On the Couch with JD Zamora

JD Zamora AAR On the CouchWho is JD Zamora?
Just a typical run-of-the-mill 41-year-old Indigenous, dual-national, queer, adopted, chronically ill, multidimensional neuro-divergent visual artist, singer-songwriter, actor, screenwriter, event producer, stand-up comedian, and disability advocate. The only phrase that may come close to encompassing all of that is… I’m a lot.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
In all honesty, nothing. I’m currently executing the final stage of a meticulous 10-month plan to build a name for myself as a comedian and take my award-winning solo stand-up show FOMOsexual to Melbourne International Comedy Festival. It’s right on schedule and going far better than even my relentlessly optimistic mind could have expected, thanks to the support and wisdom of some incredibly generous and encouraging people.

Who inspires you and why?
In my early 20s, Eddie Izzard (a.k.a. Suzy) was the first stand-up comedian who inspired me enough to think: “I’ll have what she’s having.” As someone whose own passion and energy often compels me to overdo things ever-so-slightly, the sheer breadth of her achievements has been consistently impressive. Who else would even attempt to perform stand-up in five languages, complete 27 charity marathons in as many days, or run for political office twice – all while maintaining a continuous output of astounding creative works and transitioning gender in the public eye? A true pioneer and an absolute icon.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Neurodiversity advocacy is incredibly dear to my heart, but gaining a diagnosis–and by extension, therapeutic support–is often a luxury reserved for those privileged enough to afford it. My show features a card collection I’ve designed called Divergimon: over 100 cute creatures representing neurodiverse conditions, symptoms, and correlations. At a performance last December, ABC News featured them in a story, generating considerable interest from potential buyers. My vision is to sell them through a not-for-profit model and use the proceeds to fund grants that support people for whom a life-changing diagnosis would be otherwise prohibitively expensive.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Barcelona. It’s my husband’s home city with a perfect mix of a temperate climate, culture, history, beaches, entertainment, architecture, and art. The only downside is the local cuisine – especially the cooking of my ‘suegra’ – which is so overwhelmingly appetising that my clothes barely fit by the time I leave!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Living in the foothills of Mount Tamborine in Southeast QLD, we would head up the mountain to view the spectacular panoramic coastline vistas while enjoying Surfer’s Paradise from the ideal vantage point: 20km away.

What are you currently reading?
Unmasking Autism by Dr Devon Price. As a late-diagnosed high-functioning autistic, it’s a revelation to discover the myriad ways I had learned to hide my symptoms and struggles. Letting go of the masks is an act of radical self-acceptance allowing me to reclaim my authenticity in healthy, empowering ways.

What are you currently listening to?
I’ve had the 2022 Rammstein album Zeit on high rotation for the past two years. Not only do I enjoy the masterful way they blend camp theatrics and satirical subversiveness with brutally intense industrial metal, but I’ve also noticed a marked improvement in my German language skills!

Happiness is?
Early morning snuggles from my massive, affectionate 3-year-old Great Dane x Rhodesian Ridgeback, Daisy. But also, nothing beats getting paid well for my creativity.

What does the future hold for you?
In the short term, my plans come to fruition at the end of March, when FOMOsexual opens at Melbourne International Comedy Festival, followed by Sydney Comedy Festival in late April. Should the performances be positively received, I’d love to tour internationally, with my eye on Edinburgh Fringe as a major bucket list item. And since I’m creatively hyper-productive, I’m also writing a comedy feature film screenplay in addition to designing and developing the Divergimon cards for commercial release. Beyond that, I’m eager to see which exciting opportunities might come my way!

JD presents FOMOsexual at Club Voltaire as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival: 29 March – 12 April, before playing the Factory Theatre, as part of the Sydney Comedy Festival: 24 & 26 April 2024. For more information, visit: www.mrjdzamora.com for details.

Image: JD Zamora (supplied)