MICF interview with Matt Young


Image courtesy of Matt Young

Here is my interview with Melbourne’s most optimistic comedian.

The Australia Times (TAT): When did you first start doing stand-up?

Matt Young (MY): In 2014. RAW Comedy in Tasmania- I came runner up in the State Final. I was gigging down in Tassie for a while, I moved over here in the start of 2015. I’ve been performing in earnest since 2016, when I dropped out of UNI and started doing comedy full-time instead.

TAT: Why do you like comedy?

MY: I’m a real optimistic kind of guy, I love making people happy and I like laughter… and I love words- so I combine all those things. I like performing- I feel very comfortable. I feel more comfortable in front of a  big group of people rather than in just a small group. I like being able to talk to everyone at once.

TAT: Do you have a performing background?

MY: I did lots of drama and stuff at high school. My first play was Alice in Wonderland in primary school. I played the March Hare. I wanted to be the Mad Hatter- but couldn’t hack it, so I had to be the March Hare instead. Since then I think I’ve being trying to fill that void.

TAT: What’s an average day for you like, do you have a day job?

MY: I work as a teachers aid at a primary school full-time during the day, then at nights I do comedy. Kids are funny so I get a lot of material from there.

TAT: How do you come up with your material?

MY: Sitting down and writing it- you have to force it sometimes. My friends will help out if we are having a conversation they’ll be like ‘Matt, that’s a bit’. It’s mostly a matter of having a little idea then writing about it as much as possible, until something comes out of it.

TAT: Who are your favourite comedians?

MY: John Mulaney, Hannibel Buress, Wil Anderson, Scott Dooley, Bo Burnham. In terms of Melbourne based: Timothy Clark and Peter Jones- they’re hilarious. Karl Gertsakis, I don’t know if anyone really knows him- he’s a good friend of mine. He always wanted to try stand-up and he’s been getting up at our open mic the past few weeks. He’s really absurd and silly- you don’t see a whole lot of that around. Also Ian McCarthy and Sean Morgan.

TAT: How would you describe your style?

MY: Dry, dark but optimistic. I like telling stories… it (my style) changes from gig to gig.

TAT: “Comedians are damaged people” Discuss

MY: Maybe. If we are talking about myself then absolutely. Comedians may be damaged in the sense that they have a chip on their shoulder- they have something to prove. I don’t think you need to be fully broken to do comedy- you’ve got to be really on top of things. It does help to have a damaged way of looking at the world.

TAT: What’s been your favourite or most memorable moment on stage?

MY: When you come up with a bit on stage. Like I have a bit about the idea that everything under the ocean is a pickle. That came up really organically after a series of gigs.

TAT: Do you like audience interaction? 

MY: I love it. I feel more comfortable on a stage being able to talk to everyone. I love asking questions. I love finding a way to generate audience interaction from a bit. 50% of comedy is the audience, if they’re not on side then nothing is going to land, so you’ve got to be able to get them on side and get them involved. I love audience interaction- it makes you feel connected.

TAT: Do you feel like it’s you on stage or a character?

MY: It’s me. Some of it seams like different versions of me but it’s always me.

TAT: Tell us about your show?

MY: It’s called I quit. I had the idea for the show at the end of last year because I quit a bunch of stuff. I dropped out of two UNI’s, and then there was a job early last year that I walked out of. When I started writing stuff for the show I realised a lot of the stuff was about me quitting things. I thought- there’s a theme here- so I called it ‘I quit’. I don’t know how much of the show will actually be about the quitting, because as it’s developed I’ve almost quit on that idea.

TAT: Why should people come and see it?

MY: Because it will be unique. It will be weird- you’ll have a story to tell when you walk away from it.

TAT: What’s your favourite object?

MY: I have a little porcelain mouse, and an American silver dollar that I use to make decisions.

TAT: Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

MY: The room I run with Hamish Paterson- Guerilla Comedy. It’s at the Resistance Bar and Cafe right next to Glenferrie Station in Hawthorn. It’s been running for almost a year now. I would like my show to be anything like a night at The Resistance. It’s always just really fun and laid back.

You can see ‘I quit’ as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

When: 12th-21st of April

Where: The Unknown Union @ 1000 £ Bend, 361 Lt Lonsdale St

Tickets: $4 – $13.35

Information: Venue has no wheelchair access

Links: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2022/shows/i-quit