Hugs achieved: x2
Ben Knight is bringing his show ‘The Parent/Teacher Interview’ to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) to delight his audiences with stand-up and “a few songs squeezed in”. The “affable ginger”, who is still “technically a teacher”, will be covering topics from his school experiences. Ben will touch on the three parent types, the “hippies, the bogans and the helicopter parents”, the strange teaching methods, the “favourites” and possibly even the “mums that are falling out of their tops to get their kids better marks”.
“I loved teaching, it’s so much fun”, says Ben. “I taught for three years in a mainstream school then I taught for two years in an Aboriginal community….800 kilometres north of Cairns” in a place called “Lockhart River”. Ben describes this as “the most beautiful time of my life but also the hardest….all wrapped into one”. “You see the most amazing things in those little communities”.
From the remote areas of Australia, Ben saved up his money to travel and see the world. The Queenslander has ventured from Los Angeles to Bolivia and “hit up pretty much every country on the way down”. Ben recounts living in New York…in Harlem…being “gangster as”! He loved the comedy but also the people, quickly becoming mates with the guys at his local gym as the token “ginger bloke”.
Ben appears level headed, and willing to make fun of himself: “I do a bit of self deprecating stuff about being a ginger”. As Ben’s phone rings I encourage him to answer it, he replies in jest “don’t worry, it’s just the girlfriend”. “I do jokes about her…because she’s a ginger too” he remarks. Ben appears really appreciative of his girlfriend’s influence on his comedy. “Since I met her my comedy has gotten funnier”, “the realist in her, has brought out the realist in me”, which has counterbalanced his self-described “Sunshine Coast hippy” mindset. If Ben wasn’t smitten enough, he adds “I’m pretty tragic… she’s great”!
Ben tells a well-known story (an oldie but a goodie) of how he discovered his comedy roots while on his travels, armed with his trusty “guitar and didgeridoo”. Living in Guatemala in 2012, “in the middle of nowhere…on a mountain” and teaching at a “little Mayan school”, he started “changing all these love songs” into “silly songs”. Thus began the comedy career of Ben Knight.
There is a “stigma with musical comedy” says Ben, sometimes “the music is not great…the jokes aren’t that great…but if you put them together it kind of makes it better….I never wanted to be like that”. “If I just say the jokes to you now…you would laugh” and if “you heard the music without the jokes” an audience would think “that is musically badass”!
Ben has completely stripped and reworked the 2015 iteration of his MICF show by the same name to bring a revitalised and improved show. Taking inspiration from comedy greats like Tim Minchin the “musical genius…and lyricist…he’s just a freak…and he’s ginger”; Flight of the Concords; and, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Ben appears to be enjoying where his comedy is at. He is pushing for “mad laughs” and to do the best material he can. Ben appears to relish in moments when he has to stop playing music “because people are laughing too hard”.
Ben moved to Melbourne around two years ago to “knuckle down”, “have a crack” and properly get “stuck in” to the comedy scene. He describes the urge of wanting to be in an “arts hub… because New York was like that, everyone was something”. In progressing his acting career, Ben recently played a lead role in the new ABC TV comedy series ‘The Warriors’ about Australian Football League (AFL) players, which airs on 12 April 2017. Aside from being knackered as a result of the work, Ben found his role in ‘The Warriors’ to be “so fulfilling”. The positive experience has led him to explore other possible TV projects, which may be related to teaching, that he hopes come to fruition.
“Everyone has been to school…everyone has had a favourite teacher…or even better, a worst teacher” so “everyone can relate” to Ben’s MICF show ‘The Parent/Teacher Interview’. Ben has a passion that drives his projects, noting he “left a full-time teaching job to pursue” them. Where Ben also excels is that he is eminently likable. “I don’t like to think of myself as a mean comedian…. I don’t like making fun” of select individuals. Ben’s show will likely feature a guitar, a loop pedal, maybe some beat boxing but it will also surely feature big laughs and a genuine performer on stage. It will “just be me”, says Ben, “can’t be anyone else”.
Come see Ben Knight in ‘The Parent/Teacher Interview’ at the European Bier Café from 11 to 23 April 2017, for more details and to book tickets – click here.
If you have a Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) show you want reviewed or you want to sit down for a chat/interview about it, contact Hugging Comedians on Facebook, Twitter or through the website.