Dil­ruk Jayas­inha

Stand-up com­edy is a bit like a high-fly­ing cir­cus act with­out a net – and that’s ex­actly how Dil­ruk Jayas­inha likes it


DIL­RUK JAYAS­INHA’S NEW Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tional Com­edy Fes­ti­val show, Bun­dle

of Joy, is al­most ready – but that doesn’t mean it’s fin­ished. “I’m some­one who works bet­ter from the stage it­self rather than sit­ting down and writ­ing it all down,” he says. “The more I per­form the more jokes or lit­tle tags to jokes I find along the way. The pres­sure of hav­ing to be funny in front of peo­ple’s faces star­ing back at you is a much stronger mo­ti­va­tor than star­ing at the wall at your desk.”

Jayas­inha comes up with a hand­ful of key sto­ries he’ll tell dur­ing a show, but he likes to in­ter­act with the au­di­ence and changes tack based on how things are go­ing. “The more you try to con­trol it and keep the six things that don’t change, the more it changes.”

That change can be scary, but also ex­hil­a­rat­ing. “If peo­ple go to the cir­cus to see amaz­ing acts of courage, they know deep down that ev­ery­thing is go­ing to be fine – but in that mo­ment you feel that dan­ger,” Jayas­inha says. He says live com­edy has a sim­i­lar feel. “It’s a death-de­fy­ing stunt. Part of the ex­cite­ment of watch­ing a stand-up on stage is that dan­ger.”

But even though he loves the high-wire un­cer­tainty of live per­for­mance, the for­mer ac­coun­tant re­tains a sense of cau­tion. “I didn’t go full time in com­edy un­til long af­ter I knew I could go full time,” he says. “Maybe it is that ac­count­ing train­ing, that it was ‘don’t get too car­ried away.’” He still re­mem­bers the day he be­came a full-time stand-up co­me­dian: July 1, 2016. Nat­u­rally, he had to see out the end of the fi­nan­cial year.

Al­though he’s been ac­tive in Aus­tralia’s com­edy scene for years, he still gets a kick out of meet­ing his com­edy he­roes. “I re­mem­ber when I was work­ing as an ac­coun­tant and I was re­ally not lov­ing it, I used to lis­ten to Hamish and Andy ev­ery day, and there was a time when I called them up. Fast for­ward six or seven years later, they had Rob Sitch on to pro­mote Utopia [which Jayas­inha stars in], Hamish and Andy played the au­dio of me call­ing them up.” He’s now friends with the pair, and Hamish asked Jayas­inha if he re­mem­bered the promo of him­self on Utopia. “I told him I know the ex­act date.” Be­friend­ing those he used to idolise has been one of the best things about mak­ing the switch from ac­count­ing to com­edy. “It breaks my brain some­times.” dil­ruk Jayas­inha: Bun­dle of Joy, Swiss Club, 89 Flin­ders Ln, Mel­bourne 3000. www.com­e­dyfes­ti­val.com.au. $25-$32. Mar 29-Apr 22.

“The fun of watch­ing stand-up is the dan­ger”

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