Prepare for the loopiness of a new planet as Andy Zaltzman takes to Australian stages this month, for the cheeky mixture of a Brit's perspective of the current state of Australian politics and a few lashings of sport to top it off.
This April will be his third tour to Australia visiting from London and he’s excited to be back again after a rather... ahhh... Engaging show in Sydney at the Cricket World Cup. “I was there working for a cricket website during the World Cup two years ago and did a few stand-up things while I was travelling around. There was much of a mixture of global politics and cricket last time and people seemed to react quite well to that, to the extent where audience members were providing me with score updates during the show whilst I was on stage during one of the semi-finals… Fond memories of performing in Sydney,” Andy says.
He says the first time he gave comedy ‘a brief go’ was at Oxford University where he was studying Classic, but soon gave it up for a couple of years after doing a deeply harrowing open mic spot at the Edinburgh Festival. “I guess I’d always been interested in watching comedy when I was growing up and first getting into comedy, so it was always what I wanted to do… It took me a couple of years at the start of my stand-up career before I actually had the balls to do it and then a bit longer to actually get good at it,” Andy says.
“Then I had another go and it sort of just gradually became what I did for a living slightly by accident… It’s a great job, if job is the right word, which it clearly isn’t.”
Andy says that it’s always been political comedy that he’s found the most interesting, but also his very few attempts at observational comedy proved to not be his strongest suit and thought he was best sticking to his politics and sport, which funnily enough, had nothing to do with his university degree. “I studied Classic, so Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, which might not seem like the ideal grounding for stand-up,” Andy laughs, “I studied the Ancient Greek comedy and people are still laughing at the same things now as they were 2,500 years ago with a mixture of political satire and dick jokes… I don’t think we’ve moved on comedically as a species.”
Although he says he wouldn’t call comedy his purpose, Andy certainly enjoys the life of a comedian and has great support from his wife, which he says is not ideal for comedic material.
“I guess it’s the thing I get most enjoyment from, most rewarding outside my family I suppose… I have to say that in case they read it, whether I mean it or not is up for your readers to interpret,” Andy says.
“Essentially most comedians are living an extended adolescence… It is one of the greatest careers for postponing the grown up world I guess, I think that’s why most of us go into it.”
Andy Zaltzman plays Melbourne Town Hall until 23 April, and the Comedy Store in Sydney from 24-27 April.