Award-winning kiwi comedian Angella Dravid is making her Australian debut at this year’s Comedy Festival with her acclaimed show Down The Rabbit Hole – something which she is excited yet nervous about. “When I started comedy, you heard about Melbourne because it’s the biggest comedy festival, so it’s a little surreal to be here,” she says.
For those unfamiliar with Dravid, she has a unique performance style which embraces her personality. “I’ve always been a little odd,” she says. “At all my jobs, people always said ‘Gosh, you’re very odd, or weird or awkward.’” It’s those kinds of remarks that led to her starting her career in comedy, initially using stand-up as a means of mastering public speaking.
“I was in a secretarial job that was quite client facing and my boss said that I was making her clients feel uncomfortable,” Dravid chuckles. “Stand-up comedy was happening in the lobby of my apartment, so I just did an open-mic. The goal was never to get into comedy, the goal was to be a better secretary.” Angella owns her uncomfortableness on stage, however, wonderfully weaving it into her shows.
The show, Down The Rabbit Hole, has Dravid telling a deeply personal story, taking the audience on an adventure. “A lot of my friends are saying Down The Rabbit Hole sounds like psychedelic drugs or something. I don’t think that’s it. Whenever I tell this story, it’s going through a whole period of my life that I haven’t really talked about in any depth, so it feels like a very strange journey.”
The simplest way to describe Down The Rabbit Hole would be to say it’s a love story that went wrong. “It starts off pretty strange and it keeps getting worse and worse and worse, and I think a lot of people don’t know where it’s going to end up. The title, Down The Rabbit Hole is supposed to show that.”
Whilst being a hilariously wild ride, the story on display is very personal for Dravid and something she has been working towards since starting her career in comedy.
“It seems to be that personal stories and very deep stories about yourself seem to be appreciated nowadays, so I felt like this could be the right story to tell at the right time,” she says. “You kind of want to reveal your skeletons in the closet before other people discover them. It’s kind of like declaring things before you get into the country.”
With Down The Rabbit Hole being awarded the Billy T Award at last year’s New Zealand Comedy Festival, as well as her work being recognized with the Best Newcomer award by the NZ Comedy Guild, Dravid’s unexpected career change seems like fate. “It was very liberating, it felt like people accepted me,” Dravid says of the shows success. “It made me feel like the industry supported me as well.”