Jay Wymarra Invites The Queer Ferals And Beyond To AmaJayus

Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

The beast is about to be unleashed – comedian, writer and creative Jay Wymarra brings the cabaret to Melbourne International Comedy Festival with 'AmaJayus’.

'AmaJayus' follows the inner-life, conflicts, journey, and fashion choices of a young, queer, black boy who refuses the boxes society tries to put him in. It's a show that is part comedy, part ghost story, and full queer-feral rock-opera.

It's terrifying. . . Wonderful. . . Powerful. 'AmaJayus' traverses Jay's evolved identity, from comedian. . . To political figure. . . To musical nerd. . . To pansexual lunatic!

Jay has been seen on stages in Australia hosting, MC-ing, doing stand-up. Plus, he's toured with the Aboriginal Comedy Allstars over at Edinburgh Fringe, and been on our screens in ABC's 'Rosehaven'.

Here, we chat to Jay about the queer spectacle that is 'AmaJayus' before it hits the Comedy Festival.

First of all, tell us a bit about you.
I’m 32, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, hail from Gimuy (Cairns), and I’m fascinated by typewriters. For as long as I can remember I’ve always felt like a fish out of water. It wasn’t until I discovered performing arts and comedy that I began to feel less like that and more like a fish that needed to swim with similar fish. That’s what happens when you grow up as the son of ex-government diplomat who has spent countless hours creating fantasy worlds, honing impressions, and putting on shows for anyone who would listen – even your fluffy toys.

What are you looking forward to about playing Melbourne International Comedy Festival?
The Comedy Festival is best described in three words – Christmas For Comedians. It happens almost every year and you experience a kind of fullness afterwards. While I’m focusing more on cabaret this year rather than straight stand-up, I get endless enjoyment about seeing shows and hanging with my fellow funny people. I look forward to congregating, celebrating, exchanging, and we work our magic together and it always gives me the feeling of community.

Why do you think ‘AmaJayus' the perfect fit for this festival?

There’s no reason why it wouldn’t be a perfect fit. MICF has a rich history of producing some of the most groundbreaking, original, and spectacular shows the planet has ever seen! I believe 'AmaJayus' fits those criteria snugly and there isn’t a soul who can convince me otherwise.

You’re presenting a musical/comedy/cabaret performance. Tell us about the show’s origins.
The keen observers among you have probably noticed that the title resembles a little Oscar-winning movie from the '80s about Mozart, haha. That film and the play it was based on are my all-time favourites and early on I began asking myself “What if I took a chainsaw and lemon juice to my favourite thing and remade it in my image?”

Who is this show for?
On one level, 'AmaJayus' is a show about choices and who makes them. The people who come to see this show will ideally understand what it’s like when you spend your life being told constantly to get in a box that won’t fit you. It’s for fans of rock, it’s for people of all colours, it’s for all the queer ferals out there. If your existence is made of intersections then we’ll roll out the red carpet for you.

Why did you feel the need to put a show like this together?
Queer representation is EVERYWHERE these days, and that’s joyous. However, the surface has barely been scratched when it comes to Black Queerness. I look around and find shades of myself in everything I enjoy and recognise but there isn’t too much out there about that which intersects. So if I couldn’t find it, I make it.


What’s the biggest challenge in presenting this show?
So far, the biggest challenge has been changing my whole approach to making a show. Typical stand-up comedy will always have my affection but it has become a tad formulaic to me. 'AmaJayus' takes a bold creative application and performance style that I was previously unfamiliar with. But I wouldn’t count myself as a good pansexual if I didn’t experiment with my show styles.

On the other side of that, what has been the biggest reward in putting it together?
The costumes and original music we’ve made for this is off-the-Richter-scale exciting. I just can’t wait for you to peek into my closet.

If you loved ______________, you’ll love ‘AmaJayus’.
If you loved Reuben Kaye, you’ll love 'AmaJayus'.

'AmaJayus' plays Trades Hall – Archive Room (Melbourne International Comedy Festival) 8-21 April.

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