Ben French, aka YouTube comedian Frenchy, has been doing stand-up for seven years, collecting a slew of awards along the way.
Finalist with Triple J RAW Comedy, Pickled Comedy & Comedy Court, the jewel in Frenchy's crown is his YouTube channel, SungaAttack. In 2013, he created the YouTube channel that today has nearly 200,000 subscribers and 30 million views. In 2015 his debut season at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival sold out. What made you want to do comedy?
I used to be a teacher and I hate waking up early, so I pretty much wanted a job where I could sleep in. I also wanted to get laid and thought comedy would help. Still haven’t gotten there yet, but fingers crossed this is the year!Personally, I think your stand-up differs a bit from your YouTube videos in that your previous stand-up is more mild and observational than your videos. Why is this, and do you do this on purpose?
I’ve never heard of my stand-up being described as ‘mild’ before. Usually the quote that gets used on my posters/ articles: ‘crude, rude and lewd’. I like doing both YouTube and stand-up as each form of comedy lets me do different things that wouldn’t work as well in the other. I like stand-up because I can be more rogue and ‘spur-of-the-moment’ for my comedy; I love talking to the crowd and doing a bit of improv. If I was an audience member for my show I wouldn’t sit in the front row!
Why do you think people connect to the things you make light of in your videos eg. the Friendzone, drinking games, Tindr?
I do this on purpose as I try to make most of my videos as relatable as possible, but also with an odd, Frenchy-style spin on these everyday topics. You want people to laugh, but also go 'that’s so true'.Did you ever think the song 'Friendzone' (with Zach Gervaise) would be as popular and successful as it has become?
Not at all. We honestly put it on iTunes for the lols. We thought it’d be funny if it got on the charts, then when it got to #26 it made our week. I’m still laughing thinking about it to be honest.
What have you learnt from working with Neel (Kolhatkar), Emily (White) and the Roundabout crew?
I love how everyone has their own, unique style. Neel, Emily and The Roundabout Crew all bring something awesome to the vids. Every time I do a collaboration I know it’s going to be better than if it was just me doing a video. Emily isn’t a YouTuber, but has some of the best comic timing I have ever seen. I’m hoping she quits her job so she can film with me again!Who are your top 5 comedians?
Arj Barker, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Jim Jefferies, Carl Barron.What is your favourite special of any comedian?
What was performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival like?
EPIC! So much fun. I did 26 shows in 27 nights so it was tiring, but I had a great time. The stage time and tough crowds helped me become a way better comic. I frothed out on Edinburgh 'cause it was where ‘Harry Potter’ was written, so was getting my wizard on the whole month.What should audiences expect from you at Live & Lanky?
Jokes, stories, songs and laughs. I’ve done this show so many times that I’ve cut all the shit bits and it’s just gold left. I purposely keep all my best jokes and concepts for my live show, so I’m always very excited to perform it.What are you most looking forward to about the Adelaide Fringe?
Hitting Red Square every night.Do you have any plans to expand Frenchy into other areas?
Yep! Aside from getting into TV and movies, I’ve got big plans for Frenchy music but we’ll see what happens ;)
Fri 6 Nov - Arts Centre Gold CoastSat 14 Nov - Comedy Store (Sydney)Fri 20 Nov - UC Refectory (Canberra)Sat 21 Nov - Wests City (Newcastle)Fri 20 Feb - Adelaide FringeSat 21 Feb - Adelaide Fringe