REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: Comedy goldmine in regions with many "all in on it"

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FOR A LAUGH: Article author and local buffoon, Ashley Walmsley, reckons there is plenty of comedy to found in regional Australia, including his hometown of Bundaberg.

FOR A LAUGH: Article author and local buffoon, Ashley Walmsley, reckons there is plenty of comedy to found in regional Australia, including his hometown of Bundaberg.

Everyone knows the in-jokes.

Maybe it's the mayor's nickname or perhaps that building that's held 15 different shops over the past decade.

It could be the street name that out-of-towners always mispronounce or even the known spot where the bevans/bogans hang out on a Thursday night with the bonnets up on their circa-90s vehicles.

There is plenty to laugh at and about in regional Australia. It's what makes it so enjoyable to live here.

Surely it's part of the attraction for people moving away from the ultra-seriousness of living in a capital city where every fashion choice is quietly assessed and tribes are formed over which hip, independent cafe is frequented.

While the big cities are doing big cities things in busy business of busyness, we in the regions are having a quiet chuckle at them, and ourselves.

You see, it's easy not to take yourself too seriously in smaller towns.

It all adds to the generally more laid back attitude of such places which in turn is part of the appeal.

It's certainly the case for us here in the sugar town (but more recently macadamia nut capital) of Bundaberg, Queensland.

We stop for cane trains which cross major roads; you can barely get a park up the main street on a Thursday morning (pension day); and we've got low colour lighting (yellow/amber) along the beaches to avoid disturbing the nesting sea turtles, even though you can barely see when you're steak is cooked on the public barbecues at night.

There are peculiarities, oddities, quirkiness and character around every corner.

Some leave you puzzled while others bring a grin and chuckle.

The humour at the street level of a regional town is something worth celebrating.

It's for this very reason I'm putting on a one-man, one-hour stand-up comedy show called, Welcome to Fundaberg on May 14.

If this were a media release, I'd suggest it was: "Pioneering 'hyper-local comedy', a new realm in Aussie stand-up performance."

The experience of creating a show based on the regional town in which I grew up has been a joyful one.

It's meant noting down things that might not work properly (ie. The clock in a small shopping precinct which has been stuck on 3:53 for about a decade now) or observing the way my fellow citizens negotiate the town's regular occurrences (ie. One of the aging bridges seems to be closed every second Sunday for painting, causing a regular traffic bottleneck).

Could such a show happen in your town? I'd hazard a guess that each regional area has an abundance of idiosyncrasies to draw on.

It's not about belittling or making fun of the place where we live; it's about celebrating them, acknowledging that's part of the fabric of the place.

And should that broken clock happen to get fixed as a result, well, so be it.

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