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Emo Majok: African Aussie – Underbelly Bristo Square

There was so much interaction with the audience at this show that I felt I got to know some of my fellow patrons just as much as I got to know Emo Majok himself. It’s a marked contrast from a lot of comedy acts, which tend to involve some peripheral exchanges with the front row before a seemingly unstoppable barrage of anecdotes, punchlines and stories begin. Majok, however, isn’t satisfied with knowing what a person’s name is, where they come from and what brings them to the Fringe – he’ll delve a lot deeper than surface-level pleasantries and open a conversation that will go on for several minutes.

Emo Majok: African AussieI realise I’ve made this sound as though members of the audience are liable to be cross-examined, which really isn’t the case. It’s more like going to a pub with a friend and being introduced to a whole bunch of other people you’ve never met before and are unlikely to encounter ever again, but everyone has a great time regardless.

Majok’s own story includes an inevitable steep learning curve on moving to Australia, having previously eked out an existence of sorts in a refugee camp. Joy is discovered in the simple pleasures of life – he didn’t, for instance, have access to a microwave before, though it quickly becomes clear that there are challenges to be met even after moving to somewhere that isn’t a literal war zone. I suspect every society has a degree of racism going on, and some of Majok’s experiences are hardly surprising.

Indicative of not having the kind of education his own children are being given, he was apparently surprised at being spoken to in French when visiting Montreal. It reminded me of a twenty-something who was raised on a council estate and had never been to the beach before, and remarked on how salty the sea is. At least the material isn’t difficult to follow. A laidback and agreeable performance, Majok is a Fringe debutant but it felt like he’s been around for a while.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

With that smile, some might say that Emo was born to be a comedian. Long before the stages and circuits, a young Emo was the class clown – a happy kid, who loved entertaining his friends. In the mid 90s though, African migrants were scarce, and Emo’s was one of the few black students in a very-white school.

His story began in Ethiopia, born to Sudanese parents who fled to Ethiopia to escape a war-torn Sudan. At the age of three, Emo and his family were forced from the refugee camp they called home. As another war broke out around them, they joined thousands of other displaced refugees, walking for weeks in search of

shelter and a better life. They eventually found a new camp in Northern Kenya, and it was here that they were offered sponsorship to move to Australia. Emo and his family of five arrived in Perth in 1996, with two more siblings born after they settled in the northern suburbs of Perth. Fast forward to 2018, and Emo is a proud father to a little girl and new baby boy

Listing information:
Show: Emo Majok: African Aussie
Dates: 3rd – 28th August 2022 (Days off TBD)
Time: 8.30pm
Venue: Underbelly – Clover
Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG
www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk

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