Move over Dave Hughes, here comes the witty, intelligent and hilarious Charisa Bossinakis in her Melbourne International Comedy Festival show “Pineapple Juice”. The twenty-four-year-old stand-up comedian of Greek descent will barely give you enough time to catch your breath. But her comedy isn’t just a “Greek thing”. My plus one, a comedian of Anglo descent, and my teenage daughter, experienced Charisa as I did – we just couldn’t get enough!
Charisa is clearly not the favourite grandchild or niece in her extended family, and what Greek girl is, when she’s strayed from the traditional norms of what a Greek girl should be? She’s “no Hughesy” Charisa’s aunt proclaimed on the phone, chatting away in the front row of one Charisa’s shows, the moment cleverly demonstrated in one of Charisa’s many impersonations. Charisa’s gentle, warm and endearing nature will reel you in, open you up, and deliver blow after blow of anecdotes layered with political, feminist subtext (so as to not scare off/threaten the guys). No topic was off the table, from the happenings of Australian parliament, to hypocritical priest paedophilia. I felt as if I was sitting in the living room with Charisa and she was talking naughty, relatable stories that I was bound to keep secret. But her stories weren’t just random events, there was a point to it all, I’d just have to wait to see what it was!
From being one of the only “puffy brown girls” in a white Anglican high school, to being in a relationship with a guy who is part of a “perfect white family”, I admired Charisa’s candid honesty in a culture that is hell-bent on keeping its secrets well away from the public domain. In the context of the southern-European “wog” comedy of the 90s which kept women as bimbos, Charisa is quite simply, a breath of fresh air in a stifling, patriarchal culture that praises men for the minute portrayal of intellect and degrades women for speaking their truth. She really did nail what it is to be a woman of Greek descent, but she didn’t stay within the bubble of the culture itself, but showed how she exists within the wider Australian society. I really haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. I just cannot wait to see what Charisa does next.
Koraly Dimitraidis is a Cypriot-Australian writer and performer and the author of Love and F—k Poems and Just Give Me The Pills which together form the basis of her theatre show “I say the wrong things all the time”. Her opinion articles/essays have been published widely including international publications in The Washington Post. Charisa Bossinakis has performed at one of Koraly’s curated online events but Koraly has never met Charisa in person and has no personal connection to her.
“Pineapple Juice” runs 24th March – 3rd April at The Carlton Club, Melbourne. Book tickets here.