We wrote a listicle late last year compiling hilarious social media accounts that perfectly parody life in Bali. One of the entries was Ketut Widiartawan AKA @northsidestory on Instagram and @defriedbanana on TikTok. His signature form of comedy is his ability to mimic various accents and mannerisms of the most ubiquitous nationalities found among Bali’s tourist and expat populations. He can do pitch perfect impressions of Russian, Spanish, French, Australian and so many more.
At first glance, Bli (big brother) Ketut looks like your quintessential chill Balinese dude; he’s tattooed, humble, and laid back. During our in-depth CocoChats interview, he told us that he grew up in Seminyak and currently lives in Canggu. Spending most of his days on the waves and running a surf school in his childhood neighborhood, Ketut said that he never took any acting lessons despite his incredible knack for copying accents (like, seriously, guys, Meryl Streep would’ve been proud of him).
“I was only [enrolled up to] elementary school. I got expelled from junior high school after six months,” he said, adding that he learned everything by observing and listening to other people.
Ketut’s surfing students, who came from all across the globe, opened up a world of possibilities in terms of learning accents and more.
“I [also] have a lot of friends from different countries. Even before [I became active on social media], we liked to make jokes with each other – teasing each other with our own accents,” he recalled.
Ketut came up with the idea of making funny videos at the onset of the pandemic in 2020. Bali’s economy, which heavily relies on tourism, was battered throughout the pandemic.
“I started during the Corona time,” Ketut said, adding that his surfing business slowed down, giving him enough time to make funny videos.
“I [couldn’t] really surf and the business [wasn’t] running. So I [was] like, ‘Let’s do something fun!’”
@defriedbanana When Bule at Bali imigration office😜😜😜 #funnyvideos #funnytiktok #imigration #bali #indonesia🇮🇩 #justforfun #justfoaughs #behappy ♬ original sound – northsidestory
Initially, Ketut’s Instagram was set to private in 2020. But his girlfriend later encouraged him to make it public because she saw potential in Ketut’s videos – especially one clip where he showed off tourists’ English and Indonesian accents. The potential has certainly paid off, with Ketut now having become one of the prominent comedians on the island, having amassed over 700,000 followers between Instagram and Tiktok.
But Ketut is more than just funny accents. During our chat, we dived deep into his thoughts on Nas Daily’s “Whitest Island” video, problematic bules (foreigners) in general, and even endemic corruption on the island.
They say the funny ones are the smartest, after all, and Ketut is in the unique position of being both Bali born and bred and having a wide, international perspective about the issues the island is facing today.
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