Melbourne comedian, writer and presenter Matt Stewart returns to Melbourne International Comedy Festival, fresh from sell-out shows at Melbourne Fringe and Perth Fringe world, with show Pretty Dry. Theatre People spoke to him ahead of his first solo show, the journey since he won RAW Comedy, and his downbeat comedy and wry wit.
“Pretty Dry is about a lot of different things. I touch on advertising, nostalgia, vegetarians… It’s mostly just regular stand up, but I also do a long form story about my time as a gambling addict and cry on stage to a Harry Chapin song. So you know – regular comedy fodder” said Stewart on his new show
When Stewart won the RAW contest in 2014, it was only his 10th gig.
“The main thing that is different is I’m gigging a lot more now. The spots I had done previously were spread out over months. I guess I’m probably a bit more confident now – or I take the nights where things don’t go so well a lot better” he said on his journey as a comedian.
He has been doing a lot of work with his company, Stupid Old Studios, which he runs with Evan Munro-Smith and other comics.
“We’ve had great fun making stuff like the Oxfam Gala Sketches, Sammy J’s Playground Politics and a documentary about the MICF Road Show. I’m also doing a podcast called Do Go On (with Dave Warneke and Jess Perkins), which is one of the most fun things I do. I really enjoy these more collaborative projects” he said.
Stewart has done well, with a run of sell out shows at Melbourne and Perth Fringe festivals, and now is presenting his first solo show at this year’s Comedy Festival.
“I’m not sure I fully feel like I’ve broken into the comedy scene yet, but the advice I hear the most is to gig as much as possible as that’s the only way to become a better comedian” he said.
“I guess it’s like lots of other jobs in that way – the more you do it the better you get at it, the more people you meet and the more opportunities you get. Also if you only play really small venues it’s easy to sell out. But that’s a trade secret”.
He’s looking forward to seeing a lot of shows as part of the festival.
“The first show I make sure I see every year is Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall’s, he’s probably my favourite comic. Also my podcast buddies, Jess Perkins and Dave Warneke, are both doing shows (we’re also doing four live episodes of the podcast). Nick Capper has the best comedy festival trailer I’ve ever seen so I’ll have to see that” he said.
“I’ve also just been on tour with Laura Dunneman and Angus Gordon and they are both in hot form, so looking forward to seeing their shows too”.
Post festival, Stewart will just keep on working in comedy and his various projects.
“I’ll just keep on trucking with the comedy, really. Making more episodes of Do Go On, working on my writing, touring more, making fun videos… just living the dream, basically” he said.
Catch his debut show Pretty Dry at The Tea Room at The Chinese Museum from Thursday 30 March. Tickets at: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2017/shows/pretty-dry