Behind the laughter with Udderbelly stars Wil Anderson and Milton Jones

Behind the laughter with Udderbelly stars Wil Anderson and Milton Jones

Udderbelly's bringing in several comedians from around the world, and we talk to Wil Anderson, one of Australia's most popular stand-up comedians; and Milton Jones, the British master of one-liners


Will Anderson will perform Jan 6-7.

Does being funny help you stay positive when things don't go well?

I have osteoarthritis in both my hips, which is unusual for people of my age. It does mean that [I suffer] when I come out from a long flight. If I am being carried off the plane, that's not because I've [drunk too much alcohol], but because my hips have seized up. When you're a comedian though, every time something bad happens to you, you immediately know there's going to be material.

What advice would you give to students with a lot of study pressure?

I was the first person in my family to graduate in a course at university, and now I tell jokes to strangers. No one's ever yelled out: "Show us your degree!" Find your passion, and you will work on it every day but it won't feel like work.

My parents are farmers so basically I discovered that I didn't want to wake up at four o'clock in the morning and milk cows. I saw Billy Connolly when I was 17 years old. That changed my life. I remember listening to 3,000 people laughing for hours and thought it was the greatest thing I'd ever been involved in.

If you could put two people in a fight, who would they be and who would win?

The two most peaceful people: Dalai Lama and the Queen. The Dalai Lama would be unprepared; he's just too spiritual, and he might trip on his robe. The Queen - she's got that sharp crown. And she probably has really firm wrists from all that royal waving.

What's the one thing you would change about the world?

[Make] everybody leave five minutes earlier to get somewhere. I honestly believe that one reason the world is constantly so angry is that we're all rushed and everybody is in everybody else's way.

Milton Jones will be performing on January 8-10.

Do your jokes come naturally or does it take you a long time to craft them?

Both. Some jokes I've been working on for years but others, three minutes. I see a theatre filling with people who have paid money and suddenly my mind begins to work very quickly. Sometimes you have an idea but it takes some time to get the exact wording. The surprise needs to be at the end.

How did comedy start for you?

I wanted to be an actor, but nobody else wanted me to be an actor. So I had no job.

Stand-up comedy is something you can do if you are prepared to do it. I started doing that and became more successful. Now I prefer it, because I'm in control of everything: what I say and where I go. And it's just me. It doesn't matter if I forget something, I can just say something else. There's also a lot of opportunity in television and radio and touring.

Were you naturally funny growing up?

Yes, but I didn't know why. People laughed at me. They bullied me. I'm naturally clumsy so I'm always falling over or bumping into things. So I just exaggerated it a little. Eventually I kept on doing it and now those people who laughed at me are sorry because I'm earning money from it.

What's your advice to Hong Kong teens who feel stressed out?

Take one day off a week and do no work at all. If you sow too many crops in a field it eventually becomes exhausted.

Travel, so that you see your life is more than just work.

And also learn to juggle. Literally. It helps you be more creative. When you have a problem and you do something physical, it relaxes your brain and problems become easier to solve.

What's your favourite one-liner?

I was walking along the other day and on the road I saw a small dead baby ghost. Thinking about it, it might have been a handkerchief.

If an alien came to Earth, how would you introduce our planet?

I'd get him to watch Star Trek.

What advice do you have for our readers who are interested in becoming a stand-up comedian?

Don't do it because then you'll take my job away.

For more details, visit the Udderbelly website.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
The blokes who write the jokes


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