Take me back to the very beginning, when you discovered you had a knack for making people laugh. Can you remember when that was?
I can’t pinpoint an exact time that I thought I was ‘funny’, but I remember always feeling like being funny and joking around was a really big part of my life. I was always drawn to funny people and I’ve always had funny friends. Being able to understand jokes and make them was something I prioritised over other things such as getting a good education and developing any actual skills.
Last year was a massive one for you! What were some of your biggest moments from 2017, career wise?
Co-writing The Other Guy was pretty huge for me – it was the first time I had written on a show from start to finish and I learned a lot from that. I also got to make a bunch of stuff with my friend Cameron James and I always have so much fun making things with him, so that was cool. I hate these questions because I don’t like to sound as though I’m boasting.
It’s going to be hard to top your 2017 show, ‘Little Bitch’ at this year’s Brisbane Comedy Festival. How do you go about building up a new set from scratch?
I would like to say there’s some formula or process, but it’s really just a mad scramble to write as much material that I can and see if any of it sticks. There are a lot of nights at bad open mic comedy rooms testing out material. There’s a lot of self doubt and it’s a hard process because you want to make people laugh when you’re onstage, but you also really need to get the new stuff working. Once it’s ready and you’re performing it to great audiences, the hard work definitely feels like it’s worth it, but yeah – it can be rough.
Can you give us any hints as to what topics and events helped shape the material in ‘Cute Funny Smart Sexy Beautiful’?
Last year I was walking behind these two girls and I could hear them discussing how some guy in their office had gotten the job they both applied for. One of them said, “I just don’t get it. I’m funny, I’m smart, I’m confident, and I’m hot” and the way she was saying it just sounded so boastful. I remember thinking that it’s great to see women believing in themselves and we need more of it, but also don’t forget to not be a bit of a dick. That’s sort of what my show is about – the idea of balancing feminism with also not being a pain in the arse to be around. Plus there’s a bunch of stuff about dicks, going on a boat, and how annoying bugs are.
A lot of your material reflects on the hilarity of real-life situations you find yourself in. How do your friends and family feel about knowing that their interactions with you may form the basis of a new joke?
They really don’t care that much – I think they’d like to be included more, to be honest. At Christmas there’s always an Uncle who is convinced he’s going to make it into the show and he never does.
Your Twitter account is a goldmine for hot takes and hilarious one-liners – what makes a joke work for social media and not the stage?
That’s a hard question, because sometimes it does work for both. In general though, Twitter jokes are funny because of their immediacy and the fact that they’re often tapping into a certain type of humour that only exists on Twitter. When you’re onstage you should be conscious of the fact that not everyone subscribes to your political beliefs, has the same background as you, or has the time to sit on Twitter reading all the same things that you do. So I think that in that way, jokes you make onstage have to be a little more universal and relatable.
You’re one of the many great comedians coming up for the Brisbane Comedy Festival – who are some of your favourite working comics in the Australian scene at the moment?
I love Mel Buttle, Greg Larsen, Cameron James, Anne Edmonds, and there’s a new Brisbane comic called David Woodhead who I think is great. Not only is he hilarious onstage, he’s also just finished writing on ‘Black Comedy’ and I hear his scripts were awesome, so I’m excited to see what else he does.
Off the stand-up stage you’re also an accomplished writer! What do you love most about being able to expand your comedic work to television?
I’ve always been obsessed with documenting funny stuff that happens. When I was a kid I would come home from hanging out with my friends and I’d write down all the things that we had said. I suppose for me, the allure of writing for television means that all the ideas and conversations that I’ve had and thought were funny or interesting, I can now put in a script and see it come to life. There’s something really fun about watching a character say something you’ve written.
Finally, what was the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t wax your upper lip it will grow back thicker and darker. I did it anyway and they were right.