A much-loved feature of the Australian stand-up comedy scene for nigh-on two decades, Wil has become a household name due in no small part to his razor-sharp, quick-fire wit and acerbic sense of humour.
In recent years, he's become the familiar face of the 'Gruen' programme on ABC TV and now he returns to the stage for a new show of stand-up comedy entitled 'Critically Wil'.
Tell us about your new show, 'Critically Wil’?
When I am answering these questions, you probably know more about what 'Critically Wil' might be about than I do. All I can tell you is that it will be 60, 70 minutes of the funniest stuff I can think of said in a row with pauses for laughter and drinking.
What can audiences expect from these shows?
Sadly, I have no control over people’s expectations. They might come to the show thinking it might be like 'Gruen' and spend the whole time wondering when Todd and Russel turn up. If you come from the podcasts you might wonder why I seem so sober. Some nights I don’t know what to expect, but I hope it will be the funniest and most interesting thing that I have done. Well, that’s what I am aiming for anyway. That still might not make the people happy who expected I was the guy from 'Spicks And Specks'.
Are there any other acts you hope to see at 2017 Adelaide Fringe?
I am going to see as many shows as possible at The Rhino Room. This room is not just an Adelaide institution, but an Australian comedy institution and I have had some of the best shows and nights of my life there. It is a shame it is being replaced by apartments. It feels like a real loss to the heart of Adelaide, so I am going to help send it out in style.
You seem to have a new stand-up show (or two) every year. Are you constantly working on new material and jokes?
I have a hideous mortgage and no other skills, so I try to write a brand new show every year so I can keep touring and don’t have to go back to the dairy farm. The cows don’t clap when you start to milk them. And you certainly can’t send a new farmer out to warm them up for you first.
The 'Gruen' series of shows has remained hugely popular, consistently beating out reality shows like 'X Factor' and 'The Bachelorette'. In your mind, why have the 'Gruen' shows been so successful?
I could give you a million theories but all of them would probably be wrong. We just try to make the show the best way we can and hope that people like it. But I think if you try to pick it apart you often can’t put it back together. It’s often not one thing that makes something work, but a perfect storm of smaller things.
At this stage, what is the future of ‘Gruen'?
We never make a decision about the show until several months after a season ends. We like some time to reflect on whether we are still enjoying it, whether the audience is still enjoying it and most importantly whether we think we can still tell our story in a more entertaining and compelling way. If we think that is the case, then the really hard part starts because we all have day jobs. We have to work out when I am not doing stand-up in another country, Russel isn’t running a competing network and Todd isn’t training with the French Foreign Legion or something.
Are there any new projects you're working on?
I have a bunch of podcasts, some of which I have been neglecting because I have been so busy that I want to get back into. There is my main show 'TOFOP' with Charlie Clausen and our AFL football podcasts '2 Guys 1 Cup', which have taken a lot of time this year. I am hoping in the next couple of months to spend more time with my other two shows 'Wilosophy' and 'FOFOP'.
On a serious note, you've been a vocal proponent of medicinal marijuana. How do you feel now that is has become legalised in Australia?
It’s a long way from being legalised in any real sense here, but I think it’s a good start.
When do you think you'll run out of puns for your name?
I have a folder where I jot them down when someone suggests one or a new one pops into my head. I think I have about 40 still I haven’t used, so I definitely have more show names left in me than I have shows.
Wil Anderson Shows20-25 Feb - Canberra Theatre Centre
6-19 Mar - The Vagabond @ Garden Of Unearthly Delights (Adelaide)
24-26 Mar - Brisbane Comedy Festival 28 Mar - Spiegeltent Hobart
29 Mar-23 Apr - The Comedy Theatre (Melbourne)
15, 22 Apr - Arts Centre Melbourne