The audio interview of this transcript with comedian Fady Kassab is available here.
Steve D.: Comedian Fady Kassab, welcome to the School Of Hard Knock Knocks podcast.
Fady Kassab: Thanks for having me. Excited to be here.
Steve D.: Now I’m told that you started standup in 2017 but originally, you came to Australia to study web design. Obviously you’re a pretty talented comedian, because the website fady.com.au, if you don’t mind me saying it sort of sucks a little bit.
Fady Kassab: I bought the domain a couple of months ago, actually. I thought I will build a website, right?
Steve D.: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Fady Kassab: But because my business websites are a liquidlogic.com.au. That’s where I do marketing and what I do is web design and marketing automation. So I build a lot of campaigns, email and Facebook ads, banners, all that kind of stuff. But for me as a brand, as my actual comedian brand, I thought I’m going to focus on Facebook and Instagram for the moment and just buy the domain and put a kind of a countdown timer to when it’s coming. So that’s why I did that.
Steve D.: Look, that is a common saying. Interesting, I’m in marketing as well, and often they say the cobbler’s children have the worst shoes.
Fady Kassab: Yeah, true. We always make time for paid work.
Steve D.: Exactly. Now on the countdown clock, there’s an ominous silhouette there. It does come across a little bit like Die Hard Or 24 Hours. What are you going for with that look?
Fady Kassab: Well, I’ll be frank with you. This is the template that came with the website. So I just clicked publish and that’s it. I thought I’ll sort it later. And this guy in the silhouette has way more hair. I have a receding hairline, so it’s not me.
Steve D.: What I love about this podcast is we’re meant to dive into the secrets of your comedy and we’re getting the secrets of your business. I love this, Fady.
Fady Kassab: Yeah. Well, I get a lot of business in online marketing because I make people laugh as well. The clients just enjoy it, so that’s good.
Steve D.: Do you have clients in mind when you’re on stage? Because for some of us, that would make us censor what we’re doing in case we upset a lucrative client.
Fady Kassab: No, I don’t discuss business on stage, really. I keep it to something that is universally appreciated, like if it’s a family or a bit of international politics, just issues with children or a war that I grew up in. So I don’t focus too much on work or what clients have done and all that.
Steve D.: Yeah. Now tell me, you won the 2019 Raw Comedy grand final, congratulations.
Fady Kassab: Thank you.
Steve D.: When you went into it, because I’m going to confess, I was in the heats in South Australia and didn’t go far, so I’m doing this, and I’m really happy for you, I really am.
Fady Kassab: Thank you.
Steve D.: Did you go into the competition confident or thinking, yeah, we’ll give it a try?
Fady Kassab: You see, I entered it in 2018 and when I did Raw, it wasn’t my sixth or seventh time doing standup. And in my head I thought, I wonder what people would think is funny. And I wrote that thinking, what would people… That didn’t work out. Knocked out from the first round. And then during the year when I started doing comedy more, I was watching an interview with George Carlin, and he said he used to say comedy for many years from the front of his head, like he looks at people and try to give them what they wanted.
Fady Kassab: So he said he took some psychedelic drugs and all that. He said, “Oh, that pushed my career years in advance.” And then he said, “And I started thinking and looking at all these artists like John Lennon and people singing about stuff they believe in.” And I thought, ooh, maybe I should speak from the back of my head. What do I want to say, rather than what do I think people would find funny?
Fady Kassab: So when I went in this year, I thought, I’m going to get disqualified from the first round because I want to say what I feel. And my first two minutes were criticizing the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 that I lived through when I was seven or eight years old. And when the tanks entered my village and all that I said, “I want to talk about the experience in a non-offensive way and more factual.” But I thought, it will not be appreciate at all, right?
Fady Kassab: So my first two minutes was that and then I crafted a story of migrating to Australia and the challenges that I faced growing up in Lebanon and the war and then the challenges I faced coming here, ended up very carefully writing a… No, it’s not bits. It was very coherent, linked story with 21 jokes in five minutes. So I had to make sure I had a high laugh rate, because I really planned it out this year. It’s amazing what a year makes in difference, you know? Raw last year and Raw this year, what a difference it made.
Steve D.: Absolutely.
