It’s Bris Funny Fest time and Big Fork Theatre can’t wait to play its one-off Cool Story Bro at Metro Arts – ooh la la! Our storyteller, comedy cool guy Ashwin Segkar, took some time out to talk to us about comedy and life:
Welcome back to Cool Story Bro Ashwin! You were a storyteller back in April at the old Visions Gallery at West End. What was your first time like?
I realised the first half of my life was a lot more action packed than the second half. But that’s okay. I think being young is all about wandering around Asia and drinking 6 day old milk, whereas being older is all about going “what the hell is life all about?!”, and sitting around wondering whether you’re in the right job or relationship. So the stories did skew to childhood. If it was called Cool Opinions Bro, I could have shared my idea about why my anarchism is hard to make work with 7 billion people or why you don’t see a lot of Indian kids in the arts, but no one wants to hear that. We want action! So childhood it is.
You've been kicking goals around the comedy scene for a little while now. How did you get into comedy in the first place?
I used to make little web videos with some friends and would spend a lot of time in the Botanical Gardens just writing, but was always too scared to go on stage. A lot of my friends started to have kids and families not long after and it was hard to see them so often. I just thought maybe I’ll fill my time with comedy instead, so I went into the RAW comedy competition in 2014. I got on stage, shook a little and then was doing it.
You've tried a bit of improv too, what was that like for you?
I liked it and it was hard. In stand up I get to be myself, whereas in improv the aim is to transform into another character and that doesn’t come as naturally to me. I’m terrible at impersonations and channeling. Coming from a hobo park writing background, I wanted to get help with the performance side and being comfortable going off script, so improv it was. Sometimes when I’m alone, I play Dan Beeston’s improv game where you look at things and call them something else. Do you do that? Improv is the original Lumosity.
Are there any suggestions you are secretly hoping the Cool Story Bro audience shouts out?
Eww, scripting. So stand up-y. But I’m worried that I’ll start spouting too much from my Shadow side and then I can’t rescue it and pretend like it was all a joke.
Well while we are on secrets, do you have a comedy fantasy or dream gig?
I’d like to get more into the comedy scene in Asia. It’s growing now so maybe a gig in Kathmandu with a whole bunch of sherpas and climbers, that finishes in chai and curry and dumplings before they head up to Basecamp and I go back to my log fire cabin.
That sounds great! Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about trying comedy or improv what would it be?
It’s not as scary as it sounds. I think with stand up it helps to write and re-write a fair bit first. The self-talk question that scares people a lot when they start is ‘could I do stand up?’. But if you write and re-write a lot first until you have something you think is funny, then the question becomes ‘could I say this in public?’...and it’s much easier to say yes