Indy C gets the laugh last out of pub dare

Townsville comedian Indy C will perform as part of Sistas in Comedy at NAFA 2022 IMAGE: Supplied

Townsville comedian Indy C never imagined that stand-up comics could exist in regional areas until comedian Luke Heggie thrust her into the world on a dare.

“I went to the bar after Luke’s show and he was standing there so I had a chat with him” says Indy of the fateful event.

“He said something along the lines of ‘that’s a really funny bit, how long have you been doing comedy?’ and I said ‘That wasn’t a bit, that’s my life.’

While chatting with Luke, Indy suggested he pose for some photos on her Instagram page, The Everywhere Chair.

“The next day he messaged me on Instagram and said I’ll get in the chair, if you get on stage to do 5 minutes of comedy tonight.’ So I did!”

With mere hours to prepare, Indy hurriedly scrawled a few gaffs on her hand before setting off for her first gig.

“I think having short notice was the best thing. I didn’t over prepare or over rehearse. I didn’t really have time to second guess myself. And then because half my material sweated off my hand, I had to make bits up,” Indy says.

“It went really well. People asked me to do it again and I think I had three or four bookings stepping off stage after my first show.”

The comedic rise of Indy C

The bug had bit and Indy was hooked.

She started to uncover the local comedy scene and was surprised to find there were any local comedians around, let alone the diversity she would soon discover.

“I didn’t know the community existed. I’d go to local comedy events in Townsville, but it never occurred to me that they lived here,” she says.

As she entrenched herself in the local scene, Indy started to ask her peers about career paths for comedians wanting to make it all the way to the top – The Netflix Special. She was surprised to find that while most knew it was a matter of working the national circuit and competing in some prestigious comedy competitions, few had done it.

Indy C has a life-long love of comedy IMAGE: Supplied

So, just a few months after her impromptu debut, Indy entered Australia’s most respected comedy competition, RAW Comedy.

I made round after round – I had to fly to Brisbane three times which was expensive! – and I came out in the State Final,” Indy says.

“I lost to Bronwyn Kuss, which is an absolute honour because she went on to win the whole damn thing. She is absolutely amazing and I’ve got to share the stage with her a few times since.”

Avoiding the pigeon-hole

For Indy, comedy represents a chance to be unapologetically herself.

“I’m a dark-skinned, mixed-race human who grew up in Townsville. Even religions were mixed in my household, so growing up in Townsville was an interesting experience,” she says.

“It was a struggle for me to fit in because I’m visually different. People assume I’m going to be a certain way, speak at a certain level and when I don’t, it confuses people. There are these hurdles that don’t exist for everybody, that exist for me. However, on the comedy stage, not only do I have the freedom to be, I can freely address my differences and that’s liberating.”

Indy draws most of her material directly from her own life. While she doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed by any of her several ‘minority labels’, she doesn’t shy away from discussing her family origins on stage.

“I’ve come off stage and people have asked me questions about it and that’s great,” says Indy.

“Recently a girl in her early said to me ‘Oh it’s 2022, there’s not even any racism anymore.’ I just laughed and said it’s really cute that you think that, hang on to it because that’s a nice space to live in.’ 

“I don’t try to message in my comedy. I don’t want to stand for anything, I just want to be funny. But if a message falls in, it falls in. I won’t stop it, but I’m not doing it deliberately.”

Sistas are doin’ it

Indy performs with just about every comedy group in town. As part of this year’s North Australian festival of the Arts (NAFA), you’ll find her on the line-up of the Sistas in ComedyLivin’ Our Best Life’ showcase.

Indy said the group, corralled by fellow comedian Jacqueline Bisson, is an inspiring mix of seasoned and not-so-seasoned comics.

“Some of the people in the group have had quite a bit to do with comedy and for some of the group this is the only time that they comedy and it is the absolute cutest thing,” Indy says.

“I enjoy all the sets whether they are well-practiced comedians or not. Firstly, let’s face it, it’s the bravery! It takes some absolute guts to get up there and when people are expecting to have a giggle, the pressure to deliver that is massive!

“My maddest respect goes to the ones who perform the least.

Aaminah Khan
Jacqueline Bisson
Susan Mattocks
Lizzy Frequin

“The other remarkable thing about the Sistas is the age range, from early 20s through to I think maybe 70.  There’s something in the show for everybody, no matter your gender, no matter your sexual orientation, no matter your age.

“Jacqui is just so for this group and so motivated by helping others to achieve within this space, and that’s very admirable.

“Can you imagine this in another context? Where you just had a person who could motivate about 25 people to jump out of a plane or something? Essentially that’s what she’s done. She’s encouraged people to do the scariest thing that you could do. That’s incredible!”

Indy now counts herself as one of the Sistas spearheading the push for emerging comedians in Townsville. It’s a lot of ground to cover from a single pub dare just 18 months ago.

See Indy C performing with the Sistas in Comedy at the North Australian Festival of the Arts.

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