Fady Kassab: But I also want to say I thought I’m 42 years old, there’s no way I’m going to win. I’m too old. I’m not the demographic or anything. So I thought, okay, then go for it. Just say what you want to say and it turned out speaking from the heart resonates.
Steve D.: Well, that actually taps into what I wanted to ask about that. Because to reveal yourself and your inner beliefs, motivations, et cetera, takes courage, even just around the dinner party table. But going out on stage in a comedy format, did that just take guts or was it that case where you said, I’ve got nothing left to lose. I’m just going for this hellful lever?
Fady Kassab: Yeah. Sharing personal stories, there’s a fine line, really. First of all, I’m a big Seinfeld fan and when I started comedy I decided I’m not going to swear. I decided it’s more challenging for me not to swear. And because of that, I started dancing around topics in a very delicate way so that I don’t swear and I don’t tackle it head on, but make people think of the punchlines in their head.
Fady Kassab: So for me, when it came to approach a sensitive subject about childhood, war and all that, I followed the same approach. But I had a lot of… God, it sounds like I’m talking about myself. But I’ll tell you, for example, the opening line at Raw was like, people told me, “Fady…” For example, take this as a plan. I thought I need to tell people where I’m from and what I’ve lived through in less than two seconds, introduce myself and set up the joke. So my first line at Raw was, “Hey, people told me, Fady don’t go talking about growing up in the Lebanese war for 17 years. Just keep it light.”
Fady Kassab: So for me, that intro, I’ve told them where I’m from and what I’ve lived through and I say in the course of it, “No, I believe comedy is about pushing boundaries. And if that’s true, I think Israel is hilarious.” That’s my opening line, because they invaded my country. And then later on in my set, I go, “My mom sees me in front of the tanks and she yells, “Fady, step away from the Israelis,” and that goes to a “Whoa, that’s borderline antisemitic.”
Fady Kassab: So it’s my father’s, the voice of the world saying, “No, we’re not allowed to say anything. Never allowed to say anything.” But my idea was, okay, so in my vintage, I’m seven and standing in front of a tank in my country, and a foreign force has invaded my country and I’m not allowed to say a word. So for me it was a message of my childhood was taken away. I was playing in the garden when the thanks entered. So suddenly tanks entered that innocence of that world I was in, and when I stood to face it, I got immediately, my dad going… And I use the word borderline and said to my mom, “That’s borderline antisemitic,” because they had crossed the border into my country.
Fady Kassab: So I had a lot of thought put into it and just defending that definitely, definitely is not an antisemitic sentiment, but rather a political statement about invasion. So I had to make that clear in my set as well. So there’s delicacy involved when talking about something personal.
Steve D.: I just want to take my hat off to the mastery of that opening line you were using, though, right at the beginning about, “Fady,” people say, “don’t talk…” That’s very Seinfeld-esque, actually. You said Seinfeld was an inspiration, but I studied, in some of the comedy workshops I’ve done, how Seinfeld works and basically takes a small thing and makes it big or a big thing and makes it small, and you’ve done that with that opening line and that brevity, that economy. Wow. Everything-
Fady Kassab: Thank you. Its a lot of a big burden to even allude to Seinfeld when you’re talking with me. So I’m very honored, actually. But yeah. Thank you. Thank you. But I’m 42, so I worked 15 years in advertising. Yeah, in the last couple of years, I was creative director when I was living in Germany and I managed Europe with eastern Africa. I had teams I was flying everywhere. I was presenting a lot and brevity was important in PowerPoint presentations in front of audiences talking about IT, not comedy, right?
Steve D.: Yeah.
Fady Kassab: But you learn a lot. And I worked at SBS Radio 15 years ago for two years and I started writing for radio, which was all about brevity. And the idea is that you have very limited time in radio, except like in the printed press, when you’re in newspaper, you have the luxury of time, people reading at their own pace. But radio really forced me back then.
Fady Kassab: I remember… And I don’t want to digress too much, I remember the guy who taught us writing for radio. He was the head of a big news room in the U.S before he moved to Australia. And he gave us this exercise. I remember I was 24, 25 years old, and he said hurricanes went through a town, sorry, a tornado. And he gave us the tornado, what time it came in, the damage is caused, 20 people died and it destroyed cars properties and all that.
