Controversial American funny-man Eddie Ifft is returning to Australian shores to talk about how his life has changed since his last visit in ‘Excess Baggage’.
The most common word used when describing Eddie Ifft’s comedy is 'controversy'; often taking on taboo topics and pushing the boundaries of political correctness. With his latest show, Ifft has found a new way to describe himself: family-man. Having recently become a husband and father, Eddie has now found himself becoming protective of his daughter while still tackling topics most would label 'off-limits' – or, at least he is trying to keep her safe.
“Today I had a little traumatic experience. I was clipping [my daughter’s] fingernails, and I cut her,” he remorsefully reflected. “I almost cried! It’s the worst thing I’ve ever done. Hurting my baby is the worst I have ever felt. It was a little cut, and my mother-in-law said, ‘suck it up! Stop being such a pussy!’”
It’s odd to hear Eddie being told not to be upset, especially with his reputation as a comedian who takes on risqué material. On the controversial nature of his style, Eddie didn’t initially seek it; developing over time. “At first [my comedy] wasn’t [edgy]. But then, from my sense of humour, I would get some backlash. I grew up very Catholic, going to church every Sunday. I was told from a young age I couldn’t say certain words. So, I started looking into it – I started questioning everything. And so, I found out that the reasons behind it all were pathetic and childish. And I found it funny that people would follow all these rules but not know why. So I started doing my shows as I felt fit; and the people who challenged me or found me controversial hadn’t done much thought into why they were offended by something I said. I want to teach people to think before they judge.”
His new show “is called ‘Excess Baggage’ because I now have a wife and child. I’ve always been a single-bachelor-comedian whose stories were all about being single, hooking-up, and chasing girls. Now, things have changed a lot. I had to write a whole new show because things are very different now. You know that song ‘All About That Bass’ [by Meaghan Trainor]? Well, now it’s all about the baby.”
It may sound like Eddie has become a doting father, but family-life hasn’t completely dulled the mischievousness Australian. Along with his new life, he plans to cover such topical events as gun control, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the hypocrisies of the ‘Social Justice Warrior’ movement; peppering his show with his observations and taste for the lewd. Having brought a new life into the world hasn’t made Eddie sappy at all, but more protective and widening his vision to analyse more of the absurdities causing chaos in the world.
“I was pretty cynical before. People told me that it will change; having a baby would make me less cynical. Now, I’m more cynical. I’m looking at people, and now I don’t trust anybody. I just want to take my daughter and move to Nepal, and keep her in a Buddhist monastery so that no one can get to her. Everyone’s an idiot, and I don’t trust anyone.”
Along with his stand-up, Ifft is also known for hosting the acclaimed podcast ‘Talkin’ Shit With Eddie’. Originally co-hosted with Australian-comedian Jim Jefferies, the show has amassed an audience of over 250,000 listeners thanks to its humorously filthy discussions on topics from the comedy industry to pornography. After being barred from recording the podcast at home by his wife, Eddie turned the situation around by crowd-funding to purchase a school bus to turn into a travelling podcasting studio, affectionately called ‘The Bingle Bus’.
Eddie's tour of Australia will be short due to a new opportunity arising back in the US: making a television pilot about his adventures travelling in ‘The Bingle Bus’. Not stopping there, he's also working on a series to be made in Australia based in a surf shop run by his character’s long-lost biological father, and his attempts to connect with him. While he has always had a strong work ethic, Ifft credits his newfound productivity to his daughter giving him a metaphorical “strong, swift kick in the ass”.
One thing for certain is Eddie plans to continue exposing the hypocrisies inherent in society through humour; something he feels accomplishes more than the current climate of arguing and public shaming on the internet by those on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum. “I really like to change the perceptions of people. I don’t like to educate people. But, if I can make them look at something in a different way by laughing at something and going, ‘you know, that’s a really good point,’ I really enjoy that.”Eddie Ifft performs The Garden of Unearthly Delights 12 February – 13 March as part of Adelaide Fringe Festival.