Comedy off the top of his head
COMEDIAN Steven J Whiteley brings the laughs to the Byron Bay Brewery tonight. Marnie Johnston caught up with him prior to his MC duties.
For all those who aren't as naturally hilarious as you, what's the key to being funny?
I generally find the best way to be funny is just to be naturally hilarious. But seriously, I find the best way to connect with an audience is to talk about common experiences. It makes it easier if everyone can relate to the situation.
What can an audience expect when you appear in Byron on August 21?
Honestly, I have no idea. I love talking to the crowd so much and working off them, that a lot of time I have no idea what's going to happen. But I can promise that it will be a whole lot of fun.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Probably being the only comedian that has ever been invited to perform on the main stage on the cruise ship I work on. It was 11 at night and I was terrified that nobody would turn up. I walked out on stage and was talking to the crowd, I couldn't see anything because of the lighting, so I asked them to turn the house lights up and the place was full, there was 900 people there. I messed my pants and quickly screamed for them to turn the lights back down. Ha ha! Anyway, I did a 45-minute set and they screamed for an encore, so I came back out and did another 15 minutes and got a standing ovation. It was awesome.
Which comedy act would you most like to perform with?
I don't know whether I want to perform with them, but there's a few guys I'd love to hang out with and have a beer. Louis CK, Billy Connolly, Reginald D Hunter, Dawn French, Jim Jefferies ... Plus heaps more ha ha.
Have you ever had a joke go wrong?
All the time. Because I spend so much time improvising and chatting, there's always stuff that you think, 'Oh yeah, this line will be awesome!' and when you deliver it, the crowd just look at you and go, 'What the hell was that?? What were you thinking??" And you kind of hang your head, die inside and then march on.
If you weren't a comedian, what would you be doing with your life?
Steven J Whiteley performs at the Byron Bay Brewery tonight.