Comedian, writer & Filmmaker

Bringing laughs to the Fringe – The Graduate article

Bringing laughs to the Fringe
by Jon Brooks

Local comedians Jason Chong (left) and Angus Hodge. UniSA alumni not only feature behind the scenes of this year’s Fringe festival, many are in the spotlight itself.

Comedians Jason Chong and Angus Hodge are both starring in Fringe shows and say their time at UniSA has placed them in good stead for the competitive world of Fringe performing.

Chong, widely regarded as a rising star of the Australian comedy scene, is now staring in his third solo Fringe season and says his degree in Marketing from UniSA has provided invaluable knowledge for the life of a professional comic.

“Doing marketing at UniSA taught me to think of my comedy as a brand,” Jason said.

“I want as many people to know and like my brand as possible, so my job isn’t simply to be funny; it’s to be funny in ways that enhance my brand.

“For me that means swearing as little as possible, talking about things most people get and finding other things that make me different from everybody else.

“There’s something like 115 unique comedy shows at this year’s Fringe, so it’s more important than ever to stand out and the lessons I learned studying marketing at UniSA have really served me well.”

His highly anticipated new show Why the Bloody Hell Aren’t Ya? is a quirky look at Jason’s experiences that led to him becoming a blood donor.

“The show isn’t just a bunch of funny gags about giving blood, I’m also trying to raise awareness of the need for people to become donors and hopefully some of the people that see my show will go out and give blood some time,” Jason said.

“That’s another aspect of thinking of my comedy as a brand – I like to spread positive messages and make a positive difference where I can.”

Current student Angus Hodge, 18, in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at the Magill Campus, said his journalism training was having added benefits for his quirky brand of observational humour.

“I guess journalism is the art of being a good observer and a critic, and in many ways that parallels good comedy.

“The interview skills you learn at the journalism school help build your public speaking skills while the news-gathering and investigative skills you learn really help in terms of seeing anything as potential material.

“Stand up comedy is also a lot like journalism in that you have to get a clear message across using as few words as possible and in that regard my studies have really helped me as a performer.”

Hodge is making his first appearance in a Fringe this year along with six other local comics in a show called Taking the Piss.

“It’s basically stand up comedy in a pub, there’ll be beer and laughs, hence the name” Angus said.

“I’m really looking forward to it, not only as a chance to get out and be part of the Fringe but because I get to perform with five really good comedians.

“The show’s also just behind City West, so we’re hoping plenty of UniSA alumni come along.”

Jason Chong performs Why the Bloody Hell Aren’t Ya? at the Rhino Room, 13 Frome St from Feb 26.

Angus Hodge performs in Taking the Piss at the Worldsend Hotel, 208 Hindley St from March 4 and as a special offer UniSA students will receive two for one entry on presentation of a valid student ID at Taking the Piss.

Original article: http://www.unisa.edu.au/graduate/2009/FebMar/story5.asp

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