Relaxing in a booth at Frederiksen Ale House, Jono Duffy, Iceland’s best (and only) gay Australian comedian, is, for lack of a better term, done. As the title of his newest Reykjavík Fringe Festival show—“I’m Tired”—explains, he’s tired. The show will be his last, he relays. It’ll be his retirement opus—well, possibly.
“They way I’ve put it is that it could be,” he says with a smile, sipping his beer, unexpectedly jovial about the subject matter. “See, in 2019 I had sellout shows in Iceland. I got to tour Europe. I got taken to Brighton Fringe. It was the best year of my career… But at the end of that, I felt like I needed to step back.”
Much of that, he explains, is due to the realities of being a performer in such a small country. “When you’re a performer in a country this small, you’re constantly afraid that people are going to get sick of you, but to be honest, I was sick of myself,” he shrugs. “There’s only so many times you can plug shows on Facebook before you say, you know I want to use Facebook to look at memes! Not to be constantly harassing people. Hey, buy tickets to my show! How can I get someone to write about me? What favours can I pull?”
And when he was celebrating the holidays with his fiancée and family in France, a lightbulb went off. “I remember saying, ‘ok, here’s my vacation. I finally have the time I have been waiting for when I can sit down and write a new show.’ So I sat down with my laptop everyday and, after three days, I had nothing. It was a surreal experience,” he says. “For the first time ever, nothing came to me. I was like, ‘I’m not funny anymore. I’ve got nothing left. Can I even do this?’”
So he decided to simply write a show about where he was at at that exact moment. “The only thing I felt was that, you know, I’m tired,” he laughs. “Am I tired of making people laugh? No. I love that. I’m tired of the hustle.”
Am I, Jono Duffy, Grandi?
“See, as a performer, there’s only so long you can do this before you start thinking, am I any good?” he continues. “You know Grandi? I always think about Grandi, like, stop trying to make Grandi happen. It’s never going to happen!” he says, imitating the incomparable Regina George. “Then I thought, oh my God, am I Grandi?”
So, as he relays, he put the question to the universe: Should I, Jono Duffy, continue comedy? “Well, then COVID happened. So sorry everyone. I think I made it happen,” he says, a cheeky grin taking over his face. “I lost six months of work in one day.”
But, he emphasises, the answer is in the show. It might be his last show forever, or just for a while.
That said, if this is Jono’s last show, the Reykjavík Grapevine—which has covered every single one of the Jono Duffy shows—will no longer have any reason to ever talk to him again. So does he have one last statement for the paper that’s fangirled on him since the beginning?
“If this really is my last show, I have one last thing to say, and that’s that I love you all, and well, I tried,” he sighs in a faux-dramatic manner, before breaking off into his characteristically boisterous laughter. “But it will be funny! I promise. Or, well, I hope.”
Info: ‘Jono Duffy: I’m Tired’ is happening July 8th and 10th at Tjarnarbíó at 22:00, July 11th at the Secret Cellar at 22:00, and July 12th at the Secret Cellar at 20:00. Check out the Facebook event here. Tickets for the show are 2,500 ISK and can be bought here. Read our previous coverage on the comedian here.
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