Interview with Mike Birbiglia about his show My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend.

By Cathy Culliver

Tell me about My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend.

It’s sort of a hybrid between a one-man play and a comedy routine that I have been working on for about three or four years. I performed it Off-Broadway in 2011 as a warm up, and I’ve now performed it in about 70 different cities.

It’s basically a show that’s a one-man romantic comedy, which is difficult to do because comedy is a cynical art form in a lot of ways and I wanted to do something that was true to the cynical roots of comedy but also had beams of optimism in it. So I’d like to think that I’ve done it.

It’s basically about how I decided to get married, while not believing in the idea of marriage. But I love doing the show; one of the cool things is that over the years there have been a bunch of couples who have proposed marriage in the lobby after the show.

There’s a clip on YouTube where a couple propose at the end of my show. I jumped off stage, took the microphone, the guy got down on one knee, she said yes … it was very exciting.

Part of this show aired on a recent episode of the This American Life podcast, where you talk about a girlfriend from high school who treated you horribly and didn’t want anyone to know you two were dating. I have to say this struck a chord with me, as I’ve had a really similar experience. Do you think it’s part of the appeal that people can really relate to the stories you tell in the show?

Well yeah, when I wrote that story I thought I was the only person on earth that has ever happened to. But I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me and said, “that EXACT same thing happened to me!”

And to me that’s when comedy is most exciting, when you uncover something and a lot of people are like “me too”.

Would you describe yourself more of a storyteller than a stand up comedian?

I think of myself as a comedian, because I ultimately always try to have what I’m doing be funny. To make an audience laugh, that’s the number one goal.

But then over the years I’ve kind of branched into storytelling and film making as an extension of the comedy. Now that I know I can make people laugh, I feel like I can do a longer form version of that and go outside of my comfort zone.

Last time I was in Australia, I was compared most by the locals to Daniel Kitson, who’s a comedian I admire a great deal. And he’s also a sort of genre-bending comedian, but I still think of him as a comedian.

Many Australians would be well aware of your work with This American Life. Do you feel like you have a good fan base here?

I was very surprised when I was last in Australia that anyone even knew who I was, so that was very exciting for me. And I feel like this time there could be more, because I think This American Life has started airing on the radio over there. So I’m hoping now it has an even wider reach.

But yeah, I wouldn’t be coming back and getting on a 23-hour flight if I didn’t love it there. My wife and I just absolutely love Australia; we love the people, we love the spirit of it, we love the sights, the beaches, the cliffs … everything about it just overtook us.

You’ve had one of your live shows go on to be made into a movie (Sleepwalk with Me, which is having its Australian premiere in Melbourne during MICF). Do you have any plans to do the same with this one?

I do, yeah. I’m tasking myself with finishing a draft of the movie script on the plane ride to Australia. Because it’s so long, I’m like, if I can’t finish a script in 23 hours then I’m worthless. It’s also a good way to distract myself from the fact that I’m up 30,000 feet in the air.

You made Sleepwalk with Me with Ira Glass and the team from This American Life. And are you planning on working with Ira on this new movie as well?

I hope so. Ira and I work on a ton of stuff together, so it will definitely be something that I will beg him to do.

Before we finish up, how are you doing with the whole sleepwalking thing? Do you still have to sleep in a sleeping bag with mittens on? (As explored in Sleepwalk with Me, Birbiglia has a sleep condition that causes him to act out his dreams, so he has confine himself at night for his own safety).

I don’t wear the mittens anymore because they’re just too hot. But I do wear the sleeping bag; I wear a kind of summer sleeping liner thing. And when I go to bed at night, my wife will literally say “it’s time to go in your pod”.

That’s so romantic.

Well yeah, it’s really romantic and demeaning at the same time, which is really what romance is about I think.