Fady Kassab: He’s said, “Okay, write a summary of this whole thing I gave you. Write a paragraph to summarize it.” And I remember we’re all sitting there and I said something like a tornado passed through this town destroying 20 houses, causing all this damage and $2 billion worth of damage, whatever it is, the number, and killing 20 people, and, and, and. And in the group at the time, I remember he said, “Fady, you did the most succinct one but wrong, they reversed the order.”
Fady Kassab: And I said, “How?” He goes to me, “Fady, 20 people died when a tornado went into a town. And that’s your story. Remember that. Look at the whole story and see what is the human element in it. Don’t say sequentially how it happened, a tornado went in then destroyed homes and then it killed people. The killing of the people is your story. That’s your point. So you say 20 people died today when a tornado went in.” So I thought, ooh, it shifted the whole way of I thought about how advertising has influenced the way I think about news stories and writing comedy as well. What is the nugget? What is the most important thing to say to establish something?
Steve D.: Wow. This particular episode is becoming a bit of a masterclass in getting your thoughts straight, because that is something that I notice on the first night or two of each comedy course we run, where there’s a lot of good material, but it is about reordering the elements and having to… The saying in the creative world, I’m sure you’re familiar with it, is having to murder your darlings. You’ve got so many great ideas, but they can’t all fit, and you’ve got to make some tough decisions about what’s in, what’s not, and then what goes first. And I think that’s going to be a great story for us all to remember.
Fady Kassab: Okay, thanks. Cool.
Steve D.: Now you touched on earlier the fact that you keep your sets clean. You don’t swear. Could I just dive into that a little bit further? Was that a conscious career decision or was your mum just in your audiences to begin with?
Fady Kassab: It was an interview I was watching with Seinfeld, actually, when I started. Ad he said why he doesn’t swear, it was… And he said, “I did a set once when I was young and I swore and got big lashing that night, and next night I decided to try the same joke without swearing. And it didn’t do well. And I felt, oh, that’s cheating.” He didn’t want that. He said, “I want the material to be good without the force.” Because swearing is a forceful power, in a sense. It gets a lot of laughs. And not only that, I decided to also tone down the way I write. So I didn’t plan that not swearing will get me gigs, but apparently someone’s been telling in the last few months that’s making me bookable. Clean comedy, right? Stuff like that, which I didn’t plan, but it’s a good side effect of why.
Fady Kassab: But I’ll give you an example. For example, my wife and I who are separated, I started doubting a lot that something is happening. And she would say to me, “Hey, let’s film ourselves doing it.” Stuff like that. But when I sat down to write it, initially I thought, okay, immediately you can use… Use the F word, since I’m going to keep this podcast clean as well, we’re going to not say the F word. But see, I thought, okay, I’m not going to do that, let’s film ourselves having sex, which you can say it’s clean, but I thought, what’s funnier than that is doing it.
Fady Kassab: Because if I said, “Let’s film ourselves doing it,” I feel it was funnier because she wants to try something edgy, but she’s even afraid to say the word having sex. So that became funnier not to swear, to push me in a direction, let’s film ourselves doing it. And I say like this, and I go, “What’s wrong with you? There’s no film. It’s all digital, woman.” And then I go down a path of… I resent everything she’s saying. Even the we’re filming.
Fady Kassab: So it takes you down past you don’t know exists because it creates… I love writing within boundaries. It really forces me. If I’m totally loose and free, I feel for some reason my creativity just… I like to box these limitations. Sadly no swearing, keeping it… So yeah, that’s how it influenced my sets.
Steve D.: Yeah. I must say, I have found that creativity thrives when it’s got restrictions to work within, because your brain then has to solve the problem. How can we meet these goals and work within the constraints? It’s great.
Fady Kassab: True.
Steve D.: And I am going to mention the F word, though.
Fady Kassab: Yeah, yeah. I can say, look, fuck. I can say.
Steve D.: That wasn’t the one I was thinking of, Fady.
Fady Kassab: Oh, no.
