Image courtesy of Michele Lim
The Australia Times (TAT): When did you first start doing stand-up?
Michele Lim: I started doing stand-up in 2010, I always feel really funny saying that because it seems like a long time and people probably think “why aren’t you famous yet then?” But I only did a few gigs between 2010-2013 and started getting more serious from 2013 when I did my first Sydney Comedy Festival show.
TAT: Where was it and how did it go?
Michele Lim: My first gig was at a 2010 NSW RAW Comedy heat, I’d seen the RAW comedy finals on TV the year before and I’d made it my New Year’s Resolution to enter thinking that because it was an “amateur” comedy competition so it would be everybody’s first time on the night. Boy, was I in for a shock when I turned up and everyone was talking about how they’d been doing it for 5,10 years! I’d been practising my jokes a lot and even though it was only 3 minutes I was so nervous! Luckily I’d brought a massive group of friends to see my “comedy debut” and I ended up making it to the NSW State finals that year!
TAT: Why do you like comedy?
Michele Lim: I love comedy because it allows you to raise some good points about people and everyday behaviour that people might not have thought about, but once you say it, everyone recognises it as true. I also love comedy that brings people together and makes people feel good. My favourite comedians help people feel good about themselves by poking fun at silly things we all get stressed out about or by pointing out how ridiculous the status quo is sometimes. As a feel good comedian I want to help people appreciate the little things in life.
TAT: What’s an average day for you like, do you have a day job?
Michele Lim: Yes! I have a day job. I’m an Online Manager by day, so whenever I do festivals I am pretty busy working during the day and then going home and trying to do all my comedy work at night. Luckily talking to lots of different people gives me lots of inspiration, and working gives me a bigger target market because I can stick up posters all over my office and ask my colleagues to come along and see me!
TAT: How do you come up with your material?
Michele Lim: My material is based on real things that happen to me; either real events or real conversations that I’m having with my friends. When I’m in a funny situation I’ll make a mental note to turn it into a joke or I’m usually saying funny little quips in conversation or having quirky ideas when I’m talking to people so I just note them down and turn them into jokes later.
TAT: Who are your favourite comedians?
Michele Lim: I absolutely love Chris Rock- he would be my favourite and then in no particular order Jerry Seinfeld, Tina Fey, Wanda Sykes, Dave Chapelle, Louis CK, Wil Anderson, Carl Barron, Anh Do, Michael McIntyre, Lee Mack, Mr Bean, the list goes on!
TAT: How would you describe your style?
Michele Lim: My comedy is clean but hilarious. I hate when I go to comedy shows and the jokes are just really crude and low brow. There are so many funny topics that you could explore apart from sex. I want people to have to think a little about my jokes, let them work for their supper a bit! I want to highlight people’s differences but bring them together instead of pushing them apart. I would say my style is feel-good and uplifting, I like people to feel happy and inspired after seeing my show.
TAT: “Comedians are damaged people” Discuss
Michele Lim: There are definitely two types of comedians; the class clowns, and the introspective/ introverted type who are really good at making observations about people. I’m definitely more a class clown type of comedian. I like being the centre of attention, I like having a good time and making people laugh and I started comedy because this has been my dream since year 6 and I thought I’d better get onto it!
TAT: What’s been your favourite or most memorable moment on stage?
Michele Lim: That’s a good question! I’ve never really thought of my favourite moment on stage, I guess it would have to be the first time I ever did comedy because it was such a huge dare for me to do it and I actually did pretty well! So that definitely boosted my confidence to continue. If I had totally bombed I might not be standing here today doing the Melbourne International Comedy Festival!
TAT: Do you like audience interaction?
Michele Lim: I do like audience interaction but only if it goes my way and everyone is impressed by something clever and witty that I’ve said. Otherwise no I don’t! I do like talking to people but I have a pretty bad memory so I might get side tracked and forget my train of thought if I was frequently talking to the audience. I also find it weird when people start answering my rhetorical questions… but I definitely like to welcome the audience and make sure everyone is having a good time.
TAT: Do you feel like it’s you on stage or a character?
Michele Lim: Definitely myself. When I first started comedy I tried to be a little more diplomatic onstage and stay pretty middle of the road because I didn’t want to offend anyone, but as I got older I got more comfortable with saying my true thoughts. I can sound pretty cocky and overconfident sometimes and that can be hard if I’m talking to people who don’t know me, they might get the wrong impression and think I’m really up myself! But hopefully people will see I’m a pretty nice, down to earth person so any blunt things I say should be taken with a grain of salt! In the past, I stayed away from sounding too cocky because apparently people don’t like that coming from females! But now, I want to break that mould, I don’t see why females can’t be as lovably egotistical as males are. I’m done with being a meek female.
Michele Lim: Where do you perform normally?
TAT: I usually perform around the Sydney CBD, inner west areas because that’s where most of the comedy rooms are. I’ve also been lucky enough to get some gigs at The Comedy Store in Sydney which has been great and I’ve got to be on the bill with people like Rove, Merrick Watts, this Swedish Superstar and Tony Hinchcliffe. Clearly I have no problem with namedropping. I also love the rare times when I get a local gig near my house so I don’t need to trek home at midnight on the bus!
TAT: Okay, tell us about your show…
Michele Lim: My show is called Hustle Bear: A True Story and it’s the best bits of my 2013 Sydney Comedy Festival show and my 2016 Sydney Comedy Festival show. I talk about growing up in Australia, loving hip hop and poking fun at people who try so hard to impress others with all their fancy things. I also talk about my time in Taiwan and the funny scenarios I used to get in because I look like a local but talk like a 3 year old.
TAT: Why should people come and see it?
Michele Lim: My comedy offers something different. I’m Asian but I don’t just talk about Asian. I’m female but I don’t just talk about being female. I don’t want to be pigeon holed as one thing, I’m a lot of different things and I want to show all the sides of who I am. I also love hip hop so I’ve got some raps and references for my other hip hop lovers to enjoy.
TAT: What’s your favourite object?
Michele Lim: That’s a very strange question! I’ve never thought about my favourite object before. My boring answer would be my phone because I use it for so much, listening to podcasts, listening to rap music and getting myself hyped up before a gig, chatting to friends. My more philosophical answer would be my Seinfeld/ Fresh Prince of Bel Air DVDs because they were the things that first introduced me to the world of comedy.
TAT: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Michele Lim: If you want a breath of fresh air and to see something different this Melbourne International Comedy Festival you should come and see my show!
You can see ‘Hustle Bear: A True Story’
When: 11th-22nd of April
Where: Number 12
Information: Venue is wheelchair accessible
www.bit.ly/hbmicf2017 (show link)
www.bit.ly/hbsquirrel (link to review)