Dilruk Jayasinha has lost a lot of weight – 35 kilos in fact. Losing it was surprisingly easy (thanks to his Fit Bet podcast with Ben Lomas), it’s keeping it off that’s the real issue. Learning to diet, to understand his relationship with food, and how to get moving is the subject of Jayasinha’s latest comedy show, Cheat Day(s).
This is more than an hour of weight-loss jokes, it’s also stand up about finding out why you do things and learning who you are without relying on food or comedy to put yourself down. Jayasinha has pivoted hard from shows that were reliant on self-deprecating fat jokes into a show that tells a deeply personal story, while still firing off a dozen jokes a minute. There’s the occasional lull as the comedian shares his vulnerabilities, but its an appropriate, deliberate device rather than a lack of jokes. There’s not a moment that the audience isn’t entranced by Jayasinha’s performance.
It helps that Jayasinha is very expressive – not just in his wonderfully elastic face, an aide to many an excellent punchline – but also in the way he uses turns of phrase to conjure memories and moments for his audience. It should be noted that a weight-loss joke is different from a fat joke, and Jayasinha’s punchlines don’t ridicule fatness or look down on overweight people – this is Jayasinha’s show, and his story. He has clearly put a lot of thought into this show, and that thoughtfulness helps the show shine. It’s a tight hour of material, each joke and story fitting seamlessly together – even when its interrupted by a rowdy (and on the night that I went, randy) crowd.
Jayasinha has always been a hardworking and talented comedian, but with Cheat Day(s) he’s proven his versatility and hit his stride. This festival he performed as part of the Allstars Super Show for the first time, after having starred in the ABC’s Utopia and made numerous television appearances on shows like Have You Been Paying Attention? Jayasinha has established himself as a comedy festival favourite alongside the likes of Celia Pacquola, Wil Anderson and Nazeem Hussain.
Cheat Day(s) is on at 9:45pm at the Victoria Hotel until 21 April as part of the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are available from the MICF website.