Recently married, Jai Cameron reflects on the impact of COVID on his career during lockdown, as well as having to postpone his wedding twice. He is pictured with his wife Makayla.

By Steph McNicol

AFTER a year of not being able to perform, Wallan-based comedian Jai Cameron is ready to get back on stage as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in April.

The former Assumption College student started his comedy career in 2017 when he wrote his first show – Would You Like Fries With That?

“I was a crazy person and wrote an entire show … with no experience or practice, and over the course of four years my comedy voice has developed more and more,” Mr Cameron said.

“Comedy is certainly the hardest artform I’ve done, and I’ve sang, acted, danced and hosted television and radio in some pretty stressful situations but stand-up comedy is by far the hardest.

“The audience will either laugh or not laugh and there have certainly been nights where they haven’t laughed. But I have to solider on regardless so yes, I guess you need to have a thick skin doing comedy.”

Mr Cameron, 22, said 2020 presented several challenges for him career-wise and in his personal life.

“Working in the arts, we were the first industry to close and we are certainly slowly reopening. Of course, I sympathise with my fellow Victorians going through months of lockdowns,” he said.

“Personally, my wife Makayla worked on a COVID ward for three months at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, which was terrifying – worrying about her safety each day as well as my sister Stephanie working in emergency at the Alfred Hospital.”

Mr Cameron also had his wedding postponed twice – the second time during Victoria’s five-day snap lockdown.

“It was certainly the most heart-breaking moment I’ve ever experienced. Within 10 minutes I was on the phone to our guests and suppliers cancelling everything. But we managed to get married on February 21,” he said.

Mr Cameron said he was excited to return to the stage to perform his show titled Domestic.

​“My last comedy performance was in March 2020 at the School House Theatre at Seymour Performers Workshop. Little did I know I wouldn’t return to the stage for 13 months,” Mr Cameron said.

“I sense after the year Victorians have been through, we are all ready to sit back and laugh.

“Laughter is certainly the best medicine and I feel this is the best show I’ve written so far so I’m really excited to get it in front of people.”

Mr Cameron said the show explored him taking the role of a house husband during COVID.

“The audience are invited to my final therapy session after a year in therapy with my therapist Carol,” he said.

“It really questions what if we reversed the stereotype of the 1960s housewife and subsisted it with a house husband in a modern-day setting.”

Shows are on April 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 2pm, and April 12 at 7.45pm, at Storyville Melbourne, 185 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. To book tickets, visit comedyfestival.com.au.