For a stand-up comedian, Damien Power is feeling a lot of pain from standing.
“I ruptured a disc in my back,” Damien says. “It’s just been such a drag. But, you know, I’ve learnt some things about my body that I had to learn, although be it a painful lesson.”
While the Brisbane comic is in pain, he won’t be the kind of comedian who sits on the job.
“Actually, technically it would be worse if I sat down, so I'd better stand. I saw a headline the other day, ‘Sitting kills!’” he laughs. “Apparently sitting is really bad for you; it’s like the next smoking. I don’t think it will get to the point where there’s a sitting area in the clubs.”
Back pain is a sign of age, and Damien has dedicated close to half his life to comedy excellence. This year marks Damien’s tenth year as a performer at the Brisbane Comedy Festival, where he will perform his latest show, ‘Regret Man’.
The return of the festival is a triumph after its mid-way cancellation last year due to the pandemic. But while everyone’s plans went out the window, Damien was able to continue his plan of taking a year off from touring a new show while working on writing projects, including a pilot for HBO.
“I loved lockdown,” he says. “I know that’s wrong to say because the less privileged are definitely suffering through that, but because I was able to do writing work and to get Jobkeeper, I was pretty lucky. But the existential pressure to enjoy yourself, to go out, to work, to have fun and do all the things we’re meant to do in the post-God world was relieved.”
While Damien used his time in lockdown productively, returning to the stage to perform comedy after so long away from it proved challenging.
“When I got up for the first gig back I was nervous,” he says. “I felt like I was doing it for the first time again. It took me a while to get back up again and get into it. Conversely, when I’ve done Melbourne and an hour of stand-up a night for six nights a week every week for a month, I feel so stage-ready, I’m killing it. That’s the brutal thing about stand-up, you never get a break. You’re working really hard and you take a few days off, you feel like you’re back to nothing again. I’ve got Brisbane coming up, so I’ll want to be gigging a lot so that I’m fit when I get into the theatre.”
After warming up his comedy and his back, Damien will hit the Brisbane Comedy Festival with ‘Regret Man’, using his brand of wit to dissect the hypocrisies within society.
“I’ll be specifically covering a great chunk of material on Nike and virtue signalling advertising versus the fact that it’s got slave labour in its supply chain,” he says. “Actually, I shouldn’t say things like that when I’m trying to sell the show because it sounds like it’s not funny. I know we hate self-promotion as Australians, culturally, but I really think it’s a great show and it’s one that I’ve worked really hard on, and I think it’s got my best stuff in it.”
Damien Power performs ‘Regret Man’ at the Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane Comedy Festival) 20-25 July.