Anthony Salame 2

Anthony Salame 2Comedian Anthony Salame first broke onto the comedy circuit in 2005. He’s featured in mental Aussie sitcoms Fat Pizza and Swift and Shift on SBS and also toured a number of times with US comedian Pablo Francisco.
This week, he opens his new show On Fire as part of the Sydney Comedy festival.
He talks to BBM’s Dan Jeffery about his new show, who does the best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression and why airports are a comedy goldmine…

bbm: Hey Anthony, how’s things?
AS: Great man. I came back from New Zealand yesterday where I’ve been touring with Pablo Francisco.

How’s it been touring with him?
Oh great. It’s the third time. I did his shows when he was here last year, then spent a couple of months in the States last August with him. Now he’s back over here so it’s good.

Are you preparing for the Sydney Comedy Festival as well with your show On Fire?
Yeah, the show kicks off next Tuesday. A lot of people have a theme to their show but I tend not to do that. I love to just talk about all kinds of stuff – my material ranges from completely different subjects, whether it’s TV or music, relationships or racism. Whatever it is, you know. I don’t like to pigeonhole myself into one specific subject.

I understand you only started performing at festivals last year. Why did it take so long to make your festival debut?
Well, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I don’t like doing things half-arsed. I could have come up with my first hour in the first year but it probably wouldn’t have been any good. That sort of thing tarnishes your reputation and I’m a bit of a freak like that.
The thing with stand-up comedy is that it’s your name attached to it, no one else’s.
Does that mean you’re never happy with what you’ve done?
It’s not that. It’s just that you evolve. I look at the material I had last year compared to what I have now and last year’s material is no way near as good as what I’m writing now. I guess that’s normal.

How much does it help touring with the likes of Pablo?
It’s brilliant man. After every gig, with Pablo or Maz Jobrani and Jo Koy – all these guys I’ve toured with – I ask them ‘what did you think of that?’. And I take their advice on board. They’re some of the top comics in the world so they know what to do to be successful.
But especially with Pablo. We’ve formed a close friendship and he’s pretty honest with me. Even with him, he asks me for advice on his material so it’s give and take.

You guys both do a pretty mean Arnold Schwarzenegger impression. Who do you think has the best?
Definitely Pablo man. He’ll admit that I’ve got a better Scarface, but Pablo’s Schwarzenegger is freaky man. When he’s talking like Arnie, you close your eyes and you think it’s really him.
Both Fat Pizza, Swift and Shift, and your own material both deal with a lot of national stereotypes, don’t they.
Yeah, both do. Some people call it racism but it’s not. I don’t take a stab at just one minority; I take a stab at you whether you’re Serbian, Asian, Lebanese – I don’t care what you are, I’ll have a go at you.

Are there any national stereotypes that are easier to make fun of than others?
Ah… This is going to get me in trouble. You know what? You can look at any nationality and make fun of them. The airport is the perfect example. I was standing in the airport yesterday, no word of a lie, and just looking around at all the different groups. It’s comedy right there. Aussies, they do not hug; they just shake hands. Then there’s the Asians in the other corner bowing to one another. And then you look over to the ethnics and it’s like they’re playing WWF wrestling. It’s comedy man; there’re funny elements to any culture.

Anthony’s new show On Fire runs from Tuesday 4 May until Sunday 9 May at The Fuse Box, Factory Theatre in Sydney. Tickets cost $14 – $22. See for more information.