Joe White: Very new, young comic, introduced only as Sam and also an Ethiopian Australian, had a short set, proposing that if graffiti was called doodling it wouldn’t sound cool and nobody would do it.
With a childhood in Sudan, Ethiopian by culture and raised in Australia since the age of 11, Joe White has plenty of material for his stand up. And that’s not considering the rest of his life. One of six kids raised by a single mother in Perth, White references family frequently in his show, while also riffing on various racial differences in modern Australia.
Recently plunging into comedy full time, this early 30-something used to be a banker with a side line in jokes. Now, after a slew of various awards, jokes are paying the bills. This is his first full length show in Melbourne (he’s played other cities) and he’s about to tour North America.
Judging by a packed and very diverse crowd at Afro Hub on Saturday night, White has the chops to be a star. He’s a slick, likeable performer who smoothly worked the room — especially all the late entries “on African time” — and built a relaxed set for the crowd, whose skin tones covered all ends of the spectrum. He’s on the tamer side of edgy, so the parents of the young teenagers in the front row didn’t need to cringe, although the words kinky, colon cleanse and horny all got outings (in different contexts — so not as crass as it sounds).
White uses corporate culture to explore casual racism and he’s not shy with the accents — Indian, Chinese, his own mother’s minimal English. His delivery is not angry or hard, it’s so relaxed that you can’t help going with his flow. He latched onto a few nearby punters for his crowd repartee, striking gold with a confident Kiwi-Indian bloke who ended up entwined in several punchlines.
The evening had a real community feel, with an opening spot by fellow Perth comic Jason Wood comparing the discipline methods of his South African parents in the 1980s with the more politically correct ones of contemporary white Australians. It’s fairly dark — but a good example of comedy taking the edge off harsh reality.
Very new, young comic, introduced only as Sam and also an Ethiopian Australian, had a short set, proposing that if graffiti was called doodling it wouldn’t sound cool and nobody would do it. Local councils take note — the doodling deterrent may be the answer to your tagging grievances.
Joe White, Ethiopian & Still Not Hungry,
Afro Hub, 727 Nicholson St until 23 April