It is not often that I get a chance to chat with someone so crazily popular on a continent half the world a way. Wil is quite the popular fellow in Australia through his stand-up comedy, his hosting of The Gruen Transfer in all of it's various configurations, and his podcast TOFOP/FOFOP. Wil has a very wry sense of humor, that is both politically satirical and a bit absurdist simultaneously. If he can make fun of a prominent political figure or a prominent social celebrity (think reality show "stars" who shall remain nameless because they should be nameless) by attacking their views and slipping in a dick joke, it will be done. He has a facile wit that is indeterminately fast. His capability to generate a good pun is almost unparallelled. I only know Wil though my exposure to him through TOFOP and FOFOP, a few YouTube clips, and his interactions with Dave Anthony and Greg Behrendt in the podcasting world. Wil has recently started trying to get some toe-holds in the US media market and become more of a known force here. I am happy about that, because it would be great to see more of his content in the States.
I am really interested in finding some new information out about this fine fellow, and I always love doing 20 Questions with people who did not grow up in the US. So without further ado... the 20 Questions.
Long-time readers know this set up, but I imagine that you don't since you are not an ardent reader of my 20 Questions (your loss). I have a degree in geography and in my studies I focused on cartography and geographic information systems. The concept of a geographic footprint and a geographic story has always intrigued me. For instance, I was born just outside of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the family moved to Montgomery, Alabama when I was 3, Moved to just northeast of Birmingham, Alabama and lived there until I went off to school at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, followed my fiance down to Columbus, Ohio where I did some grad school and have been here since. Question 1: What is your geographic story?
It starts slowly. The first 18 years of my life I didn’t move much at all, and since then I haven’t really stopped. I was born in Gippsland Base Hospital Sale on January 31, 1974 and spent the first 18 years of my life living on Anderson Rd, Denison, Victoria, Australia. (About 300 kilometres east of Melbourne). Denison is small. In fact I just googled the population and apparently 289 people live there.
Anderson's Rd is actually named after my Grandfather James Anderson who built the road by hand after World War 2 when the returning soldiers were given soldier settlement land to help rebuild the agriculture industry. My father, Graeme James Anderson, has lived on Anderson Rd for 70 years. He also has never drunk alcohol, smoked, tried drugs and married the first woman he ever kissed… it’s fair to say that we don’t have much in common.
After finishing high-school in Sale, I moved to Canberra, ACT (Australian Capital Territory) to study for 3 years, and then moved to Melbourne to do comedy where I lived for 5 years. 13 years ago I got a job that took me to Sydney, where I later bought a house, so I guess that is technically home.
However as I tend to spend more than 9 months each year on the road, traveling the world (mostly to places where they speak English and have stand-up comedy: US, England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, New Zealand) it’s more just the “place I keep my stuff”. For the last three years I have split my time between Australia and LA, and after answering this question I am actually off to sign a lease on an apartment for another year.
It was really nice when I actually settled down to one city with my wife, but in following the American dream of having a house, a yard, 2 kids and a dog (no dogs here though), we quickly purchased a house. Looking back, I think it might have been nice to wait a few more years to buy and stayed in cheaper places and then traveled more. There are so many places I would love to go, but have not made the opportunity.
Question 2: Of all the places you have lived, when you close your eyes, what place pops up when you think "HOME?"
Funnily enough a place I haven't lived in for 13 years: Melbourne. No specific place in Melbourne, just the city itself. I started doing comedy there, this year will be my 19th year in a row doing a show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and it's the first month I put in my diary each year, and the one I look forward to the most. My football team is based in Melbourne. That said, sometimes I think I get the best of Melbourne. Like a summer romance that I get to spend a perfect month with, where you are too swept up in the romance to concentrate on all the little things that would shit you if you had to put up with them every day.
