By James Shackell

Since emerging from Perth in 2009 to win RAW Comedy, Michael Workman has taken out nearly every award for being funny the country has to offer, along the way gaining a reputation for whimsical narratives, haunting poetry, and eyebrows that move as if independent from his body (although that may be just this critic’s opinion). This year he returns to the festival with Ave Loretta, a dark comedy about depression, loss and expectation. I met up with Michael at a cafe on Swanston Street to discuss the new show.

So tell me about Ave Loretta. What’s the story?

It’s hard to talk about it without making it sound like something it’s not. It’s about a successful musician who travels back to his shitty home town to visit the grave of his muse who committed suicide. When people ask me what it’s about, that’s kind of what I’m obligated to say because technically that is what it is about, but it’s hard to picture that being funny.

Well you are known for going into dark and different places with your comedy. Is that your intention?

Well I bring it on myself. I did a show about political unrest in Cuba and freedom of speech, which again is not typical subject matter for comedy, and really to expect people to go, ‘Hey! Go see this hilarious thing!’ is possibly a bit much. But that being said, it is funny, and it is a comedy show. But that’s probably not the focus. I like to use comedy as a vehicle to convey loftier concepts.

And what are the concepts this year?

Well this year the show is kind of a departure from my other stuff because it’s quite morally ambiguous. There’s no distinct moral conclusion to this show, it’s pretty open ended. So I’m really just trying to get people thinking about depression and suicide and banality and how that affects the human experience. This was something that was important in my life, certainly before I started comedy. Those were the sort of battles I was going through. But I wanted to fictionalise that story a little bit and give an impression of it, rather than an autobiography.

What were you doing before comedy?

I was making music. I was writing scores for theatre, and drinking heavily. Those were my two main interests at the time. Comedy seemed to be the panacea for that. I pretty much stopped immediately after I started stand-up.

Do you feel pressure to back up with this third show?

Yeah definitely. This was certainly the most difficult show to write. Because I felt like I was maybe falling into a formula with doing these fables, these very symbolic shows, and then I decided to get out of that by doing a really gritty, down-to-earth story with very little whimsy. This is dark as hell. People should be expected to be very surprised that they are laughing at some of the things they’re laughing at. And they should expect that I won’t pull any punches. This is an intense subject and I’m not going to make light of an intense subject, but I am going to find the humour in it. This is definitely got the biggest chunks of real me in it.

Did it feel like therapy writing it?

Yeah to an extent, it did. Having to come up with ways to express what I meant in ways that maybe people who hadn’t experienced it could understand; I think that’s actually been really helpful to unravel some of the problems. But I should say that this is not about my therapy, which had a positive outcome. This is about other people.

Your shows always have a narrative. What do you think story can bring to comedy?

I feel this compulsion to get maybe a single idea across in each hour. So I think of a show as a potato – coz like a potato is like a big sack of starch, and that’s the part that we eat, and that’s the part that we like, but the whole point of that big sack of starch is so that a tiny sapling at the top can poke through and survive. So the audience prefers the starch – you can fry it, mash it, have it with some duck, but the sprout is the point I’m getting across. The sack of starch is just what makes it edible.

So what do you find funny?

Honesty and self awareness. People who can stand back and see exactly who they are objectively are very amusing to me. People who deconstruct what’s going on in their social interactions and that kind of thing without being awkward.

And who are you objectively?

Oh God. Look I think it changes from situation to situation. I think there’s a whole bunch of inaccurate views of me, that I’m aware of. People often say that I’m a mysterious person, but I don’t think that’s true at all, I think I’m just really very awkward, socially, but also very comfortable with the fact that I’m awkward socially, which culminates in this air of mystique which is possibly misguided.

Is the life of a full-time comedian at all like a rock star?

While I don’t have a lot of experience with what a rock star might do, I’ve heard the stories. There’s probably some of that, a little bit of that. You’ll find that comedians are generally pretty obsessive about their work, especially while a show’s on, they’re extremely committed, and they have to be, because if you’re not you’re just going to bomb. So there’s not a lot of wild parties and lines of coke and prostitutes and yachts. Not a lot of yachts.

Do you think that could be what’s missing from comedy? Yachts?

Yeah, I think so. Yachts, mizzen masts, jibs, spinnakers. The whole thing.

