Hugs achieved: x 1
After many open mic nights, sets and MC gigs over his last three years in the comedy scene, Ben McCarthy is ready to leap into his maiden Melbourne Fringe Festival show ‘I Have Issues’. Ben, cap and sunnies adorning his head, comes across as a ‘no-fuss’ and straightforward character. Despite being interested in comedy for many years, Ben’s “first ever gig” took place at his friend’s dad’s pub. What a friend to have! After this positive experience, he tried his hand at open mic nights to get his “foot in the door” and progressed from there, performing semi-regularly over the last 18 months at bars, hotels and universities.
While Ben’s Fringe show promises to be a “chilled” night of comedy, if you’re a particularly supportive audience you might even get something special: “There’s a bit of a section in there…it’ll depend on how the night goes”. Ben notes that he can sometimes be “a little bit raw” and can go “dark on things”. Not in a macabre sense, rather “the story will take a different turn to where you think it will go”, similar to the stylings of one of Ben’s favourites ‘Anthony Jeselnik’.
One of the more intriguing parts of my conversation with Ben is around his thoughts on taboo comedy. Ben shows a level of maturity about what is off limits. He recounts a ‘comedy tip’ provided by Anthony Jeselnik when he saw him perform live in 2015: “He (Anthony) said if you tell a bit of a dark joke and the audience like it, then tell two or three more…if you tell a dark joke and the audience hate it, tell six more”! Ben respects the comparison and states “I’ve done a whole set of ‘dark’ humour and it went ridiculously well” but says he doesn’t know if he is “going down that path just yet” as his default comedy style.
What does the future hold for Ben? In addition to having a successful Melbourne Fringe, he wants to go “around the world…imagine coming home from a big tour, where you’ve made people laugh in all these countries”! Ben is grateful for the opportunities he has had and makes a point to say thank you to everyone who has helped him get to this point, particularly highlighting Ben Tombs and Morven Smith, who helped get his show to the Courthouse Hotel.
Ben will be performing his show ‘I Have Issues’ between 24 September and 2 October at the Courthouse Hotel (corner Errol & Queensberry Street, North Melbourne). There is no show on 30 September.
Keen to check it out? Go here for more information and tickets!
If you’re a Melbourne-based comedian or just passing through, please get in touch here or on Twitter so we can chat about comedy! Warning, there may be hugs involved.