An Interview with Patrick Marlborough
Loved, loathed, and a source of bewilderment on the local comedy circuit, with a rapid-fire mind full of colourfully-worded opinions. He’s a journalist, stand-up guy, Twitter lover, impulsive composer of musicals, cultural omnivore and he looks great in baby pink. I could only be referring to Patrick Marlborough. With a new EP and tour in the pipeline, Pat joined me for a fun, long, meandering, occasionally surreal Facebook chat. Here’s how it went.
Patrick Marlborough: When ya wanna do this [interview]?
Lyndon Blue: Hey cobber. How’s around 1 hour from now?
PM: Sounds good. Might be having dinner I’ll let ya know, haha. Cookin up some sweet ol’ pork.
LB: If so i'll just interview you about pork, which will probably be genuinely illuminating for me as a vegetarian.
PM: Oh boi. I know it’s meant to taste a bit like people, thats 90% of the appeal.
LB: Definitely makes ya curious.
[Lyndon Sets the Messenger Chat’s default emoji to “pig face”]
PM: Hahahaha. Everyone has a customised emoji for me and i have no idea how to do it in turn. Chuck the pig on the pile.
LB: Once you’ve gotten on the custom emoji wagon the blue thumb just feels cold and alienating.
PM: I feel like my friends should just post the emojis they chose to represent our relationship when i die.
[An hour or so later]
PM: I am full of pork and ready to talk.
LB: How was it?
PM: Bit of a Manson vibe, this emoji. Not as good as 'long pork' I’m sure, but good enough.
LB: Alright I've never interviewed a comedian before but am certainly curious about that whole world…
LB: …And also your position within it. From what I can gather you don't care much for australian comedy.
PM: Australian comedy is incredibly blokey. it's a kind of performative masculinity i've always found off putting and alienating. Our stand up bends towards observational, middle brow, easy going. There's not much introspection, on personal or national level, that in itself being quintessentially australian. My hypermanic, hyperassociative, deeply neurotic broken asperges soft-boy schtick isn't really in tune with the national mood, if ya grok me.
LB: Totally. Which if nothing else sets you apart.
PM: For better or worse. I kinda arrived fully formed in a sense. Or at least like a foal - got the body and vibe but wonky legs etc.
LB: Covered in slime.
PM: Slimer is a big influence.
LB: Why do you think we (Australia) suck at comedy - and suck at supporting it in terms of infrastructure, etc - given that we have this national identity built around being jokesters and larrikins and all that?
PM: Ok hold up. I don't think we suck at comedy, necessarily. Working Dog, Clarke and Dawe, Norman Gunston, Kath and Kim, early Barry Humphries, heck, Double the Fist - we a have a great lineage of TV and sketch comedy, even if it goes misremembered or overlooked. But standup…is a very American form, I’ve always felt. Standup comes from antagonism, back and forth, discourse, uncomfortable truths in otherwise stifled spaces. That is the tradition of the form, that's its root.
LB: Right, right.
PM: Guys who advanced it - Bruce, Gregory, Pryor, Carlin, Rivers - they took the anxiety of those in between moments and expanded upon it. In that tension, and in good jokes, is some kinda cathartic Daoist wisdom with gut laughs.
Like, Rodney Dangerfield is in his own way an artistic radical, in the same way i consider Beckett or Picasso. But in Australia we are very middle class and reactionary, for all our love of thinking otherwise, we like to laugh “at” and “punch down.” The national myth of Australia is one seated in violent patriarchy and white hegemony, a big part of maintaining that comfortable myth is believing we are easy going Dundee types. It's [to] salve the cruel brutal reality of our history.
So hold up, haha. Take the larrikin: a trope essentially invented by Lawson and Patterson, who used that character to MOCK a nation that was stuffy, middle class, reactionary. Then that culture, to shield itself from their satire, absorbed it and reappropriated it into the national brand…which is something we continue to do to this day, essentially.
But also yeah, just look at out history…when Dick Gregory tried to come here in 1970, the Gorton government banned him. When Bruce did come here, he damn near started a riot. Australia cant acknowledge uncomfortable truths, which so much of good standup acknowledges, cos if we even wink in that staring contest the whole stack of Odd Bodz collapses.
