Is location everything to your career: Reflections of aspiring comedian, Elijah Dries.
We all know the story of the small-town girl who wants to be an actress so she packs her bags and heads to Los Angeles to see if she can make it. But does that happen in real life and more to the point, is it worth the risk? I sat down with someone who recently left the borderline empty stand up comedy scene in Canberra to try his luck in the comedy capital of Australia, Melbourne. His name is Elijah Dries, he’s 24 years old and is eager to break into the stand up comedy scene no matter what it takes.
Q: So before we start I gotta ask, why stand up comedy?
A: Well I figured you need no skills, training or high intelligence so that’s the job for me. But I do just love making people laugh more than I’ve ever loved anything so to one day get paid for that would be indescribable.
Q: Sounds like it would be an okay sort of life, now you’ve been doing comedy for a bit over a year now but you decided about 6 months after starting here in Canberra you decided to make the move to Melbourne to pursue it further. Why Melbourne?
A: Because of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. There is that elite level that you can strive for. And you want to stay where the elite are so you can make connections. That’s why people go to Melbourne for comedy, it’s where the elite comedy is.
Q: So you talk about this elite level, one day you might wake up and think I’m at that elite level. What would you have to do to say that? Are we talking being in the festival or winning an open mic night?
A: Honestly if I can get my hour-long show in the festival that would be pretty elite for me but the overall goal is to get to a Dave Schapelle level where Netflix is offering you 60 million dollars for a few hours of your work.
Q: So in order to acheive this you think moving cities was the way to go?
A: Sort of, I don’t know i think that if you’re a funny comic you will get to this sort of elite level. You get better by learning what makes people laugh which means going to a lot of open mic nights and talent nights and unfortunately because Canberra is so small so there isn’t a very high demand for them whereas in Melbourne there is an open mic night every night so you get that experience you can’t get in Canberra.
Q: So with that in mind have you learnt more about what makes people laugh and become a better comic?
A: I think my comedy has improved a lot yes.
Q: Has there been any downside about moving?
A: Yeah because the standard is so much higher because there are so many more people, I think by Canberra’s standards I was somewhat above average but now in Melbourne, there is so much better than me.
Q: Are you glad you moved overall?
A: Yeah I am because I’ve already learned so much and gotten thicker and I think I’ll continue to improve and hopefully go pro.
Q: So in your experience would you say where you live assists where your future takes you?
A: I think how hard you work takes you places but in some places, you can only work so hard, so yeah I would say it does.
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