My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend is on at Arts Centre Melbourne from 28 March – 4 April. For tickets and info visit:
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/my-girlfriend-s-boyfriend-mike-birbiglia

Mike will also hold a live Q&A at the Australian premiere of his film Sleepwalk with Me at Cinema Nova on Sunday 31st March. For more information, visit:
http://www.cinemanova.com.au/catalogue/meet-the-filmmaker/27543

Interview with Jimeoin about What?!

By Luke Simmons

Jimeoin is an Irish comedian who takes up a pretty unique space in the hearts of Australians.  In fact, many of you reading this will have grown up with super calm delivery and sharp observational wit.  His career took an unconventional turn in the mid 00’s when his popularity took off in the UK.  However, he’s currently fully entrenched in Australia and is going to be rocking the upcoming Melbourne International Comedy Festival with his 12 What?! shows at the Athenaeum Theatre.

 

– What?! is an invention which most people take for granted…
The toaster. And the printing press. Both amazing

– What?! is the biggest audience you’ve performed for…
O2 in London. 18 000. No I did the MCG for mushrooms 25 years of rock.

– What?! is an observation you’ve tested on someone – but you’ve clearly been all alone…
Hate it when you get an itchy fanny. That’s why I love big handbags

– What?! is a sure fire way a comic can win the audience back…
Buy them all a drink. Say something funny.

– What?! is the strangest experience you’ve ever had on an air plane…

I sometimes have weird dreams were the plane is flying up a big car park ramp with the wings very close to the walls. It has something to do with putting my trust in someone else’s hands.

– What?! is the first food you seek out when you return to Ireland…
Chinese

– What?! is a particular element of Australian culture which frustrates you…
Australia Day. You can’t be any more Australian on a given day

What?! does it feel like to be a third Australian? Do you find it beneficial to use being Aussie/Irish when it suits your comedy?…
I don’t really go for the nationality thing that much in my jokes. Some accent references. But it doesn’t really come up

Jimeoin’s What?! is on at the Atheneum from the 27 March to the 7 April

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/what-jimeoin

 

Interview with Tegan Higginbotham about being Touched By Fev, and other things…

By Lisa Clark

Tegan Higginbotham has been around the Melbourne comedy scene a long time, yet still seems like a fresh faced kid. Last year she told us about her new hobby – professional boxing in her debut solo standup show Million Dollar Tegan which gained a lot of praise and thankfully didn’t end with her coach euthenising her. This year she is talking about her childhood obsessions in Touched by Fev. She began her comedy career performing wild fast-paced sketch shows with Rob Lloyd and Adam Mckenzie as the Hounds. This has morphed into Watson without Rob and they will be performing Once Were Planets this year. Apart from her work with Watson and her own stand up solo show, she will be doing her regular Monday night spot at The Shelf at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this year. Tegan is clearly very busy at the moment, but she kindly found some time to answer my questions.

How Long have you been doing comedy and how old were you when you did your first comedy gig?

I was 17 when I did my first gig. So I’ve performing for 2ish years. (ish).

Did you always want to perform on stage?
Unfortunately, yes. I was that annoying kid who made my parents sit down every night to watch my latest piece of theatre. I just never would have thought that one day I’d actually be enjoying them laughing at me.

Who in comedy has inspired you?
Celia Pacquola, Judith Lucy, Nick Cody, Justin Hamilton and my good friend Adam McKenzie.

Does your work with Watson inform your stand up and visa versa?
I think that the joke writing skills I’m learning from stand-up have most definitely helped with my writing for Watson. But I was actually surprised how little all the years of performing sketch helped when I finally got the balls to get up on stage by myself. It was a whole new game. I kept running out of breath because I was waiting for someone else to start delivering lines but it NEVER HAPPENED

Do you think the timing and running around with Watson helped you be a better boxer?
Better” would imply that I’m any good. I’m terrible at boxing. Just ask the trainers.

When did you decide it was time to do solo standup?

