How do you get your material?

Getting comedy material is a different process for each comedian. We all have our own ways of finding the funny in things.

As a comedian you are always on the look out for the strange, the different, and the out of the ordinary. You kind of train yourself to look at life in a very comedic kind of way.

You really want to try and relate to as many people in the audience as possible. I suppose that’s why so many comedians talk about personal relationships, it’s something that everyone can associate with. It’s being able to convey what we think is funny, in a way that is funny for the audience. That’s the trick.

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How do you remember everything when you're on stage?

Remembering the material isn’t the hard part. It’s kind of a script that a lot of us repeat over and over again. The hard part is delivering the material in a way that is still funny for me, even though I may be telling the same story for the hundredth time.

You might forget a bit here and there, or put things in a different order to what you had planned, but generally speaking remembering the material is pretty easy.

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How do you start out being a comedian?

The best way to start out is by doing what’s called “open mike” gigs. These are where you go along and perform for 5 mins for free. There are heaps of places where aspiring comedians can jump up and do a 5 mins spot. The key is to stick with it and work hard. It can be very frustrating when you are first starting out, because you can be performing these 5 mins spots for free for a while before you get any paid work. 

Lucky for me I had the guiding hand of a few of the already pro comics who gave me some invaluable advice. I think for the first 2- 3 years I would have recorded nearly every show I did on this little mini disc recorder, only to listen to it the next day and analyse every little bit of my material. I was told to get 5 mins of material that worked time and time again. Following on from that you would do a 10 mins spot until you had that honed, and so on and so forth.

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Were you always telling jokes at school?

I was never really one for telling jokes at school, but having said that I did realise that if I was funny the other kids would like me. It seemed to work at the time. I did however spend 10 years as a sales rep in the building industry telling jokes on construction sites before I became a full time professional comedian. Now that I think about it, that was a pretty good training ground.

Having a good sense of humour can be an excellent way to break the ice when you meet someone for the first time for both children and adults alike. I mean think about. It’s hard not to like someone who makes you laugh.

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Do you get many hecklers?

Me personally not so much, I work on the theory that if you are getting heckled, and I mean “really” getting heckled then that is a sign that you are not in total control of that crowd. 

As a comedian, you are getting paid to be the funniest person in that room at that time, so if it means that we have to tear shreds off a heckler to regain control of the situation that’s exactly what we will do. It’s not something that I personally like doing, but if I’m put in the position where I’m left no choice, then yeah, I’ll give them a verbal spanking.

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What's the largest audience you've ever had?

I once performed to 2000 people at a government function in Cairns.

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What's the smallest audience you've ever had?

The gig was at a pub in western Sydney, and there were 3 people in the audience. I can’t believe we even went on with the show. I just sat on the edge of the stage and chatted to them for half an hour. In the end, we all had a laugh and it turned out pretty good considering.

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Do you use the same material all the time, or do you always have a new show?

Early on in my career I was told not to worry about doing the same material time and time again, the only thing to worry about was making the audience laugh.

When you first start out there is a tendency to think that you have to use new material every week. When you think about it, how many people go to a comedy club week after week after week. The truth is that you are pretty much going to be performing to a new audience every week.

Ultimately you’re aim is to have a solid hour’s worth of material at the very least that will work everytime you walk on stage no matter where you are or who you're performing too. Once you’ve got that solid block of tried and tested material, that’s what the booking agents are going to want you to perform. They’re not paying us to experiment they’re paying for what they know works.

When a mate of mine was once asked why he kept doing the same material his reply was simple. “When the audience stops laughing at it, then I’ll stop doing it

Then there are the one of, festival type shows. These are going to be different from the standard stand up routine in a way that they are usually focused around a specific theme. These one man shows usually go for about an hour, and they have a more story telling style as opposed to the set-up punch of a typical stand up routine.

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Have they ever not laughed?

When first starting out you are experimenting every time you perform and that can be a recipe for disaster, so yeah, there have been times when they have'nt laughed.

Any comedian that says they’ve never died on stage is kidding themselves. Unfortunately it’s happened to the best of us.

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Have you ever been on Rove or The Footy Show?

No, next question.

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Who is your favourite comedian?

I don’t really have one favourite as such. I like a few different comics for a few different reasons.

George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Bill Cosby, Dave Allen, Dylan Moran, Larry David, Bill Bailey, Ross Noble, and Dave Grant.

There are some brilliant comics getting around Australia. They may not be on your TV every week, but they can perform to anyone anywhere with amazing results. They're what I like to call the coal face comedians and they make up the rest of my favourites list.

There are way too many to mention here, so head out to your local comedy club and see for yourself how funny some of these guys and gals really are. You’ll be blown away.

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How much for you to come and peform at my auntie's 50th birthday party?

Depending on availability, $1,465,275.10 + GST

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