Julian Canny grew up in Geraldton and after living around WA has returned with a mission to make people laugh. His venture ‘The Comedy Emporium’ is at heart a stand-up comedy promotion business which is now expanding its role to include other commercial arts programs. Julian says, “Our whole idea is to encourage comedians in regional WA, growing local talent that will create its own industry which hasn’t been seen in Geraldton until now”.
“We do a show at QPT every two months which is a mix of local talent who have trained during workshops we staged, as well professional comedians from the national comedy circuit” says Julian. This gives local comedians exposure and experience in front of an audience while watching how the professionals work.
‘The Comedy Emporium’ has just celebrated its first birthday yet are already selling out local shows with local comedians as well as contributing talent to other events such as Perth’s ‘Fringe’ festival. They also have an exchange program with ‘The Comedy Hour’ which is the Kalgoorlie based comedy troop that takes in comedians from the Goldfields down to Esperance. This gives further scope for talent development and opportunities to perform outside of Geraldton.
These successes across such a wide area and the level of support from the community and potential comedians have been beyond expectations. Julian was initially deftly playing multiple roles to build the organisation, but has now has a team of volunteers and paid staff who love and enjoy what they give and get from Comedy Emporium. Most of the event staff also participate in the Emporium’s regular comedy workshops in preparation for their ‘virgin’ performance on-stage. This model of volunteers and community engagement has been critical to Comedy Emporium’s growth.
Julian has also valued the help provided by Pollinators. Ever since he stumbled across ‘CityHive’ Julian says, “I feel like I owe the Pollinators so much and I couldn’t have got the professional help I needed without them, I’ve developed much more than I could have hoped to on my own”.
Julian is a graduate of Pollinators 2013 Catalyst program, an annual training program accelerating the development of 15 of the Midwest’s best new ventures and innovations. Andrew Outhwaite, Pollinators Executive Officer, said “Julian is an inspiration to many, the way he’s lead The Comedy Emporium team and expanded the cultural ‘scene’ in Geraldton. From its marketing to its relationship with volunteers and partner organisations, it’s a great example of the sort of innovation emerging from regional WA.”
This profile was researched and authored by freelance journalist Steven White.