I felt like it was a natural progression. And I’d been hanging around with stand-up’s for so many years I felt it would have been wrong not to give it a go. But specifically, I was 21 when I bit the bullet.

Was it hard to step out on your own away from the support of Adam McKenzie & Rob Lloyd?

Absolutely. Not only in the sense that performing solo was difficult, but the support they offer after a show is invaluable. When you’re part of a group, you all ride the hard shows together and share the blame, so to speak. Whereas having to pick yourself up after a bad stand-up set can be a very tricky task indeed.

Did they prepare you for life as a comedian?
Adam and Robby taught me right from the get-go that to be a successful comedian you have to work incredibly hard. During our very first comedy festival we would often be performing three times a night, so doing that now seems quite natural. In this way, they did help. Robby and Adam also exposed me to a very unique style of comedy that I would have missed completely had I just gone straight into stand-up and I’m very lucky that I got a fabulous opportunity to experience that and experiment with them on stage.

When you were growing up did you ever see yourself as a comedian, who punches people as a side hobby?
I saw myself as Ripley from Aliens. So the punching thing was certainly there. It’s the comedy I’m surprised by.

Have you enjoyed working on The Shelf?
Defintely! But it still scares me. Sometimes I find myself standing on stage with people who are SO much better than me and I have to stop myself from freaking out or yelling “You’re from the TV! Say hi to my Mum!”

How do you plan to juggle 3 shows at this years MICF?
With a mixture of coffee, Lindt and pure adrenaline. Wish me luck.

Have you done much hosting at comedy gigs?
A little bit. I’m hoping to do more and more over time. It requires a really fabulous set of skills that I haven’t quite mastered yet. Harley Breen, who is another comic I look up to, once pointed out to me that when you’re performing a solo-show, you ostensibly have to be your own MC. So it helps to be good at it.

When did you start thinking about this as a topic for a festival show.
A long time ago, actually. I usually think of my shows long before I attempt to write them. In fact, I already know what my very last show will be.
I second guessed “Touched By Fev” a bit and considered doing something else for a while. But for me, there was too much to talk about and I’m genuinely interested in the subject matter. It felt right.

How do you write a show, in bits and pieces, in big chunks?
I actually don’t have a set style of writing just yet. Last year it was matter of experiencing boxing, then simply taking note of what happened. This show has involved more research and delves a little further in to personal stories.

Are you disciplined, do you have a routine or is it more organic?
Organic.

Do you think you can make this festival show appeal to people who know nothing of Aussie Rules or Brendan Fevola?
The show is also about Harry Potter, so I’m hoping that if people aren’t massive AFL fans, they’ll come for the Potter instead. That being said, I have written this show with a non-sporty audience in mind as well, and I’m pretty sure that they’ll still understand everything hat’s going on.

What’s your favourite thing about taking part in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival?

I have been thinking about this answer for 20 minutes now. I just have to pick something, don’t I?
Um…oh god! It’s so many things! It’s the laughter; both from an audience and from myself as I watch Adam try to keep a straight face each night. It’s the incredibly warm feeling you get when someone enjoys something that you’ve written. It’s huddling with other comics on the steps of The Melbourne Town hall and sharing battle tales. It’s feeling a little bit spesh for a whole month. It’s meeting new people and eating pizza at 1am on Swanston Street and so many things. I honestly can’t choose.

Tegan Higginbotham’s Touched by Fev is on upstairs in The Spleen Bar throughout the Festival – There are NO performances Mondays, Fridays & Sundays

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/touched-by-fev-tegan-higginbotham

Watson – Once Were Planets is on at Trades Hall

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/once-were-planets-watson

The Shelf – is on for three nights at Toff of Town

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/the-shelf

 

Interview with Adam Rozenbachs about ‘Eurodad’

By Lisa Clark

Last year Adam Rozenbachs travelled through Europe with his dad and tweeted his experiences along the way. If the tweets were any indication, Eurodad should be hilarious. Adam took time out of his pre-festival pressures to answer a few questions about himself and his new show.

