Sri Lankan born Dilruk Jayasinha loves Australia. He’s been here for the last eleven years, he studied here, he worked as an accountant here, and now he’s a stand up comedian here. This year marks his second Melbourne International Comedy Festival solo show, and in it Jayasinha addresses his love for his new home. That’s all implicit in the show’s title – Immigrateful.
The show is on in ACMI’s Games Room, a tiny room with steps carpeted in a green fabric that feels like a cross between astro turf and wool, designed to house school children on excursions. Occasionally, running water gushes through the pipes hanging overhead. Jayasinha, however, is funny and engaging enough that all of these minor discomforts fade into the background and the audience lean forward and focus on his big smiling face.
Jayasinha does smile most of the time, and its an enthralling smile, much like his material. Aware that race and immigration are sensitive issues, Jayasinha emphasises the specificity of his personal experiences. This means that each story he tells is imbued with the subjective joyousness of its narrator. Even when Jayasinha is embarrassed, he still chuckles, and so does the audience.
The topic occasionally hits a couple of nerves, and the audience seem hesitant to laugh, despite Jayasinha’s reassurances. Part of this is because of the way the jokes are structured, they’re closer to meandering tales than punchy bits. There’s a structural lightness to Immigrateful that complements the tone of the content. Jayasinha’s delivery is soft and still, almost in spite of his energetic facial expressions; there’s not much physicality to the show.
Immigrateful is a thoughtful look into pieces of Australian culture, and it’ll make you want to tell your parents you love them. Jayasinha is basically a weekly fixture at the Comics Lounge at this point, and all of his hard work can only lead to bigger and better things. See him while it costs as much as a six pack.
Immigrateful is on at ACMI’s Games Room Tuesdays – Saturdays at 7pm and Sundays at 7pm until April 19th. Tickets range between $15 and $19 and are available at ACMI or online.