Stereotypes, spouses and sick leave

Ashwin Segkar

Caught between Asia and the West, migrant Ashwin Segkar goes all out at comedy fest

Culture separation is an obstacle as much as it is an opportunity, and local comic Ashwin Segkar explores this concept during his inaugural appearance at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in April.

Having been born in India, Mr Segkar has lived in England, Melbourne, both rural and city New Zealand, and Malaysia, before settling in his current home town of Brisbane. It was during his year-long stint in Malaysia at age 15, though, that he started to become aware of the concept of cultural differences and similarities.

“I felt similar to my peers in Malaysia, and this idea of being ‘caught’ between Asia and the West became an ongoing theme for my life and my comedy, that I began creating soon after,” he said.

Mr Segkar has been sharing his experiences of cultures meeting for quite a while now. One of his earlier projects was capturing the stereotypes he faced through a “boy-band” called Boymongoose. Their finished product was a humorous animated song online that captured a million views and was played on Channel V in Asia and radio stations around the world.

“I didn’t find office life very fulfilling, so I tackled my fear and started to do stand-up comedy with a focus on cultural, ethnic and religious differences, having experienced so many of these in my life,” he said.

“I find that comedy can also be a great way of addressing important topics in our life. This is what I will be doing in Melbourne with my Bloodbooks shows. I explore the essence of Australian and Indian culture and the thread that runs through them. Those threads are very different and there’s both tragedy and humour when you try to stitch with them at the same time. Indian culture thrives on chaos, yet Western culture reveres order. I explore the route to fulfilment for each culture—one uses yoga and the other alcohol. Fortunately, both like to laugh.”

With a nod to dominant spouses, work and sick leave, and even possibly a Shetland pony, Mr Segkar takes a humorous look at cultural and religious issues. Definitely not a show to miss at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Mr Segkar will share what it really feels to be at home in the World.

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