When why did you start doing Standup?
I started in 1999, at The Espy, a comedy institution at the time. Why? Stupidity mainly, now that I look back on it. But I had a love of stand-up, and used to go and watch whenever I could, so I thought I’d like to give it a crack. And I’d been doing Triple R for about two years [Crud Boys 1997-99], so had been writing for that time. It was time to take away the safety net performance wise. Plus, I thought I wasn’t having enough feelings of insecurity, so wanted to bump that up a bit.

Who inspired you in Comedy?
I idolised the D Generation/Late Show/Martin-Molloy era of Australian comedy. Having met them I can see why they were/are so good [they steal a lot].
We also used to listen to Bill Cosby on family trips in the car, so I remember how much I enjoyed that. Although it was a bit muffled hearing it from the boot. And dad took me to see Billy Connolly when I was about 16, so that had a huge impact on me, watching people, including dad, lose their shit for about three hours.
I also heard my first Rodney Rude tape when I was about ten. I probably understood most of the jokes in it when I turned sixteen.

How do you write your festival show? Are you very disciplined?

I’ll start off with chunks, bits, words, occasional letters, and then slowly try and piece them together. Then I’ll print that out, go to a cafe or a pub or crack den and try and joke it up – adding bits and pieces here and there to try and add strength to the strong bits.
I go through patches of discipline. I’ll write and be productive, and then I’ll leave it for a bit or procrastinate, and then I’ll get mad at myself and force myself to sit down and write. It’s all part of the process. I’d like to see how many of the classics would be around today with the nuisance of the internet at hand. I bet Tolstoy’s book would have been War and I Can Haz Cheeseburger.

Are you still writing at the last minute or do you like to have it ready to go for the previews?
Probably about four of five days prior I’ll stop writing so I can start to learn it. Mostly the order, as by that stage I will have only done it from start to finish maybe twice.

Then, the day after my opening show, I’ll furiously re-write, regretting all those times I kicked back looking at cats on the internet, thinking it was a good show.

Do you usually practice bits of it in comedy clubs?
Yep. It’s nice to have a few bits ready to roll for the festival, so you know they’re solid and reliable.

This show has been a bit different to previous years, as it’s my first real narrative, so it’s a bit harder to do ‘bits’ in the clubs/rooms, as it will seem a little disjointed without all the other information surrounding it. Well, that’s what i tell myself when it doesn’t work. But I have been able to work up bits by changing them slightly so they can stand alone.

Is your dad OK about you writing a show involving him?
Probably not, but unless he wants me to move back in because I have no cash, he’ll have to be.

He didn’t want to be on the poster, but I said he’d be in the background, blurry and unrecognisable. He’s not.

I think he’ll quickly work out I lie to him a lot.

Are there stories that you can’t put into your show?
Mostly the thoughts that ran through my head about how I could bump my dad off and make it look like an accident.

Have you travelled with your father as an adult before?
No. And if you ask me that question again in twenty years, the answer will be “ONCE!”

Did you have to change the way you travelled i.e. nicer hotels etc?
Absolutely. I can be a bit of a loose traveller i.e. decide what to do when I arrive in a city, but I had to be more rigid with planning, as I didn’t want dad wandering around with his luggage looking for accommodation. I also cut back on a few things I would want to do, as dad wasn’t interested. Like, for example, fun.
Dad didn’t really like to talking to strangers either, which really cuts back your drug purchasing options.

Be honest did you put yourself through this hell hoping to get a festival show out of it?
How dare you be so cynical about a comedian. But yes. 100%. I hope people appreciate what comedians go through for a show… Twenty one days for an hour’s worth of material is not the greatest ratio.