It is amazing how some places will just seep into your bones and make you theirs. Columbus, Ohio is one of those places for me. When I moved here it just felt right. This may have something to do with getting here right after college and doing adult-like things for the first time, but I am not sure... it also may be because I got married here and now I have started raising my kids here. We will circle back around to some of your travels and other things in a second, but to steal a bit from Paul F Tompkins...Question 3: Cake or pie? Which specific kind and why?
Or to steal a bit from Eddie Izzard: Cake Or Death? Either way, still cake. Any type of cake. I have often said I fear my last thought will be that I didn't eat enough cake. In fact people often bring me cake to gigs, and I once did an encore where I ate a slice of cake timing my bites with the laughs. I'd like to end all gigs like that, but I think that will have to be in my fat Elvis phase.
If I had to name a favourite, and it's like choosing between your kids, I'd have to say the current leader is a cake I only discovered in America: Red Velvet cake, or as my friend Rove and his wife call it: Angel Cake (because they think it's what an angel's vagina would taste like).
Oh, you mean AV Cake, Angel Vagina Cake? So would that be Angel Sugar Walls Cake according to Sheena Easton? I would like to think so. That being said, you put cream cheese frosting on almost any confection and you have a winner... of course. Izzard is genius... of course.
Back to your background... I listen to me some TOFOP and FOFOP and I understand that you are quite the fan of Australian Rules Football (Which I imagine is just referred to as Football in Australia)... Question 4: What is it about this sport that you enjoy so much? and how are you able to follow it whilst (hmmm "Wilst" a word that could be incorporated in one of your show titles?...) traveling for so much of the year?
I support a team in the AFL (which we tend to call "footy" in the Australian way of shortening every word, like "breakfast" becomes "breaky") called the Western Bulldogs (formerly Footscray). They have been in the competition and won their only flag (title, premiership, etc) in 1954, twenty years before I was born. So long ago, as I like to explain it, if I had missed the game and wanted to see the replay I would have had to wait... another two years until TELEVISION CAME TO AUSTRALIA. Weirdly enough I tend to follow the AFL more when I am away. I download podcasts of all the shows and keep up that way. Sometimes I think I only watch the games so I can enjoy the discussions about them more.
Interesting. I guess I was hoping that there was an underground network of Aussie sports bars that have quasi-legal satellite feeds showing your footy in the middle of the night while everyone cheers in an nasaly over-the-top Australian accents. I have to say that I am a little sad that this is not true. I am partially crushed by this.
You have been crazily busy with podcasts as of late. You post multiple eps of FOFOP and a an ep of Wilosophy every week and you guest on other people's podcasts fairly consistently... Question 5: This is a multi-part question: Do you listen to any podcasts (what other Aussie podcasts should I be listening to)? and are there any that you want to guest on that you have not been on as of yet?
The Australian ones I listen to regularly are The Little Dum Dum Club, I Love Green Guide Letters, The Shelf and Can You Take This Photo Please? (I also like one called Something Wonky, which isn't comedy, but it's a progressive look at Australian media and politics). I've been lucky enough to be most of the Australian ones I like, but I guess my US wishlist would be: WTF (I have done a live episode) You Made It Weird and Doug Loves Movies.
I have been inching towards The Little Dum Dum Club, but I have not jumped in those waters just yet. That being said, I just subscribed to Probably Science because of Matt Kirshner's guesting on FOFOP. I could have sworn that you made an appearance in the actual closet of Walking the Room and not just on the live ones. Also, I could easily see you doing a joint You Made it Weird/Wilosophy podcast with Pete Holmes where you both wax eloquent concerning your own personal belief systems, and you are a shoe in for Doug Loves Movies.
Your content is not super easy to obtain in the US besides your podcasts, so it took some effort to look for Gruen Transform. I was able to find a couple of segments of the Transfer and consumed it greedily. (For the non-Australian readers, the Gruen Transfer is a show where pop-culture is broken down from almost a purely marketing viewpoint.) Question 6: So, how did the idea of looking at pop-culture through a marketing lens come about? Your background is not in marketing, correct?