LB: That imperative of confronting uncomfortable truths is obviously very present in your standup, if not so much in the broader australian standup tradition. I guess one thing I wonder is how you negotiate wanting to do that…
PM: With being funny?
LB: With being funny - and also with not wanting to drag up trauma for people who have been deeply afflicted - which is something you've written about.
PM: Hmmm. I’ll deal w the trauma thing first, cos thats tricky. It’s a matter of sincerity, that i think is hard to explain in the same way 'why does this melody work' is hard to explain. I feel everyone has an instinctual ear for comedy, in the way they do music. You can discern a person’s sincerity and intent intuitively, if the comic is skilled enough especially.
LB: That's a nice way of putting it.
PM: Say, its the difference between bebop and a bunch of guys just hoking, if you know what i mean? Now, you can fuck it up, of course. For me, I try to make it pretty clear who my targets are, it is kinda obvious where my blows are landing, and if not at first, that is very intentional. I want to punch up, I want to confront the bigot which in the context of white Australia (see 90% of Perth audiences) is kinda everyone, myself included. So…I build the bits like traps i guess.
LB: Haha, I was wondering about that too [mocking your own audiences, and in turn mocking yourself as part of that crowd].
PM: I think of that old myth thing, of the inuits leaving the dagger coated in blood in the snow so the wolf licks it and licks it, not realising he is bleeding to death, drinking his own blood. That’s my schtick. I’m one of you, let’s go into the willy wonka tunnel… then SLAM. Your child is seeing a chien being beheaded when you thought you were at the chocolate factory. Does that make sense? I do avoid all jokes about sexual assault and domestic violence and that kinda trauma that is everywhere. I say avoid, but to be honest they don’t enter my mind. They’re everywhere in the open mic scene, though.
LB: Right, right - yeah that all makes sense. I was just soaking up the vivid metaphors.
PM: As for making it funny… if people call you a 'funny bugger' for 20+ years, you eventually start to believe it.
LB: [pig emoji]
PM: The pig of shame. I’m fastidious about what i find funny i guess. It’s always shifting, i surprise myself with some shit. The reason I released the album is cos I never repeat jokes/bits. Well, rarely. And as soon as it’s out of my mouth to their ears, I’m bored by it. It's crap. I wanna do something new.
Comedy is weird like that, that’s not how standup is meant to work as a process, I know, but i really don’t care. It’s the only way i can keep myself interested, to junk it and move on (it being topical helps).
LB: That was another thing i noticed about Barely Bombings - like the ARIAs bit. Hyper-topical which is a risk, but has its own potency.
PM: Yeah so - that bit, was the day after the ARIAs. To be fair i had to write a piece for Vice and i was like 'these jokes are good, may as well expand on them.’ Because - I don’t know if this was kind of an autism/ocd thing, but i was a weird kid, with what i consumed - I didnt listen to FM radio. I missed most pop culture (besides film and cartoons) of my generation. There’s no nostalgia for me there, it’s just things I always found alienating, which still are. So I like being in that space and being totally unbothered by it. It’s good for goofing.
But say the Australia day bit - that was on Australia day, which kinda fired me up for that performance. Thought i was gona get lynched
LB: Was that the most antagonism you’ve received from an audience? I imagine there must be times when the crowd is definitely not on side, politically.
PM: Haha. Ummm. Well, only when the bits have failed, or been weak. Best example: the bit on the rise of fascism, which i think is a flawed bit, way too abstract and weird for a live audience, a tough follow etc especially at an open mic. There were these 2 guys though, in t the front row…this is 2 days after trump won, mind you. Theres no stage at that venue, so I’m basically standing on their toes. And they are just covered in swastika tatts. Flexing their muscles.
PM: Sneering at me…
LB: Which venue is this?
PM: While i doing this bit on the return of Nazis. That was at the Scotto.
LB: Jesus Christ.
