Wil Anderson performs Man Vs Wil


As Wil Anderson says, he's been doing comedy since before some of his audience members were born. In addition to plenty of stand-up, he's also been coming out of our radios and TV sets for over a decade.

“Someone came up to me the other day, the Hottest 100 was on and they were talking about it, saying, 'I loved it when you guys used to do the Hottest 100.' They were referencing something and I thought, 'Oh my God I left Triple J seven years ago. I only worked there five years, so I've left there longer than I was ever there and people still remember that. People still have a connection. I mean, that's amazing to me. I guess if you thought about that at the time, you'd think too much about everything you were going to say. You'd never say anything.”

There seems little chance that that's going to happen. For his 15th Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Andersons's show is called Man Vs Wil. He describes it as “exactly the same theme all my shows, which is 70 minutes of the funniest shit I could think of, said in a row.” The reality is less simple than that, but we'll get to it.

Anderson will tour the show through Adelaide and Brisbane before it hits Melbourne and he's enjoying the creative process. “I think there's nothing more interesting than honesty, like you know in that moment, sometimes I'm hearing the jokes for the first time, so I'm laughing. Or sometimes I disgust myself, I go too far for myself.”

Anderson insists that the best time in a career, even when you're doing what you love, is the beginning, when you're stoked to be living the dream, but unsure whether it will succeed and it hasn't become 'work'. He's trying to recapture that feeling. “I'm wearing a pair of shoes in the show that are my Year 11 high school shoes. I don't mention them in the show; it's purely because that was the time that I was dreaming that this is what I wanted to do.”

With maturity though, comes a new perspective, “When I was 16 everything was black and white: I hated this and I loved that; and this was wrong and this was right. Now I'm older and I understand what everyone understands, which is that life is grey. Life is a series of compromises and life is a series of thinking one thing about one thing and another thing about another thing and changing your mind if you need to. Quite often changing your mind if you need to,” muses Anderson. It's in some respects the undercover theme of the show. “That's what I wanted to express, comedically, was grey. Now that's a fucking hard thing to express comedically because comedy works as black and white: this is shit, this is brilliant. So the show is about complexity really.”


Wil Anderson performs Man Vs Wil at The Athenaeum Theatre from March 29 – April 24. It’s at 9.45pm Tuesday – Thursday, 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 5pm on Sundays. Tickets are $25 - $37 and available through Ticketmaster online, 1300 660 013 and at the door.