Asher Treleaven


Asher Treleaven wont tell me about the lobster dance, but then again he’s barely had breakfast. I catch him on the phone in Adelaide on what he promises are his final mouthfuls, and dutifully call back a few minutes later. I tell him not to worry, I’m not going to work the questions too hard. “That’s good because I am an idiot. For a while there I was talking into a brick, instead of my phone when it rang.”


The critically acclaimed comedian who is known for his keen blend of smart political satire and ridiculous physical comedy is back for his seventh comedy festival, and this time his show, Smaller Poorer Weaker Cheaper, approaches his subject, fear and the economy, a little differently. “I set out to write a show about how rich people being arseholes is bad for the economy. When I finished writing the show I talked to my wife… she said ‘That sounds like a shit idea, can you please just write a fucking show that is you, rather than pretending to be this kind of activist, left wing intellectual browbeating comedian telling people how the world is when you’re really not like that at all.’ And I said, ‘Tell me more.’ and then she gave me the most serious dressing down have ever had in my life as a comedian, and I have had some savage reviews from some absolute pricks. So I started again.” With the aid of this editorial savagery, Treleavan has transformed the show into something that is “About a man desperately trying to convince an audience, any audience, that you can do a good show while everything falls to shit around you throughout the day.”


With Treleaven’s distinctive, energetic style, combining wit and physical comedy, it’s hard to fault an evening spent at his mercy. Although his comedy has always been centred around the physical and the silly, his political force has been a fixed aspect of his work. “Politics are part of me and part of my personality. It’s about picking the political things I talk about, rather than letting the new social media wash over me… You just get bombarded by all this shit to be angry about all the time…. it can be difficult sometimes to not only, I guess, pick the topics, that matter to you, but also to pick topics politically that you are educated enough to approach in a fresh way.”


This sort of talk is definitely refreshing. “You hear so many comedians going ‘blah blah blah gay marriage’ and you’re like, you’re not part of the community, you don’t give a fuck about this, you’re just saying it to get kind of like, a clap… I’m as angry about things as anyone else, but just because I’m angry about the wrongful incarceration about refugees on Manus Island, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I have the intellegence, the research and the comedy chutzpah to go on stage and talk about it as a white middle class vanilla fucking pedestrian guy.” Wise words, but what becomes most apparent about this chat is the special event that is in store for his audiences. He says, “Why don’t you ask me about my big lobster dance finisher?” I’m not one to disappoint. Please, can he tell me about this lobster dance I’ve heard so much about? “Oh come on it’s a secret, I mean you’ve gotta see the show, then you’ll get the lobster dance at the end of the show, I can’t tell you about the lobster dance now.” It’s more something you have to experience for yourself? “It really is.”


Venue: Gin Palace – The Swamp. 10 Russell Place, Melbourne

Dates & Times 27 Mar – 20 Apr 9.30pm

Tickets: $28 & $25



Published as part of the Beat – Melbourne Comedy Festival Lift Out

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