Eddie Ifft

Eddie Ifft is back in Melbourne for the Comedy Festival. To pass the rigorous Festival entrance exam, he answered a few questions for Beat.

Tell us about your upcoming show for the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

This year’s show [his second] is about not keeping my big mouth shut. It’s called Things I Shouldn’t Have Said and it’s a compilation of jokes and stories that I have said over the years that have had me banned from radio and TV, fired from jobs, even thrown in jail a few times. 

What thing/person/idea are you most obsessed with at this time? 

Crossfit. It’s kind of a workout cult I am in, that all the military special forces do.. After 14 years of touring, partying and destroying my body, I have decided to clean it up… I still party a little. I got really drunk in Vegas recently, so drunk that I walked out of a nightclub at 5am and people were going to the Las Vegas Marathon. On a bet with my friends, I ended up changing my clothes and running the race on no sleep and 10 vodkas.

Which city has been your favourite to play at (apart from Melbourne)?

I played a place called Prominent Hill. It wasn’t really a city but a makeshift gold mining town in the bush. It was really different for me. If you blind folded me and took me there and told me that we were on Mars, I would have believed you.

A lot of comedians from the USA have had an easier trot these past few years in terms of available source material for them to make fun of.  Does the current political climate in the US mean that you have more, or less comedy fodder?

George Bush made it really easy for a while. There was a reprieve for a while with Obama, but as… the hype around Obama has died down, people have started to realise that it isn’t the politician, but the system … My country and our celebrity culture never cease to amaze me either. We have more people on death row than any other country, but yet we have a whale that is responsible for three deaths at Sea World and he is probably doing back flips for the crowd right now…. It’s not the whale’s fault either. You put me in a swimming pool and make me synchronize swim with a ball on my nose, for fat dumb people, I’d want to drown someone too.

Are you a Winter Olympics fan?

I can’t believe some of the events. The Skeleton? What is that? It’s the event, where they luge downhill on their stomach, head first. These people get to go to the Olympics and call themselves Olympians. I mean good for them, but I don’t remember skeleton tryouts in high school… I’m pretty sure everyone that tries out makes the squad, because there are probably only three people in the country that even do the sport.

Beat Magazine, Issue #1210, March 24th, 2010

Dead Cat Bounce

Dead Cat Bounce – the musical comedy band from Dublin – are making all kinds of waves during their trip to Australia. Call him a trooper, I spoke to bassist Shane the day after the group discovered all the gear from their Adelaide venue had been stolen ten minutes before they were due to go on. “I’ve spent the day getting new equipment and filling in police reports so this is a bit of a break,” he told me over the phone. 

Is this your first time in Australia?

“I was here once back when I was ten, but this is the first time we have the opportunity to really explore the place, and we’ve been reading up. I don’t know if you’ve seen photos of Damien [drums], but he’s the most ginger man you’ve seen in your life, he burns instantly. Luckily it’s been pretty overcast lately.”

Despite a string of sell out shows, their trip seems to have formed a pattern in terms of luck; “Yesterday I woke up with a huntsman beside my face.”

Any other encounters with wildlife? “We went to one of those wildlife parks, and we saw this emu running around, kicking the kangaroos and chasing people. As we were leaving we said to one of the keepers, you know, ‘Should you really have that emu running around like that? It’s pretty vicious,’ and they just said, ‘the emu’s escaped again!?’”

The four members of Dead Cat Bounce met at Trinity College in Dublin, finally deciding to combine their comedy and band experiences after they became housemates. Their break came with their first gig, which comedian Will Ferrel just happened to be in the audience for. “It was a very weird experience, he walked into the room and the tone just changed. [The audience] were watching for when he laughed, and they would laugh even more. The next day we got a development deal with Irish Television.”

Dead Cat Bounce are an amalgamation of two great loves, comedy and rock ‘n roll. “A lot of what we do is the big eighties hair rock, taking the excess of various genres and making it fun and interesting and different. Our show goes from 80’s hair metal to barbershop to hip hop. We’re like The Muppet Show really, but bigger, and we try and make each night a bit different.” After the massive amount of buzz from Adelaide, is there anything special in store for Melbourne? “Well, we heard it was an amazing city for music, and we were planning on having a go at one of our ‘Bootlegs’, a live band mash up set that we do. It started out as a party piece, but now we’re asked to do it all the time. The last one was of Back in Black with You Oughta Know by Alanis Morrissette. We set up outside on the balcony of our venue in Adelaide, brought all the PA’s and speakers out, but we were shut down by the police fifteen minutes in.” Very AC/DC.

Beat Magazine, Issue #1210, March 24th, 2010

Andrew O’Neill: Occult Comedian

Andrew O’Neill, The Occult Comedian, is about to debut his show in Australia. He took some time out to answer some questions.

What number Melbourne Comedy Festival is this for you?

This will be my first. I’ve never been south of the Equator before, although I did once live with an Australian, and I worked in Mambo in Covent Garden for a bit so I reckon I’ve got the country pretty well figured out. The stars are different. That is scary.

Tell us about your show.

It’s called Occult Comedian and it explores my dabblings in black magic, as well as my weirdo lifestyle choices. It’s mad and surreal and fast-paced and it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever written. I’m a transvestite, too, so you’ll see me looking pretty.

How did you end up doing comedy?

I’ve always been a massive comedy fan and it was really just a natural extension of trying to make my mates laugh all the time. I am 100% less annoying in social situations now. Well… 50%…

What thing/person/idea are you most obsessed with at this time?

A Croatian black metal band called Drudkh are making me very happy indeed, and the Jonas Brothers continue to be alive, which makes me very unhappy. Alan Moore continues to be my biggest influence and various entities that I converse with are helping through the first phase of this trip.

Who are you looking forward to seeing at the festival?

Josie Long is sublime, Jason Cook is brilliant… my hot tip is a little show called Eric’s Tales Of The Sea… 100% true stories of a man’s life on Royal Navy submarines. It’s completely hilarious and heartbreaking and real. You have to see it.

Can you tell us about your extracurricular activities?

Aside from sending myself mad doing ritual magick, I’m in a steampunk band called The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. We’ve just recorded an album called Now That’s What I Call Steampunk! Volume 1… We dress like Victorian misfits and we sound like early 80s British punk mixed with Victorian music-hall and a dash of death metal.

What about your affair with Jack the Ripper?

I used to work in the Cabinet War Rooms, which is where Winston Churchill fought WW2. I was reading my 20th book on the Ripper and wondered how old Churchill was in 1888. He was 13. Bingo. So I wrote a show called Winston Churchill was Jack The Ripper, which took on a life of its own… I now perform that show round the actual murder sites.

Do you have anything in the works right now?

I’m slowly working on a psychogeography-themed series of shows based on… places that have had most influence on my life. I have a DVD in the pipeline and my band’s album comes out in May.

Would you rather not wash your towel for three months, or your bed sheets for three months?

I’m a metal-head. This happens more than you’d think…

Beat Magazine, Issue #1210, March 24th, 2010