FRINGE SHOW FUNDRAISER
The Vault, Port Kembla
Emma Khourey and Ben Bryant are happier than your average couple.
Even on an overcast Wollongong day, the comic circus artists laugh their way through a photo shoot.
Their passion for comedy is obvious. Another thing that's obvious is Khourey's bump - the two welcome their first child next month. But the show must go on.
Coincidentally, the show will be at The Vault at Port Kembla, where the couple met six years ago while performing separate acts. It was the night Khourey was debuting her Miss Wollongong act.
They will perform in a double feature before the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Khourey again taking on her Miss Wollongong - The Princess of Steel persona in Memoirs of a Pageant Princess.
"She's a very loveable, dimwitted character," Khourey laughs.
"I think she's a great character - and it gives Wollongong a hero."
The Snarp show features Bryant's character Benny B, who is "bizarre, but with amazing skills".
The couple have performed around the world. Bryant recalls the time he performed underneath a monster truck in Dubai, and Khourey remembers the time a caricature of one of her characters was plastered through Singapore.
And they both shake their heads at the time Khourey was about to take to the stage at Cathedral Square, Christchurch, when they saw the cathedral crumble in front of them in the 2011 earthquake.
"It was like being in a movie, full of chaos," Bryant recalls.
Their routes to circus comedy were different. Khourey had always had an interest, but Bryant realised while studying engineering at the University of Wollongong that he didn't want to sit at a desk all day.
"Well, I started up the Wollongong university juggling club," Bryant laughs.
"I always had a passion for comedy but never saw it as a career path, but after I joined the women's circus [Circus WOW], I was so inspired by the people I met," Khourey says.
Both agree it is easier to travel the world with comedy circus than stand-up routines.
"You don't need language with physical comedy," Bryant says.
These days the couple divide practising their routines between the loungeroom at home and at Circus Monoxide.
Khourey admits that while 3am seems to be the time ideas drift into their minds, within a few weeks those ideas will give way to night-time feeds.
And do they expect their newborn to grow into a juggler? Khourey laughs: "He'll probably be an accountant."