PM: They were being pricks all night, said some horrible shit to Sonny Yang, if i recall properly. But for me…those guys…are kinda my muse? Like hey, this is for you, fuckos. I tend to confuse guys like that so much that they don’t know if they wanna punch me or sell me a book, I thrive off it.
LB: And what's your vision of a good outcome there - if your comedy "works" beyond just getting a laugh - would it be that you've softened their stance, or just made them go away tails between their legs, or?
PM: Hmmm. You’re not changing those guys’ minds, at least a guy like me isn’t. Not with a 5 minute bit in a pub. Even my christ complex has its limits.
LB: A swastika tattoo is pretty emphatic huh.
PM: Haha, yeah. But, I think its the other people in the room, essentially laughing at their expense. Like yes, this is horrible, this is uncomfortable, our new reality is a nightmare. But stop and look at these fuckers, and how fundamentally absurd they are. 45 year old faildad with a swastika tattoo above his right ear - what an unmitigated turd of a human. That’s what made them go red, a room of 100 or so folk laughing at their beliefs. That feels good (even if that bit is about making non complacent types culpable).
LB: Yeah and it feels like a very unequivocal moment, when everyone is laughing at someone. So, a good way to fight back.
PM: Yeah I’m 50/50 on the effectiveness of it, i just know its all I’m good at.
LB: I’ve heard people say that the right is much better at memes.
PM: Haha. I think their frontal lobe collapse makes memes their most suitable medium, for sure.
LB: How do you feel about meme as medium? Perhaps that's a stinker question, but [Patrick's Twitter concept] Cormac McCafe is kind of a meme.
PM: Haha. No, I am literally doing peep show/game of thrones mash ups to kill time at work so. No, it's the new comic frontier, in a sense. I laugh at memes, I’m a child of the meme wars (god help us). I’m nottttt good at them. I think I got on brown cardigan for putting a 'brazzers' logo below an image of tony abott and his daughters, does that count?
LB: Faaaark. That's very gross but it counts.
PM: How many former prime ministers can block me on twitter? - by David Marr.
LB: Speaking of Twitter. I’m aware there's a lot going on there. I’m not especially clued in. But I know you get a lot of "feedback" around your writing. Is it a more fun space than standup - in a sense?
PM: It’s different. I came to twitter so late, and i regret that so much. I really only started tweeting proper last year, when I started writing for bigger publications, they linked it to my account which was until just for jokes about McDonalds written in the style of Cormac McCarthy. I.e., very niche.
LB: Lol, yep.
PM: But yeah, I love it to be honest. It’s a hellscape. It’s [a] hyperassociative mix of trauma and absurdism and that is my brain, in a very literal sense. It’s been so bad for my mental health, but also great? Meet a lotta like minded weirdos on twitter. dril is the true voice of our generation. And if im being honest, the most important comic voice of our time…
LB: I was reading dril tonight. So solid.
PM: dril is literally president. That’s the problem. It’s dril’s world, were just livin’ in it.
LB: Hahahah. It's interesting you say Twitter is (in part) good for your mental health. Is that essentially through the camaraderie?
PM: Yeah, well, its the first place I've felt like I have peers? Lotta smart weirdos making good jokes. But also a lotta people saying they like my work, which is nice. Facebook is where i get the death threats, not Twitter.
LB: Oh really? that's also interesting. Maybe I need to spend more time on Twitter.
PM: My “other” inbox on fb is filled angry stepdads, messaging me from broom cupboards and the husband chairs in David Jones. [Twitter] is wayyyy better than fb, but will eat your mind faster.
So, I think it’s partly why I’ve been doing less performing this year, its been a bit of a creative restructuring via the ol’ twittersphere think. That said, it just doesn’t translate to the stage. The best twitter comics aren’t (usually) gonna be good performers. And thats fine, it’s just a different form.
LB: Yeah and its a grim pursuit to force that translation. See also, The Emoji Movie.
PM: Lmao. My new thing to piss of comedy pedants - as an aside, comedy bros are the worst people on earth - god i hate them, but so many pedants but my new way of pissing the off is by saying 'T. Jaymiller' in comment sections…they always take the bait. I love comment sections, can we talk on that?
