A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
The 'Sauce' of Great Comedy
We were fortunate enough to see Ivan Aristeguieta on the official opening night of his act - 'Lost in Pronunciation' - at the Portland Hotel (Russell Street, Melbourne CBD) on 29th March. This act was everything it's billed to be and more, and gets a 'highly recommended' rating from me!
A lovely smile for the camera from Ivan
A bit of background about Ivan: he's Venezuelan, and migrated to Australia in 2012. He'd been a successful standup comedian in Venezuela, so it was a natural step to want to pick up in Australia where he'd left off in Venezuela. There was one small barrier - limited English and no knowledge of our Australian ways and idiosyncrasies! These must have been quickly embraced, as within a short time, Ivan had won a stand-up competition, and was one of five performers selected to be in the Comedy Festival's 2013 'Comedy Zone'.
Says Ivan: "People are the same the world over. If you can relate to them, you can make them laugh."
There were laughs the whole way through Ivan's show. It's fairly gentle humour in a way, and largely pokes fun at Aussies and our mannerisms, for example, our love of adding tomato sauce to just about anything. He's able to hold a lens to Aussie behaviour in the insightful way someone can if they're fresh to a culture, and have recent experience of another culture with which to compare it.
Ivan has Latino charm in spades. He has a warm engaging manner that draws in the audience. At my partner Dave's insistence, we sat in the front row (Dave seems to like nothing more than being hauled up on stage at these events!), and while Ivan engaged in a bit of banter with the front row audience members (a lot of laughs about a guy who insisted his name was 'Pablo', though, as Ivan said, he looked like his name should be 'Greg'), there was nothing sharp or nasty about his contact.
The many faces of Ivan
It was pleasing to hear that Ivan has encountered virtually no racism in Australia; with the exception that, living in Adelaide, he is regularly ribbed about his choice of home city by Melburnians and Sydneysiders! One thing that Ivan regrets about moving to Australia is that he's lost one name and gained another. His name used to be pronounced 'Ee-varn', but now, of course, he's become 'Eye-vn', in our good Australian way. But he seems to cope well with it all.
We loved the early gag about 'prostate examinations' and a funny rendition part way through of 'Waltzing Merengue'; to say more about these might spoil what's in store.
We also thought it was great that Ivan was out in the foyer after the show, meeting and greeting his audience; and he was kind enough to pose for a few photos for me.
If we had one regret about the show, it's that it's not in a bigger venue! The Pool Room at the Portland Hotel holds around 60 people I guess, and was full on the night we attended. Ivan's act would translate to any sized audience we felt, so it seems a shame that not more people got to experience his wonderful humour.
Ivan is playing at the Portland Hotel until 27th April. Shows are at 8.15pm on Tuesday to Saturday and 7.15pm on Sunday. The show runs for approximately an hour. Tickets are $22 for adults and $20 concession. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.