TWISTED Leave your brains at the door

Aaron Ayjay takes a comedic and very twisted musical journey through childhood, relationships, the government and other life experiences in his new FRINGE WORLD show Twisted showing at Allstars at The Aberdeen Hotel from Tuesday, January 29 to Sunday, February 3 (get more info and tickets here.) Aaron’s energetic and aggressive musical comedy is known for very dark-humoured undertones – the kind that church parents don’t take kindly to. BRAYDEN EDWARDS found out about Ayjay’s roots here in Perth, offending parents, writing songs to the Australian government and how he’s managed to turn comedy into a career that’s netted him “hundreds… of dollars”.

You’re bringing your new show Twisted to Perth from Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year. What would you say is the difference between Australian and Scottish audiences and have you had to change up the show to suit at all?

For my show I guess it’s local references. I find Australian audiences a bit “less formal”, if that makes sense, when it comes to comedy. So tweaking some material or bringing in revised “banter” material and song segues.

I heard there was a song you wrote in particular that you’ve had to rewrite for Australia, what can you tell us about that?

It’s a song about useless government spending. Now I reckon every country can offer examples of that whether it be for $2,000 toilet seats to mask Pentagon spending in the US, questionable government grants given to “artistes” in the UK or helicopter rides, instead of taxis for some Australian MPs.

You’ve been living in the UK in recent years now but actually have your roots right back here in WA. What would we have found you doing on the streets of Perth back in the day?

I’ve been in the UK for close to 20 years, but have travelled and lived in the US, Europe and Asia because of my day job, which I won’t go into unless you’re an insomniac. I grew up in Perth, in the Bassendean/Bayswater and Morley area. Back in the day I would have been working, partying all night and wasting cash on a car project. Roll forward 20 years, I’m sort of semi-working as I can’t be arsed with it all, partying as long as I get plenty of notice and usually am in bed by midnight, and still wasting cash on a car project.

And how did that lead you to going the perilous path that is a comedy career?

I blame the Japanese. I spent 2012 consulting to a well known Japanese company. At the end of the project, I had enough of work. Really. I was burnt out. Don’t ever work for a Japanese company. I spent a big part of 2013 doing nothing but hanging out in Greenwich in London which is a stone’s throw from my apartment, doing absolutely nothing through spring and summer except flying my remote control helicopter and chilling with friends. Doing “nothing” was everything I dreamed it would be, but because doing “nothing” daily is actually “something”, I thought I needed to do “something” that paid the bills. One day I woke up with the urge to get on stage and two days later did an open mic and then it all kicked off from there. Comedy can be lucrative. In my comedy career, I’ve made hundreds… of dollars.

And how did you come to incorporate music into your act. Was that always part of it?

I always admired American political comedy. I tried to replicate some comics such as Jon Stewart and Colbert initially but couldn’t really find my groove. It wasn’t me. I had a band from years back and we weren’t doing anything anymore so one day grabbed the guitar and just started singing silly things and it evolved from there. Silly, politically incorrect songs are now the main feature of my gigs.

I’ve heard it said that anything too dangerous (or stupid) to say is often sung instead. Does it give you a bit of extra license for the content you bring to the show?

Yes. Some of the songs and stand-up banter material I do actually does go there. From a leg being humped by a dog, to unwanted advances in prison to being mildly interested in becoming a transsexual. I’ve played these songs through the UK, Asia and Australia and always get great responses. Except for this one time when a woman came up to me after a show and said “what happens in prison is not funny”, to which I tell the story as part of this current show. All I would say is “leave your brains at the door” when you enter the venue.

You’ve got a reputation for pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable to joke about in your show, is there a particular joke you remember where you had the most ‘walk outs’ and what was it?

The most walkouts I’ve had was almost an entire room. During the performance of my previous 2017 show for the FREE FRINGE in Edinburgh, about 25 students under the age of 16, I think, walked into the venue to get out of the rain, sat down and filled the small venue which I think held 30. They sat quietly and “vacant-eyed” for the start of the gig which threw me off a bit until I started interacting with them. Turned out they were Italian students and most couldn’t speak English. So there’s a part of my show I talk about masturbation where I throw the question to the audience about “remember when you were alone, as a teen with a solid internet connection” – to all of those guys it was most likely last week. So I think the English speaking ones I was bantering with got embarrassed and all quietly left, leaving one elderly gentleman in the front laughing loudly for most of the gig, shook my hand at the end and tipped me £20.

Last year in Perth, A family decided to attend my previous show with four teenage kids. All the teenage kids were hysterical but I could see the parents weren’t happy. A third of the way through, they got up and ushered the family out the door then commented to the owner on their way out “This is disgusting. My children should not be exposed to this”.

But yeah, my material isn’t for everyone, especially if you come in expecting “church friendly humour”. I’ve seen stone-faced women hit their partners who are laughing at some of the material. You get all types. But that’s comedy, isn’t it?

It’s a two way street really I mean I’m sure the world offends you sometimes too. But what do you think is the most offensive thing about Australia right now?

The political climate. It’s gotten worse and even more pathetic since I’ve left Australia. Who’s this Clive Palmer clown who sent me a text message the other day? W*nker.