Lawrence, what’s your show Beginning Middle End about?
I think everybody has a story to tell, so I decided to do a show about why good stories grab us, about urban myths, hoaxes, and also covering things that have happened to me.
What inspired it?
I was on the internet looking at cat videos and I accidentally Googled myself and I stumbled across – this is really disturbing – erotic fan fiction about myself. Everyone has a story to tell, but this person’s story had to be about me.
Er, what exactly happens in this story?
I’m going to read the story out on stage. But um… I transform into something. It’s probably the most disturbing thing I’ve ever read.
Is there a community of Lawrence Leung fan fiction writers out there?
As far as I know this is the only one. So after reading that I set up all these hoax stories on the internet, which are getting a lot of hits because people think they’re real. The ones featuring animals tend to work. And the ones that are a David-and-Goliath story or about a comeuppance or someone who’s a douche, those stories tend to propagate on the internet very easily.
We’ve seen you trying to become a rapper, a rock star and a breakdancer. The Lawrence Leung Story seems to be about a man pursuing his dreams and risking humiliation.
I try to do stuff that I have always wanted to do. Like jumping out of an aeroplane while solving a Rubik’s Cube. I do stuff that I would like to see, either on stage or on TV. It might be the nerdiest thing in the world, but at least I’m being myself.
Have your cube skills improved lately?
The first time I solved the cube it took me about 23 minutes. And the fastest I solved the cube was when I jumped out of the aeroplane, in about 49 seconds.
Was that the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
I visited a haunted castle in the north of Scotland as well [for ABC series Unbelievable]. It was terrifying. And this magician, Banachek, drove me in a car while he was blindfolded. We were going down quite a busy highway in Las Vegas. In the outtakes you can hear the cameraman going “Shit! Fuck!” Before getting in the car we had to call the ABC lawyers and Banachek had to confirm that he was a practitioner of blindfolded driving and that he had never killed anyone or damaged any property. And the ABC was like: “Fine. Lawrence, get in the car.”
Did you suffer a backlash for debunking charlatans on that show?
I didn’t set out to debunk people – I set out to provide explanations other than supernatural and let the audience decide for themselves. But I did get a tweet from an alleged psychic saying that if he saw my hipster face in the street he would punch it. I wasn’t so much aggrieved by the threat of violence as the fact he called me a hipster.
Is it true your parents, Doris and Leo, were so keen on you becoming a doctor they made you attend an autopsy at 15?
That was just a joke. But at 15 I did do some work experience with a surgeon. I assisted pulling out a cyst from a woman’s breast. I had to pull some varicose veins out of an old man’s leg. I also assisted in a colonoscopy. It was full on, and one of the reasons in the end why I didn’t want to be a doctor.
We hear you’re hosting a competition to find Australia’s top geek. You’re well qualified.
I reckon I’m pretty geeky. I’ve got an official Star Wars character named after me. The character is called Lar Le’Ung. A guy I met started writing comics and he did the latest Star Wars series so I wrote to him begging to be put into the Star Wars universe. Months later, when the comic book came out, he had actually made me a Jedi master.
Did you keep in touch with your grade four crush, Angela Gaskin, after you tracked her down a few years ago and sang her a love song [in ABC series Choose Your Own Adventure]?
No. I figured I better leave her alone. I freaked her out a little bit turning up with my camera and guitar. Actually, that was one of the scariest things I’ve done as well.
Lawrence Leung: Beginning, Middle End
Factory Theatre, May 1-5