Just ahead of the Perth Comedy Festival, SIAN CHOYCE sat down with local Perth comedians Matt Storer and Cameron McLaren for a very funny chat about their upcoming solo festival shows, working together previously and their love for the local comedy scene. McLaren’s show 6056 and Storer’s show Small Talk both play the Regal Theatre, April 29-30.
Thanks for spending some time with X-Press today, we really appreciate it.
M: That’s alright, I really appreciate being here.
C: I am also appreciative (laughs).
Good, good. There’s a nice air of appreciation in the room, always a good start to an interview.
C: Too much appreciation to be honest, I’m gonna dial it back a bit (laughs).
M: Should I appreciate certain people less or just the situation in general?
C: Be more apathetic in general, I think would be better.
M: Alright, I’ll tone it down.
C: Yeah, we’ve been meaning to tell you…this is an enthusiasm intervention (laughs).
M: Is there even an interview? (laughs)
C: This is an elaborate setup to get you the help you need (laughs).
Anyway, we’re here today to talk about the Perth Comedy Festival, which is coming up very soon. You’ve both got individual solo shows this year, but last year for the Perth Fringe Festival, you did a split show together with another comic, Brodi Snook…
M: Wow, was that last year?
C: That was just a year ago.
M: It feels like longer.
C: It does. There’s been a lot of gigs since then. But, that show was awesome. We did our first ever show together (kind of). Well, Matt had already done a solo show. But, we did a show together last year. It was me, Matt and Brodi, and it was dope. Brodi’s a comedian, she’s over in London now doing comedy. It’s was cool beans because you all just get to do 20 minutes each, we each had a killer 20 minutes and it sold really well. It was not a hassle at all, it was fun.
So, do you think that was a better way of ‘dipping your toes’ into the festival experience as a comedian?
M: I think most comedians would agree with that. It’s a good way to ‘moisten your toes’ (laughs) in terms of organising a show and also performing the show.
Of course. People often don’t realise how much organisation and admin goes along with doing a show. They think “oh, you’re a performer. You just get up there and be funny” …
M: Yep. And also there’s trial and error with marketing it. Like how social media marketing works and flyering. Doing a split show is a good way to prepare you for the humiliation of feeling alone doing a solo show (laughs).
So, do you find the solo process a lot lonelier? You said there’s no one to bounce off etc, do you think that makes a big difference?
M: I’d say absolutely more lonely. There’s this kind of feeling when you’re in a split show and you’re not on first (cause I wasn’t on first) and I’d have Brodi and Cam going out first so I’d know by the time I was getting up how I was going to go. Maybe that’s just me sounding like a jerk, but if the show wasn’t going well I could feel like “well, we’re all going down together.” But if they did great it would make me MORE nervous because it’s like the bar’s been set already and you have to keep it there.
C: Yeah, I think that’s more of a worry sometimes. When you’re on a lineup and everyone’s killing, you’re like “great, I’m gonna be the one who sucks.” (laughs)
M: So, there’s pros and cons, but I think definitely think doing a solo show feels lonelier after doing a split show. It’s like “if I suck, I suck alone.”
Would you say you’re enjoying the solo process more than the split show?
C: Yeah, solo show is way better! (laughs)
M: (laughs) Ouch!
C: (laughs) No, I mean the split show was a moment in time in my career and it’s great to be able to have it there. But, I kind of look at it like an apprenticeship. Like, I’ve done my time, I’m ready to do an hour, I can do an hour by myself. The show went well and I was really happy. I think if I did a split bill again, I’d go into it knowing way more than we did before we did our show, like marketing show and stuff. We had no idea going into our show. We were like “ok, we’ve all got 20 minutes, I hope this goes well!” But, it’s a good warm up before doing a solo show because it gives you the confidence to be able to do longer stuff all on your own.
Would you say you’ve written more ‘to a theme’ with your solo shows as opposed to your split show?
M: No. One thing I’ve never really been able to is writing to a theme. Ever. I’ve adjusted for a theme and I’ve built segues between jokes to fit a theme. That’s basically what I did with Afterlife Laughs (the split show). The theme was basically that we were all dead and waiting in purgatory doing standup so I’d say things in between jokes about being dead, but I didn’t really write the jokes to fit the theme. With my solo shows, I basically get all my stuff together, look at it and see if I can find a theme between the jokes and try to weave that together so it resembles a theme.
C: Yeah, same as Matt’s deal. For the 6056 show, I basically looked at all my material and that was the theme that naturally rose out of it. The show’s about me and I realised that a lot of things about me (my silliness, my opinions, my mistakes) I blame on being from Midland.
M: Yep, I think I good way to sum that up would be; the material writes the theme, rather than me deciding the theme.
C: I don’t want to go on record agreeing with such a nerdy thing (laughs) but, yeah. I agree. 100%.
You’ve done musical shows in the past, Matt. Can people expect stand up and music again this time with your show Small Talk?
M: Yes, both will be out (laughs). Both will be out and so will I be, by the end of the show! (laughs). Speaking of Small Talk…
C: I’m gonna give my review write now, you can print this…you ready? “Matt Storer’s Small Talk is BIG talk! 5 stars”
M: That’s going on the poster!
Great review from a colleague there, very nice. You’ve worked together in the past trying to sell the show you were doing together. But this time, you’re up against each other in terms of sales. So, what’s your solo show’s main selling point to try and get people to come to your show over the other person’s show?
M: Oooo, that’s an even more intense question because we’re back to back in the same venue.
C: It is.
M: I thought you were going to ask what we thought GOOD points to sell each other’s shows would be but, we’ve gone the other way! Who will triumph?
C: Look, I’m not gonna rip down Matt’s show, he’s clearly a funny man. But, I would say if you’re going to see one of the shows, see mine. Matt’s clearly gonna make it, ticket sales don’t matter to him. He’s already got the success, just go to my show. Help me get success (laughs). Ok, come to my show cause there’s no singing.
M: Um, that’s not entirely true, mate…
C: Oh yeah, there might be alone or two…
Ok, we’ll finish on a friendlier/less competitive note…There’s a lot of big international names heading across for the festival. Why do you think people should consider coming to see one of our fine local acts over a famous name?
M: Beacuse, you know what’s boring?
C: What’s boring, Matt?
M: A finished product. Come and watch people taking risks and finding their way….(laughs) nah, don’t put that…Here, you know how when people become celebrities and they’re famous and there’s a different way that you see them? Well…we’re just people! People like you who are, you know….(laughs)
C: Um, I’m a professional comedian. My show is polished and tight, you should come and see me because…(laughs)
M: Clearly one of us has confidence and one has talent.
C: It’s the same person, it’s me (laughs). Come get attached before we’re famous (laughs). Support the scene because we’re here for the rest of the year once the festival has gone.
M: You should support local comedy because…we have bills to pay (laughs). But, yeah those other guys might be hot, but we’ll be around long after they’ve gone. We’ll stick around and take care of your comedy babies. I don’t want to be dead beat comedy dad. And yeah, support local produce. How do you know we weren’t grown on a comedy farm in WA somewhere.
C: We’re the Spudshed of comedy!