Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby)
My first contact with PNG was an email from Desmond Tore Aisi inviting me to perform there.
Initially I was fearful of going to PNG. I had heard stories of danger and violence, and everyone I spoke to in Australia reinforced that.
However my friend and agent Steve Edwards had been there previously so I figured with him as my guide I would take the booking.
With one thing and another going astray, I got my entertainer's visa only at the last minute (literally the last hour), and Steve, who was to crew my show didn't get his visa until a day after he was due to fly.
So instead of flying together I went solo, with Steve finally making it over only a few hours before the show.
I really needn't have worried. The Papua New Guinea people are friendly and considerate at every moment. We had a fantastic time.
The show went spectacularly well. The feedback we got, and the buzz on Facebook has been great. Most people there had never seen a comedy hypnotist show before. I'm possibly only the second stage hypnotist to visit PNG.
Our hosts Linda Roden and her family went out of their way to take us around and about, and Blaise her son was fantastic as chauffeur and guide, somehow doing that while also running errands for the event, printing extra tickets as it had sold out, and generally getting logistical stuff sorted.
Later we finally met Des (Linda's nephew) and did a radio spot with Cullighan. Daughters Renita and Sylvia were at the event, Sylvia having organized the PA system sound tech crew. Lovely people all and something of a family affair. I couldn't have asked for better hosts.
I was a bit apprehensive about the show, my nerves were further stretched when I was told PNG's First Lady (the wife of the Prime Minister) would attend.
But after the opening act (the Vakaviti dancers from Fiji) I forgot all of that and went on stage when Kaligan introduced me. It was time to rock Port Morseby.
PNG folk are polite, friendly, also quiet, soft spoken and a little reserved. So I wondered how my own style, up beat, energetic and a bit loud, would go over. For a moment I thought I should tone it down but in the end I “went for it” hitting the stage hard and going for maximum interaction.
The crowd immediately responded in kind, with laughter, cheers and applause. They got even louder once the 34 volunteers were on stage and we started into the gags.
I realized quickly that some kinds of gags were going better, so I switched into a whole series of group formats with the crowd roaring their approval. We kept it clean as always, and left the poetry gag for the end.
I do wish I had videoed it!
The whole night was a success and audience feedback has been tremendous and universally positive.
On a whim Steve had brought along some collectable autographed football jerseys to auction for the charity and this also went very well.
We would love to return for another event. Any time.
I have been converted - I love PNG!