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May 8, 2017 | by  | in Podcasts |
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Podcast: Interview with Eli Matthewson

Eli Matthewson is a stand-up comedian and actor. He has been nominated for the Billy T Award, and appears in Funny Girls and Jono and Ben. Eli also hosts the podcast The Male Gayz with Chris Parker

 

Hi Eli, thanks for talking to Salient today! You’re bringing your show The Year of Magical Fucking to Wellington in May, what can audiences expect to see?

The idea of the show is a call to arms — studies show that millennials are having less sex than their parents, which I think is ridiculous, giving baby boomers one more thing to brag about! So I’ve written this show, with lots of dirty jokes, lots of jokes about sex, but also lots of very awkward stories from my life which hopefully come together to form a sex-positive hour of comedy.

 

I saw your show Faith in 2015, which was about your religious upbringing, and I believe your show Disney Prince Reimagined as a Comedy Legend last year was more sketch and character driven. By the sounds of it, your show this year is more personal — what are the differences between crafting those types of shows? Is one kind easier?

They both have their own challenges. It’s very hard to do a whole show that’s just stand-up, just you talking the whole time. What I’ve tried to do with this show is make it a journey that’s going somewhere, even though it’s just me talking into a microphone. With sketch, you have an added advantage that you can throw some lights in there, some costumes, so it feels like the show is moving the whole time. Sketch is still very hard though because it’s just two or three minute bits, and you’re trying to get across what’s funny very quickly.

 

How did you get into stand-up comedy? You’re from Christchurch — is there a stand-up scene there?

There kind of is now, but there definitely wasn’t when I was there. I didn’t really start until I was in Auckland. I moved to Auckland to go to drama school there, and there was a guy in my class doing stand-up — James Roque, who is very funny — and we’d be hanging out talking about stand-up, and then I went to one of his gigs and he was like”you should try it.” Every lunch-time we’d get together and then I started writing some jokes, then after I graduated from uni that ended up being my main jam.

 

I feel like NZ comedy has grown exponentially in the last few years – as someone in the industry, what would you like to see to improve it even more?

[I’m] always ready to see more diverse voices, some non-white male voices, and I’d love it if we had some more weird gigs.  Especially in Auckland, where the gigs are more rowdy, whereas in Melbourne you get more of a comedy educated crowd, so you can try and do things that are a bit different, a bit left of centre. More weird gigs, that would be fun.

 

Do you think that New Zealand audiences are perhaps not as versed in stand-up comedy as in Melbourne?

Yeah, I just think they haven’t seen as much; every gig you do in New Zealand, you’ve got probably 25 per cent of the audience who haven’t seen stand-up before, so they’re learning what the rules are as it happens. Especially here, they have a late show every night of the festival at 11pm, so there are people that are actively seeking out an 11pm show on a Tuesday, and there’s a different vibe at those gigs.

 

You’ve also been writing and acting in Funny Girls, which is such a fantastic show! It’s been funded for a third season by NZ On Air — any idea when the show will be back on our screens?

Oh, don’t know if I can say! But it will be happening at some point!

 

You and Chris Parker host the podcast The Male Gayz. It’s so funny and your friendship with Chris really shines through. Can you tell me a bit about the show, and how it originated?

Both me and Chris work on Jono and Ben, which is cool, but sometimes you’re just churning out jokes and sketches, and we just wanted to write our kinds of jokes and talk about our kinds of stories instead, issues that we deal with — instead of the average male 25-30 or whatever the demographic is. And then Chris came up with the name, and I wrote the theme song with Joseph Moore, and we were away!

 

You guys discuss a really wide variety of things, for instance in the last episode you went from outrage at small town homophobia to outrage at crap small town cafes. How much preparation goes into the show?

It depends; we usually prepare a few things, but often in the car right there brainstorming! There have been some episodes when we’re a little bit more prepared, but it’s usually half an hour before the record is meant to be happening. Devastatingly, we recorded an episode with my ex-girlfriend Brynley Stent, who is also doing a show in the comedy fest, where we really delved into our past relationship and then it turned out her microphone was off the whole time, so there’s this really good episode that’s just lost forever!

 

You’re part of a growing number of NZ stand-ups with podcasts; why do you think hosting a podcast is so popular?

I think it’s a good vehicle to gain a different kind of audience, because you’re appealing to a different kind of person as opposed to those who actively seek out live shows. Also, it’s good for comedians to have a deadline to create some material. Me and Chris meet up every week, so every week we’re thinking of stories we can tell, or moments in our lives or observations we’ve had, and it develops a good work ethic.

 

What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects our readers would like to hear about?

Funny Girls season three will be coming out, and more podcasts; we’re going to re-record the one with Brynley Stent. My show is the main thing I’m focusing on, here in Melbourne I’m trying to rewrite it every night and make it better, so when I come to Wellington it’s going to be solid!

 

Eli is performing his show The Year of Magical Fucking at the Fringe Bar from May 9-13 at 8:30pm.

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