Probably Science is great, I have been on that one and had a ball. (I've also been on Comedy Films Nerds, Never Not Funny, Battleship Pretension and Ari Shaffir's podcast... and I am sure there are some others I have forgotten.) I have been both in the closet (and live) for WTR but only the live ep for (Marc Maron's) WTF. (I have never played tennis as part of the WTA.)
I think if people are willing to do a little digging (or stealing) you can find most of the episodes of The Gruen Transfer (the original series) Gruen Nation (our political series) Gruen Sweat (our Olympic series) or Gruen Planet (our current show) online. In fact I just checked and there are full episodes of the most recent season of Planet on Youtube.
The original idea for the show started with one statistic: that the average person sees over 3000 commercial messages per day, just going about their life. There is more money spent on advertising and marketing than all the Hollywood movies combined, and yet there was no show that was running a critical eye over it.
But the show has never been about advertising. It's about what motivates us as humans: why we buy, what we buy. Even the original name, The Gruen Transfer, is named after a psychological phenomena where you go out to buy something sensible like milk and groceries, and come home with a flatscreen TV. That moment, where you become an unthinking shopping drone, is called The Gruen Transfer.
These days our brief is more broad, our motto for planet is a picture of the earth with the slogan: This spins, we don't. But essentially whether we are talking about politics, sport, shampoo or Kim Kardashian it still comes down the basic study of why we buy what we buy.
I watched a segment focused on Kim Kardashian and her tour of Australia mere seconds after her divorce was announced and how calculated that trip was. Loved it. I was truly impressed with how the panel never really made any value judgements about the KK lifestyle, and kept the critical focus on the KK brand message she and her retinue were projecting for that trip. I need to carve out some more time and sink into more of those YouTube videos. By the way, I thought your guesting on Never Not Funny was great and that your spoiler ep of Pacific Rim with the Comedy Film Nerds folk was eventual comedy gold (took them a couple of tries to get that one posted correctly). I have actually been holding myself back from fanboying all over the place because I get to have this much of a conversation with you. I would rather you not do the cyber equivalent of avoiding eye contact and backing away slowly from the over enthusiastic fan.
Because you are my first person from Australia to do a 20 Questions with me, I do want to get a bit more information about your experience with your home continent and how it compares to your experience in the US.. That being said, I will refrain from even mentioning the typical American touchstones for Australian culture... we all know what they are...(see the recap below*) Question 7: In your personal experience, what is the most similar thing between Australia and the U.S.? and what do you think is the most different?
Hmmm... this is a hard one to answer. What is most similar? There are so many things. The cultural influence of the USA on Australia is massive and pervasive, so sometimes it doesn't seem foreign at all. I often joke that because of television and movies the average Australian probably knows more about the life of a New York Jewish person than they do about the life of someone who lives in Darwin. (In the Northern Territory of Australia). The biggest difference? Well this is hard too, but I tend to think the things Australians find most confronting when they first come to the US are the attitudes to religion, guns, healthcare and tipping... oh and coffee. You guys have definitely gone for quantity over quality when it comes to coffee.
I have never understood coffee. It is a product that is sold almost entirely on the aroma and the effects of drinking it. The aroma over-promises for the actual bitterness in the taste, and I feel that people have duped themselves into thinking they like the taste of coffee, when in actuality they are just addicted to the effects that coffee grants them. I have always found coffee to be disappointing...
So, you are a bona fide celebrity in Australia, and on my following of you in the past few years, you have been making a concerted effort to break into the US entertainment scene. Question 8: So, what are your goals for breaking into the US market?