Now your accent, what’s going on there? (Workman has a kind of minestrone accent: there’s a bit of Australian, a bit of British, a bit of American, and a bit of something else).

No one quite knows. I was born in Perth, and my parents are Australian. The prevailing theory at the moment is that I was possibly too influenced by television as a small child. But as long as I can remember I’ve spoken like this.

And your look keeps changing year by year.

I keep changing my look to suit the show. So this show is more of a dark, but also casual, show so I’ve gone unshaven and back to the natural black hair. Because I think that represents this person I’m playing.

And what’s the next step after Ave Loretta?

Well I start writing the next show pretty much now. But I’m going to do more music and painting, but in terms of comedy I’ll start writing now. I have a few ideas in the works that I’m not at liberty to talk too much about, but there’s movement there.

Michael Workman is performing Ave Loretta at Melb Town Hall – Regent Room

Interview With Andrew Spiers and Elliott Tiney from Idiots of Ants

By Luke Simmons

Andrew Spiers and Elliott Tiney of UK sketch quartet Idiots of Ants had a moment in St Kilda to answer some important questions for us.

Luke: Are there any comedians or groups that inspired you to get into sketch comedy?

Elliott Tiney: Obviously there’s the Monty Python stuff and perhaps the Goodies. But I wouldn’t say we’re surreal so we’re not really like them. Our stuff’s probably more akin to Big Train and Not The Nice O’Clock News. It’s quite traditional sketch comedy what we do rather than having 4 stand-up comedians like some other sketch acts out there.

Andrew Spiers: What we do is we take traditional sketch comedy and put a modern twist on it. We sketch about modern things that people can relate to.

Luke: What are the strangest things you’ve ever seen on the tube in London?

Elliott Tiney: A friend of mine opened up the doors which link up the carriages and had a wee in between! Which I think is dangerous. You could get electrocuted!

Andrew Spiers: I once saw a man swinging from the handrails by his knees with his trousers and underpants around his ankles. That was pretty bad. Oh no! Wait!

Elliott Tiney: Here we go.

Andrew Spiers: I saw a man take off both of his shoes, take off his left sock and then his right sock. He put his left sock on his right foot, he put his right sock on his left foot and then he put his shoes back on.

Luke: What do you guys think will be the next Internet craze that will take over the world?

Elliott Tiney: Ough, if only you could predict the next viral hit…. I tell you what’s never really been done on YouTube. It seems like a wasted opportunity. When I was a child in the 80’s, mooning was a big thing. And you know how they brought out that Rick Astley thing where you’d be watching a YouTube video and suddenly his song would cut in. What was that called?

Andrew Spiers: RickRoll’D!

Elliott Tiney: Yeah, RickRoll’D! This is what we should do. Listen up. We get videos with some really interesting titles and it must have a good start so everyone’s focussed and then BAM. My arse is there.

Andrew Spiers: Is it always yours?

Elliott Tiney: It’s my arse, yeah. And what I’ve done is, I’ve pulled my bum cheeks apart a little so it’s disgusting.

Luke: We call that a brown eye in Australia.

Elliott Tiney: Oh right, we call it arsing

Andrew Spiers: So brown eyeing.

Elliott Tiney: Yeah, so that’s going to be the next Internet craze. You heard it heard first kids!

Idiots of Ants are performing their sketch type comedy at the Victoria Hotel in the Banquet Room

Interview with Paul Foot

By Luke Simmons

Paul Foot was lovely enough to grace us with an interview on the afternoon before performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala

Luke: How does it feel coming back to Australia?

Paul: Nice.  It’s my 3rd year in Australia but my 6th visit.  I’m well used to it and I love it.  It’s a brilliant place.

Luke: All of these were for comedy or were any for pleasure?

Paul: All for comedy. The first time I came here was for the Melbourne Fringe. Having never been to Australia in my life, I went back there again 10 days later arriving back to England to do the Virgin Mobile Advert.  So that was extraordinary having never been before.  The 3rd time was last year when I came to Melbourne for 4 days for pre-publicity for the Melbourne Fringe.  Then I flew back to Britain for 3 days for my Grand Ma’s 93rd birthday and a couple of shows and then flew back to Australia straight away.

Luke: You were like a yo yo!

