Fady Kassab is taking turbulent real-life experiences and turning them into material for his debut stand-up show, 'Borderline’.
Fady grew up in the throes of war in Lebanon for 17 years – memories which are constantly reflected in his day-to-day life in Australia.
Using his natural comedy abilities, Fady's been able to fashion these throwbacks into engaging stand-up content covering migration, blending into Australian culture, racism, marriage, kids, separation, dating and survival.
The comedian will launch his first full show as part of Sydney Comedy Festival. Here, we ask him some questions about it.
Tell us a bit about ‘Borderline’. 'Borderline' is about survival. I thought war was horrific and hilarious at the same time! So, it’s about surviving war, racism, family craziness, relationships and dating. It’s about how to adapt, no matter what life throws at you, and how to do it with a smile.
You’ll be covering some pretty intense things in the show. What made you want to do this? I wanted to describe a migrant’s journey and the events that make us leave our home land, come to a new country, wide-eyed and optimistic; and how we carry our heritage with us. It’s that heritage that helps us have a unique look on this beautiful, lucky country that is Australia. Also, I talk about food!
What are you hoping audiences take away from your set? The world is constantly changing. Just roll with it and smile along the way. I would love to bring to the audience a feeling of how it was to grow up in a war zone and how it builds resilience, character and makes you take everything else in life quite lightly and poke fun at it. Life is too short. Just enjoy it, laugh and try to live every minute with childish amazement.
This will be your first full show! What are you most looking forward to about it? I can’t wait to see how it is received. I hope the audience loves it and enjoy themselves! Also, it’s happening in the Enmore Theatre, which is a very special venue and has a dear place in my heart. It will be quite a special moment for me when I walk through those doors. I hope to honour the history of this wonderful venue.
What has been the biggest challenge in putting this together? Finding the theme, the arc, and telling a coherent story for an hour. We write so many jokes throughout the year about different topics and themes so many of those don’t make the cut. A one-hour show should have a strong sense of cohesion and not seem like it was hastily stitched together. It took lots of work and lots of time. Thank goodness for the pandemic!
And what about the most rewarding thing? If my little jokes can make someone smile for a minute, an hour or a day. If it brightens up someone's week and leaves a nice memory, oh, that fills me with a joyful sense of achievement; that I made a difference.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? It was from watching George Carlin. In short, speak from the heart. The more personal you get, the more universal the appeal. Write, edit, review, edit, perform, edit, repeat.
If you could have dinner with three comedians, alive or dead, who would you choose and why? The living ones of course! But seriously, folks, it would be Jerry Seinfeld for the inspiration in writing, Rodney Dangerfield for brevity and delivery and George Carlin for the brilliance and how to approach heavy topics without fear and bring the audience along for the ride and return them having gained a different perspective.
Fady Kassab plays Enmore Theatre (Sydney Comedy Festival) 23-25 April.