Adult life in Cool Child’s Geraldton show

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
Jackson M Canny will perform his abstract comedy show Cool Child at Funtavia this weekend.
Camera IconJackson M Canny will perform his abstract comedy show Cool Child at Funtavia this weekend. Credit: Supplied

For Jackson M Canny, comedy is much more than just clever jokes to make people laugh; it’s a way to talk about the big issues affecting everyone — especially young adults.

Often armed with a guitar, Canny combines stand-up with original songs and wacky sketches to explore the world with childlike wonder and a dash of existential angst.

Canny’s latest solo show, Cool Child, is no different, with the 18-year-old tackling the dreadful feeling of finally becoming an adult.

“It’s a very jarring experience,” Canny said.

“The show is a series of stupid, hilarious sketches I’ve written at 1am, right next to bits where I really want to tap into the anxiety and depression of being an adult.

“I’ve taken all the things I’ve experienced in life and put them through the lens of being onstage and having no idea how to be an adult.”

Geraldton born and bred, Canny became interested in comedy when his “favourite comedian” — his dad, Mark — started doing workshops with Euphorium Creative, then known as The Comedy Emporium.

In just five years, Canny has gone from the newcomer to a force to be reckoned with, co-writing and producing satirical sketch show Smells Like Meme Spirit, which performed at Perth’s Fringe World Festival last year.

The former Geraldton Senior College student has returned to Fringe this year, starring in homegrown comedy-cabaret What My Mother Told Me.

Having spent a few days down in Perth bathing in everything Fringe has to offer, Canny said he couldn’t wait to get back to Geraldton this week for Funtavia — Geraldton’s Fringe World Festival Hub.

But the comedian said he knew one day he would probably have to leave Geraldton.

“I really want to start a performing arts scene in Geraldton but it’s a little hard,” he said.

“There’s a lot less people, and in Perth they’ve already got the backbone.

“To get a show in Geraldton, I wouldn’t say it’s an uphill battle but you have to put the effort in, but in Perth I can show up, message the comedian and say ‘can I do a show?’.

“But Funtavia is so, so fantastic, I love it ... and it’s such an awesome opportunity.”

Canny has always had a creative flair, first picking up the guitar when he was 12 in an attempt to impress a girl, and later becoming involved in his school’s theatre productions.

Although he enjoys slipping into a character someone else has written, comedy is where Canny’s heart lies.

But Canny doesn’t want to just make people laugh, he wants to help them feel better about the not-so-great parts of life.

“Everyone’s trying to be comfortable in the world, and people usually do that by making jokes,” he said.

“If I can talk about big issues — anxiety, depression, fears about the future — and spread the message in a positive light, make you forget it’s a horrible thing and make you laugh about it, that’s really important.

“There’s so many people that will be like ‘it’s silly to get greater meanings out of things from comedy’, but a lot of my world views have been derived from comedy.

“On the flip side, I do also enjoy silly songs about things we think about in the shower.”

Canny will perform Cool Child at Funtavia tonight and tomorrow night.

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