LB: Bahaha. Yeah garn. That "the comments section" page [on Facebook] is one of my favourite things.
PM: My friend Benny created that! Met him in a bar in new orleans. Haha, i love it too.
LB: No shit!
PM: Thats why there are so many Perth fans, i invited all. It’s all Perth and Nola kids, lmao. But yeah, I wanna kinda get the comment section vibe going in live shows. In that everyone thinks they’re an expert, are oblivious, and are easily riled up. “Everyone is wrong but me,” being the mood of the day, etc.
LB: Yeah - I was gonna ask if that's kind of how you build your "characters.”
PM: Yeah - so my persona - and i change, mind, but often - it’s this kinda guy who is haplessly unaware of himself and the world around him. He’s essentially based on Guardian columnists: holier than though, walks on water, educated, but in a Wikipedian sense, ya know? Master of none.
LB: Hahaha yes.
PM: Guardian headlines are my life force, fuck. My recent favourite: ‘No actual lake compares to the ideal lake for which i yearn.’ I could never write anything half that funny.
PM: It’s my Facebook inspo quote thing. It’s just an article about a guy musing on his DREAM LAKE…and whinging about other lakes…fuck meeee.
LB: [5 second audio clip of Lyndon laughing, almost in tears]
PM: HAHAHAHAHA. Fuck - it’s a gift that keeps on giving. But yeah I love guardian comment sections cos everyone there is so so so dour. Like walking onto the set of an Asher Keddie telemovie. Like, we wana be taken seriously, even though we are all fools. My fav thing is to pretend im a 16th century fishmonger peasant, and people respond in earnest. I mean, christ. So i wanna get that kinda reaction on stage.
Best example would be the Loco for Boko bit, where I say I blacked my kid up like the head of Boko Harem. And it’s done in the style of a Guardian columist, who is essentially complaining about one thing, while propogating another kinda dipshittery. To that guy, its offensive that the PC nazis try to questions his legitimacy as a 'good dad.’ But the 2 or 3 time I did that bit, every time I had someone come up to me afterwards and ask me about my son: 'is your son ok now?'
PM: My son Remi, who i think i describe as a menacing Damien type.
LB: Just revisiting that recording. I love the "Lindt Cafe Seige" theme birthday party…
PM: I’d forgotten that…GOOD GRIEF. Hahahaha. How am I not in prison somewhere.
LB: To bring it back around, are there any Aussie comics doing the "uncomfortable truths" thing - or even just who are really funny - who you'd want to big up?
PM: Ummm. Local guys I like: Ben Mulvey and Ben Sutton. Though they don’t do that…Sutton can, he's indigenous, so he tackles Australian racism head on. Mulvey is a great joke writer/performer, just totally fluid with the gags and structure. Both way better than me, haha.
But yeah. I don’t know, I cant really stand the Melbourne festival crowd/schtick, all the tone and performances seem the same. Like a bunch of folk who came short of making it into NIDA wanna do their original monologues for a bigger crowd. The beauty of globalism is that few of my standup influences are Australian, never have been. This is something I’ve been obsessed with since i was 3 so… not many Aussies, which sucks, in a way.
LB: Yeah i guess it makes it harder to see the path to tread but also it's cool that australian audiences are attuned to that international output and hopefully maybe we won't put up with that Melbourne Festival crap for much longer? I see weird comedy on netflix etc and feel like it's getting a foothold over here.
PM: The festival/fringe circuit is a whole other world, which is why our standup leans to much towards the British style as opposed to the American. We don’t have the infrastructure for the American version. Especially in Perth, hahah. Where festivals are your only way out. I’ve chosen the path of careeeer suicide lmao. LMAO IS BACK BABY.
LB: Thought you meant Redfoo for a hot sec.
PM: HAHA. Did they ever go away? They/he, I don’t know, I’m picturing carrot top…
LB: “Redfoo, what are your pronouns?”
PM: HAHAHAHAHA. Fuck, I’m dying. Not on this hill, Lyndon.
