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Aussie comics Dane Simpson and Alex Ward in India

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow returns to India this year with two well-known stand-up comics

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At 9.6 degree Celsius, India’s national capital Delhi has recorded the season’s lowest temperature. It snot funny! But you know what is? The Australian line-up currently on a comedy roadshow in India.

Two of the fastest rising Aussie comedians – Dane Simpson and Alex Ward – have been handpicked to spread their particular brand of infectious humour.

For the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow, Simpson and Ward have already performed in Delhi (Nov 19), Mumbai (Nov 20), Chennai (Nov 21), Bengaluru (Nov 22) and are set to tickle funny bones in Pune (Nov 25).

Wagga Wagga-based Dane was a Deadly Funny national finalist in 2015. In 2021, he hosted the Deadly Funny and left the audience in splits with his gut-busting jokes. During the Covid-19 lockdown, Dane kept Aussies entertained with an interactive show called Servo Bingo. He has also appeared in the rom-com feature film, The Merger.

Alex is a Queenslander living in Melbourne. She has appeared on Have You Been Paying Attention?, Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala, Upfront, ABC Comedy’s Up-late, Audible’s 2019 live stand-up series, Tonightly with Tom Ballard, Triple J’s Good Az Friday, and performed at Splendour In The Grass.

It’s the first time in India for both performers, although both have had some exposure to the world of Indian comics.

“I love it here,” Dane told Indian Link.  “I have worked with some amazing comedians from India before in Australia and I am keen to experience being in India performing as an Australian.”

Alex agreed.  “I already followed a few Indian comics and have now met so many more. I don’t like to compare but if I had to pick a favourite at the moment it would be Sonali Thakker who I first met when she was performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival a few years ago.”

Dane sees his work as a way of connecting with people.  “I like sharing silly stories which others might relate to in their own way. I’ve always found my friends and family a bit quirky and I like to share that with other people.”

Much has happened in his life recently that will provide fodder for his comedy material.

“I got married. I had my first special come out on Paramount+. I travelled to Edinburgh Fringe for the first time. It’s been crazy. I’m keen to talk about everything and see what the audiences think.

He will also be talking about his First Nations heritage.

“I am a proud Aboriginal man from the Gamilaraay nation and we have such a rich culture. I love to share a little bit of who I am on stage and I’ll definitely be looking forward to exchanging some cultural stories [in India].”

Alex’s work has been described as ‘punch-line-heavy comedy’; do these punchlines include puns?

“I’m not big into puns, I try to avoid them at all costs. If I think of one, Chennai I email it to you later?”

Ha ha!

What if the Australianisms bomb, or any of their other material?

“No, this has never happened to me – I am the perfect comedian at all times,” Alex shot back, then added laughing,  “That there is an example of a joke… yes, of course this has happened. I don’t mind when it happens. You have to try new stuff and take risks, and sometimes they pay off and sometimes they don’t. I usually just say ‘not for you, hey?’ and move on to one of my other perfect jokes.”

Having chatted with both, we’re confident Dane Simpson and Alex Ward won’t be facing any such challenges at Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow in India, and their audiences – and they themselves – will have a rip-roaring, rollicking time.

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Prutha Chakraborty
Prutha Chakraborty
Prutha Bhosle Chakraborty is a freelance journalist. With over nine years of experience in different Indian newsrooms, she has worked both as a reporter and a copy editor. She writes on community, health, food and culture. She has widely covered the Indian diaspora, the expat community, embassies and consulates. Prutha is an alumna of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bengaluru.

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