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Comedy saved my life

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Direct from Tucabia, stand-up comic Bob Walker wants to create a comedy scene in the Clarence Valley, much like the scene in the Bryon/Lismore/Mullumbimby region. He is promoting a show, featuring internationally renowned stand-up comic Mick Neven, who is fresh from performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Aaron Pratt. It kicks off at 3pm in the New Boardwalk Bar at the Yamba Bowling Club on Sunday November 30. Tickets are on sale at the club.

by Geoff Helisma

Bob Walker was at Bunnings with his son one day, “not really listening” when his son said he was going to look at something elsewhere in the vast, multi-isled store.
“I was looking up each row as I searched for him,” Bob says, when a friendly shop assistant asked: “Can I help you?”
Bob says: “I’m looking for my son; I’ve lost him somewhere in here.” She says: “If you’d like to wait at the front counter, I’ll have him paged.”
“No, no,” says Bob. “I’ll find him; my son is 34, he wouldn’t be impressed having – ‘Ryan can you come to the front counter, your father is looking for you?’ – broadcasted over the loudspeakers.”
After Bob catches up with Ryan and tells him what had happened, Ryan says: “No Dad, they should have called out: ‘Ryan Walker, can you come to the front counter because we found your father wandering around, lost and looking for you!’”
Bob Walker, 65, came to comedy relatively late; “It saved my life,” he says. “I was deeply depressed when I took it up – it’s changed how I think about myself and my outlook on life.”
Ironically, it was his son Ryan who exposed him to stand-up; although Ryan didn’t end up taking the comedic route and is now a highly regarded chef.
“I was taking him to open mic nights; I was just the driver, but as I watched all of the amateurs, I was actually learning the craft of comedy,” Walker says.
So after a couple of years careening around the countryside as his son’s driver, Walker stepped onto an open mic stage about six years ago, and has since performed regularly around the Byron Bay, Lismore, Gold Coast and Mullumbimby region. “I became known as Australia’s most travelled (or is that troubled?) open-mic comedian,” he says.
Walker now lives at Tucabia and is aiming to establish a comedy scene in the Clarence Valley, so he’s putting a show on at the Yamba Bowling Club on Sunday November 20 from 3pm in the New Boardwalk Bar.
Internationally renowned comedian, Mick Neven, fresh from a show in Kuala Lumpur headlines the show. Neven has played five Melbourne International Comedy Festivals, the Adelaide Fringe Festival and, most recently, performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Aaron Pratt, who reckoned his life was like a sitcom, stepped up to the mic as a 32-year-old. He forged his brand of comedy in the fiery pits of South Auckland. And, while he might be a 6’2”, 180kg Polynesian powerhouse, he brings the house down with humour, not brawn.
What’s the least expected thing that happened to Walker after catching the stand-up bug? “It cured my stuttering; it doesn’t happen on stage.”

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