Australia is the first place South Africans think of emigrating to when the going gets tough. But it seems Australia’s most popular stand-up comedian, Carl Barron, can’t get enough of Mzansi, writes Helen Herimbi.

“South Africa reminds me a lot of home,” says Carl Barron over the telephone from a Jozi hotel.

The 44-year-old observational stand-up comedian has just performed at the Jozi Comedy Festival in Montecasino and now takes his one-man show to Joburg and Cape Town over the next two weeks.

“South Africa is very laid-back and the weather is similar to what we have in Australia,” he continues, “and at least we connect through our sports, because if I’m in Japan I’m not gonna talk to them about playing the Wallabies.”

But what he can talk about though is everyday life, which is the dominant subject of his comedy.

This includes several jabs at his family, particularly his father. The antics of Barron Snr were first heard of when Carl played the Cape Town International Comedy Festival last year and this year comedy fans were treated to the same.

“My father will just walk into a room and ask us whether we know that oranges have a lot of Vitamin C,” he shared.

As random as that is, it is fodder for funny fundis. But what does his family think of being the subject of his gags? Because, “I’m still growing” Barron doesn’t have children – to make fun of him, too, you see. However, his family is supportive of his career. Even though they show this in a passive manner.

Barron explains: “My parents are from the countryside, you see. And Australians … we don’t say a lot. So all my parents will say about my career is ‘aw yeah, that’s right’. But my dad likes it.”

His father isn’t the only person who enjoys cracking up at the young man’s jokes if his four-times platinum selling DVD, Carl Barron Live, is anything to go by.

With 16 years of stand-up comedy already under his belt, Barron knows what will fly and what won’t.

And what he knows won’t fly and what he refuses to do during his set is “talk about something that would make an audience member really uncomfortable. Like, if they are really fat. I generally stay away from pinpointing actual people. Except for my father.” So during Barron’s shows, expect to laugh at his accounts of reality and, of course, his dad.

This article appeared in Tonight on 10 July 2008.