Paul: Yes, so that was quite hardcore. So within a week I’d been to Australia and back again then back to Australia and back again.  My 4th time was to do the Fringe last year and then the 5th time was in January when I came to Adelaide to direct a brilliant sketch group called Gravity Boots. I directed them because I was so stunned by how wonderful they were at the Edinburgh Festival.  The 6th time was for the Adelaide Fringe Festival and now I’m here to do the MICF – as well as Brisbane, Sydney and Perth.

Luke: Besides from the size, what’s a major difference between the comedy audiences in the UK and that in Australia?

Paul: The short and boring answer is that there’s not much difference.  I go all over the World and I increasingly find that wherever I go, people are the same. Sometimes you may have to adjust a reference.  Or sometimes for some reason they laugh at some things more in Australia and lesser in the UK or vice-versa.  As a general rule, it doesn’t really make that much of a difference.  It’s all the same really.  Indeed, when I’m performing on the stage, I’m so kind of in the moment.  I’m there doing my thing and I forget where I am.

Luke: You have a loyal fan base (The Guild of Paul Foot Connoisseurs) of which you are the Life President of the Guild – with the badge to prove.  Are you planning any special surprises for Australian members of the Guild?

Paul: I always make sure that after my shows, I’ll be available for photos and signings.  I’m not an aloof Life President of the Guild and it’s always nice to meet connoisseurs.  People often come up to me and tell me that they’re a connoisseur.  I love them.  They’re all very appreciated.

Luke: For those that are new to your comedy, what can audiences expect when they see you at the upcoming festival?

Paul:  Well, my comedy is not mainstream and it’s different to other comedians.  Not that I’ve ever planned to make it different.  I mean, I just do the type of comedy that seems obvious to me.  The kind of comedy that I would go and see if I weren’t a comedian.  I think this is what most comedians would do.  People say it’s unusual, it’s different.  But I don’t plan to make it different – I just do my thing.  I’ve been described as a “marmite comic” which you would call….

Luke: A vegemite comic?

Paul: Yeah, a vegemite comic.  In other words, some people really like it and others perhaps don’t like it.  Although the same applies to all comedians in a certain way.  So (in terms of) what to expect from this show, I come on and tell some ridiculous stories that I’ve made up for about 38 minutes, then I do  anagrams, then I do something called My Madness where I just say things that don’t even make sense.  It just seems like it’s completely random, but it’s a little more planned than that.  It’s funny but no-one knows exactly why it’s funny.  So it’s comedy on the edge of meaning. 

Luke: So it’s a little bit like your first gig?

Paul: It is a little bit like that in a way.  My first gig I just made stuff up about fruits.  There are some similarities indeed.  The other day I was performing in the same city as where I had my first ever gig.  Which had been 20 years since my first performance my first gig as a student and it was interesting because clearly, over those years I’ve gained experience and I have changed in some ways, but there was also a sense that after 20 years in comedy, there was also something completely unchanged.  There was an essence in what I was doing that I noticed that had been exactly the same as it had been 20 years ago.  There’s a sort of shambolic, amateurishness to it that was exactly the same.  I’m not a slick comedian.  There’s a sort of silliness, a sort of anarchy to it, a sort of madness to it.

Luke: Like organised chaos.

Paul: Yeah, like organised chaos. And that has stayed exactly the same.  It will always be like that.  

Luke: Are the titles of your shows merely a cunning plan to keep your audiences on their toes?

Paul: What people cannot expect from the show is seeing any reference to Kenny Large.  It was quite funny at one of my shows in Adelaide.  The show had gone really well and there was a man perhaps who was in slightly the wrong place – it wasn’t his sort of night.  And at the end he complained quite angrily that he hadn’t learned anything about Kenny Large and the rest of the audience were just laughing at his complaint. And I was saying, if you wanted to learn something about Kenny Large, you’ve come to the wrong place.  It’s just a cunning attempt.

Luke: Which comedian inspired you to get into comedy?

Paul:  The answer’s none really.  Some have DVDs of their favourite comedians and know everything about comedy.  I’m the opposite.  I’ve never really known much about comedy on the level of who’s doing what.  I know about the mechanics of comedy, how it works, the stage craft and all that stuff that you need to know.  When I did my first gig, I didn’t really understand how comedy worked.  I didn’t even understand at my first gig that comedians that basically prepare jokes.  I just thought that all comedians just got on stage and made it up.  So when I when I did my first gig, I just made up absolute nonsense.  I mean, I quite liked Tommy Cooper who was a real British genius.  Some comedians will say that it was “So and so” who inspired me.  I wasn’t really inspired by anyone and only really went into comedy and show business on a whim. I just thought it could be more interesting than being an accountant or something.  I just do my own thing.