I feel like for me. Re: standup and comedy, my influences are wide and kinda dated: old Allen, Lenny Bruce, Pryor, Carlin, Mort Sahl, Bob Newhart, the late great Dick Gregory. But also Nicktoons, Buggs Bunny, Monty Python, Basil Fawlty, Peep Show, Lannucci, Curb, Simpsons, Seinfeld etc. If i was gonna pick my no 1 comedy idol -
LB: Yeah garn.
PM: Yakko Warner from Animaniacs.
LB: Oooh. I must confess total ignorance.
PM: Oh man hold on. This is my brain.
If i got a brain scan, it’d be this. Imagine me, ADHD aspy child, seeing this, omfg. One day i’ll do it all the way through.One day.
LB: This is beautiful.
PM: Animaniacs is true art. Radical anti capitalist mayhem haha. Presidents song also very good:
People remember Pinky and the Brain better, they were from Animaniacs. But obviously hypermanic hyper associative rapid fire voice changing and references is a thing for me. And that I very much inspired by Loony Tunes. Buggs Bunny, even though he’s just animated Grouch Marx, is probably the greatest comic voice of the 20th century.
[a minute passes]
Scared I’ve lost you down an Animaniacs k hole, which is fair, I am there too.
LB: Hahaha sorry, was indeed transfixed by the presidents song.
[a few days pass]
PM: This video is now part of the interview and must be included
[a few more days pass]
LB: So for the uninitiated, how would you describe ‘Barely Bombings' and how did you decide that those particular recordings belonged on an album together?
PM: Hmm. Well, they're 90% of my standup bits up that point. I try and record most my performances, half out of hoarder mentality, half because its the easiest way to get my work to a wider audience. The shelf life on some of these bits is - I don’t know - not great.
There's a narrative to the album. Like, some bits are recorded almost 2 years apart, but fit together well, thematically.There’s a strand of ideas: self-doubt, struggle w mental illness, then national doubt/rage, observational political grief goofs, and then the convergence and confluence of all of the above. [pig emoji] Should I sign off answers with a pig?
LB: Haha yes excellent.
PM: Udder and out.
I know pigs dont have udders but i am very tired.
“Over and sow” works better. Haha, no wait, fuck me.
Over and snout. There we go
There’s a good example of my joke writing process.
LB: Hahahah, perfect. In terms of the relationship between your standup and mental illness… can I ask how cathartic / helpful for you it is to make comedy about it, versus other motivations for engaging that subject matter?
PM: I haven't talked about mental illness on stage for a while, those are usually my oldest bits…
LB: Right, okay.
PM: And, it’s not because I’m shy or scared to perform them. If anything, it's because it is too easy to talk about for me. Idon't find it a confrontational conversation because (ironically) I’m too autistic/mad to feel that uneasiness, or care about it. I guess i write a column on it for VICE so yeah. But regarding making it funny - madness is funny to me, it is a survival mechanism, it informs my humour in a very literal way. My frontal lobe has no filter. I’ve always said the first thing that comes to mind, and in so many ways that has ruined my life haha. I spent so much of school in principal offices and on the naughty bench, so I just made sure the things I couldn’t help saying were either smart or funny or preferably both. Kinda turned that into my brand, as most folk who know me know. I’m terrible at keeping secrets, I’m a pathalogical bullshit artist (diagnosed), and i have little to no impulse control…if ya cant make that work in standup then buddy, i got bad news for ya. Lenny Bruce wasnt a heroin addict cos he was a welll balanced dude. Richard Pryor didnt try to self immolate cos he was having a one off down day. Haha. So it's the stage or Alma street, essentially.
LB: Yikes. Didn't know about Richard Pryor.
PM: Oh yeah. Man, I love that bit. He turned it into a bit abou this crack pipe exploding, burns to 85% of his body. In reality he covered himself in pure alcohol and set himself a light. He ran down the street for 10 minutes on fire screaming. The cops trailed slowly behind him, cos quite understandably, they had no idea what to do. And he opened his comeback special by lighting a match and saying: "hey whats this?"and bobbing it in front of his face. “It’s Richard Pryor running down the street.” If he can do that, I can talk about anything (he is my hero).
LB: Holy shit.
