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It’s been a big year for Sydney-born stand-up Steve Hughes.

He kicked off 2012 with his first solo UK tour, Big Issues, and has since taken his comedy to the next level. Now he’s rounding the year off on a victory lap, a revamped version of his topical show.

As we find out when we catch up with him ahead of his London dates, success hasn’t tempered the outspoken comic’s temperament and cynicism towards the modern world – lucky, it’s a minefield for his material.

“Freedom of speech exists within our minds and behind controlled doors,” he rants matter-of-factly. “Did you hear they’re banning ice cream vans now ... because of obesity,” he continues.

“I believe a global catastrophe is coming.” Forthright Steve doesn’t mince his words when addressing the state of the global nation.

He’s a cynic and conspiracy theorist, yet combines this with an everyman-supporting passion for standing up for those who can’t or won’t speak up for themselves.

And Hughes is a contrarian – a heavy-metal playing, dope-smoking polemicist, a campaigner, a pacifist, an anti-globalisation satirist, a common-sense supporter, and that’s just for starters.

It shouldn’t work, but it does, very well indeed.

Hughes came to the UK in the mid-Noughties, finally holing up in Manchester after a stint rooming with top Aussie comic Jim Jefferies in London – seeing a Bill Bailey show in Oz was his inspiration, making him realise he’d have to work with talents of that calibre to improve.

Also because, as he jokes (but not really), many Australian artists need to find success elsewhere before they’re afforded it back home.

“My cultural theories are that they don’t have the infrastructure, in society or within their own consciousness, to accept something unless it’s mainstream, or forced upon them,” he reasons.

“Even AC/DC had to come to Europe and sell millions there before they got recognition back home.”

Hughes, after touring his sold-out show in the UK earlier this year, spent much of the summer performing Issues in Australia, where his star has risen after his UK rung-climbing.

So what’s been getting his goat since he last caught up with TNT?

Well, the British excelled at London 2012, on and off the track; a gunman killed 12 at a US cinema, reigniting the gun control debate; and the US went to the polls to vote for the presidency …

For many, Obama’s re-election was seen as a positive, a concerted ‘no’ to the Republicans’ revisionist stranglehold of the post 9/11 society. Not so for Hughes.

“I don’t believe that people are voted in, they are put in power by secret governments, and the elite people behind them,” he bluntly proclaims.

“Obama is just as evil, if not more so, as [George W] Bush and has carried out more than 300 drone strikes in a year and a half. He’s just a Rothschild Zionist puppet. And so was Mitt Romney.”

So, not pleased with last month’s vote then?

“When you create this psychology of a disposable society, you create this idea of our leaders being the same in the collective psyche. [The Democrats’ campaign slogan] ‘Change we can believe in’ – what does that even mean?

"Armageddon could be change, and who is ‘we’ anyway? The public? Or you and your cronies and your secret society?

“They’re going to create a third world war so they can say that we need to be saved from this damnation and then there will be a singular government monitoring the entire world. That’s why terrorism is better than communism, as anyone can be a terrorist.”

His suspicion is by no means limited to the US, though.


Interview: Aussie comedian Steve Hughes discusses his re-tooled Big Issues show and why he's just as irked as ever
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