Not just
a comedian

 
From combining his comedy career and his Spanish culture, in recent years, Simon explains how his Spanish and Australian sides have finally met in the middle
 

A fascinating man to meet, that's for sure. Simon Palomares, a Spanish Australian comedian of well-known fame who has very kindly donated his talents to the 'Spanish Australia's FUN-raising evening' on Friday 18 May. A plethora of talents oozing from his skin, Simon speaks frankly about life, comedy, Melbourne and how he mixes them in the blender of his life. BY PAOLA GHIRELLI

Some of you may have already recognised Simon from his show Wogs out of work and for his acting role in Acropolis Now during a very vibrant comedy scene in Melbourne. A time in place where spots like the Last Laugh Comedy Club were being established, becoming instantly popular.

"It was all about the venues back then," recalls Simon. But it wasn't comedy and acting that came first in his extensive creative career: "I started training as a teacher in drama and psychology, and it was then when I started up a comedy group with one of the guys I was studying with. I then went on to stand-up comedy working with the likes of George Kapiniaris, it took off from there."

The topic of being a 'wog' living in Australia became the central theme to much of Simon's earlier comedy stand-up shows. But these days things have changed, he explains: "Lately it has evolved into shows about family, children, marriage and ageing parents. I love talking about my kids. And to be honest I don't think I can talk about being a 'wog' anymore, because I don't feel that in me now," he explains.

"I will keep doing those topics for a while; it's interesting the unbelievably heart wrenching job it is to co-exist with someone else in a long marriage... And how some people make it look so easy. My parents were together for 55 years, and my mum never used the word 'marriage' without 'suffering' in the same sentence," he laughs.

Nowadays, Simon is also collaborating on a number of other ventures that have a distinctly Spanish flavour to them. One of these is Tango Milonga performed recently at the Spiegeltent in Melbourne. A show where the flavour of Buenos Aires, from Carlos Gardel to Piazzolla is captivated, assisted by 180 spectacular dancers demonstrating their breathtaking tango skills. "Staging that show was a dream come true for me. It was not comedy, but a beautiful thing indeed" says Simon.

Last year's theme was travelling to the Montreal Comedy Festival as the only Spanish comic invited to perform, and a few years before that it was about teaching and assisting the comedy scene to get up and running in Argentina and Chile.

And if all of that wasn't enough already, Simon has also gone back to university this year to study an MBA.

In fact, Simon has not sat still for most of his life, travelling backwards and forwards to Spain from Australia over the past twenty years. "I also work over there. My parents passed away, but I have many close family friends in Madrid and my own place in the city," he says.

And from working in comedy and on television in Spain, Simon is now easily recognisable also in his home country. "It's pretty special when someone spots you in Spain on the street: 'Ah so you're that Australian guy with the emo kids!', people say to me," he laughs.

He has even embarked on making a documentary for SBS called Cojones, where initially Simon returns to Spain to investigate the emerging Spanish comedy scene. The doco then ends up evolving into a program about how Simon learns about himself by going back to his roots in Spain.

From combining his comedy career and his Spanish culture, in recent years, Simon explains how his Spanish and Australian sides have finally met in the middle: "Looking for a place of belonging used to be important to me, but nowadays, something has settled and Melbourne is my home. Going back to Spain isn't something I have to get out of my system anymore. I think it was a feeling of wanting to run somewhere to be happy. But now I have a balance, my kids have grown up here and it now feels like I have found my place," he says.

With his Spanish self coming through strongly, Simon explains why he wanted to give his talents to assist Spanish Australia magazine with their FUN-raising evening:

"It's important to support all things that are new and Spanish related in Australia. A lot of the older generation is unfortunately dying off, so where it used to be easy to have one point of contact at places like the Spanish Club (Hogar Español) in Melbourne, it isn't anymore."

"The second generation of Spaniards living here have also dissipated. Spanish people easily melt into other cultures. I think it is because inside we are pretty secure with what and who we are, so there is no need to prove it by clumping together. Reaching out to the new wave of Spaniards and South Americans coming and living is hard!"

"So supporting new groups like Spanish Australia is a way of supporting the new Spanish movement here," he says. "They help unify the new Spanish talent. It feels great to assist them in this way."

And on that note please make sure to come and hear this uber-talented comedian at our FUN-raising evening. Simon's genius insights and hilarious wit are sure to make you laugh and see the world from his unique perspective all in an evening's entertainment.

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