Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weekly Life - Tanya MacNaughton

TRAP­PING a bunch of co­me­di­ans on an is­land for 24-48 hours may sound like the premise for a short re­al­ity tele­vi­sion se­ries.

It is also what is in­volved for Rot­tofest, the sev­enth an­nual com­edy and mu­sic fes­ti­val on Rot­tnest Is­land, and Pak­istani co­me­dian and writer Sami Shah can­not wait.

“My first Rot­tofest was in 2013, a year af­ter I moved here, so this will be my third time per­form­ing,” the 37-year-old said.

“It’s where I do a dry run of the new ma­te­rial I’ve been work­ing on for the fol­low­ing year’s Fringe World show, so I’ll get to see what works and what doesn’t.

“Stand-up com­edy is the only per­for­mance art where you’re learn­ing and do­ing at the same time.”

Shah will celebrate his 10-year an­niver­sary in com­edy this Novem­ber by post­ing footage from his first gig online.

He had been part of an im­prov troupe for three years be­fore giv­ing stand-up a go.

“What I re­mem­ber from it was vom­it­ing back­stage and then be­ing freaked out un­til I got that first laugh,” he said.

“I re­mem­ber get­ting that first laugh, feel­ing re­lieved and then I have no mem­ory of the rest of it.”

Shah moved to Aus­tralia in 2012 with his psy­chol­o­gist wife Ishma and young daugh­ter Anya who, now six years old, keeps Shah busy with school de­mands and bal­let classes.

He said his com­edy had changed over the years as life changed, but this was more to do with re­la­tion­ships and pol­i­tics than mov­ing coun­tries.

“It has to change be­cause the point of com­edy is to make it re­flect what you’re think­ing at the time,” Shah said.

“But it didn’t al­ter that much be­tween Pak­istan and Aus­tralia, as half of my show is al­ways me look­ing in­wards, so it’s about fam­ily, friends and things I’ve en­coun­tered.

“Then the other half is me rail­ing against con­ser­va­tive pol­i­tics and you’d be sur­prised how sim­i­lar they are ev­ery­where in the world; from con­ser­va­tive peo­ple in Pak­istan to con­ser­va­tive peo­ple in Aus­tralia, the level of ig­no­rant big­otry is pretty much the same.”

Fans will be able to watch Shah on an episode of Stephen Fry’s QI in Oc­to­ber, which was recorded three months ago and an ex­pe­ri­ence Shah will never for­get.

“It was def­i­nitely a bucket list mo­ment to tick off, although now I feel like I’ve peaked too soon in my ca­reer,” he said.

Com­mu­nity News­pa­per Group has two prize packs of a dou­ble Rot­tofest pass with ferry ride to give away. En­ter at­mu­ni­ be­fore Septem­ber 11.

Sami Shah

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