British comedian shares her Jewish humour

Cool comedy to catch at the Fringe Festival

"I feel like we, especially the children and grandchildren of survivors, inherit a very Jewish sense of humour,"

Robyn Reynolds. Photo: Monia Pronk.
Robyn Reynolds. Photo: Monia Pronk.

Robyn Reynolds has been a comedian for just over four years.

Originally hailing from Gloucester in England and now living in Melbourne, she has always loved watching comedy.

“I think you’re raised on it in Britain, it’s such a common pastime,” Reynolds said.

She moved to Sydney from the UK about eight years ago. After the initial “kind of backpacker vibe” and meeting lots of different people, what she really wanted to do was go out and watch comedy.

“In England, comedy is very, very established and it’s a lot of people’s favourite thing to do. But in Sydney, it seems like not a lot of people were into going to watch comedy.”

When she discovered the open-mic style of comedy was so bad she knew she could do that and would be better than most.

Her comedy career now takes up 70 per cent of her time. “But I very much want it to be my full-time career; I want to be a comedian and a writer full-time,” Reynolds said.

Born into a Jewish family, her grandparents were Holocaust survivors.

“I feel like we, especially the children and grandchildren of survivors, inherit a very Jewish sense of humour,” she said.

“It is about making light of dark situations. It is absolutely a stereotype but holds true that Jews laugh through the pain. And I think it resonates obviously with the rest of the world even if they don’t have that Jewish cultural lived experience.”

She goes on to explain her concept that Jewish comedians are still, to this day, very popular for the reason they have this unique outlook that like, well, we survived.

“Let’s have a massive meal. And let’s make a joke. Let’s tell the story. So much of Jewish culture is passed down through this rich, beautiful, funny storytelling,” she said.

“I love using that in my show.” She confesses that she has always had a little bit of a dark, twisted sense of humour, which people often don’t expect because her packaging is quite light, sweet and “I love baking.”

“But then, you know, I’m making a joke about there being an Instagram influencer at the Holocaust memorial.” Her show is rich and varied and resonates with a lot of people.

Reynolds is performing Run Robyn Run, her first iteration of telling who she is and how intergenerational trauma affected her and her sense of humour, at the coming Melbourne Fringe Festival.

“I think there’s a lot about the Jewish story and the Jewish culture that resonates with people.

“We all have a perseverance story. We all love a story where things just keep happening, bad things just keep happening, embarrassing stories, relatable anecdotes and not just for Jewish people.”

Reynolds received a barrage of messages after her Sydney show from people saying, they didn’t necessarily share her story, but they understood so much of what she was talking about.

Run Robyn Run is at Melbourne Fringe Festival Monday 9 October to Saturday 14 October at 9.1 pm, (70 minutes)

Venue: Bards Apothecary, Shop 7, 24 Crossley Street, Melbourne.

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