By Luke Voogt
ARTICLE WRITTEN PRIOR TO THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF VICTORIA’S SNAP LOCKDOWN. EVENT TO BE CANCELLED OR RESCHEDULED.
A good comedian is like a duck, according to stand up veteran Richard Stubbs.
“Calm on the surface and paddling like crap underneath,” he said.
And he would know, after decades onstage.
Thirty-eight years since his first stand up gig, Stubbs reckons his latest solo show, Cachinnation, at Drysdale’s Potato Shed this month, could be his best yet.
“I always go out on stage as if it’s my first show, and my last show,” he said.
“My goal – apart from giving the audience value for their money and making sure they have a good time – is, personally, to make the show on [May 29] the best I’ve ever done.
“I’m not giving a TED Talk – I guarantee for an hour you won’t think about all the crap that was weighing you down when you came in.
“And you’ll have something to talk about in the car, or when you have a drink later.”
And, as an added bonus, Stubbs has some copies of his 1998 book, Still Life: Thoughts of a Man Hurriedly Going Nowhere, to give away.
“It’s priceless, you can’t get it anywhere!” he said.
“Those will go on and live in toilets all across Geelong!”
After graduating a bachelor of economics and four years of office life, Stubbs seemed destined for a career in finance.
Until he made his stand up debut at Melbourne’s Last Laugh comedy club.
“I’d been working at the Last Laugh for about half a year as a barman and waiter,” he said.
“Working there was the first time I felt at home. There were all these weird creative people and I just thought, ‘wow, this is my tribe.’ Who would have thought?
“I guess I had been unconsciously learning from some fantastic comics from the UK and Australia.
“The MC said, ‘why you don’t get the loudmouth barman up’ and my friends pushed me up there.”
The show was a hit and Stubbs went on to perform regularly on Australian TV and in major cities across the world including Montreal, Los Angeles, London and New York.
He has hosted numerous radio shows over the decades and, in 2016, returned to stand up.
Years on from that 1986 gig, he reckons his best comedy is still to come.
“I did four shows in four days the other week and I think it’s gotten better,’ he said.
“It’s got more layers. Getting older, you get knocked around a bit and get back up – so your performances have a bit more depth to them.”
After run of recent group comedy gigs, Stubbs looked forward to his first solo act in some time.
“It’s a full 90-minute show, where I get to put out all the wears out for examination,” he said.
Stubbs admitted comedy had changed since his first performance in 1986.
“It’s kind of a mirror for society – it’s evolving and changing,” he said.
“You’ve got to be more careful when you use irony and sarcasm.
“People react sometimes to your words when they don’t understand the context you’re using them in.
“If you’re doing comedy in 2021, you want to be current with how people are thinking and feeling.
“But I think if you just take the words political correctness out and replace them with empathy, you’re OK.
“If you do it properly and make connections with people, it makes it very personal.
“What hasn’t changed is that people want to come out, enjoy themselves and laugh.”
Cachinnation starts 8pm on May 29. Details: geelongaustralia.com.au/potatoshed.