You have to try Australian coffee, particularly Melbourne coffee, and you will get it. We like to boast that the Italians invented then we perfected it. Um, I am not a really goal orientated person, much more process. I tend to think that my career (and life) happen every day so I try to enjoy it in that way, and I think it tends to take me where it needs to. I have been lucky enough in Australia to achieve most of the "things" that people would think about as "aims" or "achievements" and won some awards and stuff and I have never found any of these things to be in of themselves rewarding if you're not enjoying what it is you do. Or to put it another way I get more joy out of riffing a ridiculous movie idea on FOFOP and then the next day having had one of the listeners mock up a movie poster for the idea. But I guess if I have an overriding aim it is to get as good as I can be as a stand-up comedian and I think to do that you have to be around the best comedians in the world, and you can find them at major festivals (most of which I try to play, like the Big Three Edinburgh, Melbourne,Montreal) and in clubs in the US. I also wanted the challenge of performing to audiences who are not familiar with me, because if you can make the act work in front of strangers it will work in front of everyone. If I get that stuff right, it will take me where I need to go.
I love that answer, and I think I kind of knew the answer prior to asking the question anyway... But confirmation of information is a goal unto itself.
The big three on the festival circuit are all just about month long shows. I would imagine, if each performer is doing shows daily, that there is a sweet spot for the performers with their sets. At the beginning there is most likely some tweaking and re-working to make the shows better and in the end there is most likely some burnout and fatigue that sets in. Question 9: Do you feel this is the case, and if so, when does your specific sweet spot tend to hit? If I were traveling to Edinburgh, when would be the best time for me to see your show?
It definitely does change night to night, but these days the aim at the start of the tour is to write something that I will be as engaged in as I was on the first night. I figure if I am not interested in what I am talking about, if I am not still exploring ideas, if I am not still being surprised by the material... then how can the audience be? The tour is really a nine-month conversation with myself about what I think the state of the world is, and where I see my place in it. As those things are constantly changing one way or the other, so does the show. That's why even though I have done 18 different hour-long shows now, I only have one DVD. For me it's hard to say "this is the definitive version of the show" because I think that each show is the definitive version for the people who were there.
Keeping the shows organic and malleable is a difficult task to do. I imagine that once you hit the sweet spot on phrasing and timing for a particular bit, you hone in on that and try to recreate that magic. I also imagine that different crowds have vastly different energies and that what works like a charm one show can tank the next and vice versa. You have not chosen an easy career to navigate.
Onto question 10. This one is one that I typically ask everyone that I ask 20 Questions, and it hovers around Q10 or Q11. It is much less a question and more a fill in the blank. Question 10: Fill in the Blanks: I find that I am mostly _____. Others find that I am mostly _____.
Oh, this is a hard one, so I am not going to overthink it and just go with the first thing that comes to mind. I find that I am mostly making it up as I go along. Others find that I am mostly working... and that I know what I am doing. They even ask me for advice a lot. And I am happy to give it... but I secretly know that I am mostly making it up as I go along. (Actually that seemed to work out okay, maybe there is something in this "making it up as you go along" thing).
It is truly a difficult question. I am glad that this is the question I get to ask people. I think it is interesting that other people find you to be hard-working and you feel that you are just winging-it. I find that winging-it (especially in your case) seems to be a bit under-serving yourself for the amount of work you have to put in to be where you are. Give yourself a pat on the back and feel good. All of this being said, I am pretty sure that the categories are not mutually exclusive. You could be hard at work and making it up as you go along. In fact, I would not put that past you.
Question 11: So, what do you think the main obstacles are to you generating greater success in the US? Is it just a matter of taking the time necessary to find your audience and generate better recognition within the US mega-entertainment industry or do you think there is a more tangible impediment to the success?
That's an interesting question.
In some ways I am already having the only success that I can control- which is making people laugh when I am put in a situation to do so. I guess my first hurdle was a) people understand me, and b) would they relate and respond to the things that I have to say. Without wanting to pat myself on the back (even though you gave me permission to do so) I feel like my stuff has been received better than I was hoping (or expected).