How has been the experience of working on The Shelf?
The Shelf is fantastic. And working with Tegan Higginbotham has been great. We do a weekly news segment, and i always enjoy reading her stuff when she sends it through to be printed out [I’m the printer owner of the duo]. I love the process of writing news jokes too… getting the story, and then trying to think of a take to have on it. Plus, we can be particularly dark and get away with it as we’re just newsreaders telling it like it is, right?

Justin Hamilton brings together some of the best comics in Australia, so it’s great to grace the stage with them. And nice to try and include them in the gags sometimes.

And The Toff is a brilliant venue.
How will you cope working on two shows during MICF – The Shelf and your solo show?
Once it’s all bedded in, things should run smoothly. That’s what I tell myself. In reality, i will be a burnt out wreck on day two who somehow stumbles to the finishing line, crying and wailing. But, you know, in a funny way.

Luckily The Shelf is on a Monday, which is my day off Eurodad – so at least i can take a break from that and write some news gags.

Are you hoping/planning to guest on other shows during the festival? [i.e. Setlist, Festival Club, various podcasts, etc]?
I’d love to do Setlist. Thinking about it now scares the shit out of me, but I’d love to know how I’d react at the time. Probably with a lot of swearing and regret to be honest.
And once you’re in the Comedy Festival, you try and do as much as you can – Festival Club, podcasts, spots, alcohol… whatever is around, I tend to jump at as it’s nice to be a part of it all.

You do a lot of writing behind the scenes, do you think of yourself as primarily a comedy writer or performer or both?
Initially I though of myself as a comedy writer, but I think in the last few years the balance has tipped over to performer. But I enjoy all facets of comedy – it’s just so much fun to try and find the funny, no matter what the medium. Unless the medium is mime – then you can just fuck off.


Tim Minchin told anyone who’d listen (inc. Andrew Lloyd Webber) that his dream was to play Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and it worked, as Andrew kept him in mind when he needed to cast it in a hurry. Do you have an ambition you’d like to share with us?

To play in a Carlton premiership. And trust me, I’ve been pestering Mick Malthouse about it. But I’ve since given up on that, mainly because I’m not allowed within 500 metres of him.

Did Becoming one of Cleo’s 50 Most Eligible Bachelors get you laid help get you a girlfriend?

It actually didn’t. The only thing that increased was mocking [up 400%] and disbelief ‘How did you get in there?”. Unfortunately not that many people in the circles I move in read it, no matter how many copies I left lying around.

Eurodad is on throughout the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/eurodad-adam-rozenbachs

Adam will also be appearing at The Shelf on Mondays during the Festival 
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/the-shelf

as well as somehow squeezing in hosting duties at The Comics Lounge 
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/hosted-by-adam-rozenbachs-live-the-comics-lounge

Interview with Ben McKenzie about the Splendid Chaps podcast which celebrates Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary

By Lisa Clark

We love it when comedians push the envelope and do something interesting and outside the box. Especially when it involves something they really care about. 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of Doctor Who and geeky stand up comedian Ben McKenzie and creator of the best gay, scifi sitcom ever, Outland John Richards, have committed themselves to producing a monthly podcast discussing the history and influence of The Doctor. Each month the podcast will focus on a different Doctor (Eleven actors have played The Doctor so far – though this can be contentious, Wikipedia says it is eleven and they must be right…) and also cover a theme important to the world of Doctor Who. They promise guests, laughs and surprises.

Why have you decided to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who with a live podcast?

BEN: I’ve had some limited podcast experience, appearing on other people’s – including John Richards’ one, Boxcutters – and I’ve been planning to make my own for some time. (I’m hoping to start another one, about games, later this year.) I also knew I wanted to do something special for the fiftieth anniversary, since I’ve not really publicly celebrated my love for the show before. It seemed natural to combine the two. Once I made the connection between eleven months from January to the anniversary itself and the number of Doctors, a monthly podcast seemed the way to go – but I wanted it to have a community feel, to be something special. I’ve been to many of the “Live in the Studio” events at ACMI, which are live discussions recorded and later podcast, and that seemed like just the basic format I was looking for, so with a couple of tweaks Splendid Chaps was born! I asked John to co-host, since we have been on many nerd dates discussing Doctor Who and we’ve wanted to work together for a while – plus he’s got loads of podcasting experience. He was the perfect choice!

