What do Dylan Moran, Arj Barker, Ross Noble and Stephan Amos have in common? They were all fresh-faced comedians introduced to the world at Bulmers Best once upon a time. I pick the brains of this year’s graduates Carl Donnelly, Tom Allen, and Seann Walsh before they realise their talents are well worth $10 per head.
It says in the press release that you took up stand-up in 2005. What were you doing before that? I worked in an office as an accounts assistant which was the last of a series of dead end jobs I had done since dropping out of university at the age of 19. I was never cut out for the whole 9 to 5 thing. I had the gift of being able to do the bare minimum of work required to not be fired! One of the worst things I used to do was sneak off for naps in the toilets. I would always go to a toilet on a different floor if I was hungover etc and have a 30-minute snooze around 10am. Then when I came back to my desk I’d pretend I had been in a short notice meeting.
What’s the obsession with covering your feet? What’s wrong with them? I have a strange OCD thing where I feel constantly paranoid when not wearing shoes. I’m convinced I am going to stand on something sharp or kick a door etc. I’ve had it since being a child. So for as long as I can remember, I can only be barefoot when in bed (or in swimming pools, anywhere where it is necessary). This fact is on my Wikipedia page but I have no idea how it got on there.
Are you looking forward to performing in front of an Aussie audience? Of course. One of my favourite things about being a comedian is that danger/excitement of going on stage in front of a room full of people that don’t know you and convincing them you are worth listening to. Doing that in another country is even more exciting as you are talking to people that have a totally different way of life with different cultural references. Obviously the danger exists that they won’t have a clue what I’m talking about but I’m willing to risk it!
What would you be doing if you didn’t make it in comedy? I’ve always had a fantasy about opening up a cake shop – somewhere by the sea. I think it’d be a cake shop that also sold other things (like power tools for example) and it’d close on Wednesday at lunchtime so I’d have time to maybe go to a Zumba class. As a comedian you don’t have any kind of comfy routine so I think I’d enjoy having my evenings to cook dinner, maybe paint a wall or even watch a soap.
Who would play you in the movie of your life? The man from Crocodile Dundee or possibly John Malkovich as we have a similar hair line, though he has a much higher voice. I met him once. He was dressed completely in white.
For Aussies here who don’t know anything about you, why should they come see you? I guess because I’m different (eccentric even? maybe at times odd). I’m obsessed with stories, details and the way we interact with each other – like the time I offered to carry a disabled man’s bag down the stairs but then realised I couldn’t lift it off the ground. For me, live comedy is about finding those things, however odd, that we’ve all got in common, and that make us laugh because we go, “Oh I’m not as weird as I thought”. It’s just relief! If you come, we’re going to have one hell of a good time together!
Time Out London’s called you this generation’s Dylan Moran. Your thoughts? I was very flattered when I read that but it is ridiculous. I think it’s just because I can do quite a good impression of a drunk guy.
What has been the proudest moment in your comedic career thus far? Probably the recording of Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow (Not the edit! I cried when I watched the edit). All I have ever wanted to do was stand-up on primetime television. Everything in my life starting from school was built towards that moment and it couldn’t have gone any better
Your top five favourite comedians? Charlie Sheen, Charlie Sheen, Charlie Sheen, Charlie Sheen and Charlie Sheen
Have you been to Australia before? What are you looking forward to seeing/doing here? I haven’t. Friends that have been told me there’s a great cafe culture in Australia, which is great for me. My favourite thing to do in life when I’m not drunk is to sit outside a cafe, smoking and drinking black coffee all day. I must stink!
Apr 27 – May 8, The Factory Theatre, 105 Victoria Rd, Enmore, $27-$30, 9020 6966, factorytheatre.com.au