I just came back from a week of shows in Denver over New Year, and in eight shows at this time of the year I am talking to a lot of people who have never heard of me before, and I couldn't have been happier with how the shows went. Not only did I feel like they enjoyed my act, but they also most importantly gave me permission to be myself, and it was certainly the most natural I have ever felt doing shows here. So that's the bit I can control.
The rest of it comes down to timing and luck a lot of the time. In some ways you just have to make sure you are doing what you want to do, the best that you can do it, all of the time... and then hope you find someone who believes in you enough to give you a chance. Someone who wants to be part of your story.
Funny is funny is funny. You, good sir, are funny, and all it takes to realize that is just seeing your work. If you can constantly get new eyeballs on you, I am certain you will go big here in the States. I hear the Denver club is amazing from all the vicarious comedy living I do via podcasts (Columbus seems to be relatively devoid of a strong comedy scene...although I will be seeing Jake Johannsen when he is here Valentine's Day weekend... That will be great, but back to the matter at hand). Minneapolis has a well respected club, Bloomington has a club that is well thought of... I could go on for a while listing places and clubs, but I won't. Question 12: Since you have toured nearly everywhere, what do you think makes a club really attract a good line-up? Is it the area? I would imagine most places have people hungry for comedy. Is it the club management? I know one big name comic who won't come to Columbus because he hates the club manager. Is it the specific location and set-up? What is it? Tell me! tell me! tell me!, I want to see good comedians in Columbus.
I can give you an answer that will mean everything to comedians and nothing to anyone else, which is comedians like good rooms. The word of a good room spreads through the comedy world like wildfire. And you will have the best comedians play rooms for a fraction of what they normally would get paid, just because it's a "good room". We play so many shitty rooms that when there is a good one we suddenly turn into Frodo and make it our mission to play it.
So what makes a good room? That's the tricky part. I think mostly because none of the "good rooms" are exactly the same. I think it's more that there are so many little things that can define a comedy room: the size of the space, the height of the roof, the lights, the sound, the comfort of the audience, are they eating, drinking, sitting at tables or in rows? Does the room attract a good crowd? What sort of crowd are they? Young? Old? Conservative? Are the other comedians good? Are you well looked after by the club? Do they have good staff? Are they loud during the show? Does the venue take the side of the performer? Do they feed you? etc... and I could keep listing them. But mostly it's about whether the comedians have good sets when they play the room, and that tends to rely on a club getting enough of the above things right until it forms into a perfect storm of comedy.
I was afraid (and certain) that the answer was going to be that nebulous... I was hoping that there would be a magic bullet that I could shoot Columbus with and then watch quality comedy stream in by droves... I knew that wasn't the case, but felt I should ask anyway.
So, way back in Highschool I had a "ritual" procedure to getting ready to play soccer. A specific sequence of putting on socks, shin guards, etc... to get myself ready for a game. At the time we jokingly called it a superstition and that there was a "lucky" component to the preparation. Turns out there was no true "superstition" associated with the process, no underlying "luckiness," but it was a ritual that I did pre-game that put my mind in the right headspace. Since this is Question 13: Do you have any superstitions or rituals in your life? Straight up superstitions like black cat crossing, walking under a ladder, or don't put your hat on a bed, etc..? any particular ritualistic way to prepare for stage time or on camera? 15 minutes of meditation before a 7 minute set? controlled breathing before the red light shines on the camera? do you circle three times before laying down for bed? anything like that?
I don't really believe in superstition in the sense that something will give me good (or bad) luck. I think we tend to get our share of both of those things most days (some days one more than the other) and it's how you accept the good and deal with the bad that defines you. That said, when it comes to the show I pick an outfit at the start of the tour and I wear that same thing every night of the tour. Same shoes. Same socks. Same everything. I like to get dressed as close as possible to show time and for me that ritual is like putting on a uniform to go to work. I tend to also wear all black on stage, because a) it is a blank canvas for the ideas; b) it doesn't show sweat if the room is hot; and c) I can pretend that I am Batman.
