Wil Anderson 'I feel like we are in the Witness Relocation Program'
Tim Clark8 June 2012
As Australian comic Wil Anderson returns to the UK this week for a rare run of gigs at the Underbelly SSP catches up with him to ask whether there is a pun he hasn't used yet, and the best comedy gigs in London.
This is your 17 th show, what made you come back for more stand-up?
Mostly the fact that I have a hideous mortgage and no other skills. Plus the thing I do love about stand-up is you can drink while you work which they don’t let you do if you are a pilot (with the possible exception of RyanAir).
What's the show about this year?
The show is about 70 minutes of the funniest things I can think of, said in a row, with appropriate pauses for laughter.
What are the best puns for shows on your name that you haven't used yet?
Hmmm, I don’t know about best, but some of the others that are on the list that I have got to (or may never get to) include: Where’s Willy?; Free Wil; Triumph Of The Wil; WILF; Wilanthropy; and the one that is normally suggested by people who are sick of the puns: Last Wil andTestament.
Moving from being a huge media star in Australia to the UK ‘ what is the shift of mindset like?
I consider myself a stand-up first and foremost, so to be honest I don’t really have to change the mindset at all. That is always the life of a stand-up. It’s varied. Big gigs, small gigs, you’re own show, a spot in someone’s else’s show, it’s all exactly the same mindset every night, go out there and try to share a laugh with people.
What are the best shows and nights in London/Edinburgh you'd like to get reacquainted with?
My favourite gig in London is Old Rope. It’s a wonderful gig where you get to see comedians try material, and if they do old stuff they have to hold the noose hanging on stage. I dropped in the other night, and got to see Phil Nichol, Tiffany Stevenson, Rich Hall, Mike Wilmot, Tony Law, Riosin Conaty and a bunch of others for 7 quid.
I think the best show in the world at the moment for comedians is The Set List. Comedians go onstage with no material and they see the topics of their ‘set-list’ appear on stage at the same time the audience does. It’s amazing. As the host Paul Provenza says: ‘It’s like watching magicians do real magic’
You've said you're trying to crack America, how is that going so far?
I live part of my year in America, but I don’t really have any particular plans to ‘crack it’. I really like the life and career I have in Australia, but I also get to go to the US and work with people I dig, and learn from them. Also I find that when I come back from months of driving two hours to do a 7-minute spot in front of people who don’t know me, my stand-up always goes up a level. For me that’s the most important thing, to get better as a stand-up, and that’s what the road teaches you.
What's the biggest gig, and what's the most showbizzy LA moment you've found yourself in so far...
Well I guess for most people it would be the talkshows? I have done Chelsea Lately a bit and a couple of other things, but for me it’s more just getting to sit backstage at gigs with Patton Oswalt and Sarah Silverman and Louis CK and people like that and watch them work and try and learn from them.
Gruen Transfer/Nation/Planet: does doing the show make it difficult to deal with PRs?
The show makes it difficult to remember what the name of the show is mostly. Sometimes I feel like we are in the Witness Relocation Program.
Is it something you could bring elements of to the UK or the US?
I am not someone who likes to repeat myself (have I mentioned that already?) so if there was ever an opportunity to do something in the US or UK I would hope it would be something that people enjoy as much as Gruen, but it would definitely be something different.
Wil Anderson is performing at The Underbelly Southbank on Saturday 9 June for more information visit the Underbelly website.
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