Funny man Dave Hughes is back on the road and promises he’ll be in his best form by the time he hits Brisbane.
Dave Hughes is getting back on stage, touring the country and internationally with his new show Pointless, but even with his global success, he’s still the modest Hughesy we all know and love.
From his brand new beachside home in St Kilda, Hughes took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to chat with me about his successful career in comedy, and how good his show is going to be by the time he hits Brisbane.
What can we expect from your new stand-up show, Pointless?
You’re gonna see me in really good form. That’s just me saying that. I’ve devoted the year to stand-up, pretty much working every single night.
I’m loving being on stage, and the audience appears to be loving it as well… and if they’re not, they’re not telling me they’re not.
How has it been, leaving your lucrative position in prime-time TV and radio to go back on the road?
I still keep my hand in with TV and radio. I still go across to The Project and do a few fill-ins on Nova, just so they can keep paying me basically.
I’m absolutely enjoying touring. I’m enjoying seeing Australia, which sounds a bit corny. It’s a beautiful country and I’m pretty much going to be all over it by the end of the year.
Then we’ve got a couple of months overseas. Coming up soon we leave for LA, then London and Edinburgh to do stand up in all of those places, so that’s going to be fun.
The London Soho House Theatre is saying there’s no bigger name in Australian comedy than Dave Hughes. What’s it like to be recognised internationally for your success in the comedy arena?
It’s nice to hear. Obviously, no one in Britain knows who I am. I wish they did, but they don’t really. It’s great to be well known, I really appreciate the fact that I’m well known here and people come out to my shows. It’s a dream come true, no doubt about it.
When people smile when they see me in the street, I love that. When they scowl it’s not so good… I don’t like people scowling at me.
Where have you gotten your material from for your current tour?
Any interaction in the street, it can be anywhere, basically. Certainly having three small children, that helps me get material because they drive you insane and they’re crazy.
My five year old son is getting a bit too much into it. He said something the other day that made me laugh and he says, ‘Was that funny?’ And I was like, ‘Well, I laughed’. And he says, ‘Well, write it down, dad’. So he’s doing some note-taking for my shows now. That’s funny.
Are any of your kids looking like they’ll turn into the next Hughesy 2.0?
We finished up on radio last year in Melbourne and my co-host Kate Langbroek wanted to do a song with all the kids (Kate has four kids, and Hughes has three).
My middle daughter was two at the time and the song was Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree, and she just walked out in front of all these people and took over at the age of two. She became the star of the show. She’s just a natural.
What was your worst stand-up experience?
I did a show in Edinburgh many years ago called Late and Live. It was the first time I had been to the Edinburgh Comedy Festival and it started at like 2 o’clock in the morning. I thought I knew what the show was about, but it turned out to be this heckling thing, like a comedian abattoir where hundreds of comedians were coming to get slain, and I was on opening night because someone had pulled out.
The MC was giving me a pep talk before I went out and I was like, ‘Mate, it’s just a normal comedy routine, why would I be worried?’ I walked on stage, said about three words and had about 100 people chanting ‘F*** off Aussie F*** off’. So I’ve had moments. It was quite memorable, and I told the crowd that they disgusted me. They laughed at that, it almost became a good gig. I didn’t get to any of the material, it was just me telling the crowd they were disgusting and them telling me I’m a f***ing idiot. But it was still a very memorable evening. We found out afterwards that the real culprits were a group of New Zealand rugby players…
Do experiences like that make you nervous about hitting the stage again?
I have a recurring dream that I walk out on stage in a big theatre and by the time I finish my act there’s no one left in the room. That’s my recurring nightmare. Touch wood it never happens.
On another note, your social media isn’t particularly serious, but everyone is talking about that asylum seeker comment on Twitter…
My wife thinks the situation isn’t very good, and I don’t either. I really am concerned about what the government’s not telling us. They should be telling us what they’re doing, whether we like it or not. To not tell us what they’re doing with people, or with anything, is just dangerous in my opinion.
So I thought I would put it out there. The response has been huge, it’s crazy. I’ve said the same thing before on air, when I was on Q&A, it’s crazy how just one tweet can grab so much attention.
Speaking of your wife, she got you a good one with her review in the Herald Sun. How did you respond to that?
Without a word of a lie, I had no idea that she was at the show. She completely conned me, which is funny. She’s certainly a character. I didn’t even know until a week afterwards, not until the review was even published.
In the review she wrote that what she really learned was that she could totally have an affair. That’s not comforting. And I told her I couldn’t have an affair because I didn’t know when she would be watching.
Does that kind of thing end up in your comedy routine?
Anything that happens in my life ends up in the routine. So I really have to thank her for her lying.
Most things that happen in my life are up for grabs. Sometimes I realise I shouldn’t have said something and someone will get offended. I’m all for the fact that people should be complimented that they got mentioned. With other comedians I’ve been used as a punch line and I’m glad I’m being promoted. Even if the punch line makes me look like an idiot, I’m still being promoted.
Do you still keep in contact with the other Aussie comedians you’ve worked with in the past?
We’re a bit of a friendly mob. When I started in comedy Will Anderson was starting at the same time, and Rove and Peter Helliar, and Merrick & Rosso. So there were a heap of Aussie comedians that went through it together. We’ve got a camaraderie that goes right back to the days where we were doing it for free in pubs around Melbourne. So there’s a big Melbourne crew that have done well.
You must be proud of how well you’ve done…
Right now I’m standing in a house that we just built, it’s in St Kilda and it’s a brand new house and I’m looking out the window now and just thinking, ‘This is good’. This house has been built by me telling jokes. That’s a good thing.
I’m very lucky… no, I won’t say I’m lucky, I’m very thankful that I’ve worked hard. Well, I am lucky, I suppose, that things have worked out for me.
Dave Hughes’ Pointless tour will be in Brisbane from November 5 – 9 at The Twelfth Night Theatre. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.