets a laugh and gets me out of having to tell a joke.

Take us back to your first comedy gig – what can you remember?
It was at the Comedy Nest in Montreal. The lights were too bright, I rambled, but I was hooked!

If you could give that girl just starting out her comedy career any advice, what would it be?
Quit. If she takes that horrible advice, she’s not cut out for comedy anyway. If she disregards it entirely and does her own thing, she’s probably got what it takes to succeed in this crazy world!

You’ve obviously had plenty of success with what you do, but what in your life are you most proud of?
I’m proud of doing my own thing, managing my own career, and never doing anything that compromises my integrity. Let’s hope I can still say this in ten years!

What’s the best thing about being you right now?
Answering these questions. It feels very nice when someone is interested in my little experiences and opinions!

What’s your personal definition of ‘success’?
Being happy, being creative and having ample time to enjoy friends and family.

If you weren’t a comedian, what would you be doing?
Crying in a corner somewhere probably.

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