Late last year I had the absolute pleasure of chatting to a comedian who I’ve enjoyed for many year – the fantastic Wil Anderson. He was funny, interesting and even though there was a phone line between us, he had my blushing like a little school girl! I used the opportunity, as a comedian, to grab a bit of insight from him into the ‘art’ of comedy – and how being a comedian affects every day life – I liked what he said! I’ve copied the article below – but here’s the link to the original on Scenestr if you’d prefer to read it there…
In 2016, the hilarious and talented Wil Anderson bring his new show, ‘Fire At Wil’ to Adelaide and Brisbane.
Always delivering fresh and exciting material, Anderson has forged a reputation in the Australian comedy scene as one of the hardest working comedians around – and it’s easy to see why, as he regularly takes on a slew of projects, delivering high-energy each time.
‘Fire At Wil’ is built on the foundations of his previous show. “The new show is always a reaction to the last show but I don’t really know what that means until I have the show written and up and going,” he explains.
That being said, the most recent show that he brought to Adelaide and Brisbane was, at the time, still a work in progress. “Adelaide last year got to see me write a show basically, on stage. That’s a fun process, I feel that some of those shows that I did in Adelaide were some of the more fun shows of the tour.”
Due to being a work in progress at the time, the show in question – ‘Free Wil’ – relied heavily on improvised material, engaging the audience and building on the energy of the room, arguably something that Anderson absolutely excels at.
While it isn’t always ideal to be workshopping a show and relying so much on improvised material, Anderson explains there is a particular magic to the occurrence. “Essentially what you’re trying to do with a comedy show is put together something that most people can relate to and you can bring a room full of strangers with completely different experiences together and make them laugh.”
However, not all audience members will have shared experiences and be able to understand all the material – that is, unless they experience it there and then. “If something happens in the room… everybody in the room has just seen that happen and just experienced that thing, so it’s one of the rare times when you can have an entire room getting the sense of what you’re meaning in that moment. So in some ways those shows are the most exciting.”
‘Fire At Wil’, however, will be a completely different beast – especially for Adelaide audiences. “Adelaide isn’t going to see a show like that this year because I decided that since I wrote the show in front of them last year, this year I should take them a show that was actually worked on before I got to Adelaide. I’m doing a week of trial shows in Canberra first, so the people in Adelaide will probably see a more advanced show that what they saw last time.”
What can audiences expect though? Anderson hopes to deliver a show that meets the high-standards that his fans have come to expect. “If you buy a ticket to the show, hopefully you’ll buy a ticket to someone who will try his best to make you laugh for an hour.”
With an ever growing profile across a range of mediums – including podcasts and a hosting gig on ABC’s ‘Gruen’ it can be difficult to please everyone though, as he recently experienced. “When they played ‘Wiluminati’ on the ABC I had a person say; ‘they should get the person who writes Wil Anderson’s jokes on ‘Gruen’ to write the jokes for his stand-up.’ But I was like you’re allowed to not like my stand-up or my TV show or vice versa, but the truth of it is that the person who writes the jokes for both of those things is exactly the same person, it’s me. Different aspects of me.”
While it does mean audiences may come to know Anderson for reasons outside his stand-up, he enjoys the variety, explaining that the biggest challenge can in fact be finding the right mix. “If I’m doing too much of one thing, I tend to hate it, no matter what that is.”
More than just being a form of entertainment, comedy is a field that can certainly teach us all a thing or two – and while there are plenty of life lessons to be had, Anderson says that his years in the entertainment industry have taught him two things – both of which are in regards to failure. “The main thing that stops people trying things is the fear of failure and comedy in particular is a failure business, if you’re not failing then you’re just not getting better.
“The second thing that goes with that is the idea that no one can stop you. Every comedian in the world has the worst gig in the world… the thing about comedy is that it teaches you to take responsibility for your own actions because you constantly have to.”
The ultimate lessons? “Embrace failure and you’re in charge of your own destiny – which is terrifying, but an empowering thing too.”
Regardless of the brutal nature of the industry Anderson explains that he wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s my job, I’ve been doing it for 20 years and it would be tough for me to do anything else.”
‘Fire At Wil’ performs Adelaide Fringe 29 February – 3 March and Brisbane Comedy Festival 15-20 March.