I can see the sci/fi comedy backgrounds in both you and John, did you bring different perspectives in how to approach this?

BEN: I think so. I know how to run a live show; John knows how to produce a podcast. And we each have contacts relevant to proceedings.

How did you bring the rest of the group together and will it be the same group for each podcast or will they change?

BEN: The plan is to have different guests and record in a different venue every episode – we already have plans to go to Adelaide, and we’ll hopefully head up to Sydney too. We’re like the TARDIS, popping up all over the place, with an ever changing crew!

So where did the Name come from?

BEN: It’s from a couple of famous lines in the twentieth anniversary special, ‘The Five Doctors’. The Brigadier describes the Doctor: ‘Wonderful chap. All of them.” and later “Splendid chaps, all of you.” The popularly quoted version is a mashup of the two, but it’s become the stock answer for anyone who doesn’t wish to name a specific favourite Doctor.

What exactly is going to happen in the podcast? (Just chat? Serious chat? Nostalgia chat? Comedy skits?)

BEN: It’s a discussion podcast, so there aren’t skits – and I don’t want to give too much away! But basically John and I will host a panel discussion with our guests about the era in question, and then about the theme. We’ll finish off with a performance by a special guest – probably

I understood that each podcast was going to celebrate an incarnation of the Doctor, (I’m looking forward to Tom Baker in April – during the Comedy Festival – How appropriate!) What’s with the ‘theme’ and why have a theme on top of focusing on Doctor of the Month?

BEN: The theme is important because Splendid Chaps is intended to be something new. The Doctors themselves, and their eras, have been discussed and written about to death, and while we want to talk about them, we also want to talk about the many things the show has been over 50 years, and talk about things that haven’t been discussed as often. It’s also a way of making every episode relevant to a broader fan base; you might only be into the new series, but while Episode One will talk about William Hartnell, our examination of Authority in Doctor Who will cover the show throughout its history.

What sort of audience are you expecting? I suspect the live audience will differ to the wider podcast audience, will this appeal to the serious Whovian?

BEN: I’m not quite sure. I think initially our audience will be people who like John and myself! But yes, I think we’ll appeal to serious fans, though hopefully we’ll be accessible and interesting to anyone who’s curious about thinking deeper about Doctor Who.

Will this appeal to the casual watcher who may only know the modern Who?

BEN: I hope so! The new series, while a vastly different show to the ones that came before, still wears its links to the past on its sleeve, and I’d like to think most fans are interested in where it comes from. Perhaps our discussions will be a good starting point for fans who’ve not watched any “classic” Who!

How long will the Live recording  as compared to the finished product take do you think?

BEN: The plan is to allow 90 minutes, including time for an interval. This will be edited down to under an hour for the podcast, so you’ll get to hear exclusive stuff if you’re at the show!

You have got an exciting guest for the first show – original Cyberman costume designer Alexandra Tynan, do you hope to have serious Who related guests for each show?

BEN: We’re not planning that, but when we get the opportunity to speak with people who’ve worked on the show, we’ll certainly take it!

Have you got a favourite Doctor, alien or Episode?

BEN: I think you know the answer to the first one: splendid chaps, all of him! I still think ‘Caves of Androzani’ is my favourite story, though I also love A ‘Christmas Carol’. I have a favourite or two for each Doctor as well.

There is a preliminary podcast Zero where Ben and John sit in a café and chat about Doctor Who and what they hope the Podcast will be

The first podcast celebrating William Hartnel will be recorded on Sunday 13th of January at The Bella Union Bar, special guests will include Geraldine Quinn and Dr Who Costume designer of the original 1966 Cybermen, Alexandra Tynan (aka Sandra Reid). Be aware that late comers will not be admitted, because they are recording, so be punctual!

