Canadian actor and comedian Daniel-Ryan Spaulding has made quite an impact in Australia since arriving to perform his stand-up act A Boy Who Played with Dolls as part of Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival this year.

Not only is his one-man show an attempt to declare every boy’s right to bear Barbies, he’s already engaged with the local political discourse and waged a campaign against Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s marriage equality stance.

Currently appearing as part the Comedy Store’s Mardi HA! — alongside fellow gay comedians Joel Creasy and Rhys Nicholson — Spaulding’s honest discussion about his recollections of playing with dolls as a boy comes just weeks after American television psychologist Dr Phil caused controversy by recommending to a mother concerned about her child’s penchant for Barbies that she “take the girl things away, and buy [her son] boy toys”.

“My comedy is a mix of stand-up and storytelling, and this show is about my childhood and the idea of a boy playing with dolls and how that taboo relates to larger social and political issues in society,” Spaulding said.

Compared to many young gay men who shared Spaulding’s experiences, the 25-year-old admits he grew up in a fairly supportive and nurturing environment, thanks mainly to Canada’s progressive political and social landscape.

“Not only was I raised in Canada, but I was raised in the most socially progressive part of Canada, on the west coast. In the ’90s, it was an idyllic place to grow up, especially pre-9/11.

“In kindergarten we were learning anti-war songs from the ’60s like Where Have All The Flowers Gone. Seriously.”

Most recently, the 25-year-old has added his voice to the chorus of people calling on the Gillard Government to bring marriage equality to Australia. He created a YouTube video plea for Gillard to embrace her “inner fag hag” and expressed his disappointment at the PM’s continued support of the Marriage Act which states marriage is between a man and a woman.

“I just can’t stand hypocrisy. We’ve had marriage equality in Canada for years and I just consider it such a non-issue. I’m surprised Australia doesn’t have it,” he said.

info: Mardi HA! is playing at the Comedy Store, Moore Park. Bookings: www.comedystore.com.au

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