Shane Matheson : MICF Interview
Like Salvador Dali, Max Ernst and André Breton before him, Sydney comic Shane Matheson is what I could call a surrealist; though, instead of dripping clocks and hellish orgies, Shane delivers his surrealism in his stand-up comedy.
Nice segue, eh?
Delightfully absurd, charmingly random and merrier than a basket of happy, smiling, happy kittens that are happy, Shane will be performing in not one, oh no, but two Melbourne International Comedy Festival Shows. I decided to learn more about Bombo’s man of many faces. Well, one. But you know what I mean.
How did you get started in this comedy business, then?
I got started by entering Raw Comedy because one of my friends said he’d put my name down if I didn’t do it myself. I dragged about 10 friends to my first gig and amazingly came second in the heat and went to the state final. The rest is history. Or rather, the rest is my lame bio.
Your comedic style is fairly off-the-wall and absurdist. How do you know whether something will work or just die?
I don’t really know if something will work. I like to think, if I think it’s funny, then somebody else will. I never deliberately try and make anything absurdist or weird; it’s just how my mind works.
I tried doing deliberately “normal” stuff early on and it was terrible, I’m not very good at it. Go with your heart. Unless you’ve had a transplant and the person with your heart is doing dick jokes.
Good comedy seems to flow so naturally; how difficult is it to write comedy?
I’ve noticed that the best stuff I come up with isn’t stuff I’ve sat down and written, but things I’ve said to friends that I’ve then turned into a bit. Writing jokes on paper doesn’t always work for me. It’s fine if it’s a blog or something, but [in] spoken word you have a slightly different voice on stage than you do in written form.
Well, I do anyway. My “throwaway” lines often get the biggest laughs. I could make the whole set throwaway lines. That wouldn’t be irritating at all.
Who are your comedy idols?
I guess Shaun Micallef would be my comedy idol right now, although I don’t really worship him in a way that would make God angry and melt down my giant gold statue of him. At festivals, my favourites tend to be the silly stuff like Sam Simmons or Kristen Schaal’s show a couple of years ago which I was obsessed with.
I don’t actually watch a lot of comedy, to be honest. Is that bad? Am I a bad person?
Yes, yes it does. Your comedy is often full of characters; how do these come about?
I don’t actually do many comedy characters. Those I have are generally one-joke characters that are either just stupid voices or impersonations of people I’ve met.
Basically, they’re just nasty caricatures of innocent people. Geez, I am a bad person.
What are you up to in this year’s Comedy Festival and why should I come down to see it?
This year’s festival I’m in the group show “Pedigree Syndicate” at Fad Gallery and also in Ryan Withers’ show “The Lemon-Lime Howzat Fiddle-Dee-Dee Good Time Sub-Human Rotating Spectacular Experience Get-Together Who Knows” at some other venue.
He does indeed mean “The Lemon-Lime Funtacular Occurrence Hour Right On” at Softbelly Bar, but I had to keep that in.
Shane is also performing as part of the “Pedigree Syndicate” group that also features : Ben Ellwood (The Comedy Zone, Melbourne Comedy Festival 2007), The Cloud Girls (Best Newcomer Winners, Sydney Comedy Festival 2010), Ryan Withers (Best Newcomer Nominee, Melbourne Comedy Festival 2010). Nick Capper (Comedy Store’s ‘Young Guns’ showcase, Adelaide Fringe 2010) and Eric Hutton (Stand Up Australia, The Comedy Channel).