Hi Darren, how are you today?
Good, just driving down the road to my next show.
When and how did you first get started in comedy?
When I was a kid. You don’t realise where you’re going to end up, but if you look back at photographs when you’re playing dress up and being a bit of a smart ass… which may be the natural progression for a comedian. Then when I was 21, I travelled around the world, London and the States. In Los Angeles I used to sit and watch comedy at the Laugh Factory. When I travelled I always had a lot of stuff written down but never had the
guts to get up and do it until I got back to Australia. I got up and it all went well. That was about 17 years ago.
So you’re a global traveller. Where is your favourite place in the world?
The Laugh Garage, haha, because we are in the city and we get different cultures like the Americans and the English. Best place in the world? They’re all different. It snowed a lot at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, when I was there. That was too cold so I moved to America and that was great. I did some acting for a while when I was in Los Angeles. I got a few small roles in some smaller movies like Lethal Weapon 3.
You’re from Sydney. What do you enjoy doing in the city with your free time?
AFL Football has always been a favourite. It’s two hours where a guy can get away
and have a couple beers and forget about everything else that’s going on. So I’ve always liked that.
Have you had many tricky moments when performing?
I think as you get older you realise there are different variables in comedy. The bad gigs happen when you’re just stuck up in a corner of a pub with TV screens and football on; no microphone and no lights and people want you to be funny. It’s like a pilot trying to fly a plane without an engine. That’s why I opened my own club, so no one can have a bad gig.
That’s a big move…
For one, I wanted to be a professional comedian and there didn’t seem to be enough professional venues around. That was the main reason. I got together with another comedian, Tony Bailey, and we discussed opening a club. We had trial runs in pubs but we named it the Laugh Garage once we knew we could take it places. It’s taken a while to get there but the plans have been on the table for a long time.
Now that you have your own club, you could put yourself on every night. Do you still perform?
Not around Sydney that much. Not too many places will employ me [because I’m a competitor]. But I do a lot of corporate work and interstate work as well as international work.
What’s it like being on the business side of comedy?
It’s much easier being a comic, where you can just whinge to everybody. Now everyone is whingeing to me. It is hard because you have to still try to run a business, but my main love is being on stage, doing gags and getting laughs. That’s the real rush.
What is in the works for you currently?
In Australia there are just-as-funny or funnier guys that aren’t on TV or radio, but don’t get the breaks. So I just keep plugging along. I did a TV show last year with another comedian and we won the Best Comedy Show in Melbourne. I also have a movie script that I’m working on currently. It’s been in the works for years but I would really like to push that as my next project.
Any advice for up and coming young comedians?
Time. Time is the biggest thing. Stage time, time in general. The longer you’re in
it the better you’re going to be. And don’t expect to get paid for a long time. Stick to time when you do get time on stage. Don’t go over. Respect too, you need to respect the history of comedy in this country, especially the stand up comedians.
The Laugh Garage has comedians on every week Tuesday-Saturday and tix are cheap. More info at www.thelaughgarage.com