Steve D.: Yeah, thanks. Morry’s got some editing to do now. No, the word I wanted to say was fluid because you’re quite a stickler for what we call fluid segues. Moving from one joke to another, needs a flow. And so I’m just wondering, is there a bit of comic OCD behind that that you-
Fady Kassab: Yes.
Steve D.: Yeah, there is?
Fady Kassab: Yes, absolutely. When I sit down to move from one set to the other, I noticed a lot of comedians saying stuff like, “But I do like travel. I like travel,” and then they move to the subject of travel, right? For example, I had a thing talking about my wife and I say that I’m afraid now to go dating again after all these years in the divorce. So I’m saying, “You know what, I’m going to end up buying a sex robot.” And I talk about the sex robot and I make a few jokes about it becoming self aware and then leaving me as well when it becomes self-aware, the AI.
Fady Kassab: But what I do, then say I want to move back to the wife topic and the fact that I lived in Germany and I sat down thinking about this for almost two days that I need a funny segue. I don’t like segues just for the sake of it. I thought, how can I link it back? And I ended up saying, “Speaking of sex robots, my wife is German.”
Fady Kassab: And then I moved back to the subject of my wife and the whole German robotic way of having sex. So that for me is a joy to sit and not just jump and say, “Yeah, that’s it. It is tough with my wife, but we have two kids.” So what led me to, when I wrote, speaking of sex robots, my wife is German and that gets a laugh. I go, “My wife is German, I’m Lebanese, so our kids are blonde and hairy, and quite antisemitic.” They laugh usually, but then I go, “No, no, I’m kidding. They’re not blonde,” but that leads me down a path then of talking about my children, which was a set I needed that’s three minutes of children. You know?
Steve D.: Yeah.
Fady Kassab: And what it is to raise them and all that. But to see how a thought of not just throwing away a segue, but putting a thought in a segue has led me down a certain path of just German and sex robots and then when I threw in her nationality, German, I could refer back that I’m Lebanese and then talk about these ethnic groups. And so segues are important because they do open up new possibilities.
Steve D.: And they help bring people along with you on the story as well.
Fady Kassab: Oh, absolutely. Yeah.
Steve D.: Interesting to see the balance at work because you’re both anti German and antisemitic. That’s really good. You’ve covered your bases there.
Steve D.: Now I’ve heard you say in another interview that you feel like an outsider looking through the cultural window into Australia. So how do you leverage that perspective? How do you make the most of it for your comedy?
Fady Kassab: You know, initially when I started I thought, I don’t want to go down a path that is a very easy path, okay? And the easy path and I’ve seen around me is doing [inaudible 00:21:24] woggy comedy, whatever it is, you know, and say, “Oh, I’m not Australian and this is how you guys are all different to me.” Rather, I thought that might pigeon hole me in my career going down a path where, “Oh, come on.” Then suddenly I’m booked for all these Lebanese weddings and you know what I mean? I thought my career might end up down there.
Fady Kassab: And I thought the cultural approach I want to take is more of a… That’s underneath all of that, we have human nature. So it’s not just about culture. For example, I do make fun of some stereotypes because when I did move to Australia, I mixed my sets. So for example, I said, “People told me, you’re Lebanese? You should live in Western Sydney like in [inaudible 00:22:05], that’s where all the Lebs live.” And I say, “Sure. That’s why I left my country and moved to another country, just to live with the Lebs. What’s wrong with you?”
Fady Kassab: So I said, I decided not to… I mean, I don’t throw too much. I said, “Like they told me, watch out for the Middle-Eastern community organized crime,” and I go, “What are you talking about? Organized? Have you seen us?” So I criticize us a bit regarding, we are disorganized in general but I don’t… And then I say, “I moved to Kingswood, I decided no, not [inaudible 00:22:34].” so I chose an equivalent suburb at the time that is not a great suburb of Sydney, but I lived in it for a couple of years, but I was with white Australians and then I go, “It was great living there,” and I talk about the experience of September 11 happening while I’m in the white Australia. It doesn’t matter that I’m a Lebanese Catholic. I never mention that on stage that I’m Christian. It’s rare that I mentioned that because I’d like to keep the idea of, does it matter whether I’m Lebanese or not, if some Christian or Muslim. It doesn’t matter, that’s it. I’ve been labeled Middle-Eastern.
