With sell-out shows last year, these cheeky boundary-pushers are set to follow suit this festival
Last year your show Fear of a Brown Planet Returns was, it’s safe to say, one of the breakout shows of the festival. Selling out every night and having extra shows added is a pretty remarkable achievement by anyone’s standards. Did you see that coming or was it a total surprise?
We were so happy with how the entire season went, and were really fortunate to have had such a great response. Some people have said that political comedy is too niche, or has limited appeal but clearly that’s not true.
Now you’re back with Fear of a Brown Planet Attacks. Has it been difficult compiling 50 minutes of brand new material after such a successful run, or has the generally ridiculous nature of our multiculturalism and immigration debates over the last year meant the material has pretty much written itself?
Yeah, Australia is a gift that just keeps on giving! When you think that surely we could have no more 'debates' about multiculturalism, Muslims, or asylum seekers... just wait five minutes, and a politician or Eddie McGuire will no doubt come to the rescue.
By the very nature of your material you’re always going to be liable to offend the thin-skinned. Are you conscious of this? Do you have subject areas that you just won’t touch?
We don't set out to offend, or be controversial or anything. People who get offended aren't used to listening to anyone's views but their own and it's a comedy show - who gets offended…..at a comedy show?! But yes, we are conscious of this, and each night we tend to get different types of audiences - people who are used to hearing the sorts of things we talk about, and those who aren't. At the start of a lot of shows, there's a lot of sideways glancing as white people look to brown people to see if it's OK to laugh and vice versa. After those first few minutes, there's a lot less pre-thought laughter, and the room is a lot more relaxed.
Duo comedy is an often difficult prospect to manage – how do you two balance each other when writing your shows?
We argue lots, that's how. Also, we both have quite different stage personas, so a lot of the material naturally works better with one of us.
You received the Best Newcomer Award at your first festival back in 2008. How did that change things for you guys as comedians? Was that the point at which you decided that this actually was a viable career path?
We weren't really expecting any award to be honest, so it was a really nice surprise when we did win it. Having an amazing first season certainly did help us make the decision to take comedy seriously. Also having received such great support from the community, as well as other comedians really made us feel like we could actually do this for a long time.
You’re about to appear on the Australian version of the frequently hilarious Balls of Steel. Can you tell us anything about what they had you doing?
Wellllllll...... I'm not really sure what we are or aren't allowed to talk about. But expect to see me going undercover in different roles with hidden cameras and people getting annoyed.
What’s your favourite comedy night in Melbourne outside of Comedy Festival?
Political Asylum - one Sunday a month at the Brunswick Green on Sydney Road where you can see topical political comedy from Melbourne's best political comedians.