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FOR COMEDIAN WIL ANDERSON, his run-in with the law back in 2017 was anything but funny. In fact, his arrest on a flight to a gig in Wagga Wagga was quite the horrific experience. 

It was several months before Anderson could see any sort of humour in the incident – for which he was cleared of any wrongdoing – and develop a show.

Anderson presents Wilegal at this year’s Darwin Festival, a blow-by-blow account of those weird and terrifying 36-hours of his life.

“In the show, I give people a sense of what was happening and going through my mind. It's a terrifying experience when you’re caught in the middle of something that is beyond your control, and not something of your own making. But it’s a very fun show to do and has it’s own internal momentum – there were so many bananas things that happened in those 36 hours.”

To help develop the show, Anderson threw it to his fans to ask him questions about the experience.

“One thing I knew was that I had to be really honest – I couldn’t frame it in a way that it was just my version of the story. I asked people what they wanted to know about what happened, and I let people’s curiosity shape it around the key moments.

“They asked things like what it was like in the back of a divvy van. Did they put you in handcuffs? Details that I wouldn’t have thought about putting in the show.”

While the 80-minute comedy skit is full of laughs, it also allows Anderson a chance to reflect on the bigger picture issues at work, as is the job of any comedian worth their salt.

“I’m a rich, white man – I know I’m going to get treated differently to how an Indigenous person is going to be treated if they get arrested. I know those power dynamics exists, but it gives you an opportunity to have a legitimate reason to talk about these things,” he says.

Wilegal Sat 24 Aug | 8pm | Darwin Entertainment Centre | $51 - $55 |

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