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Comics' Corner - Richard Fejo

LOCAL COMEDIAN, MC and Larrakia man Richard Fejo is responsible for some of the newest comic initiatives popping up in Darwin. Will Crawford caught up with him to shoot the breeze and chat about Deadly Darwin.

You started Deadly Darwin two years ago. Tell us about it – how did it start?
2018 was an amazing comedy season that saw me travel and compete in Deadly Funny at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with local Larrakia legend, June Mills. Normie Grogan and I were working together as cultural educators, training doctors together since 2017, but we started attending events with Darwin Comedians, facilitated by Amy Hetherington.

Truth be told, I went to karaoke on the wrong night and Amy asked if I wanted to have a go on stage… Initially I didn’t, but I went back, performed, and became addicted. After a few shows with Normie, Desmo Lewis (stage name) and Micah Kickett, I approached them and was thrilled they were keen to form a group. I suggested Deadly Darwin so we could stay connected to Deadly Funny, and we all agreed.

In 2019, we were ready to start our first show. I came across the Brown’s Mart expression of interest in their Indigenous Program promoting Indigenous performers, and applied. We’re still going today.

The core of Deadly Darwin has been Micah, Normie and myself but we all agree, the more, the merrier!

Recently, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal comedians joined forces to perform two sell out shows in Ebony and Ivory – can you tell us a bit about it?
I spoke to the Deadly Darwin crew about growing our group because we realised we were injecting healing through laughter, and recognised our need to grow. We thought if we could grow black comedy, we could heal ourselves our way, so I developed Black Spot Comedy as an open mic show to encourage membership to Deadly Darwin.

We were thrilled after running three shows that we’ve grown from three to eight new members. We’ve been supported by June Mills and Darwin Comedians, and have been doing regular performances, including Ebony and Ivory. This mix of Indigenous and non-Indigenous comedians was a great success with two sold out shows… And there’s more to come!

What are your dreams for Deadly Darwin?
We’ve talked about touring in 2021 and look forward to some NAIDOC Week performances, but the big news is Deadly Darwin has an agreement with Happy Yess. We’ll hold two monthly Black Spot shows at the Happy Yess – our next show is focused on recruiting Indigenous women to join Deadly Darwin.

Deadly Darwin is an inspirational game changer in our community that empowers us to determine the dialogue for us and for our broader community. It’s self-determination and reconciliation because it comes from our community – if we can increase performers, we can increase healing through laughter.

It’s very powerful and incredibly rewarding, so I’m always humbled and so deeply honoured just to be a part of it, with some amazing, incredible, supportive and wonderful people. It fills my heart with joy to be among friends and other comedians, and watch them succeed – I think this is how the world should be.

Black Spot Comedy
COST $10

Photo: Paz Tassone

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