PM: Ye. Literally cooked. Ha. His life was so tragic. Highly recommend Scot Saul's ‘Becoing Richard Pryor.’
LB: You alluded before to how the themes of your sets have changed , what's been the focus of the stuff on the forthcoming record / shows?
PM I’m leaning into my weirdness, and for want of a better word, smarts. So much of Australian comedy is about generalising, being broad, and not being polemical.
I’ve never been those things, I’ve branded myself by being the opposite from the outset. I’m hyper-specific, and I’m informed, and i talk about shit I really truly care about. Most standups here dont, to be honest.
I get told off ‘cause i do it in a way that is so strange and which can be too confonting and alienating. This time last year i had some doubts about it, I thought, I should slow down a bit, I should go easier on myself and as such the audience.
But then - reality - fuck, the nightmare of where we are now it’s like, my bits were coming to life. It's half the reason I’ve slowed down with gigs this year - I can’t outpace the actual madness anymore.
I think I’m madder this year, in both senses. Last year i felt the beginning of a reprieve, and i was wrong. It was actually just that moment on the rollercoaster before it drops, and then the guy two carriages back says "hey, my fucking seat is ON FIRE.” That’s 2017.
So second half of that q…I haven’t been booking many gigs, mainly cos my mental health has been so bad this year. To be honest, gigs really take it out of me. I pour a lot into a 5 min open mic. And i have a terrible time while there, the anxiety is just immense. It makes me sick for a week. It’s hard to want to do that. So I’ve been doing a lot more home and studio recordings, getting back into longform improv, and just little weird sketches.
Open mics are a nightmare for me cos there's never anyone doing anything remotely similar that i just feel like the guy with his cock out asking everyone to give him feedback on a red spot that may or may not be there.
LB: Do you ultimately feel like you're more drawn to non-live formats then? Or maybe just live work in a different setting?
PM: The latter. I love performing. Problem is I’m a control freak and an egomaniac. I hate other comics, haha. I dont want them near me.
PM: I’d like to perform between people giving wakes. I hate green rooms, i hate cliques, i hate discussing ideas. I like performing in pubs, i like the diversity of the crowd, i like bombing A LOT. I just want to apparate on stage, do my 5-10, and apparate home. The tragedy of my mental illness is that social interaction in a context like that is torturous; people joshing you backstage isn't just a bit of fun for me, it's a nightmare. I’m only comfortable on stage - it’s everything else which is agonisng.
LB: Yeah I can relate to a certain extent, I get into anxious dissociative states either side of a performance. The teleport option sounds great.
PM: Can’t wait for it hey. I’m glad i can be frank about these things though. I dont have stage fright, I have backstage fright. It’s not me being dick, i have a disorder that makes these things just so hard for me.
LB: I imagine a lot of people misinterpret that.
PM: Yeah. It’s a hyper competitive and ultimately bitchy scene. I don’t have that in me. Lotta comics try and psych you out back stage - not all, but some -
and its so ladsy, so many bros. It’s all the things that make me feel ill, anxious, and nauseous. I hate having to be in that mix and then on stage, it throws off everything.
LB: Sounds like some weird college sport vibe.
PM: The scene is hyper macho. I dont indentify as a dude or with dudes so for me it's just another horrific abstraction in our countrys macho ocker wankery.
The Kates are a good example of what Aus comedy could and should be; they’re amazing. And they work in a style and genre that isnt really my thing, but theyre great formalists, theyre doing alt or anticomedy ot an extent, they have a fucking idea and a narrative. Sadly, our media landscape is so limited. Its east coast dominated, its boomer dominated, its white, its straight, and when its not, its not artistically daring - cos any 'other' in Australia cant afford to be as well as succeeding. It’s the Triple J dilema - we have a meritocrasy that rewards a certain breed of average. There’s “acceptable daring” in Australia. The Tom Tilleys of the world bob around like unflushable turds because they are the right balance of harmless medicority and capped teeth orthodontry […] When was the ABC took a risk with comedy? You could say the Kates, but i think the Kates trojan horsed the abc, which is why theyre so good. They snuck their weirdness in. They arrived with the cult. The ABC hasnt let a cult grow for proper freaks since The Games, and for no one under 30 since Saffran.
