The world is doomed, right? Wrong. Because the songwriter and star of The Chaser’s War on Everything and Stories from Oz is here to solve all its problems – using only a piano, a guitar and an unshakeable conviction that everyone’s going about things the wrong way.

Andrew Hansen should know. With iconic TV characters like The Surprise Spruiker and stand-out musical numbers like ‘The Eulogy Song’, he has a track record of always being correct about everything.

————————————-

 How would you describe your show to someone who knew nothing about it?

This is a ferociously silly one-man comedy show of sketches and songs, in which a gentleman in a purple boiler suit uses a guitar, a piano and three cartons of milk to solve all the world’s problems.

What/Who was its inspiration?

Our interconnected world. Thanks to social media, we live in the first moment in history where we can examine the intimate thoughts of nearly everyone else on the planet. Billions of views and opinions, every conceivable school of philosophy, it’s all there to see. Yet among all that staggering diversity, it struck me that there’s one belief we all have in common, one conviction that unifies each and every person on Earth: the belief that everyone else is wrong.

What do you think its best quality is?

My DIY style is the show’s best quality. Not trusting anyone else to do anything properly – why would I? – I’ve created all the musical arrangements and pre-recorded dialogue myself, and I trigger all the cues from an iPad perched precariously on a music stand beside me. I lurch wildly between that and guitar and piano and playing various characters, scurrying about all over the stage. This makes it rather intriguing to watch because if I make the slightest error, the entire show crumbles into a disastrous mess. Must be hugely tempting for an audience to see a potential catastrophe like that unfold.

Why should people see it?

People are constantly demanding we bring back THE CHASER’S WAR ON EVERYTHING. So I am! My stage shows take the same spirit and chaos and irreverence and wide-ranging subject matter of The Chaser’s TV shows and put that on stage, right before your eyes. My latest show covers EVERYTHING: the impossible parenting bar set by Bluey’s dad, drug use in ancient China, the skyrocketing property market as explained by Sesame Street characters, and Elon Musk’s reportedly massive nob. Ultimately the show makes sport of death itself, in the form of an updated 2022 version of ‘The Eulogy Song’ that exhumes our most recently deceased celebrities for a right royal dressing down.

If there is one thing you would like to say to your fans, what is it?

‘You have peculiar taste.’ Or perhaps, ‘Bow down before your master!’

Who or what has been the greatest influence on your career?

Naturally enough, my tastes in writing and music and comedy were formed in childhood, as anyone else’s are. But as an adult, I try to avoid being influenced at all, even to the point of finding myself reluctant to see other comedians or watch comedy shows on TV. I’m nervous about picking up traits or shtick that aren’t my own. I want to be unique, to have a trademark voice and style. I don’t want the grubby fingerprints of other artists rubbing off on me and leaving me stylistically stained. Blergh! Mind you, I used to worry about this approach, fearing it would leave me ignorant and out of the loop. Then I heard Hayao Miyazaki interviewed and he said he does pretty much the same thing – he simply stopped watching movies when he was quite young, and was therefore left with only the influences of his early youth. And I thought, phew! If it’s good enough for Miyazaki, it’s good enough for me.

Who makes you want to create

Having just declared myself reluctant to check out other artists, I must admit that on the rare occasions I do check them out, I’m nearly always inspired to create my own stuff. Anyone who’s doing terrific creative work, whether in comedy or any other creative field, is a motivator to me. It’s just that I don’t often see it!

When did it become clear to you that comedy and entertainment were your passions?

Very, very late. I’m not one of those artists who felt a calling or a burning desire to do what I do. So I wouldn’t even say ‘passions’. For many years, I largely structured my life and work around avoiding a proper job. That was the primary motivating force for my creative output. I worked like crazy when there was work to be done, but in between gigs I was happy to just bumble along. I first stumbled into comedy by accident, and joined The Chaser’s TV team simply because the others asked me to and I had nothing else on at the time. However, in the last 5 years or so, that dithering approach has changed to a much more focussed and motivated one. I’ve found myself at my most creative, having co-written a 4-novel fantasy series for young readers and narrated it as audiobooks, presented a daily radio show for two and a half years on Triple M, presented a season of breakfast radio for ABC, acted in a play, podcasted a bit, composed and co-wrote and produced a high-end musical comedy TV series (yet to air), and mounted two live tours. Not to mention the unannounced pipeline projects I’m working on. During this prolific period, I finally realised that creating entertainment is actually what I do. And what I’d like to do more of. It was quite a realisation!

What does comedy, creation and entertainment mean to you?

Quality of life. Without these things, life is just rotten. That’s why it makes sense for societies around the world to invest in creativity and entertainment, even if the bottom line makes no mathematical sense to the treasury.

What are 3 words that describe you?

Precise. Prickly. Dissatisfied.

What are 3 things that would surprise people to learn about you?

  1. I’m polite and non-confrontational. Despite some of my comedy involving pranks in public places, I’m uncomfortable in those situations. That’s partly why I find them so funny. What a curse!
  2. I’m not especially interested in topical comedy or what’s known as ‘political satire’. Sure, I’ve created a fair whack of that type of material over the years but it’s not really my cup of tea. I much prefer light, silly stuff about characters, stories and situations. So WAR ON EVERYTHING was more suited to my taste than our election shows, for instance.
  3. I hate staying up late. People think creative types are always beavering away in attics by candlelight or sipping absinthe till 5 in the morning. Not me. Bedtime by 8, lights out at 10 past.

How excited are you to be performing in front of a live audience again after the devastation of the Covid shut downs?

Oh, very! Covid scotched half the dates on my last tour. There were some of my best ever sketches in that show, and I feel terribly sorry for the good people of Perth, Sydney, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart that they were deprived of such must-have routines. I wonder if they’ll ever get over it?

 What is next for you?

My TV series STORIES FROM OZ, which I wrote with Chris Taylor, will air sometime down the track. It takes some of Australia’s most defining stories from recent history and retells them as musicals. In 2023, I hope to take another brand-new live show on the road. And there’s some talk of The Chaser’s TV team gathering for a podcast about the forthcoming election, so I’m once again pretending to be interested in election-based comedy. Some larks ahead!

Andrew Hansen brings you a sizzling new slate of music and sketches about how things ought to be done. Because just like you, he knows Everyone Else is Wrong.

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2022/shows/everyone-else-is-wrong