Funny how tourist stayed on

Comedian Umit Bali.

Comedian Umit Bali.

BLACKTOWN comedian Umit Bali could well have audiences in stitches when he performs his show Flight Plan at the Sydney Comedy Festival.

The 29-year-old's show is about coming to Australia from Fiji with his family in 1998 on tourist visas — and never leaving.

"It's full of odd-ball characters and anecdotes through the eyes of a fish out of water, Fijian Indian boy to man," Bali said.

Bali, who became a permanent resident in 2010, started performing at open mic nights when he finished high school and described his comedic style as "edgy and a bit silly but always funny".

He had to stop performing after a year when his visa ran out and he became an illegal immigrant once again.

But he didn't stop for long.

"I was offered a gig on Channel Seven on The Big Arvo Bus, and almost didn't take it because my visa had run out and I was in the country illegally," Bali said.

"But I knew it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up, so I went on national television when the immigration department was looking for me."

"But no one came for me, so it was fine."

Bali said his biggest gig was when he performed at the Sydney Comedy Store.

"Being able to play at the Sydney Comedy Store and having my name up there with all the other great local and international acts, people who I admire, was probably my biggest break," he said.

For now, he is looking forward to taking the stage at the Sydney Comedy Festival once again.

"I'm really looking forward to it, but there are a lot of nerves, because a lot of the stuff is personal and it is about my life."

"But I always enjoy performing, so it will be fun."

Bali will perform at The Factory Theatre, Marrickville, on May 2 at 8.15pm. Tickets: $10.

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