The Splendid Chaps Podcasts will be released on the 23rd of each month.

For more information, bookings for the live shows, future downloads etc check their website

Front Page

Like them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/SplendidChaps

Interview with Steele Saunders as his podcast ‘I Love Green Guide Letters’ celebrates its first birthday

By Lisa Clark

Melbourne comedian Steele Saunders is having a very busy and productive time. Not only does he take part in running the successful venue Spleen on Bourke Street Monday nights but he also puts together a popular weekly comedy podcast.  I Love Green Guide Letters consists of Steele and a couple of comedy guests getting laughs out of the letters in The Age newspaper’s TV magazine The Green Guide. It’s not that hard, as its often enraged letter writers are currently obsessed with the Green Guide not being as green as it should be and The Age saving money by no longer stapling the pages together, amongst other non TV related things. Also the letters are pretty much an excuse for comedians to get together and be funny.

There are rules at I Love Green Guide Letters; 1 As in Star Trek’s Primary Directive of no interference, the Podcasters will not send letters into the Green Guide, 2. Steele will read the letters out in a high pitched silly voice and 3. There is no talking during the letter reading until he has finished reading the entire letter out.

I Love Green Guide Letters recently celebrated one year of podcasts with a live recording that included special guests outstanding comedian Tom Gleeson and amazingly radio legend Derryn Hinch. I was amazed and pleased that Steele found time to answer these questions.

Where did the idea for your podcast come from?

I was in a really ghetto food court reading the Green Guide Letters which were particularly amazing that day. I actually looked around to see if anyone else was reading them so I could vent about them… but sadly no one was. Instantly I decided to invite friends around each week to ensure someone would chat to me about them.

Did anyone help you start it up / teach you how to do it?

Unsurprisingly there is a podcast about making podcasts; “The Podcast Answer Man”. I purchased some of his tutorials and they run through all the steps and equipment you need. I have no idea what all the knobs I now own do; I just know where to set them. Admittedly, that last sentence out of context could come back to haunt me.

Where do you generally record the podcast?

In my lounge room in South Yarra is the normal spot. It makes for a much more relaxed atmosphere than in a studio where people are used to watching what they say. Plus I don’t have to go anywhere and my neighbours are constantly stunned by the celebrities that pop in to visit me.

Has the podcast moved beyond its original scope?

I actually think it’s pretty much the same format as when I started. Maybe the main difference is we go for a while longer just chatting and riffing about before we get to the letters.

Have you thought about the difference between performing comedy on stage & this being recorded for posterity?

I trip out that 1000’s of people downloaded a show, just you imagine how big a venue that would be. I kinda get paranoid about what they all think of it. At a stand up show you can hear their reaction. I just have to hope someone tweets me after each episode.

How much work goes into preparing the show every week?

The pre show prep is simply me circling the best half dozen of so letters and making sure two people show up at the same time to talk about them. Afterwards is far more time consuming; editing, formatting, uploading, then begging the Internet to listen.
PLEASE GO LISTEN, I’M TYPING THIS SENTENCE ON MY KNEES PEOPLE! WIL ANDERSON IS ON THE LATEST EPISODE… WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?!

I get the impression that The Green Guide is OK with your podcast and the editor has been your guest, are you relieved and were you surprised at their interest?

I was relieved that a letter I received from Fairfax was about a surprise subscription from my girlfriend rather than legal documents. Initially I think they were a bit stand offish about it, but now they really enjoy it. I guess it would be cool if you had a podcast mocking annoying customers at your work. They did an awesome article about the podcast, which was very surreal.
Newspaper writes story about a podcast that reviews it’s letters… take that MC Escher.

Who have been your favourite guests?

