Image courtesy of Matt Young
Here is my interview with Melbourne’s most optimistic comedian.
The Australia Times (TAT): When did you first start doing stand-up?
Matt Young (MY): In 2014. RAW Comedy in Tasmania- I came runner up in the State Final. I was gigging down in Tassie for a while, I moved over here in the start of 2015. I’ve been performing in earnest since 2016, when I dropped out of UNI and started doing comedy full-time instead.
TAT: Why do you like comedy?
MY: I’m a real optimistic kind of guy, I love making people happy and I like laughter… and I love words- so I combine all those things. I like performing- I feel very comfortable. I feel more comfortable in front of a big group of people rather than in just a small group. I like being able to talk to everyone at once.
TAT: Do you have a performing background?
MY: I did lots of drama and stuff at high school. My first play was Alice in Wonderland in primary school. I played the March Hare. I wanted to be the Mad Hatter- but couldn’t hack it, so I had to be the March Hare instead. Since then I think I’ve being trying to fill that void.
TAT: What’s an average day for you like, do you have a day job?
MY: I work as a teachers aid at a primary school full-time during the day, then at nights I do comedy. Kids are funny so I get a lot of material from there.
TAT: How do you come up with your material?
MY: Sitting down and writing it- you have to force it sometimes. My friends will help out if we are having a conversation they’ll be like ‘Matt, that’s a bit’. It’s mostly a matter of having a little idea then writing about it as much as possible, until something comes out of it.
TAT: Who are your favourite comedians?
MY: John Mulaney, Hannibel Buress, Wil Anderson, Scott Dooley, Bo Burnham. In terms of Melbourne based: Timothy Clark and Peter Jones- they’re hilarious. Karl Gertsakis, I don’t know if anyone really knows him- he’s a good friend of mine. He always wanted to try stand-up and he’s been getting up at our open mic the past few weeks. He’s really absurd and silly- you don’t see a whole lot of that around. Also Ian McCarthy and Sean Morgan.
TAT: How would you describe your style?
MY: Dry, dark but optimistic. I like telling stories… it (my style) changes from gig to gig.
TAT: “Comedians are damaged people” Discuss
MY: Maybe. If we are talking about myself then absolutely. Comedians may be damaged in the sense that they have a chip on their shoulder- they have something to prove. I don’t think you need to be fully broken to do comedy- you’ve got to be really on top of things. It does help to have a damaged way of looking at the world.
TAT: What’s been your favourite or most memorable moment on stage?
MY: When you come up with a bit on stage. Like I have a bit about the idea that everything under the ocean is a pickle. That came up really organically after a series of gigs.
TAT: Do you like audience interaction?
MY: I love it. I feel more comfortable on a stage being able to talk to everyone. I love asking questions. I love finding a way to generate audience interaction from a bit. 50% of comedy is the audience, if they’re not on side then nothing is going to land, so you’ve got to be able to get them on side and get them involved. I love audience interaction- it makes you feel connected.
TAT: Do you feel like it’s you on stage or a character?
MY: It’s me. Some of it seams like different versions of me but it’s always me.
TAT: Tell us about your show?
MY: It’s called I quit. I had the idea for the show at the end of last year because I quit a bunch of stuff. I dropped out of two UNI’s, and then there was a job early last year that I walked out of. When I started writing stuff for the show I realised a lot of the stuff was about me quitting things. I thought- there’s a theme here- so I called it ‘I quit’. I don’t know how much of the show will actually be about the quitting, because as it’s developed I’ve almost quit on that idea.
TAT: Why should people come and see it?
MY: Because it will be unique. It will be weird- you’ll have a story to tell when you walk away from it.
TAT: What’s your favourite object?
MY: I have a little porcelain mouse, and an American silver dollar that I use to make decisions.
TAT: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
MY: The room I run with Hamish Paterson- Guerilla Comedy. It’s at the Resistance Bar and Cafe right next to Glenferrie Station in Hawthorn. It’s been running for almost a year now. I would like my show to be anything like a night at The Resistance. It’s always just really fun and laid back.
You can see ‘I quit’ as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival
When: 12th-21st of April
Where: The Unknown Union @ 1000 £ Bend, 361 Lt Lonsdale St
Tickets: $4 – $13.35
Information: Venue has no wheelchair access