Ivan Aristeguieta Can Finally Sleep On His Bay Leaves

Ivan Aristeguieta
Solar-powered journalist with a love for live reviews and the challenge of describing sounds with words. Always: cooking, often: thrifting, sometimes: playing the piano, rarely: social, never: late. Living abroad in Japan.

Back home in Venezuela, comedian Ivan Aristeguieta remarks that locals greet each other in past tense.

“They say Venezuelans are very neurotic. Every other Spanish-speaking country will say 'que pasa?' as in, 'what’s up?'. But in Venezuela, we say 'que paso?',” Ivan says. “We say 'hello' by asking 'what’s happened?'!”

That neurosis, he says, stems from feeling unsafe. Being carjacked at gunpoint was the terrifying catalyst for his move to Australia.

“There was no culture shock. I love the Australian sense of humour. They are very upfront, but also love to laugh at themselves.”

Since his arrival 12 years ago, Ivan has worked hard in stand-up, food science and brew mastering, but now, as a full-time comedian, he says that life is comparatively ‘too easy’.

“You know the expression to ‘Rest on your laurels?’ I translated it literally from Spanish to English, and I said to my Australian girlfriend: ‘I don’t want to sleep on my bay leaves’.

"I do nothing all day. I have so much time to think. And they’re very silly thoughts – that’s a big element of my show.”

“For example, ‘archery’ in Spanish is ‘arquera’. ‘Archer’ is ‘arquero’. And archers use an ‘arco’. Why does such a beautiful progression of words in Spanish translate in English to: archery, archer, and BOW? Why not arch? I thought about it for ages, then I realised – a rainBOW. Don’t you see? I have time for these epiphanies!”

His work in stand-up began almost two decades ago, and Ivan says he’s seen the comedy scene shift with ‘political correctness’.

“To quote Aristotle: 'Virtue is the mean between extremes'. The two extremes of a comedian are buffoonery, and being unfunny. And political correctness is, to me, finding that sweet spot between the two.

“I think it’s more challenging being succinct; finding ways to deliver material in a short, sharp way.”

“In stand-up, you expose yourself. When it doesn’t work, it affects you. It hurts. It’s so personal. The job of the comedian is to help the audience see the world through your eyes, so you can laugh together. But if they’re not laughing with you, it’s hard.”

Despite the more difficult aspects of the job, Ivan describes the craft with the utmost respect and adoration.

“You know you love your partner when you learn their worst traits, but you still want to be with them. That’s exactly how I feel about stand-up. I could have a terrible night and end up wanting to hide under the bed. But if I received a message offering me a gig the next day, I would take it. Even WHILE hiding under the bed.

“Comedy is concise, opinionated, and irrational. Never try to be reasonable or ambiguous – that's philosophy. Grandpas, Donald Trump and children are all funny for that reason.”

Ivan has appeared as a guest panelist on numerous TV shows, and even starred in an ABC sitcom. But next?

“I was asked to star in an Australian film! It's due for release in 2025 – you’ll be able to stream it then.

“My partner and I are also getting married in Japan in July. I first travelled there after my divorce – I wanted to go somewhere that I could cry without judgement (laughs).”

But before he ties the knot, you can catch Ivan’s ‘Too Easy’ tour.

“Things really are ‘Too Easy’ for me right now. It’s the first time I can sleep on my bay leaves.”

Ivan Aristeguieta plays Factory Theatre 2-3 May and The Concourse 4 May (Sydney Comedy Festival), Astor Theatre (Perth Comedy Festival) 11 May, and Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane Comedy Festival 23-26 May.

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