Steele Saunders : Comedy Interview
Steele Saunders is one of the hardest working comics in Melbourne and has performed across the nation with some of the best comedians both in Australia and in the World.
He also runs Australia’s premiere Stand-Up comedy open mic night every Monday of the year at the Spleen Bar in the heart of Melbourne in between recording his podcast “This May Be Of Interest”.
WATCH OUT FOR | COMEDY chats with the master storyteller as he returns to Melbourne’s shores to launch his latest live show for the 2011 Melbourne Comedy Festival, it’s a tale of a man who had two secrets: he was in love with a girl and desperately wanted to be a stand-up comedian.
What’s your favourite gag of the show?
I’m not much of a one line joke type of guy… but did you know hipster tweeters call dusk #sunlightfail. The show is a group of stories around meeting my girlfriend and starting stand up.
What’s your favourite gag (yours or someone else’s) of all time?
Wow that’s tough, David Cross’s “Shut Up You Fucking Baby” is a double disk of favourites.
You are also one of the guys behind Comedy @ Spleen bar – how did that come about?
The show has been running for a while and was not doing too well for crowds. The owner wanted to change who was running it and approached Karl Chandler about it and he teamed up with Peter Sharkey and me to do it.
It sucked the first week so bad, we were “this is too depressing to go to every week if it sucks… we have to make this really good fast”. Since then it’s just gotten better and better, it’s really lively fun night that’s rarely not packed out.
The crowds are so good we get some huge names coming down to run new material, guys like Jimoen, Tom Gleeson, Charlie Pickering and Peter Helliar, plus internationals like Des Bishop, Jamie Kilstein and Todd Barry.
With ever the growing crowd numbers – you’re kind of like the Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams of comedy “If you build it, they will come”…
Hell no. The “If you build it they will come” attitude has been the death of many a comedy room. If you build it… then promote it as much as possible, then make sure you have great acts… they will come.
Do you think the live comedy scene is stronger now, thanks to YouTube and the nature of Viral Videos, than it was in the 90s (compared to the 80s even, when comedy clubs started to emerge?)
From what I know, the comedy is better now – but the crowd numbers and opportunities seem to have been better back then. Keep in mind that I have no idea.
We love our Viral Videos at WATCH OUT FOR | COMEDY, Do you have any particular favourite internet viral videos at the moment?
That “Hide Your Kids… Hide Your Wife” one – that was incredible. But for all time, Youtube search “Mr Show” and be bathed in genius.
What’s the biggest comedy “No No” you’ve learned over your career?
Not being funny seems to be frowned upon.
Is there an art to telling a Joke?
Yes. But on the other side of the coin there are people that are just funny without telling a joke.
Will you be trying to catch any other shows at the fest this year?
Yeah I’m going to Michael Connell’s show but will be listening to a recording of my show on my iPod while I’m in there… can’t wait!
Who is your harshest critic – will you win them over with your Fringe show?
Karl Chandler… I have little to no chance of winning him over.
Who are your comedy idols?
What’s your stance on “Clever” vs “Lowest Common Denominator”? Is funny funny no matter what audience you reach?
FUNNY IS FUNNY. Look at Justin Hamilton or Tom Gleeson… they kill anywhere.
Finally – a question we ask everyone – if you were about to die a horrible graphic history making death and the last words you heard was someone yelling out to save you…
What would you like this unfinished sentence to say “STEELE, WATCH OUT FOR…..???
“… That loose light fixture above where you’ll be on stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater”.