Kevin Kropinyeri, comedian, Brisbane Comedy Festival
Comedy is a great medium to get across a message! Once you make someone laugh their defences come down ...
Few comedians can rouse up a host of laughter just with sheer stage presence, but stand-up comic Kevin Kropinyeri’s energetic persona is one of his beloved hallmarks. The Ngarrindjeri man is one of our country’s most established and popular Aboriginal comedians, with a knack for observational humour that, when paired with his sharp and silly delivery, makes for a but-gusting combination. Kevin will be performing at the Brisbane Comedy Festival next month, first on Sunday August 1 as part of the Aboriginal Comedy Allstars and then from Wednesday August 4 through to Sunday August 8 performing his solo show ‘Goes Talkabout’. We caught up with Kevin ahead of his appearance to chat all things comedy!
A sense of humour is something that develops early in life – when did you first notice you had a gift for making folks crack up?
My family will say from a little child. I hear of some of the funny stories when I was little that my Mum has told me. I think I definitely started to develop my funny bone in primary school, I was definitely the class clown. I found myself in trouble a lot at school interrupting the teacher with my funny ways and making the class laugh at my antics.
What would you say were some formative influences that helped shape your comedic voice and performance style?
I definitely would say that Sean Choolburra initially was a huge instrumental influence in the start of my comedy career. I have also had the pleasure over the 13 years of my career performing alongside some amazing comedians. So I think it would be fair to say my good comedian friends along the way have all had a little input to help me find my feet and my own style of comedy.
You’re an incredibly physical, high-energy performer – do you have any pre-show rituals that help you get in the right mindset before stepping out on stage?
I like to act a little silly with my colleagues back stage and lather myself up with the funny before I go onstage, also I always clean my shoes before I go onstage. A bit of an OCD thing I guess.
We’re excited to check out your new show ‘Goes Talkabout’ at the Brisbane Comedy Festival next month – can you give us some insight into this show and its overarching direction?
It is more about my personal side and my life growing up, my ups and downs and overcoming adversity and about life lessons at the same time keeping you laughing and some real poignant moments that may bring a tear to your eye. Overall this show will share more of a light on my personal life while keeping you laughing.
You’ve got a knack for crafting observational humour. What is your secret for filtering everyday life into comedic gold?
I guess some comedians have that gift of seeing something out of ordinary day life. I see things that are funny to me, it could be a hairstyle or a walk and see it from different angles and make people see it from my perspective add my funny and it just seems to work. Everyone is different, I just see things differently and make it into comedy. I really don’t know, I guess it is a gift.
You’ll also be teaming up with Steph Tisdell, Sean Choolburra and Andy Saunders for the Aboriginal Comedy Allstars show. What’s it like preparing and performing material with a group of terrific comedians? We’d imagine it’d be a hard task to stop laughing yourself silly onstage …
Yeah, it is a beautiful blessing knowing and loving these amazing human beings. We are like family. We all have our own comedy styles which seem to marry into our brand the Aboriginal Comedy Allstars. We have something special when we all share the stage together, it is awesome! There is a lot of energy backstage before we start our show, a lot of encouragement and love. We do have a lot of laughs picking on each other before show sometimes and I seem to be the butt of Sean and Andy’s jokes! Ha!
Comedy can be a powerful tool for sharing messages and stories in engaging ways – how do you feel comedy can be used to foster a greater understanding of Indigenous culture amongst broader audiences?
Comedy is a great medium to get across a message! Once you make someone laugh their defences come down. Over the years when people have come to my shows in particular non-Indigenous people, I have had the same comment said to me “I have laughed so hard and I learned a lot tonight”. Comedy is a powerful way of sharing my story and stories of my Aboriginality.
Finally, we’d love to know what makes you laugh! What is something that is nearly guaranteed to elicit a chuckle from you?
My family! My brothers, sisters, cousins and children. I have so many funny people in my family! So if people come to my show they will get a taste of how funny my family is. They are hilarious!
You can catch Kevin Kropinyeri performing his show ‘Goes Talkabout’ at the Brisbane Comedy Festival at the Brisbane Powerhouse from Wednesday August 4 through to Sunday August 8. Get your tickets here!