Question 14: Since Batman is supposedly the peak of human potential in both the physical realm as well as all things mental, do you think that if Batman did stand-up he would have the most effective and efficient 20 minute set of all standups? Would it be clean and what would be one of his bits? I'm not afraid to ask the difficult questions.
Batman would be the perfect stand-up. Dark history, gruff voice, he is the Maron of superheroes. Tour with Robin as support. Bruce Wayne could produce and manage. Then sell out for the sitcom where Bruce Wayne and Batman are an odd couple raising a boy wonder: Two And A Half Batmen. Yes, that's right, I am not above puns, especially Batpuns.
Two and a Half Batmen is quite possibly the best idea ever spawned. I have found that no one should be above bad puns. My best friend and I had a theory about puns and where they fit in the humor continuum. Puns are simultaneously the beginnings of humor with 5 year olds telling knock knock jokes and the pinnacle of humor such as Two and Half Batmen... side note: would Harvey Dent be the analog to Ashton Kutcher’s character in the most recent seasons? Batman moves out leaving Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent as pretty much a simple straight up odd couple, because Damian Wayne is dead, ergo Batman leaving... It becomes Two-Face and Half Batman? I should probably not even try. I once saw a video of Sting singing with Pavarotti. Sting was singing as hard and as loud as he could. You could see effort on his face and the veins on his neck were straining against the volume of voice he was attempting to push out. Pavarotti then started singing with a voice powerful enough to shake metal and break glass, and he could have been eating a sandwich while accomplishing this feat for all the effort with which he was engaging. In this instance, humor/pun-wise... I am not sure I am even Sting in this metaphor, maybe Sting's Understudy's cousin, and you, sir, are the Pavarotti of puns.
Anyway... Back to a question about actually moving to the US. Question 15: Have you noticed any differences (actual, perceptual, etc...) with your experience in the US since you are here now in a more permanent category instead of the limited, yet lengthy, stays you have done previously?
I think so. Particularly when it comes to performing. Even though I have been going back and forward for over 3 years now, I have probably only spent 18 or so months in the US in shorter bursts. I found that when it came to both the industry, but more importantly just for my performing, that meant every time I came to the US I would take two steps forward, and when I went home I would take one step back. (And finally understood what MC Skat Kat was talking about all those years ago.)
I don't think it's a complete coincidence that this last six weeks as I have settled in more permanently have also been the best six weeks of gigs I have had since I first came here. It's hard to describe it exactly, but as I said to Dave Anthony the other day, it just feels like the first time I am as comfortable on stage here as I am back home, and when you are comfortable on stage that's when the really good stuff can happen. Plus, as much as you can research a country, or observe it from the outside, you never truly know what life is like until it's taken you six phone calls and two days to get your cable connected.
As weird as it sounds, it's also the little things that make a big difference. Matt Kirshen dropped around last night for a podcast and stayed around for some beers. Dave Anthony recorded a FOFOP with me on Sunday night and then we got pizza and watched True Detective. Those things don't tend to happen when you are in a hotel room, but they are the things that actually immerse you in a culture and also as part of a scene.
That answer is a bit all over the place, but the truth is there are so many differences when it comes to living here already. I think just the giant shift in mindset that I now live here, and that I go back to Australia to visit is a big thing. I am not just playing at it anymore, I bought furniture, and somehow that makes it much more real. You have a real moment of clarity when you are in a foreign country purchasing a salad spinner when you think: "I bought a salad spinner? Shit just got real."
I would imagine that there is an amount of comfort associated with actual knowing that this is now a bit of YOUR place. So recently I was asked about some new media/podcasting questions and one of the questions was about how podcasters create a certain level of intimacy with their listeners that cannot/is not be reciprocated. For example, I feel like I know you rather well from all the TOFOP/FOFOP and the handful of Wilosophy episodes that are out there. Question 16: Have you encountered this disparity in level of intimate knowledge? and how have you dealt with this? How can we as listeners, who know some rather personal information about you, not make you feel icky when we approach?
