Image courtesy of Andrew Iles
Most of us have experienced the nightmare that is working in retail. Here Andrew explains why he decided to make a show about it…
The Australia Times: When did you first start doing stand-up?
Andrew Iles: About two and a half years ago. I have a theatre background and I was in drama school for three years… I’ve always been a writer as well. I’d written four plays – comedies obviously, and I’d wanted to do comedy since I was a kid and just never had the guts to do it. I was emailing all these people to get a read through of my plays and was just hitting brick wall after brick wall. I realised I could turn some of the jokes into stand-up and just got up and did it.
TAT: Where was the first gig and how did it go?
AI: It was at Station 59- Daisy Berry (Melbourne comedian) put me up to it. I was silly enough to invite a few friends. It went so well- it was actually a packed house. It must have been a few peoples first open mics. It was one of those penny dropping moments where I was like ‘this is what I’m meant to do.’
TAT: Why do you like comedy?
AI: The same reason I started acting as a child- to make people laugh. I was always the class clown at school, and even with drama classes as a kid, I was always just wanting to make people laugh- even if it was a serious play.
TAT: What’s an average day for you like, do you have a day job?
AI: I work casual retail jobs, a bit of bar work, cineamas, yeah I still do customer service. I also do Trivia hosting in the country, and MCing a lot of cabaret- which I love.
TAT: How do you come up with your materal?
AI: It’s usually when I’m doing something mundane. Something will make me chuckle. Retail customer service, and experiences doing that. Stuff that makes me laugh, although as I’ve been getting a bit older my humour has gotten darker and more morbid. What I do on stage and my delivery- is almost like a delightful cynicism.
TAT: Who are your favourite comedians?
AI: Famous comedians I loved growing up were Robin Williams, Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy. As I got older my style of humour changed. My favourite comedian now is Dave Chappelle- even though our humour is completely different. Melbourne comics I love are- Harley Breen, Stuart Daulman, Nick Capper and Jonathan Schuster.
TAT: How would you describe your style?
AI: I’ve had a few people write it for me once they’ve seen me. The thing that keeps popping up is- high energy. I do impersonations but I’m not an ‘impersonator’. Physical, is another word that keeps popping up. Definitely theatrical.
TAT: “Comedians are damaged people” discuss…
AI: I think they are incredibly self aware people.
TAT: What’s been your favourite moment on stage?
AI: Just the laughter I’m addicted to. When you do a new bit and you are really not sure about it, then it gets a massive laugh. That’s when you are like ‘that’s the drug right there, that’s the addiction.’
TAT: Do you like audience interaction?
AI: I do now, I never used to- I was petrified, that’s why I was scared to do comedy. Because I’ve MC’d so much cabaret now- I feel like that’s training. Now I welcome it.
TAT: Do you feel like it’s you on stage or a character?
AI: Definitely me- a heightened version of me. I’m a pretty energetic guy, but when it’s on stage it’s harnessed.
TAT: Where do you perform?
AI: All over- anywhere and everywhere. I MC at the one room monthly. There are new rooms that have popped up that I feel I need to do.
TAT: Tell us about your show & how did you come up with the idea?
AI: I was writing a lot of new material at one point and I realised it had a lot to do with retail and customer service because that’s what I was doing full-time. It was annoying me working retail and not doing what I wanted to do. There was a lot of humour in that, and I always wanted to do a themed show- to peak peoples interest and relate to people who share the same pain as you I do, or the same humour.
TAT: Why should people come and see it?
AI: It’s something different-very theatrical, not me standing in a spotlight with a microphone.
TAT: What is your favourite object?
AI: Is beer an object? (laughs)
You can see Customer Assassin:
When: April 5- April 8
Where: Metanoia Theatre at The Mechanics Institute (270 Sydney Road, Brunswick)
Information: Venue is wheelchair accessible