Kwame Asante: the jack-of-all-trades that juggles comedy with medicine

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Kwame Asante: the jack-of-all-trades that juggles comedy with medicine


The lineup consists of the brilliant Alfie Brown, Kwame Asante and John Hastings, who will each perform their part at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

“I started doing comedy back in secondary school, basically a friend dared me to do it at one of the upcoming talent shows,” says Asante. “I’d already been waffling a bit of stand-up, I think I was 16 or 17 years old at the time, so I thought I’d give it a go.”

“It was a sweet gig, and then when I turned 18 I started doing some gigs in the London open mic circuit. It was much more like a realistic experience of what stand-up comedy was like, but I stuck at it, found my voice and just kept going with it.”

The creative element of comedy appeals to Asante, embracing the multitude of ways of performing and making people laugh.

“It’s nice how comedians have a blank canvas and like a common end goal, it’s inspiring. I just do stand-up storytelling mainly, but I like that people can do different things and I find all forms of comedy entertaining.

“For me, my favourite bit about comedy has always been writing a new joke and tweaking it. The best feeling is the first time you feel it click, and then it clicks with the audience. That’s why I always try to take the opportunity to write stories and make them better and better.”  

Asante’s routine isn’t themed. Rather, it explores all facets of everyday life.

“Some nights I’ll be talking about medicine, sometimes I’ll be talking about my family growing up, I’ll also tell stories about my mum, so there’s going to be a bit of variety and I think it’ll be nice.”

It’s certainly interesting that Asante will be telling stories about medicine, considering he’s a doctor. He has an amazing knack for balancing his profession with his stand-up comedy.

“I went to medical school in central London and that’s where I picked up more on comedy,” Asante says. “My uni was right in the heart of London and I lived right in the middle of the London comedy scene, so it was quite easy to balance a medical degree with doing comedy gigs because there wasn’t that much travelling at all.”

While he was at medical school, Asante initially wouldn’t talk about medicine at his gigs, since comedy was more of an escape and a hobby for him. He now delves into his medical experiences for his stand-up comedy.

“It’s been almost three years that I’ve been working as a doctor and more of my life is spent in hospital and I’m meeting people and getting stories now, so I talk about medicine more at my stand-up. Although I still like to mix it up so my show isn’t entirely about being a doctor.”

Asante had first witnessed the Melbourne International Comedy Festival when he was working in Royal Melbourne Hospital as part of a six week elective, and that’s when he began to appreciate the scale of the event and the amount of talent that it showcases.

“For me, it’s just a big honour to have been invited out by Mary Tobin and given the opportunity to perform, I did my first ever gig in Australia yesterday, and it all went really smoothly and everyone laughed in the right places.”