Controversial Aussie comedian Brendon Burns is back in the UK after starring in an American TV show, and penning a memoir about a magical road trip.
Last time we spoke, you were heading to the US. How has that been working out for you?
I just got back again. I’ve finished the solo run of this show [Y’know Love n God n Metaphysics n’ Shit] at the Unknown Theatre in Hollywood, and it was very well received; they have just invited me back for an extended run in October.
And I’ve made my US TV debut as well, for a showtime series called The Green Room, with Paul Provenza. It’s a bunch of comics sitting around talking about comedy, and it’s unscripted and uncensored. They have tried various shows like this, but invariably the network has stepped in and watered it down. But not this, it’s going to be a hit.
Y’know Love n God n Metaphysics n’ Shit is the show you’re taking to Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this year – what’s it about?
It’s pretty much a comic love letter culminating in a very human need for allegorical…
You know what’s really funny? That if a comic actor gets a serious role in a serious drama, they do nothing but piss about with it and make jokes. But ask a comedian to describe his comedy show, and you could not get a more pretentious answer. So it’s having a swing back at some of the fundamentalist atheism that’s going around.
Are Americans easier to shock?
Absolutely not. Stand-up comedy is a much older art form and genre in the US. They are actually, in many respects,a long way ahead – contrary to what everyone would tell themselves here [in the UK].
You’ve just written your first book, Fear Of Hat Loss In Las Vegas?
It’s a semi-autobiographical novel or road memoir about what happened when Barry [Burns’ friend], his dad, Paul [Provenza] and I went to Vegas – after Barry and I split up with our girlfriends – in pursuit of a photograph while on hallucinogenic mushrooms.
In pursuit of a photograph?
Yeah, we were a bit crazy at the time and I’d had what I thought was a vision, which was me in a photo with the Nevada skyline and the backseat of a convertible. I wanted to go there and take that photo cos I was nuts … There was lots of crystal meth. It’s a bromance book, it was written even before the term was coined.
Are you looking forward to performing in the upside-down cow at Udderbelly?
I’ve been longing to for ages. I think it’s the perfect venue for me, with all those people hanging outside enjoying a pint.
Do you get back to Oz much?
Once a year. I don’t get along with Melbourne very well. Melbourne has a bit of a chip on its shoulder.
I’ve spoken to a lot of guys from the US who have just come back from there and they’re like: ‘What does that town think it is?’. It is just a town, it’s not a world city. I don’t quite understand what they’re basing their egos on. There’s this idea that they’re the epicentre of comedy and I’m like, ‘you’re practising in front of your friends. Come to Edinburgh and you’ll have your arse handed to ya’.
» At E4 Udderbelly, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX Waterloo (0871 663 2501; underbelly.co.uk). May 14 and Jul 15. Udderbelly runs until Jul 18. £15