Local comedian Andy Saunders and Kevin Kropinyeri to join forces in stand-up show at Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Andy Saunders and Kevin Kropinyeri ham it up for the camera. Photos by Scott Calvin. Image design by Carl Muxlow.

Andy Saunders and Kevin Kropinyeri ham it up for the camera. Photos by Scott Calvin. Image design by Carl Muxlow.

TWO comedians walk into a newsroom.

One is a well known indigenous local whose career is soaring and the other another proud indigenous man with a career that is also blossoming.

The jokes come thick and fast and the chemistry is undeniable.

For Andy Saunders and Kevin Kropinyeri, this ideal combination has seen them join forces in a new stand-up show, The Bald and the Beautiful, which will premiere at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival next month.

The duo will take up a prime time spot (8.30pm) in the Regent Room at the Melbourne Town Hall, the hub of the comedy festival, with a 21-night run from March 25 to April 17.

Both Andy and Kevin originally planned to present solo shows until Kevin asked Andy whether he was interested in teaming up.

"When we pitched it to the CEO of the Melbourne Comedy Festival she ate it up and thought it was fantastic," said Andy.

Both will also feature in festival gala showcases at the St Kilda Palais Theatre (to be later screened on Channel 10), Andy in the Oxfam gala and Kevin in the opening night Comedy Allstars Supershow.

In the meantime, they have plenty of work to do and Kevin recently spent a few days in the Manning so he and Andy could workshop the show.

"It is extremely funny," promises Kevin.

"It's a hilarious, unique, comedy cultural experience. People have spent their hard earned money to come along and they're not going to be disappointed. We have a fun chemistry on stage."

They won't be holding back on content either.

"It's a comedy show. There are no holds barred and I think everything is a target," said Andy.

"I think being Aboriginal you do yourself an injustice if you don't address the issue, but to use comedy in a way where people do not feel guilty or uncomfortable and instead laugh.

"Whether people learn on the spot or on the drive home, it's okay with us."

Kevin said it is about using comedy and satire to help open people's eyes.

"When people smile or laugh, their defences come down," said Kevin.

But it's not all just about being Aboriginal.

"We're just two both extremely funny comedians who happen to be Aboriginal," said Kevin.

They come with different comedy styles, with Andy more of a storyteller whereas Kevin like short, sharp jokes.

"We complement each other. We're always cracking each other up, adlibbing and bouncing off one another," said Kevin.

"You can't buy that chemistry."

Andy said he's excited to work with Kevin.

"He's funny and talented but he's also a good human being and has done a lot for comedy."

Andy and Kevin first met four years ago at the Deadly Days event at Coffs Harbour, where Kevin was hired as a comedian and Andy was there as the Deadly Days co-ordinator for North Coast TAFE.

"I was excited," said Andy.

"I was just thinking of getting back into stand-up comedy and he encouraged and inspired me to get back into it."

Over the years, the men have developed a deep admiration and respect for one another and they are on the phone regularly.

"The chemistry is definitely there on and off the stage," said Kevin.

He recommends their new show and suggests that if anyone from the Manning is looking for a holiday they should come down to Melbourne to check it out.

The Bald and the Beautiful is a structured show but each day during the festival they will constantly review and tweak it, adding improvements along the way.

They will also take the opportunity to go and watch as many other comedy acts as they can.

"It helps you become better at comedy," said Andy.

Kevin is now on the road touring until the end of May, so the remainder of their planning and preparation will take place via Skype and the phone.

As well as writing the show, they also have to consider the lighting, big screen imagery, music and every aspect of the staging.

Later in the year, Andy and Kevin are part of the Melbourne International Comedy Roadshow (both on different tours), with Andy indicating he will appear in Taree this year.

lauren.green@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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