Well firstly you are right about the intimacy. Listening to a podcast can be a very personal connection, not just because of the content or tone (although these are certainly big contributing factors) but because it can become part of your regular life. People listen on the commute to work, or the walk in the morning, or when they go to the gym or even while they are doing a stint in hospital... so it does become part of your life. I know personally I find it a lot harder to get motivated for a walk if I don't have a new podcast I want to listen to, and I get shitty when they go on holidays. (But I don't complain, that's the rule, can't complain about a free podcast!)
Is it weird that people know me more than I know them? I guess, but that is something that is present in every aspect of my job. Anytime you do anything publicly people "think" they know you even though they are really seeing a small part of you that you are projecting. (The same reason I could never date anyone who loved my stand-up... that is the funniest 70 minutes of things I can think of in a year, the rest of the time is going to be a complete disappointment for them.)
Of all the things I have done (tv, radio, writing even stand-up) the podcast comes closest to giving people a sense of who I really am, so I tend to feel most comfortable to be myself (and not worry that I will shock or disappoint them) around fans of the podcast. For example I had a great breakfast with a FOFOP listener when I was in Denver, and I am not sure that I would have done the same thing with someone who was, say, a fan of my TV show, because I would be worried that I would let them down when all I wanted to talk about was Batman and time-travel. Quite recently I released a FONUS episode of FOFOP which dealt with a pretty serious topic for a comedy podcast- something I could never have the time or nuance to explore in any other forum- and I have found that when you trust the intelligence of your audience the podcast environment can be an amazing safe space to explore ideas and build a genuine relationship with your audience. It might feel like it goes one way, but the audience response is a vital part of the process.
First, let me say that the episode you are speaking of, January 20th's FONUS: An Unexpectedly Serious Conversation was excellent. It was pretty raw and very thought provoking, because the situation you reference is one that no one thinks they will ever have to encounter, yet people clearly do.
Second, I do feel like I have an undue amount of familiarity with many of the podcasters that I listen to. That is one of the reasons that I try and connect with so many podcasters via these 20 Questions Interviews. While you, as an interviewee, do not technically ask me many questions, I try to relate to you with my comments on your answers and the direction that I take the questions.
Third, it has been pretty deep these last few, so I am going to bring us back to the surface. Question 17: You have to be a Bat-Villain who are you, what is your hook and what is your grand plan to stop the Bat?
I am a movie producer, and I get Zac Snyder to direct the film, and Ben Affleck to play Batman, that should do it. (But seriously, I am not going tell you the answer to this because I don't want Batman to misread it and think I am plotting against him.)
Fine. Be that way. Bat-Harumph!
This is the time where I turn the tables on myself and allow you to ask me a question or questions. Question 18: Do you have any questions you would like me to answer for you?
Have you interviewed someone who changed your mind about something you previously believed? (And the follow up question: Who and what was it?)
Hmmm... that is an interesting question. I cannot think of any specific stances that I have had that someone changed because of an answer within the 20 Questions framework. I can think of a few interviews where the person I am interviewing has challenged me to move forward in my endeavors. One interviewee who really challenged me was the magician, Andrew Mayne. He really made me start thinking about what I should be doing with my future. Andrew is now fronting a show on A&E called "Don't Trust Andrew Mayne" where he messes with people using magic. A few weeks later, his friend, Brian Brushwood challenged me to make a future happen for myself. Brian is a podcaster and magician who has really made a push for creating awesome content on the web. Since then I have started a new master's degree program in User Experience Design. I am probably a year away from that degree and subsequent career shift. More recently, I was asked by Tom Merritt what I needed to take this content I am creating 20 Questions at a time to the next level. Coupled with all of this direct movement is the fact that I take something away from every 20 Questions Tuesday interview that I do. Your answer on the intimacy gap generated by podcasting has me seriously thinking about that level of revelation and interaction. I do reveal a bit about myself on this blog, and I need to determine the intentions behind that.
