Regarded as a rising star of Australian Comedy and having gained the attention of USA Today, Fox Sports and NBC, Damien Power conjures up consistently clever routines. His engaging confidence wins over audiences and sells out shows around Australia. A highlight of the Brisbane Comedy Festival, he is not to be missed. MyCityLife talks to Damien about his upcoming show, living with ex’s and censorship in comedy.
You’re quite a popular figure in Brisbane comedy. What is your observation on the Brisbane comedy scene?
It’s a tough scene, the gigs are often to audiences that have never seen live stand-up comedy before and the gigs are often not in ideal circumstances like say, in a room with pokies while the dogs’ race on the TV and you’re trying to convince them you’re better entertainment.
What would you call your own signature style of comedy? Ultimately, what do you try to achieve with each show?
I think my style offers intellectual content and takes big concepts and makes them simple and funny. I also like to delve into my own life. This particular show has elements of a sci-fi about it. I talk about our species, aliens, genetic modification and capitalism. Sounds horribly boring but it’s actually not I promise!
What have you been working on lately?
I put my last hour of stand-up on YouTube for free, so filming and editing that was a big process. Also, I contribute to a satirical Facebook page called True Australian Patriots. The page satirizes groups like Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front. It became so popular we decided to do a live show or as we call it a “live protest” at the Brisbane Comedy Festival 18th – 20th of March, and then at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. It’s really going to be something to see. I’m really excited about it.
Political correctness is so rampant these days: how do you manage to deal with it when being a comedian is so clearly about taking the mickey out of anything and anyone? When does comedy step across that line?
I think anything is fair game if it’s funny, intellectually sound and has class about it. A simple crass sexist or racist joke is horrible. But if you have an articulate and well-crafted point then I say it’s fair game. Freedom of speech is important as long as it’s not hate speech. That’s what’s so great about live stand-up comedy; you can’t NOT hear what they will say, there’s no censor or producer or director cutting out words. You can’t unhear it, it’s stuck with you forever like a disease. It’s a dangerous/exciting medium when done well.
How do you push yourself to develop as a comedian?
I constantly turn over new material and I try to set the bar higher and higher with originality and style. Ultimately working towards the best thought out and funny comedy I can do.
Where do you find new material?
Often from intellectual sources like philosophers and scientists but also real life situations and characters. My own life is also a source of inspiration; everyone’s life is interesting in some way. In this show, I talk about living with my ex and my son while she dates someone new. As you can imagine, a comedy goldmine/tragedy. The two are closely linked.
What else have you been working on and what are you looking forward to in 2016?
Definitely, the True Australian Patriots live show. That will really be something to see and fun to perform. As I said, I filmed my last hour of stand up and I want to do the same with this new show.
What can audiences expect from your upcoming show for the Brisbane Comedy Festival?
It’ll be funny, insightful and very different to anything else you will see. I say take a risk on an unknown act, you’ll be surprised how many great comedians there are you haven’t heard of.