Entertainment Hive 2017

Anh Do just keeps smiling

By Honey B

Happy is just one word to describe Anh Do. As one of our favourite comedians, Do is also intelligent, hard-working, kind, loveable, funny and inspiring. He is also a refugee but as Do says about his show, The Happiest Refugee: "The refugee part of it is about five minutes of the show. "It's really about a working class kid growing up and trying his best.'' That instinct to always do his best, keep smiling, keep fighting and also give back came straight from Do's parents. His father and uncles fought alongside Aussie soldiers and when the Vietnam War ended two of Do's uncles were put into concentration camps. "When my uncles got out my family made plans to leave Vietnam and so there were 40 people on a 9 metre fishing boat. "We spent five days at sea and it's a treacherous journey - we ran out of food and water and at one stage we were attacked by pirates. "I'm not talking like Johnny Depp with eye make-up, I am talking bad, angry guys who were armed with knives, machetes and guns. "At one stage one of them dangles a little kid over the side of the boat and threatens to drop the baby into the ocean but at the last second decides to let the kid live and throws him back into the boat. "That's a good thing because that kid is my little brother who grew up to do a lot of charity work and in 2005 was named the Young Australian of the Year for his work with street kids.'' The winds of change were blowing in the Do's favour and the next day the family was rescued by a big German merchant ship and delivered to a refugee camp in Malaysia. Do says his family were really happy to go anywhere and it was Australia that took this beautiful family in. "Australia says that we fought alongside Aussies in the war and we can come to Australia. "Dad was really excited and he was walking around the island and he's going nice country, friendly people but it's a bit cold because the country is near Switzerland! He thought we were going to Austria. "When we touched down in Australia it was 30 degrees and dad goes 'geez, it's really hot', but we were so happy and grateful to be in Australia.'' Do says that growing up his parents taught the three young Do siblings to give back as much as they could to the country that took them in. "This great country gave us a second chance and I am proud of my brother who does a lot of charity work and of my parents and how they raised us to try and to give back.'' Do says while they were poor his mum didn't ever let them feel poor. "I remember when I turned eight I had my first and only birthday party and I asked mum for helium balloons - the ones that float on the ceiling. "She said they were expensive but she would see what she could do. "My birthday comes around and mum buys normal balloons, blows them up and sticks them on the ceiling and it's the same effect. "I had no idea that we were poor as they tried to give us a good life and it was a happy life after everything that we had been through.'' Do's boundless energy and work ethic have seen him host television shows, run businesses, come second on a series of Dancing With The Stars and also write a book about his family also dubbed, The Happiest Refugee. In his earnest way, Do never believed that Russell Crowe would ever ring him and want to make a movie out of his life story, but he did. "I thought it was my mate Johno ringing in this deep voice pretending to be Russell Crowe, but we are writing the screenplay now - it's cooking along. "Life is going really well at the moment - I was even mistaken for Jeff from The Wiggles the other day. "I forged Jeff's autograph and I did my best Jeff impersonation.'' Do says he loves the fact that he was able to grow up in Australia. "I love the fact that I grew up here with bogan mates and I had a mullet throughout much of my teenage years. "I used to wonder why I didn't have a girlfriend and then when I was writing the book I looked at old photos and realised it was the mullet. "But I just loved playing footy with all of my mates and just all of it here. "My parents are so thankful to live in Australia and my mum reminds us that we could have died on that boat and she tells us all of the time to throw something back into the hat and we try to live like that.'' But it could have been so different had Do's father been right and they headed to the chilly Austrian climate. "If I had ended up in Austria I might have become a bodybuilder and a massive movie star. "My mates call me Arnie anyway - so I have half of the name (Arnie Schwarzenegger) and I would have been massive.'' The fact is, Anh Do is pretty massive in Australia with comedy audiences and his PG live shows keep gaining younger and younger audience members. Anh Do in The Happiest Refugee, Thebarton Theatre, Saturday, 28 November, 8pm. Bookings at Ticketmaster: 136 100   or online www.ticketmaster.com.au
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