Thirty years ago, a bloke called Jeff Green was studying chemical engineering; now, he's a comedy sensation that Australia has adopted as our own hilarious bastard son.
In three decades of making people laugh (or offending their delicate sensibilities) Jeff has seen it all, done it all and more than likely made a joke about it.
“I've dealt with Nelson Mandela coming out of prison, I've dealt with the death of Princess Diana, I've dealt with the Port Arthur massacre when I was in Tasmania on my first-ever tour to Australia, 9/11,” Jeff says.
“I've done shows after very, very tragic events just because that was the nature of it. Often those things stick out because they're really tricky in knowing how to pitch yourself and how to do things.”
Over this time Jeff has also witnessed how comedy has changed and morphed with the encroaching culture of ultra political correctness that he says stifles the freedom of expression for comedians.
“When I started in the UK it was very left-wing and it was very politically correct,” he says.
“Then it swung in completely in the opposite direction where it became a complete free-for-all – anything goes and very libertarian, to the point where you get people like Jimmy Carr and you could absolutely say what you want. In fact when I started you couldn't say 'c***'; if you said 'c***' on-stage The Comedy Store in London would ban you. Now I think you've got to say it otherwise you don't get rebooked.”
Jeff goes on to say he is one of many comedians who is concerned about the censorship of their craft and the policing of language that restricts what they can and can't say.
“Comedy requires a bit more free thinking and not having to second-guess yourself that you don't say the wrong thing and it gets put on YouTube and you get slaughtered and then you lose your career, which is an extreme version but that's what comedians are concerned about. We should be entitled to free speech, and we should be entitled to get it wrong and not be hanged for it.”
To celebrate Jeff's 30-year milestone, he will be presenting his newest solo stand-up show '30' featuring all-new material that recounts his life in laughter.
“I'm not looking back at my material or anything like that,” he says.
“It will all be fresh and new material, so I'm not doing the greatest hits, even though it's very tempting. I just want to talk to them about some of the milestones that happened during the 30 years of doing stand-up and comparing what is was like when I started to how it is now, and some of the issues that have come up.”
After 30 years in comedy, you might think Jeff is ready to call it a day but nothing could be farther than the truth as he looks forward to making folks laugh for as long as they'll come to see him.
“I feel like I'm only just growing out of my adolescence,” he says. “That was one of the key things for me to think about, that maybe there's something in this 30-year career that for most of us would be the end but for stand-up comics, I'm still learning. I still learn all the time, on stage, new tricks and techniques for being a good stand-up.”
Jeff Green Tour Dates
15 February-3 March – Rhino Room (Adelaide Fringe)9-11 March – Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane Comedy Festival)29 March-22 April – Swiss Club and Melbourne Town Hall (Melbourne Comedy Festival)11 May – Factory Theatre (Sydney Comedy Festival)