Spending time behind the microphones of Bendigo gave Ashley Greblo the confidence to pursue comedy as a career.
The Bendigo comic, who helped resurrect the city’s comedy scene, will be one of 11 acts at the first ever Bendigo Comedy Festival this week.
After ditching a job in radio to pursue comedy, Greblo now spends a majority of his time in Melbourne.
“It isn’t a full career yet. I’m really only making enough to cover my gas and phone bill. When I get that elusive electricity bill money, I’ll be really happy,” he said.
”Since I’ve moved to Melbourne, I’ve done two shows in the Melbourne Comedy Festival and been able to perform at some of the biggest rooms in Melbourne.
“I wouldn’t have done any of that if it wasn’t for a stack of Bendigo open mics.”
Greblo said the popularity of the monthly Goldmines Comedy Cellar shows that began four years ago proved that Bendigo audiences wanted to have a laugh.
“With our monthly shows, I always get nervous no one will show up but then heaps of people start rushing in,” he said.
“When some of them even say things like ‘I’d never miss it, it just makes sense to take it up a level (to a comedy festival).
“Bendigo has a pretty big roster of local acts. I do rooms in Ballarat and Geelong each month and Bendigo would easily have double the amount of acts looking for stage time.
“Some are really good and deserve to be seen and some are just starting and need practice. Both (types of acts) want it, so the more opportunities the better.”
Bendigo’s long list of up-and-coming and established comedian saw six acts perform as art of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this year.
“We can do more! Bendigo is packed with funny people,” Greblo said. “Jim Halliwell for example is one of my favourite local comics, he hasn’t done a show at the Melbourne comedy festival.
“But if he did it would kill and he’s not the only one. I’m hoping with the open mic late shows we have in the Bendigo Comedy Festival we will discover new acts that start there and continue at it.”
Greblo will unveil his debut solo show – Wacko Madman – something he has been working on for two years.
“For the last two years I did split shows in the Melbourne comedy festival and after I’d go see someone else’s solo show and just be so jealous of the freedom they had with an hour,” he said.
“I’d always leave thinking about what I would do in mine and then when we decided we were going to do the Bendigo Comedy Festival I knew I had to take the chance.
“(Wacko Madman) is an hour of my best jokes. Picture a little man boy on the red cordials keen to confess all the silly stuff his done.”
The Bendigo Comedy Festival is on from October 11 to 13 at the Shamrock Hotel. All tickets are $15.
Ashley Greblo’s Wacko Madman is on Thursday at 8pm at the Shamrock Hotel. Visit www.bendigocomedyfestival.com.au for more details.
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