That’s obviously a tough one. 16 year old me thinks having Tony Martin on my podcast is a miracle… but 16 year old me also wants to know what a podcast is.

Do you have a dream guest?

I’ve had quite a few already on, so I’m getting a lot more adventurous with my guest dreaming. I have a list of ones within reality that I’ll keep to myself, the unrealistic list has Jerry Seinfeld at the top.

Have any guests let you down?

I’m too busy judging myself on the podcast to worry about the others. The Tim and Eric one didn’t exactly go to plan… but it features me almost passing out trying not to laugh over them hassling a caller to their office.

Do you have a favourite of the podcasts so far?

My favourite was probably the first live show. To have all these people attend and know all the running jokes from prior shows; just really cool. Plus on that show I managed to get Andy Kindler, one of my comedy heroes and he loved it. I remember looking over at him and literally just thinking, “Andy Kindler is on my podcast”.

Is it hard getting a live show with an audience together?

The sound quality is always a huge concern when you’re doing the live shows I still don’t have it perfect, you want the audience mic’ed up to give the listener the live show feel but it’s a hard balance. So far getting the audience hasn’t been that hard but I’m careful not to burn the concept out. I’d love to do every episode live but I think this will be the last live Melbourne show until the Comedy Festival.

Was it weird recording the podcast in Sydney – a city that does not have The Age let alone the Green Guide?

Yeah that’s kinda odd isn’t it? The fact is doing a podcast about the Green Guide Letters helps listenership in Melbourne but it puts people off elsewhere. But a grip of the podcast reviews on iTunes say along the lines of “have no idea what the Green Guide is or what the shows you are talking about are, but I love the show”. To be honest, most of the shows people write in about… I have no idea what they are. You guys were there at the previous live show when after 10 months we finally found out what “Time Team” was. It was way more fun when we would make up what it was. It’s not about the shows… it’s about the letters.

How long is the usual amount of time between recording and getting it up on line.

The Green Guide comes out on a Thursday, I try to record by Saturday then have the episode up by Tuesday. That way people can listen to the podcast before the next issue of the Green Guide comes out.

Have you had any interesting feedback about the podcast?

A lot of homesick Melbournites living overseas really enjoy it. Maybe it helps them stay away?

Some other podcasts have dropped out over the year, since the boom began, can you see this one continuing?

Of course. But that’s everything, TV shows get cancelled, bands break up. I know two that I listened to every week stopped, but that seemed to be because of people’s paid comedy work getting in the way, which you can’t begrudge… well, as an underemployed comedian I can, but not as a listener.

Do you have any advice to keen wannabe podcasters?

Try to commit yourself to a schedule and make sure that the schedule is manageable. Doing it by myself weekly… it’s a lot of late nights. Make sure, regardless of how many people are downloading, that it’s fun and that you’re learning from it.

Tell us about the Birthday show you recorded in front of an audience on Saturday.

A few months ago I shot Derryn Hinch an email asking him to come on the podcast. I’m a huge fan of his radio show and I had a feeling that he would be a hilarious guest that would be too thick skinned to not be a good sport. The same day he replied yes. I actually remember getting the email after a gig and just being… whoa. It was just weird to see an email from Derryn Hinch in my inbox.

Of course I wanted him for a live show and with the first birthday not too far off it seemed perfect. It was super hard not telling EVERYONE though, but I really wanted to have nice surprise or shock when he was introduced.

Then I needed someone that is hilarious and wouldn’t be intimidated by him, who better than Tom Gleeson?

Thankfully without anyone advertised we sold out our cozy little venue and the show was just so fun. I think Hinch really surprised a lot of people. Both Derryn and Tom were killing and the crowd was the best. Just so much fun.

Thanks you guys for the support of the show, and to all the amazing talent that have come on to muck about with me and to the Letter Lovers that listen every week; my sincerest appreciation. 

You can download and find out more about I love Green Guide Letters at their website http://ilovegreenguideletters.com/