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Stand-up Wil Anderson’s a Down Under superstar but yet to break through here. His show in Soho this week is about to change that

“It’s about 60 minutes of the funniest things I can think of, said in a row,” stand-up comedian Wil Anderson tells us somewhat modestly of his new show, GoodWil. Could he be more specific? “I guess it’s also a lot about the culture of feedback and how that can lead to a culture of complaint... but with dick jokes!” Aah, that’s more like it. 

Anderson has always been something of a contrarian, a stand-up equally at ease taking on big issues as he is delving into the filthiest jokes you can think of. He’s a “blokey”-sometimes funnyman, as keen to challenge stereotypes as he is on living up to the matey Aussie one he’s often described as.  

Both a talented comic and very successful too, Anderson has written a new show every year since his 1999 Edinburgh Fringe debut and also enjoys a booming sideline in radio and TV, courtesy of his hosting gig on The Gruen Transfer series and shows on Triple J and Radio Q. He has found fame Down Under but – so far – remained largely under the mainstream radar in this hemisphere. That’s about to change. 

He’s in town for a two-week stint at the Soho Theatre with Goodwil, which comes straight from its Melbourne International Comedy Festival premiere this April, an event at which he’s found great acclaim, nabbing the People’s Choice award three years in a row since 2010.

 “The show features a bunch of stories about things that have been going wrong in my life lately, things that are big to me but small in the context of the world, and I am trying to talk about how you reconcile those things and keep perspective,” Anderson says, adding reassuringly that this won’t be at the expense of phallic-centric giggles.

After all, it wouldn’t be a Wil Anderson show without interspersing the serious themes with a well-placed knob gag. But why does he think we live in such a culture of complaint in the first place?

“The reason is multi-faceted, and partly to do with the ease of complaint,” he explains. “In the old days if you were angry you had to get an envelope, write a letter, buy a stamp and then go to the post office – halfway through you are going to stop being angry. These days you just push a button.” The digital age has brought us instant anger. 

“It’s also a lot to do with the fact we are constantly being asked for feedback,” he continues. “Politics is poll driven, every service call comes with a survey, TV shows run viewer tweets, newspapers have readers’ comments.

"And this brings me to the media – with the growing demand for click-throughs in online media everything has to be sensational, which means everything must be black and white. The world would be a far more reasonable place if we just acknowledged that most issues have their fair share of grey.” 

 


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Interview - Wil Anderson: The Australian superstar comedian brings his new show Good Wil to London
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