Taking comedy seriously: Annie Louey features at the Chinese Museum
Stand-up comedians are brave individuals who use their own lives as material but don’t often talk about the dark side openly.
Annie Louey, showing at the Chinese Museum in her one-woman show Gold, has plenty to draw on.
Her family goes back four generations to the Victorian gold rush days.
But because Chinese immigrants were not allowed to settle here permanently, each generation went back home.
Annie was the first child in her family to actually be born in Melbourne and the scars of her uncertain history still show.
“My humour is more Australian than Chinese,” she told CBD News after her first show opened to an audience keyed into her dry style.
This is reflected in some of the confessions she is able to make on stage rather than off, thanks to the power of jokes.
Annie used to work as a corporate in the CBD at Metro Tunnel and lived nearby in North Melbourne and Parkville.
After that she worked in a funeral parlour and now she’s moved back with her mum to “103 Poor Decisions Street, Brunswick.”
Annie takes her profession seriously and invests $2000-3000 in marketing for each Comedy Festival show.
This year she has bars of chocolate featuring a picture of herself covered in gold paint that she is selling as merch. In five of the 250 bars are life-time tickets for her shows. They are there as a form of commitment to herself.
“I’m not dating,” she said. “I’m turning 30 and I’ve learned a lot by being single. I’m committed to comedy instead.”
She says she had a pivotal moment when she had an accident at 16 and was hospitalised for two weeks.
“I was a burn survivor. I thought I could die at any moment. I got into stand-up in hospital. I borrowed every DVD. I thought I can do that. There was a competition for teenagers. I was in the final in 2010. You have to go rock bottom. Time heals everything.”
Each show contains more than 100 jokes – one-liners and gags – but also stories about her friends who have moved to enormous houses at the end of unfinished roads.
This year is the first show that she’s talked about being bi-sexual. “I think in real life it’s difficult to have a vulnerable conversation with friends. It’s safer on stage than in real life.”
She said that comedy helped set up boundaries. “In Asia we’re always people-pleasing. Australians say no.”
Gold, Annie Louey, Chinese Museum, until April 23.