Talking to Melbourne comedian Khaled Khalafalla, it’s hard to say who’s interviewing who.
Early in this chat, he's the one asking the questions. It’s the kind of thing he did with himself recently in order to become what he feels is a better comedian. The results will be on full display in his upcoming tour, which he believes is “going to be my favourite show and the first show that I’ve really respected myself”.
Khaled began comedy with the intention of becoming a radio host. While interning with a newspaper, he sat in during an interview with Dave Hughes, who said performing stand-up comedy was the best entry into radio. “I thought if I did that I’d have an edge over other people sending in demos, so I entered RAW Comedy in 2011. I wrote my best five minutes and then I ended up going to the grand final. I found I enjoyed stand-up way more than radio.”
After stumbling into stand-up, Khaled has been performing his routines across Australia and the world. Recently he took on a new challenge by making his acting debut in the 2017 Australian film ‘Ali’s Wedding’, once again by accident. “They called me in for an audition. It seemed like a small project. It all just came together and I found myself in a project that was way bigger than my experience,” he laughs.
Khaled’s role in the film came at a strange time for him, where he began to feel discouraged by performing comedy. “I was in a real transitional phase where I was really unhappy with who I was on stage and I wanted to dig deeper. I got to a stage where I stopped writing all together and started working out bits on stage,” he says. “I was essentially feeling dishonest because I was giving too much of myself for the sake of laughter; I’m giving way more energy than is required to deliver this message. Acting helped me strip that away.”
Khaled has since appeared in the 2018 film ‘That’s Not My Dog’ and the ABC comedy series ‘Upper Middle Bogan’. It was the latter where he received advice that helped rejuvenate him.
“Glenn Robbins told me, ‘In stand-up you’re trying to act funny, but in acting you want to act completely natural in a funny script. You want the script to be funny and you want to be as dramatic as you can in a completely ridiculous script’. I brought that to my stand-up so I can create really ridiculous scenarios, and instead of trying to act funny I try and act dramatically and immerse myself into the scene as much as I can as a real human being, as if I don’t know this very funny thing is about to happen.”
Last year, Khaled reluctantly performed an improvised show ‘Loose’ at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. “This is how it happened: I didn’t want to do a show, and my manager said I should do a show and work it out as I went along,” he laughs.
Instead of performing at the festival, Khaled took his time crafting his upcoming show. “I want to create the best show that I know I can, and I just gave myself a few more months. It was a really big weight off my shoulders and allowed me to dig deeper. I’m now more excited to do it.”
Khaled Khalafalla Tour Dates13 July – The Comedy Store (Sydney)
14 July – Sit Down Comedy Club (Brisbane)
21 July – The Comic's Lounge (Melbourne)
28 July – Rhino Room (Adelaide)