Fady Kassab: So how do I get out of that and try to integrate into Australia to stop people from staring at me down the street? So I start using, what is it that makes me Anglo? So I go, “I started shaving every day after September 11. I shaved every hour.” And I would say that. And then I would say, “I visit the Western Kingswood and I see this guy yelling at me. I was standing next to this girl, she’s a backpacker, Swedish, blonde, beautiful. And we’re both trying to cross. And a guy sees us and a car cuts him off from jaywalking. He gets very angry and yells, Go back to your country. And screaming and he gets upset.” And I go, “I was really amazed because he pointed to the exact direction of Lebanon when he yelled. And I thought, this is a pretty educated racist who’s done his research. I shouldn’t be very…”
Fady Kassab: So I go down that path and I go, “hold on. Maybe he’s yelling at the Swedish girl. Sweden from Australia is exactly the same direction.” But I chose the opposite ethnicity and cultural everything so that… No one yells at a Swedish girl to go back to her country. So I chose her standing next to me at the set of lights to show that even the racism is that, it’s actually against this particular race, particular culture, and then how I react and how the guy… I know he’s from the west because he’s screaming like… They have a lot of cockatoos there. And I start imitating him screaming, it sounded like cockatoos.
Fady Kassab: But you’ll get to hear that maybe online soon. But what I mean is, then I go back to this idea of, I am a fish out of water. It’s not that I’m a Lebanese and then Anglo-Saxon country, it’s just me as a foreigner in another land. So this cultural window I love exploring. Or I refer back to the war, how I used to line up to get powdered milk and bread. And I say, “But nowadays I wouldn’t do that. Oh, gluten, no. I’d stay away from carbs and gluten now. I wouldn’t. Whereas in the war, you’re just grateful for anything.”
Fady Kassab: And then I get to Balmain, a suburb of Sydney and I see a sign that they’re selling single herd milk. So I come from a background where I lined up for powdered milk in the war that had higher shelf life than we did in the Lebanese war, to Sydney. So this juxtaposition of single herd milk, they’ve [inaudible 00:25:33] down to, the cows are all friends. I don’t care if the cows are friends or not. So for me I always try to compare my task to this present western approach of low carb gluten, dairy free, all that stuff. But it’s not really about Australia per se, but it’s my human experience as a child as opposed to my grown up life in a western society, not Australia, per se, if that makes sense.
Steve D.: Look, it does, and I hear what you’re saying. I just wonder if… I believe you applied with along with about 130 other people to get some funding for a TV project with the ABC earlier this year, and they have a whole lot of criteria. Did your outsider status become a powerful card to help you get into the shortlist?
Fady Kassab: Well, that’s the thing, I didn’t initially. ABC did not happen for me. So what it is is ABC you have to tick a lot of boxes. So diversity is a big one. They say, “We’re looking for an exciting team.” An exciting team of course means it has men and women, it has for sample, gay and straight in it. It has above-the-line people. There has to be a diverse team. It’s good, it forces you to not just hang out with your friends but open up to see who else is out there who’s done great work and can fit the diversity criteria and the vision I have for my project.
Fady Kassab: So what happened is when ABC didn’t happen for me, the company who organized all this, the meetings with ABC and SBS and all that, they approached me and said, “Comedian Fady Kassab, we loved your idea. We loved it. So can we help you make this a reality and what do you need?” So now what’s happening is it’s great. I’m writing a show about two Lebanese guys, first generation, who are recruited to do something, but I can’t speak too much about it. But what it is is trying to…
Fady Kassab: We look at TV and we saw the Lebanese people, how they are portrayed. My friend, who is the co-writer and editor, he said to me, “When you watch a show like Here Come the Habibs…” I was living in Germany at the time, I didn’t see it. He said, “The mother who shows up is a Greek actress. They didn’t even get a Lebanese actress to play the Lebanese mother.” He said, “So she doesn’t speak Lebanese. When she does, she speaks broken Lebanese.”
