Ivan Aristeguieta is charming. When the Venezuelan-born Adelaide-based comedian describes why he chose to title his new show ‘Juithy’, it’s almost like he’s describing himself, but is far too humble to do it outright. “It’s just a catchy word,” Ivan explains. “I said that word a lot at my show last year, and people remembered that word a lot. It’s silly; it’s just saying juicy with a lisp. It’s just so stupid.”
Ivan moved to Australia five years ago, but had been performing comedy in Venezuela prior. “When I started, I was part of the new movement of stand-up comedy in Venezuela; we were a bit behind with the whole thing. Someone brought the open mic concept from Spain. All during high school I was always singing and dancing and always part of a band. At the end of the school year I’d do impersonations of the teachers and tell jokes. Then a friend said there’s a comedy open mic, he thought I was funny and said I should do it, and it was great. It was like meant to be.”
Ivan couldn’t wait to perform comedy in Australia. He’d been a fan of Australian comedy before arriving, having “watched all the [Melbourne International Comedy Festival] Galas on YouTube because watching them is the best way of understanding stand-up comedy in Australia”. However, Ivan had to work harder than other comedians due to English being his second language.
“I was a bit self-conscious of my English. I was okay with the English, and I knew how to write jokes, but I was worried about people understanding my accent and my words and what I was saying. So I went to a speech coach in Adelaide. I did six sessions, and it gave me a lot of confidence.”
Having worked with food since finishing school, Ivan’s comedy mixes his love of food with observations of his new home. His first Gala spot about Australians’ love of Bunnings sausage sizzles went viral. “Food has been part of my life for many years. I think we all connect with food. It’s a very easy starting point if you want to start a conversation because we all eat food, and we all have this emotional connection with food. I think once you start with food and how people behave around food you can understand their culture.”
Ivan will be bringing ‘Juithy’ to the Perth Comedy Festival, with the show featuring themes about food, divorce and how strange Australia is.
“In this show I continue describing my cultural observations, but I use them to explain what it’s like to be an immigrant for people who have no idea. I’ve been through a divorce recently, and being divorced is the exact same feeling as immigration. The main thing is explaining to people who don’t understand what it’s like to be an immigrant because you have to be in our shoes to understand, but everyone will relate to a break-up. That’s the message behind the show, but I’m also doing the jokes about how much Australians complain. I’m impressed when Australians don’t like something they say it. That’s the lesson for me; I need to learn how to complain and say when something is wrong. And now that I live in Australia I have to complain because it’s the rule.”