Luke: Nowadays, do you get influenced by any comedians?

Paul: Without being rude, I attempt to not be influenced too much by other comedians.  I don’t watch too much other comedy.  I just do my own thing.  I create as much as possible in an artistic vacuum.

Luke: What has been your most prolific source of new comedic material?

Paul: The stuff I’m doing now is so abstract and so bizarre that, in fact, normal things don’t really provide inspiration.  People often go and find some situation at a party and say, “Hey, are you going to put this in your act?”, or some will say, “Ough, we’re craaaazy. Do you want to put this in your act?”.  Not many comedians are going to use that sort of material because it’s not that interesting.  Not me anyway.  The comedy I do is so ridiculous with it just based on putting together weird words and ideas.  Things do influence it – just not in a direct way.  For example, there may be a word you say in this interview, it may go around my head and it may come out in 15 years’ time in some bit.  But there’s certainly no direct correlation. 

Luke: Can you talk about any upcoming projects on the boil?

Paul: Yes, there are a few TV projects going on in the UK and I shall be making a DVD when I get back in May.  It will be my first proper DVD. 

Luke: In terms of getting some of your material out there via the Internet, do you think the future resides in YouTube or Podcasts.  Or otherwise!

Paul:  Well, I do both.  Both have a different quality.  With Podcasts, you can kind of ramble on because people are probably listening to you while they’re doing other things.  There’s a little more space and time.  However, with videos you tend to be a little more immediate. 

Luke: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on the tube in London?

Paul: The great thing about the tube is that no-one takes any notice of anyone.  Everyone on the tube prides themself on ignoring others.  I think the strangest thing I’ve seen was a man wearing a dress with everyone totally ignoring him.  I guess there are also the times when people have totally ignored buskers or really obnoxious drunk people who were shouting nonsense.  Everyone just pretends they’re not there.  I like the tube.  Anything could happen and no one would notice.

Luke: Okay, besides from planking Korean Harlem shakers, what is your prediction for the World’s next stupid, mindless Internet craze?

Paul: The next Internet craze will be staring.  You’re on the Internet, then I watch you looking at the Internet.  And then someone films me watching you looking at the Internet.  Like an endless mirror.  And then everyone is watching videos of other people watching other people on the Internet.  And then eventually, one day after many years, we discover what you were looking at on the Internet.  And then when we find this out, the Internet ends.  This will be the quest to find the last page of the Internet and it will all spiral in on itself.  That will be the next craze on the Internet.

Paul Foot will be performing his show Kenny Larch is Dead at The Hifi Bar


Paul Foot and Luke Simmons

The Rubberbandits

By Cathy Culliver

The Rubberbandits are a couple of plastic bag-wearing lads from Limerick in Ireland who have become a YouTube sensation with their hilarious but supremely silly songs like “Horse Outside” and “Spastic Hawk”.

Cathy talked to Blindboy Boatclub (real name Dave Chambers) about their upcoming visit to Melbourne and what exactly makes these guys tick.

So what the Rubberbandits are all about?

We wear plastic bags on our heads, and we’re hardcore gangster rappers.

I have to ask, what’s with the plastic bags? My mother always told me it was dangerous to put them on your head.

The way we look at it, the only certainty in life is death. So you may as well put a plastic bag on your head.

Isn’t it also because you want to conceal your identity?

Well there’s a little bit of that as well. I like to go to the shop and buy toilet roll and peas without anyone looking at me. I like to buy peas in peace. And deodorant – I don’t want someone looking at my particular brand of deodorant.

What can Australian audiences expect from your live shows?

It’s like a rave, but if you let a lot of dogs into the rave.

You’re planning on having dogs in your show?

No, just metaphorically speaking. OK, imagine instead of a rave, it’s car. And then you let a dog into the back of the car. And you’ve got your shopping there, and the dog just does its thing in the back of the car.

Well I don’t think I’ve ever heard a comedy show explained in that way, so now I’m definitely intrigued.

