'It was shame': Comedian Joey D on going from being homeless to selling out theatres

Headlines 15/06/2022

Stand-up comedian and reality TV star Joe Damond, AKA Joey D, has shed some light on the most difficult times of his life, opening up about living in his car for months. 

The Maori/Fijian funnyman talked about his mental health struggles and his determination to never give up on his dreams, even when the whole world seemed to be against him. 

"The hardest year of my life was 2018," he said on the 'Voices of Hope' podcast

"I was flatting and had all my mates but I had just started stand up." 

Everything was going well for Joey for a while, but then he lost his first TV comedy writing gig, and his life went on an "absolute rollercoaster" from there. 

"All the boys moved out, and because I had been labouring for minimum wage I couldn't find a flat and I couldn't find anywhere to live. I had no money," he said. 

It was a "tough realisation" for Joey to come to terms with the fact that he was "being left behind" while his mates became doctors or owned their own businesses. 

"I started living out of my car, I was doing that for about 2 or 3 months," he said, adding that he was still doing stand up shows while he was homeless. 

"I was on my own the whole time, a lot of my mates didn't find out until I did Treasure Island last year.

I never talked about it, my parents didn't even know. It was fully shame. It's not pride, it's shame.

Even though he was suffering, Joey said he always knew his situation would be temporary. 

"Through this whole time, I was like 'I will get out of this'," he said. 

"I had this weird certainty that I would be able to get out of it. I knew I wasn't going to stop until I did get out of it.  

"Living your passion and doing the things you love - that's what I lean on when it comes to mental health," he added. 

"Because if I didn't have that, I would have been screwed. Because that was the only thing that was keeping me going." 

As well as earning a decent social media following, Joey went on start his own indigenous/POC-focused media company, appeared on Celebrity Treasure Island, sold out SkyCity Arena and is creating a show for Comedy Central. 

Inspiring stuff! Check out the full chat with Joey on Voices of Hope above.