There is nothing quite like the Jonathan Atherton experience. Wild, passionate, lateral thinking – like the bastard love child of Bill Hicks and Robin Williams. All Darkness and Light, Atherton is now a full time resident of Kuala Lumpur where he runs The Crackhouse Comedy Club, the first ever dedicated comedy club on the Malaysian comedy scene where he provides what he calls ‘stress relief and legal highs!’ Originally Brisbane based, Atherton has always had a love affair with the Northern Rivers, with his legendary Corndale Hall shows – and his numerous warm friendships forged over decades of performing here. Sadly, since SE Asia has claimed the multi-lingual Atherton as their own, we see him rarely. But he’s back, telling the tales and spinning his web of wit, insight and insanity. A love of culture and adventure drew him away from the staid corridors of academia and into the heart of the third world. He spent most of the 80’s travelling through Asia and Africa where he worked as tour guide, salvage diver, teacher, set builder, photographer, restaurateur and actor.
In Thailand in 1991 he was run over by a truck and evacuated to Australia where he spent over a year in traction, fighting gangrene, antibiotic resistant infection and the devastating effects of 17 compound fractures to his legs, arms and spine. He underwent a dozen major operations. But he never lost his sense of humour.
In fact the stories he brought back from his prolific travels formed the nucleus of his initial comedy performances. While still in plaster he was coaxed on stage by a cabaret singer who maintained that his poignantly hilarious anecdotes were funnier than the diatribe of the professional comedians who worked at the club where she performed.After just one appearance in 1993 at the Sit Down Comedy Club in Brisbane, Australia, he was hooked on the art of stand-up comedy… despite a temporary inability to actually stand up without the aid of crutches! With a bag of stories and a keen insight into the human condition, he honed his comedy skills touring that vast continent, dispensing laughter wherever he went.
He speaks a multitude of languages – Indonesian, Malay, Thai, Japanese, Swahili, Luganda, and German… and has a passing knowledge of Burmese Tagalog, Lao, Hindi, Batak, Urdu, Arabic, Hokkien and Mandarin.
More important than language, says Atherton, is an ability to comprehend discourse strategies and social boundaries. In this sense he is at home anywhere on the planet.
Jonathan is back in the Northern Rivers for two very special shows:
Monday 21 December at the Byron Services Club with Mandy Nolan as MC & Anne Howe as support, at 8pm.
Saturday 16 January 2016 at the Mullumbimby Ex Services with Mandy Nolan as MC & Greg Sullivan as support, 8pm.
Both shows $25, can be booked on 66190529, tix at the club beforehand or on the door on the night!