We're a nation who detests - genuinely loathes -true weirdness. It’s why someone like - what’s his name - fuckin’, Tim Burton piano man…
PM: Shaun tan if he was a converse sneaker. That fucker. Can do his dourly unfunny hack songs and be lauded as some kind of avant garde wiz kid; he's The Big Weird by the measuring rod of Leigh Sales. God help us.
LB: Do you think you'll wanna relocate to try to find the career stepping stones that aren't accessible in Perth? Or is it more about “the internet”?
PM: I was gona move to NYC in March, i was set to go…life shit held me up. And to be honest, Trump kinda fucked me up regarding that a bit. But yeah, I'm thinking of LA, which I really like and where the stuff I like right now is coming from. NYC is a matter of health, money, and weather to be honest, haha. I'd love to go to America as a kinda boot camp, then come back to Aus. That'd be a dream. But again I'll probably go into a fugue state writing my "There Will Be Blood" musical. And forget to eat the corndogs and wingings or whatever, and die.
LB: Is that musical on the cards?
PM: I wrote 6 songs for it as a goof. I’ve been a compulsive musical writer since I was about 4. I can remember just about every one I’ve ever made up.
[I tell Patrick I have to hit the pause for a sec, but ask if there’s anything else in particular on his mind.]
PM: Maybe just go back a bit. Suicide and comedy maybe haha. Just the similarities. I think a lot of the great comics, from Bruce to Bamford, have spent a lot of time looking into the void of death and self death.
LB: Uh huh.
PM: And I think surviving that, or battling it, offers you a certain sense of invulnerability.
If you have been there and back or are there and remain there, the stakes of the game is altered, you’ve maybe touched the absurdity in its purest state…so you can come back and theres no fear of discussing that or anything else. Because, like a flaming Richard Pryor running down the street, you know it can’t get any worse than that kinda pain.
LB: Yeah absolutely, that's an interesting take. I hadn’t really thought of it like that.
PM: Comedy is agony, good comedy at least. It’s an exorcism. You are exorcising pain.
Comics by nature are needy people, needy to the point of being sick, I know that about myself haha. Fundamentally, it’s what separates the fleeting from the universal. Think of Rodney Dangerfieled - essentially a nightclub comic doing one liners - but, deeply depressed and it seeped into his jokes his 'hello heaviness' is such a powerful piece of comedy it makes me cry, and laugh.
[I ask, in a roundabout way, what Pat wants to achieve with his own comedy].
PM: I’m hypermanic and full of pipe dreams.
LB: Pipe dreams are good.
PM: I dream of making the Australian answer to the Simpsons or Seinfeld, but i wanna… at the moment… kinda make the Perth scene answer to Curb or It's Always Sunny. A lotta this is budgetary.
LB: For sure.
PM: But it’s that kinda show that is just stripped back to sitcom/comedy as bare essence/skeleton. I’ve always loved that. I feel I’m ready to do it, even if it’s just me talking to myself. One man bukaki party.
LB: But ideally get some like minded crew on board?
PM: Yeah, I’ve got a few friends who are very keen. A lot actually. It’s more my mental health right now. But Perth is maybe the funniest place on earth, as it’s the most absurd. I wanna make a show here.
LB: Yeah I find Perth hilarious.
PM: It’s that thing in Perth of pissing against the wind and into avoid at the same time. Just waiting for a hand to reach out and lift you a little, give you the tiniest break. Imagine an ABC comedy set in Perth? We aren’t in the national media, anywhere. It’s absurd. I wanna make it happen. I used to wanna remake Woody Allen’s Manhattan in Perth minus all the… ya know…creepy elements. But right now i just wanna riff on the city.
This place, the people, it’s my fuckin’ muse. The core joke being: it’s the daggiest place on earth, and the rest of Australia thinks it’s so much cooler. But it’s kinda like the cousin who collects star wars lego at 18 thinking his younger cousin is lame for reading the wrong manga. No one is cool here, and that to me is the biggest joke of all.