Fady Kassab: We should do something really to show this is not really how we are. She’s holding a tray of baklava. She said, “I’ve made this myself,” to the neighbors in the show. And he goes, “Who makes that? It’s such a difficult pastry. We always buy it.” So there’s no realism. It was very much a what would Anglo-Saxon Australia thing of this ethnic group? This is an outsider’s view and we wanted to write an insider’s view about how the community really functions and how we’re all struggling and we have parents overseas, and the money we make here we send overseas to support the family, there’s always that guilt that we left.
Fady Kassab: So we have a totally different angle. And that helped me to go back to the question, this idea is not very, no, it’s not used in a friendlier much. I don’t think I’ve seen it as well, about two first generation Lebanese migrants here. So it’s very much a… I don’t know if that’s… Is that a derogatory term, to say woggy these days? I don’t know, but very woggy approach to it. And you realize… And if it is you can cut over it, but the approach isn’t what I would consider representative.
Fady Kassab: So I thought, okay, I’m not offended by it. I think, okay let’s have another voice, and apparently it resonates as well. So we have an executive producer on our team now that they’ve allocated who has her own show on SBS. We have put a nice team and that was totally irrelevant to comedy, it all happened before Raw and before winning Raw and going to Edinburgh and all that. So that’s nice that there was a phase there before that this happened this year.
Steve D.: Wow. I’m looking forward to that and I was hoping to get more detail out of you about this project, but obviously silence is the operation at the moment. Fine, we can live with that.
Fady Kassab: [inaudible 00:29:53].
Steve D.: Just two last quick things before we wrap up. Some people have a misunderstanding about stand up comedy saying that people just get up on stage and they riff. But you’re a believer, from what I’ve heard so far in our chat, of writing things down. What do you think the do’s and don’ts are if you’re thinking of just riffing your way through comedy?
Fady Kassab: Wow. Riffing is what… You know, some comedians, they never write. I know people doing it for years, they go “I don’t write. I just do a lot of riffing on stage.” And I go, “Okay, if you do at least record it and see what was good and then type that down,” but they don’t even tend to do that. For example, for me I was very much afraid of silence in the beginning because when you start stand up, you have five minutes and you want to get all these thoughts, you want to test them before the light comes on, the bell rings and all that. You realize that open mic doesn’t give you the breathing space, because of course, comedy is tragedy plus time. That’s basically what it is. You need the time for a joke to land.
Fady Kassab: And I realized something Seinfeld says. He said, “Good sets help you add and bad sets help you trim and take out the fluff.” And it’s absolutely true. So basically I do riff when the set is going really well, I feel very comfortable on stage, I just start adding to it, talking to the audience and all that. And I realized that ultimately though, it goes back to, I’m not a fan of just… The positioning might not give you a coherent structure at the end. It might be topics and bits and I do appreciate a coherent set, even if it’s a three minute set, I like a coherent set with good segues.
Fady Kassab: So writing is just unavoidable. It has to be. If you’re going to become a good comedian, I think have kind of a path from point point A to point B and all these… Think of it as a straight line and all these offshoots. As you go across your journey, you do some references, some jokes to allude to something else and you go back to the path and keep going forward in your… So riffing for me, I don’t know, maybe it’s my OCD, I don’t know. But I started emceeing a lot recently and I’m loving it. I’m loving it because it’s allowing me to test some jokes and expand on them. But even that, I have a framework in mind before riffing, you know?
Steve D.: Yeah.
Fady Kassab: I want to riff inside that framework so I can add to my sets.
Steve D.: Edinburgh is quite a crazy place where there are shows almost 24 hours a day, people everywhere. If you go back to Edinburgh again or someone wants to head to Edinburgh to do comedy, how would you modify what you do? Is there anything you’d need to do to make it Edinburgh-ready, or is it just getting tighter and more confident with your material, full stop?
Fady Kassab: You mean if someone wins Raw, or just goes to Edinburgh in general?
Steve D.: Either takes the step themselves to book a place in Edinburgh or to just get into that whole Edinburgh Fringe circuit.
Fady Kassab: Okay. So this year, they had three and a half million tourists coming to Edinburgh to watch, imagine that. They had five thousand shows, between four and five thousand, something like that. There’s an abundance of shows, so much to choose from. So it’s overwhelming for visitors. So what I noticed that is very successful, is people who are part of the Free Fringe.
