The award-winning funny-man has been pretty busy recently, dividing is time between selling out shows during Perth’s 2016 FringeWorld Festival, touring the globe and filming for a new Channel 9 show. This May, he's making time out to return to Brisbane, bringing his hilarious new show ‘100% Chicken Free’ to audiences.
The show is guaranteed to involve neither live nor imaginary chickens. For those game enough to step onstage, Matt fascinates with his incredible ability to toy with people’s minds, sometimes leading to crazy antics and hilarious consequences. Rest assured, however, the show is 100 per cent family-friendly and tasteful.
The international sensation is a self-proclaimed cliché-buster, and no two shows are ever the same. Matt talks about his upcoming shows and travelling around the globe with hypnotism:
What came first, comedy or hypnotism? And, how did you combine them in the beginning?
Professionally, comedy came first, working for many years in radio comedy writing, however I took part in a hypnosis show when I was 21 and was fascinated from that point. Once I started hypnotising people and giving them suggestions to speak in alien and other bizarre things, rather than just suggestion of relaxation, I knew the combination was an entertaining one!
When you first began your act, did you ever think you would have been able to take it this far?
Putting a show together was originally more of a personal goal than a career plan, however very quickly I realised how much people loved the show and how much I enjoyed performing it. It quickly snowballed to the point that suddenly I was being invited to perform both nationally and internationally.
You've certainly had some awesome reviews from just about everyone you come across, even Mike Tyson! How do you react to all the positive feedback?
It’s great knowing that whether watching or taking part in the show, people share my own enthusiasm for the fun modern approach I've developed to this once mysterious art. I love it when people come up and tell me they haven’t seen their partner laugh that much in years. There’s always a fantastic post-show buzz, with people laughing and recounting what they’ve just seen… or even experienced!
And the bad?
I’ve been lucky enough not to have had to worry about that. I think it’s because from the very start I wanted to make sure that anyone who took part would in no way be embarrassed, as I’d seen in shows I’d attended in the past. I want people to feel proud of what they achieve using their minds in a really fun way on stage, and I want the audience at the end to be saying 'damn, I wish I’d volunteered!'
After having quite a lot of success overseas, what have you found is the best part about travelling with your talents?
I get to perform in places, sometimes multiple times a year, that for most may be a once in a lifetime holiday opportunity.
Is there a bad side?
Not really a bad side, but sometimes an 18-hour commute back home from a show including 3 flights, and 3 taxis can knock you around a bit!
You've just started presenting for a new television programme for Channel 9, how are you finding the different line of work?
It’s a great change working with a big team of people (cameras, sound, producers etc.) to make an entertaining piece, and we have a lot of laughs along the way. Being in front of the camera feels like another performance to me, albeit addressing an audience I can’t see at the time.
You’ve got four upcoming shows in Brisbane for the Anywhere Festival, what are you looking forward to about the trip?
It’s a fantastic excuse to spend a decent amount of time in Brisbane where I have a lot of family…and a lot of favourite cafés!
What can audiences expect to take away from the '100% Chicken Free' show?
Well most definitely a night of shared fun and laughter. People regularly tell me how much their stomach aches from laughing. But also a new appreciation and understanding of hypnosis and what you can achieve with your mind.
And the title, please explain?
From the very first day I started introducing myself as a hypnotist, people would constantly tell me 'don’t turn me into a chicken'. So I developed my 100% Chicken Free Guarantee for every show as a bit of fun, and decided to use it for the title of this year’s new show.
What's on your bucket list for 2016?
Looking forward to touring the UK after the Anywhere Festival. Being an avid surfer, hoping that gives me a chance to sneak to Wales to surf the new Wavegarden artificial wave lagoon
Matt Hale performs '100% Chicken Free' at New Globe Theatre 5-15 May as part of Anywhere Festival which runs 5-21 May.