Yeah, there’s no way to describe it really. It’s just us with plastic bags on, roaring and shouting, and anything can happen. We nailed Santa Claus to a crucifix once.

So you guys started out doing prank calls in school, and then got your big break when your video for the song ‘Horse Outside” went viral on YouTube, is that right?

Yeah, that was an accident. We just made a video with all our friends, and a TV company paid for it. Then it just got massive. We didn’t try to make it big or anything. It just kind of happened without us wanting it to happen.

What do you think you’d be doing now if that hadn’t happened and you’d never made it big?

Um, I’d own a hot air balloon company.

Has that always been your dream?

Yeah, I’ve always been very passionate about it. But I want to take the art of hot air ballooning and mix it with other disciplines, like being a milkman. I want to be the world’s first hot air balloon milkman. I’d drop the milk with little parachutes on them so they don’t smash outside someone’s doorstep.

How angry would you be if someone beat you to that?

Oh I’d be very, very angry. I think it’s Richard Branson’s next venture. He wants to be the world’s only hot air balloon milkman.

You sing songs about things like owning a disabled hawk, fighting your girlfriend’s dad and the merits of owning a horse instead of a car. Is there anything you wouldn’t sing a song about?

Actually, no. That’s often something I ask myself, “what would I not sing about?” I think I’d sing a song about anything. It’s all about the way that you interpret it.

Will this be your first time in Australia?

No we came over last year and we played in Irish pubs. But this is our first time going over to do the comedy festival.

Those gigs last year were crazy, and we stayed in a brothel in Sydney for a week.

Oh really? What was that like?

It was insane. It was in the middle of Kings Cross in Sydney, and there were prostitutes walking all over the hotel rooms and everything. It was absolute madness.

Oh and in Kings Cross I also saw a dog, and the dog was wearing shoes. And the policeman who was there told me it was so the dog didn’t step on any needles. I’d never seen a dog wearing shoes ever, but in Kings Cross, the dogs wear shoes.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re back here?

I like walking around and seeing wildlife. Last time I was in Melbourne, I went to a park and saw a giant lizard. And then I looked around and there was another lizard. Before I knew it, I found myself surrounded by all these lizards. That was incredible, so I want to try to do that again. I want to get acquainted with more lizards.

Most people say they want to meet a koala.

No, I don’t like koalas. I heard they’re in a perpetual state of flatulence. They just fart all the time and it never stops. It’s a slow cycle of fart. And I heard the fart smells like chemicals because of their exclusive eucalyptus diet. So I don’t want to f**k with koalas. I’d rather have lizards.

That’s fair enough.

Yeah, and I kind of also want to get bitten by a spider just so I can tell people.

Well we could probably sort that out for you. We’ve got a few here.

So if I wanted to get bit, what should I do? I heard the best thing to do was to go outside and put your hand into an old brick or a piece of patio furniture.

Yep, that’ll do it.

What about snakes? Do you have them in the city?

No, you’d probably have to go out into the bush to find those.

Oh. But it would be good if Australian TV decided to syndicate Sex and the City, but then replace all the actresses with snakes and call it Snakes and the City. You could have an anaconda with a blonde wig and a mole on its face like Sarah Jessica Parker. I’d watch it.

That’s brilliant, but unfortunately we don’t have any anacondas. We do have some of the world’s most poisonous snakes here, though.

Oh god. What’s wrong with your animals? Why are they so aggressive and poisonous? Jesus Christ. I mean, you never have that in Ireland. The other day I was walking to the shop and a dog scowled at me. He gave me a dirty look. But that’s the closest I ever came to danger in Ireland with an animal.

A lot of your humour is very Irish-centric. Do you think Australians will get it?

I don’t know. That was one fear we had when we went to Britain, that the British people wouldn’t get it. But they did.

I don’t know a hell of a lot about Australian culture, so I guess we’re going to have to find out when we get to Melbourne.

I think you’ll be fine. Australians and the Irish are pretty similar in their sense of humour.

Well that’s good. If that’s the case then we’ll get on quite good. But you know, in Australia I’m sure people fight people’s fathers, I’m sure you have horses and I’m sure you’ve got retarded birds of prey. We’ll get on fine.

The Rubberbandits are performing at the Hi-Fi from 28th March to 7th April. For tickets and more information, visit:

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:

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:

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…

– 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