The penultimate question: Question 19: What are you taking from these 20 Questions that you did not bring in with you?
The interesting thing for me about this process is that we have been answering these questions back and forth for a couple of months now, and that time has included an international move, setting up a new life, a brief pause for a personal tragedy, travel and shows, spending Christmas and New Year alone and the nervousness of starting out a new career in a new town (and that is just the headlines). I have answered questions early in the morning and late at night after a few drinks so for me it's been interesting to see how even some of my perspectives on things have changed from the first question to this one. I guess, at least for me, this is an example of how important both timing and environment can be to one's perspective and state of mind... and to extend that thought, to be more aware that when I am having certain thoughts to be aware of the external forces that are influencing them.
I have done a boatload of these interviews and this is one of the best I have had the pleasure iof reading, much less to actually participate within. I have had a genuine delightful time, and I re-read most of this last night and was really enjoying it all.
Question 20: So what is next for you? Be as concrete or as vague as you want and be as short term or long term as you want.
It's been fun. What 's next? Heading back to Australia tomorrow for a week. I turn 40 next week, and although I am not a big birthday person, I am heading home for a week of some low-key celebrations, and to see the family and meet my new niece who was only born a couple of weeks ago. Also going to catch the Big Day Out (which is one of our biggest music festivals) while I am in town and catch the Arcade Fire sideshow. As well as the fun I am going to do two trial shows of new material for the tour (at the moment it's still easier for me to fly back to Australia to get 90 minutes of stage time to try new ideas, getting 180 minutes would probably take me three months) and I will try and squeeze in some podcasts as well. When I look at it like that, it's going to be busy week.
Then back to the US for most of February, a bunch of gigs around LA, San Fran Sketchfest 7-9 (first gigs in San Fran so very excited about that, have visited as a tourist several times) and then at the end of the month back to Australia for two months of solid touring with the brand-new show: Two weeks at the Adelaide Fringe, a week at the Brisbane Comedy Festival, the month of the Melbourne Comedy Festival and then three weeks back in LA before the Sydney Comedy Festival shows. After that, well I have some plans to head back to the UK at some stage in 2014, and definitely Canada, but most of the rest of the year will be gigging in the US.
So... clearly you have nothing on your calendar... wow, that is a pretty packed schedule. '74 was a great year to be born and turning 40 in 2014 is an awesome time to do it. At least I think turning 40 in 2014 is the best time to do it, for no particular reason. Personally I think turning 40 on June 21st of 2014 would just be amazing... for no particular reason. This was an absolute delight and I truly feel privileged to have asked you 20 questions. Thank you so much for doing this.
Everyone who is unfamiliar with Wil should become familiar. Everyone who is familiar should try to get to one of his shows. Give Wil a follow on the Twitters. Check out his website for tour dates, and listen to his podcasts, FoFOP and Wilosophy. He is brilliant.
Okay…. that was seriously great, wasn’t it?
I ASKED YOU A QUESTION, DAMNIT!
I mean, really, that was amazing
I am almost breathless
I am, in fact, swooning
*For the record, it is required by law that I, as a law-abiding citizen of the United States of America, mention a list of things when interviewing an Australian
I did not wish to subject the kind Mr Anderson to the list, but the items on the list are as follows, in no particular order:
- Men at Work
- Crocodile Dundee (or Paul Hogan, or “That’s not a knife.”)
- Outback Steakhouse
- Foster’s, Australian for Beer
- and Yahoo Serious
I believe this listing at the end of the interview is in full accordance with the law as written, if not as intended
Since that is now out of the way
It is crazy cold here at the moment
-16° F and -25° C with little to no wind chill currently, so that is pleasant
We are at 246.5K though for my physicist friends
Crazy cold for Columbus, Ohio in January
The kids are home from school
The wife and I are work sharing at the moment
Ah, the trials and tribulations of working parents and crap weather
Have a great weekend everyone!