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25-03-2021  Gday India

Melbourne’s Aarti Vincent ready to share humour at this year’s Melbourne’s International Comedy Festival 2021.

What a pleasant treat it is to see Melbourne come back to life. The missed year is now slowly coming to terms with restrictions easing. I say the revival of 2020 in 2021, now a beating heartbeat, almost spinning life into the city with the increase to public and private gatherings and masks no longer required in retail setting from this Friday.

So, this not only marks a mask-less city smiling once again but we have a few more reasons (things) to add to that smile. Perhaps a few peals of laughter. The patrons at this year’s Melbourne’s International Comedy Festival 2021 (24th March - 18TH April) will celebrate all of the above along with the best of stand- up comedians the festival has to offer. So, I have another good reason to pick a funny bone with our own homegrown Melbourne talent comedian Aarti Vincent from Delhi.

Acting in various theatre company in Delhi including Barry John’s – ‘Tag’ and Ranjit Kapoor’s- ‘The Entertainers’, Aarti found acting as her guide. If she is not acting then she was producing, working as a television producer in DDB in Delhi and McCann Erickson in Melbourne. But things quickly changed for Vincent when she came to Melbourne fifteen years ago after getting married. The desire to be on stage and then completely not anticipating that being a person of colour will be an existential crisis for her.

Within a week of moving to Melbourne, she auditioned for a play set in the Great Britain based on a white British Family. Any theatre artists coming from India would not anticipate that - simply because the artists would play all roles of colour including John Smith from England. The director had positive feedback though she still could not comprehend why wasn’t she given the role. It took her a few more months for the penny to drop; after she started working in an office in Melbourne. “Oh! So that’s the culture”. Vincent says that laughing.

‘‘And No, she Did Not Grow Up Doing Yoga.”

Apart from going through a spiritual awakening and mother to her eight-year-old daughter, she found herself writing scripts with laughing antidotes. The mic dropped for Vincent when an epiphany hit her. Not only when she realised that she didn’t have to wait for others to cast her, but she can independently write and act her own script and ironically, on her first year into stand-up comedy no one knew she was doing comedy gigs. The irony of her story is when people told her she was actually very funny only when she was posting her comic gigs on Facebook. To that Vincent gasps, wish they told that to her earlier. Most of her writing is based on her experiences and her husband takes her jokes on him with pride. So, he is after all her best critic.

“To Aarti having lived in Delhi, Melbourne is nothing but a glorified village where café’s shut at 3, people ate dinner at 6 and lights off by 9”

In 2018, she would get a five-minute set for her open mic at the club Voltaire and since then it has been no turning back from comedy.

So now in 2021, she decided to apply for the International comedy festival Melbourne and here she is with her show titled “And No, I Did Not Grow Up Doing Yoga”. I ask her isn’t the joke on an immigrant to a foreign city redundant. Vincent quite candidly acknowledges that yes, it is redundant, but the jokes are always on her and it’s not about the city. Her favourite city is Berlin for instance and she loves Melbourne as much as she loves Berlin and her jokes are about ‘her cultural crisis’. If you are thirty- five and above, you have experienced life and can relate to these nuances.

On asking if she had to choose her comedy path for a lucrative gratifying glory at the cost of her consciences, what will she choose? Vincent giggles as the most obvious answer will be ‘No’ but then again as a comedian her comedy is something that resonates with her. She further clarifies that there are comedians who doesn’t sound offensive at all when they swear. I say to shay to that after all the devil is all in the details. Her set can demand her to write a few eff words but otherwise strictly parental guidance.

Vincent never had that instant answer as a ten-year-old that she would be a pilot or in her case a stand-up comedian, she just went with her life path. Her goal now is to establish herself as a stand-up comedian and take this platform and own it. Travel with this show around Perth, Adelaide around Australia.

Vincent has a lot of fun when she is doing her set and I can imagine how hard it is to keep the audience engage while keeping a straight face. Just like her inspiration Fiona O’Loughlin who made a comedy out of her coma.

Like any other comedian, she wants to grow her audience organically, take a few risks with her scripts, and go with the flow. It’s all about having fun. I say - yes ‘we women do it better - period.’ Also, if you want to catch Vincent in action come on down to Club Voltaire, she will be performing from 30th March – 11th April, where she will not only entertain you but also tell you her age.

I cannot think of a better quote than from my favourite show the ‘Marvelous Mrs Maisel by the lead actress Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) - “If women don’t realise what’s going on in the world, they won’t step in and fix it.’’

By Nandita Chakraborty


25-03-2021  Gday India

Health Smiles Banner Jul23