Fady Kassab: The Free Fringe is free entry for everyone, but they give donations on the door and always, always, always without fail, I saw people giving money and the comedians… First of all, the comedians aren’t paying for the room, so they don’t have the pressure in the Free Fringe to fill up a certain amount so they can pay the rent of the room. So the Free Fringe is a great idea for someone starting. Pick it in a central venue, not on the outskirts of Edinburgh, put it somewhere… I mean, I saw many people who are within the city, walking distance from the Royal Mile, which is the big, big stretch leading up to the Edinburgh Castle.
Fady Kassab: So if you’re within a 10 to 20 minutes walk, that’s all good, in that kind of central area. But anywhere outside it’s really hard. So find free fringe venues that will allow you to put on your show, and it’s usually six nights a week you’re putting it on. And really, when it’s a good venue with a good courtyard and beer gardens and all that, I saw it always, always, always filling up.
Fady Kassab: And when people came up, I would say 70% were donating money, five pounds here, 10 pounds there. And the comedians ended up making a profit from their stay because accommodation, which also has to be booked months in advance, make sure you do that, is quite expensive. So just to cover the trip and all that. So I would say not only that advice, but have a tight show ready for your one hour and have a well-written set. If it’s Raw, like they sent me to Edinburgh, Raw here’s five minutes, Edinburgh is seven. I would say stick to one new Raw because it was proven. It passed the testing process and the vetting in Australia to get you to the final and then you won it.
Fady Kassab: And then expand on those by adding two extra minutes, which ultimately led me to winning my semi and reaching the grand final of So You Think You’re Funny, which was a great pleasure. It was a joy, really. And I thought, dear god, I hope I don’t win So You Think You’re Funny. That’s all I could think of in my head because I thought that’s enough. Raw was enough. I don’t want to kill that. That is one [inaudible 00:35:42] expectation becoming massive. So I would say make sure to stick to a winning formula.
Steve D.: All right, look, there’s more advice in your head. I’m sure you’re our guest comedian at the Sydney School Of Hard Knock Knocks, November 10 to 14. Just a taste, what sort of advice are you going to be giving the newbies to comedy who are going to be with you that week?
Fady Kassab: Like what we spoke about? For example, how to write delicately without addressing the subject head on. You don’t have to. You really don’t have to, people will make sense of it and if some audiences are slow or don’t catch up, there’s always, as you grow, you’ll find a bigger net. You’re casting a bigger net so your audience will be created for you. So don’t be afraid to speak what’s in your heart. That’s one, you can say it delicately. It doesn’t have to be blunt or offensive or use vulgar language to shock, but only if it adds to the set and beautifully adds to it, I would say I don’t mind swearing at all. Also how to write segues and just be a delicate writer. I would say that.
Steve D.: Lovely. What sort of gigs have you got coming up? Any worth noting?
Fady Kassab: To be honest, I just got back. I just finished my show at the Factory Theater, one hour. I had just come back from Edinburgh. I did a week with the Comedy Store and I’m taking the next couple of weeks off. I thought I just need my brain to not think about comedy and let it come. I don’t want to force it. I want the material to come back again on its own, because it could be a saturation sometimes. [crosstalk 00:00:37:18]. Yeah, except with you guys, School of Hard Knock Knocks, I’m doing that.
Fady Kassab: And I have a Thursday, but this is [inaudible 00:37:26] three days, I don’t know when the podcast will be up. This Thursday, I don’t know the date actually off the top of my head, but I’m doing a mic in hand in [inaudible 00:37:35]. I’m doing seven minutes there, just popping in the club, and I just finished four days of stand up and yesterday I was in Wollongong as well. So it was great. So I’m taking just a bit of downtime. But my events will be on my Facebook page. My Facebook and Instagram, just look for Fady Kassab Comedian, and you’ll find me. [crosstalk 00:37:57] Don’t go to my website.
Steve D.: No, we’ve learned that already. And if someone wants to book you, same information, just pursue you via Facebook or Instagram?
Fady Kassab: Yeah, yeah. just send me a message easily there, either on Instagram or Facebook.
Steve D.: Excellent. Fady Kassab, thank you so much for joining us.
Fady Kassab: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.