LISTENING to Andy Saunders is an introduction to his life: stories about being a father, a middle-aged man, a husband of more than two decades, an Aboriginal man, the member of a big family.
The show, called Asms and Isms, crosses over from squirmy topics to the downright hilarious, like how to buy cars without upsetting your wife and growing up poor.
Saunders shares his intimate stories in order to make people laugh, first, but also to show that laughter is a great way to bring people together.
"I'm bringing some laughs, a few jokes here and there, a couple of stories of my childhood, about being Aboriginal," he said.
"Every time I am on stage I try to bring a perspective of who I am: a middle aged man, a father and a husband, or an Aboriginal person living in Australia.
"I'll try to spin stories about my life to have a funny positive outcome, so that people feel comfortable laughing at the serious things in life, because that's what stand up comedy is about."
Parenthood, race and aging (dis)gracefully; the comedian deals with all those topics with elegance and finesse, but Saunders thinks it's because human beings are at their most vulnerable when they are laughing.
"It's the easiest time to teach someone," he said.
"That's the reason why I used to make my mum laugh when I wanted to ask her for money, back in the day.
"It was much easier to get money of her when she was laughing."
Saunders thinks the country benefits from a variety of artists from different backgrounds sharing their stories, particularly Aboriginal voices.
"Jokes aside, I think Australia is at an edge where some people need a bit of a push to be able to address issues, learn about them, explore them and not be threatened by them.
"In this country a lot of things are taboo. We pride ourselves of being very politically correct but it denies a lot of learning through comedy."
Saunders said he always proclaimed his gigs a safe place for everyone at the beginning of his shows.
"It's fine to go there, to talk about those confronting issues, and for that I always make my shows a safe place. I always say 'you are in a safe place, it's all right to laugh, and if you don't know when to laugh just look at some of my brethren and if they are laughing then you laugh as well'."
- At Lismore City Hall on Saturday, March 11, from 7.30pm. $47. For details visit norpa.org.au.
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