Tony Martin has long had an interest in cult films. A self-confessed movie nerd, a young Tony would harass his parents to drive him around his childhood hometown in New Zealand to libraries and video stores to find VHS copies of obscure films. Tony's taste for cinematic oddities has translated to his long list of television works, including a segment on the early '90s television series ‘The Late Show’ called ‘Undiscovered Masterpieces Of The Cinema’ where he would discuss such gems as ‘Jaws: The Revenge’. Now, Tony has amassed a cult of dedicated comedy fans of his own.
His work is far less obscure than the films he professes a love for. Beginning his comedy career with the influential Melbourne sketch group The D-Generation, Tony has amassed a resume across Australian television, radio, and film as a writer and performer. It was through one such programme which led to his up-coming return to the Brisbane stage.
“I was in Canberra, and I’d done a show there. It was late one night, and I had a few drinks, and I had people on Twitter asking when I was coming to Brisbane. I decided to respond with, ‘Where’s a good venue in Brisbane?’ Pretty much almost immediately, all the [2006-2007 radio programme] ‘Get This’ fans in Brisbane mobilised and found me a venue. It’s been eight years since ‘Get This’ was on, and it seems to be more popular now than when it was on, thanks to podcasts archived on the internet.
“I can virtually not leave my house without someone saying they’ve just started listening to ‘Get This’. I’ve never abused the loyalty of the ‘Get This’ fans because they're always chiming in on Twitter. But, if I hadn’t have had a few drinks I wouldn’t have asked them. Now I’m thinking, ‘Hmmm, what else can I get them to do? Maybe I could get them to build me a beach house?!’”
Despite the long period of time between his last stand-up performance in Brisbane and now, the city does hold a special place for Tony as it was where he first settled upon emigrating from New Zealand. His first job upon arriving in Brisbane was as a copywriter for radio, but his heart was set on getting his voice on the radio to share his comedy. “[I spent my time] trying to develop an Australian accent to get on Brisbane radio. I learnt it all from watching ‘Sons And Daughters’ every day in an attempt to cultivate an Australian accent.” The lessons paid off, landing him a short segment reviewing the news on Friday mornings, and giving him a platform for developing his comedy, along with his first major exposure.
Now returning to Brisbane for the first in a long time, Tony will be bringing his stand-up to the city as part of what he describes as him “blundering my way around the country on a shambolically organised tour.” Having written shows regularly for the Melbourne Fringe Festival, his upcoming Brisbane show will be made up of material from his most recent festival show, ‘The Arse/Elbow Complex’. The major theme of the show is his having recently turned 50, but Tony says fans can expect tales of “disasters I’ve presided over, strange people I’ve met, and unusual notions which have occurred to me... Lots of little things being blown up into enormous proportions.”
Tony Martin performs two shows at Brisbane Arts Theatre on 14 February.