Sami Shah revels in Rottofest laughs

Sami Shah.
Sami Shah.

TRAPPING a bunch of comedians on an island for 24-48 hours may sound like the premise for a short reality television series.

It is also what is involved for Rottofest, the seventh annual comedy and music festival on Rottnest Island, and Pakistani comedian and writer Sami Shah cannot wait.

�My first Rottofest was in 2013, a year after I moved here, so this will be my third time performing,� the 37-year-old said.

�It�s where I do a dry run of the new material I�ve been working on for the following year�s Fringe World show, so I�ll get to see what works and what doesn�t.

�Stand-up comedy is the only performance art where you�re learning and doing at the same time.�

Shah will celebrate his 10-year anniversary in comedy this November by posting footage from his first gig online.

He had been part of an improv troupe for three years before giving stand-up a go.

�What I remember from it was vomiting backstage and then being freaked out until I got that first laugh,� he said.

�I remember getting that first laugh, feeling relieved and then I have no memory of the rest of it.�

Shah moved to Australia in 2012 with his psychologist wife Ishma and young daughter Anya who, now six years old, keeps Shah busy with school demands and ballet classes.

He said his comedy had changed over the years as life changed, but this was more to do with relationships and politics than moving countries.

�It has to change because the point of comedy is to make it reflect what you�re thinking at the time,� Shah said.

�But it didn�t alter that much between Pakistan and Australia, as half of my show is always me looking inwards, so it�s about family, friends and things I�ve encountered.

�Then the other half is me railing against conservative politics and you�d be surprised how similar they are everywhere in the world; from conservative people in Pakistan to conservative people in Australia, the level of ignorant bigotry is pretty much the same.�

Fans will be able to watch Shah on an episode of Stephen Fry�s QI in October, which was recorded three months ago and an experience Shah will never forget.

�It was definitely a bucket list moment to tick off, although now I feel like I�ve peaked too soon in my career,� he said.

Community Newspaper Group has two prize packs of a double Rottofest pass with ferry ride to give away. Enter here before September 11.


What: Rottofest

Where: Rottnest Island

When: September 19