Have you spent all of your 15 years in Australia in Sydney? I used to run a DJ training school which was called DJ Boot Camp and we ran classes in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney. Everywhere but Perth, Cairns and Alice Springs.
What’s your favourite place? The neatest would have to be Canberra. The most laid back is Adelaide. I like Melbourne culture-wise because of the fashion and the styles but I just don’t like the weather.
How did you get into comedy? I did comedy when I was 14-and-a-half. I started in Las Vegas, which was my home town. In Las Vegas, no matter what your age is, once you’re on stage, you’re considered an entertainer so the drinking laws didn’t apply. That was the way I was able to do it.
Were you funny as a kid? My family seems to think so. I think I was always somewhat of a jokester in school.
Did you always want to be a comic? I wanted to be a police officer. My father was one of the first African-American police officers in Las Vegas. I used to see him in his uniform and all that stuff and I always thought it was impressive. But then he was killed, so that sort of detoured my police officer route.
And you’ve also got a DJ background? I started DJing about 28 years ago and grew up with guys like Grandmaster Flash. I was really close to him. And old school guys like Kurtis Blow, The Sugarhill Gang and Fat Boys. I worked at a radio station and Run DMC, all these guys, used to show up. We’d hang out, drive around in my Cadillac. My DJing actually started on radio and then I started MCing for fights for Evander Holyfield and Sugar Ray Leonard, things like that.
Any advice for budding comics? I would tell them to work the worst rooms they possibly can. If you’re standing on a milk crate with a microphone and there’s people gambling, playing pool, and watching footy while you’re telling jokes, they’re the worst rooms but they make you the best comics because they make you tough. If you can withstand that, you can withstand anything.
Any bad hecklers? You always get hecklers but the one thing I learned immediately is that you have to be able to bounce back, immediately. As soon as they jump on you, you got to jump back on them. And you find that you get most of your laughs from putting down the hecklers and you end up coming up with new material. But advice I give my students is have yourself ready in case somebody jumps in, immediately. That’s going to be the first thing that’ll throw you off, if you’re not ready for it, it’ll throw your whole show off.
How do you find Australian humour? I find with a lot of Australian comics, there’s a few that are exceptional, I find most of them are what we call “assembly line” comics and we have them in America where they just get up and tell jokes, they don’t do impressions, they don’t do voiceovers, they just get up and say, “My girlfriend’s this, my girlfriend’s that.” Comics have been doing that for 50 years.
Who are your three favourite comics? Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby and George Carlin.
Which English-speaking country do you think has the best humour? I’d have to say Australia. I’ve watched a lot of English comics and to me their humour is very dry. Australians are a little bit looser with their delivery and they’re a little bit more flexible in their understanding.