The reason: A drunken dare! I was at the Sydney Mardi Gras, making a bunch of strangers laugh. They asked me if I was a comedian, to which I replied: “No, I train tigers”, which was my day job at the time. Very quickly, my friend dared me to do an open mic night. Five years on, I think we can all agree the dare has gone too far.
The money: The money varies but the best part is I get to claim my dog as a tax deduction
due to him joining me on stage!
Transferable skills: Who would have thought comedy and animals would go hand in hand? But
they do! Because of the lack of female television animal experts and my comedy element, I often get asked to be an animal expert on TV, ranging from Australian to international television. I’ve appeared on everything from Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show (as a dingo expert) to Studio 10 as a goldfish trainer.
If I was starting from scratch, I would: I would have started my web series Celebrities Patting Animals sooner. Each episode, I get to interview a celebrity while he or she is interacting with an
animal. I love making these and I wish I hadn’t hesitated at the beginning as there is nothing like this series out there. My end goal is to interview George Clooney in the Galapagos Islands with a giant tortoise.
Hardest time: I have hardly any time to myself. If I get one day off a week, I’m lucky. I
love both my jobs and want to give 100 per cent to both, which more than often means working almost every day. That means life is all about time management – something I learnt very quickly how to master. And lists – lots of to-do lists! I’m also very lucky to have an amazing bunch of people supporting me. Friends will come and help with my stand-up shows, working backstage, selling merchandise and wrangling animals so I can concentrate on the performance. My mum even flew from the UK to help me with my shows at the Melbourne Comedy Festival! And of course, let’s not forget that cheeky glass of wine – always helps after a crazy day.
Best side-hustle moment: I get to combine my two loves – animals and making people laugh and I’ve had great success with that. I started off incorporating my dog, Dukdik (who I rescued from Thailand), in the occasional club gigs to several animals starring in my solo shows. They include Susan the Stick Insect (who plays my enemy because she’s thinner than me) and Professor Shy (he’s a little koi!), the trained goldfish. Next year I plan on featuring animals from rescue shelters on stage with me in the hope of finding them homes and promoting the option of adopting unwanted pets.
Find me: YouTube – Celebrities Patting Animals Facebook & Insta @ Emma.Malik.Comedian
Twitter @ divadolittle Website – emmamalik.com