With a lineup featuring Jess Perkins, Rob Hunter, Urzila Carlson, Sam Taunton, and Andy Saunders, this travelling roadshow will stop off at over 100 venues across Australia, before travelling overseas to East Asia and India. MC of the show, Andy Saunders, dropped by for a chat to give us a prelude about just what we can expect when this rambunctious crew visit the Glasshouse!
Hi Andy. What’s your association with the Mid North Coast?
I was born and bred in Taree, in Biripi country. I love Taree – a lot of people look down on the area and move away. I think it’s so funny when people eventually move back! The area just draws people back, because of the beauty, the people, and the lifestyle. It’s a great place to live!
Have you found coming from a country town has made it more difficult for you as a comedian – is it harder to get gigs?
No, not at all! I try not to do a lot of gigs in my local town – the people I grew up with have probably heard my jokes a million times, because you tend to test the material on the people you’re familiar with! I do get a couple of gigs here and there …
When did you actually break into comedy?
I was only talking about that yesterday, trying to remember the origins … On a professional level, I started back in 2000. That was actually a big year for me! I got married that year, and I did my first real comedy gig.
You’ve had some pretty amazing gigs since that time – you’ve been on TV, done festivals, toured around. How did you land the gig to MC the Melbourne International Comedy festival Roadshow?
It was through physical domination … I can usually get what I want through pretty much an aggressive approach to everything! (Laughs.) But no, seriously, I suppose I can tell a couple of jokes here and there, people listen to them, and their ears prick up and their eyebrows raise, and they think “ Oh, I might give him a Guernsey for that!” And then, it’s up to you to prove yourself.
There’s so much amazing talent on the comedy circuit at the moment. Just recently at a festival in Melbourne, it was evident that there’s a lot of competition out there – you just have to up your game every single time you’re on stage. Take Rob Hunter … he looks like he’s just entered high school! He’s a beautiful looking guy, he’s a beautiful person, very approachable, quiet and unassuming, but he gets on stage and just blows it up!
I’m in the car right now travelling with this group of comedians, and I just have to have my game at an A-level …
So, what’s it like travelling with a whole heap of other comedians in a confined space? Is “fun” the right word?
It is fun, because they’re all smart as s*#t, so it makes you work harder to be smarter. And I hate that! We were talking about that yesterday. They’re all intellectuals, all witty and smart, and you’re thinking in your head all the time, “Don’t say the wrong thing, or you’ll look like an F*$#wit.” You have to be as witty as them! But you know what? It helps you become a better comedian.
Ever since I started going on roadshows, I realised I’d finally found my people, because you can do anything you want, and they’re pretty well not fazed by whatever you do. Even with your mates, they’ll be like, “What are you doin’ that for! You shouldn’t be trying to piggyback that old lady in public!” Whereas, if you do that in front of a group of comedians, they say, “Yeah, that’s a hit, man – do that on stage!” Everything can be made fun of, or become a comedy bit or be used on stage.
There’s comedy in everything. That’s the beauty of being around comedians all the time – you realise how much fun there is out there and how many things can be targeted.
You mentioned you don’t do too many things in your home town, but you’re going to be up on stage at both the Glasshouse in Port Macquarie and the MEC in Taree. How much are you looking forward to that?
Anything that’s in my area and my home town is going to be a highlight for me, and I’ve done a couple of gigs at the Manning Entertainment Centre, but these were one off things, like a gala night, or a guest appearance at a function, but this is especially for comedy, so people are buying tickets to laugh. This is pretty exciting for me! There will be a lot of people I know, so it’s going to be really fun to make them laugh!
One of your quotes on social media says: “Fighting for people who can’t laugh at themselves”. What do you mean by this?
If you can’t go through life taking the p*ss outa yourself, what’s the use? If you can’t have a look at your own life, family, lifestyle, culture, religion, background and try to find some kind of humour in it, then I think there’s something wrong! And I’m not just saying this as an indigenous person, but as a man, a friend, a husband, someone who tries to feed kids, wipe their a#$es and bring them up to be good adults – so that’s what that saying means to me.
Here’s a tough one – sum up the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow in just one sentence …
Oh God; you’re asking me to be articulate!
You can use lots of “ands” …
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow is a showcase of ridiculously talented people who are going to try to make you laugh, connect, and have fun!
You know, we want to be remembered like that! I’d rather be remembered as someone who tries to make people laugh.
My friend’s father always taught me it’s human to be different, but it’s humane to accept everyone’s differences. I read a lot into that – he’s such a very wise man. A lot in me that’s good came from him … but most of me is just a heathen, though. I really love that about me!
Oh! I just thought, are you able to use swear words in your interviews?
It’s all good; we can use strategically placed asterisks and hashtags! Any final words?
Get ready to have fun!
Thanks Andy. Interview by Jo Atkins.
See the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow at the MEC on 8th June at 8pm.
Tickets: $49 adults, $45 concession, under 21 $42.
Visit themec.com.au for details.