2 May 2019

Spinning yarns from Walgett to the Enmore

A Gamilaraay former social worker and DJ from Wagga Wagga is set to give his first solo performance as part of the Sydney Comedy Festival this week.

Dane Simpson has been described as one of the rising stars of Australian comedy, with appearances on Network Ten's Have You Been Paying Attention, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala and ABC TV's Comedy Up Late.

Dane's show, Origins, is about his mob in both Walgett and Wagga including his "menace" of a dad and "idiotic" older brother, Kenny.

"We used to visit my dad at Walgett ever since I was four.  In Walgett, everyone learns how to spin a yarn and be silly.  I've just tried to take this raw material and make it stage ready," he said.

Although Dane had no exposure to professional comedians growing up, he comes from a family of entertainers.

"Not many acts toured to Wagga and those that did were too expensive to go to.  But my dad's side are all entertainers and my earliest memory is me sitting on my Nan's bed with both of us being silly and trying to make each other laugh."

Dane said his big break came courtesy of fellow comedian, Kevin Kropinyeri.

"Kevin was doing a gig put on by the Medical Service as part of a tour of western NSW and I was deejaying."

A Ngarrindjeri man from South Australia, Kropinyeri didn't know much about the communities he was visiting.

"I said to him, all my mob are out there so he asked me to come along and help with technical support.  Next thing, Kevin's inviting me up to open his shows, so I really owe him everything."

Dane says the next four years have been "crazy", with national exposure and his home town getting behind its comedy sensation.

This culminated in a giant mural of him and Western Sydney Wanderers star Jada Whyman being permanently installed at the local Wiradjuri Reserve and Dane being named as Wagga's Australia Day ambassador.

"They did this, even though they knew I'm not a fan of the January 26 date," he said.

"They just said we can start to have a conversation about this.  I love being a part of Wagga growing and becoming more accepting."

Of his performance at Sydney's Enmore Theatre, Dane says he'd like people to know him and where he is from.

Dane Simpson will be performing as part of the Sydney Comedy Festival at the Enmore Theatre on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 May.  Tickets are available from Ticketek.