“It’s funny because it’s creepy.”
Xavier Michelides is talking about his impersonation of Qantas flight attendants performing the in-flight safety demonstration. It turns out if you paste your face onto flight attendants' bodies, Snapchat face-swap style, and recite the safety-demonstration script verbatim, you’ve got the makings of a weird, hilarious and vaguely unsettling YouTube video. It’s one instance of the Perth-born comedian’s habit of taking naff dialogue and human idiosyncrasies and making them amusing.
Michelides has amassed an impressive CV since leaving our shores for Melbourne’s comic horizons. He’s written and acted in the kids TV show You’re Skitting Me and is also a festival stalwart who spends most of his year on the road. Although this schedule is tough, meeting other comedians provides him with new material as well as valuable sounding boards.
“One of us will say, ‘I think that’s a bit ... can I do that?’ and the other person replies, ‘Yep, that’s yours, go for it,’” Michelides says. “Sometimes there’ll be arguments. Someone will say, ‘Well to be fair, I did say most of the funny things there,’ but that rarely happens. It’s usually pretty amicable between comedians.”
After spending the first half of 2016 performing Nö Shöw, a self-parodying and absurdist-comedy collaboration with his old Perth friend and comedian Ben Russell, Michelides is back in Perth for more absurdity with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow.
Joining him onstage are two international talents: New Yorker Wil Sylvince, a performer on Comedy Central and Showtime, and New Zealander Cal Wilson, a regular on shows such as Spicks and Specks and Thank God You’re Here. Australians Nath Valvo (The Project, the ABC’s Comedy Up Late) and the self-deprecating Hannah Gadsby will also appear.
Emceeing the show, as well as performing his stand-up, Michelides says he’s looking forward to doing his impersonations for a home audience.
“It always turns into a weird story or goes to a strange place,” he says. “It feels like the face swaps, but in the structure of regular stand-up.”
With Michelides at the helm, expect an evening of funny, creepy comedy.
Melbourne International Comedy Roadshow is at His Majesty’s Theatre from Thursday June 16 to Saturday June 18 at 8pm. Tickets are $45.88–$50.98 and available here.