Interview with comedian Emo Majok

"I decided a long time ago that failure is not an option. I’ve sacrificed way too much to not be living my purpose. I love, live and breathe stand-up comedy. I honestly feel so lucky to be doing the thing I love."

Interview with comedian Emo Majok

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

My name is Emo Majok and I am a South Sudanese/ Australian Comedian based out of Perth Western Australia.

How would you describe your show?

My show African Aussie is like a semi autobiography of my life story which consists of my family fleeing war torn Sudan and finding a refugee camp in neighbouring country, Ethiopia, to which my mother gave birth to me in. Three years later we are forced to flee once again due to war breaking out. So, my family walked to yet another country to find a refugee camp, this time neighbouring Kenya. Four years later we got sponsored to Australia and then the real fun begins. 

My show Aussie African covers early life in Australia, starting from scratch, knowing no English, adjusting to western culture, and my past employment before finding my calling in stand-up comedy.  As a single father of three the show paints a clear picture of what it was like leaving a 80k a year job to start a new career in stand-up comedy, while managing parental duties. We talk about one-night stands, past adventures travelling the globe performing stand-up comedy, to the world coming to a halt due to the global pandemic and much more. 

This show covers it all.

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

Ever since I started stand-up comedy all I’ve ever heard was “you have to go to the world biggest Fringe festival, it’s in Edinburgh”. I almost made it to Edinburgh Fringe at the start of my comedy career when I was competing in Australia's biggest amateur comedy competition Raw Comedy 2018. The Prize was the winner gets an all-expenses paid trip to Edinburgh Fringe (I did not win).

Four years later I’m signed to a management agency making my way down for my debut, everything happens for a reason.

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?

I debuted in 2018 with my friend and fellow comedian Joe White in a string of shows at the Perth Fringe Festival, after that I knew I was at the right place, at the right time doing what I was meant to do, making everyone laugh out loud! I’m inspired by all the great legends in comedy, for example Dave Chappelle, Eddie Murphy, Katt Williams but I’m most inspired by my children and my family who are the gift that keeps giving in materials haha.

How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career?

I definitely don’t hold back when I let the audience experience what I experienced in life, it’s just nice to see all my life struggles as a comedy show. There’s no better feeling than looking up from the stage and seeing that everything I went through in life, is putting a smile on someone sitting right in front of me. That feeling of Positivity can be very addictive.

What is your earliest childhood memory?

The sound of gunfire as people flee.

If you didn’t have your current job, what would you probably be doing?
There is no “If you didn’t have your current job, what would you probably be doing?. 

I decided a long time ago that failure is not an option. I’ve sacrificed way too much to not be living my purpose. I love, live and breathe stand-up comedy. I honestly feel so lucky to be doing the thing I love. I think if more people did what they love the world would be a happier place. 

Did Covid-19 change the way you create work? Do you approach shows with a different mentality now?

I’d be lying if I said covid did not change the way I create, both in a good and a bad way. Covid showed me just how resourceful I could be. When we were in lock down all I did was write and create, that was of course after all the drinking and getting over being locked down. 

When we were free to return to entertaining again but had capacity restrictions, it was hard to find spots. Most spots went to more established comedians, so I created my own shows and opportunities. It is easier to blame others for why your career isn't going so well but I found when I couldn't get MC positions to better my skills in that craft, I just created my own shows and made myself MC. When I needed headline spots to be better equipped to perform so late in the show and still keep the audience entertained, I created my own shows and made myself headliner.

My solution has always been to create your own opportunities because the success or failure of your progression is only attributed to what you put in.

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?

Best, Years, Of, My, Life

Do you subscribe to the idea that art should be exempt from ‘cancel culture’?

A 1000%. People often forget that they have the choice in what kind of energy they allow into their space. If you hate swimming, stay out of swimming pools. You don't like what's on Fox News, change the channel. If you don't like something an entertainer said don’t buy their ticket or watch them next time, just don't ruin it for the next person. If they were in the wrong, it's on them to fix it not on you to decide they should never work again. 
If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick and why?

Dave Chappelle. 

I believe Dave Chappelle is the greatest to ever do, he speaks from the heart and has always advocated a fair and equal treatment to mankind when it comes to his comedy.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?

Save lots of money and make sure you feel ready.

When and where can people see your show?

My show is held at Underbelly at 8:30 starting August 3rd to the 29th with August 15th being my one day off come say hey.

And where can people find, follow and like you online?

All my social media, website, tickets etc are all in my linktree down below

https://linktr.ee/Emo_Majok


See Emo Majok: African Aussie at the Underbelly during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 3-29 August. For more information and tickets visit www.edfringe.com or www.underbelly.co.uk

Header Image Credit: Provided

Author

Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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