Eddie Perfect is a singer-songwriter, pianist, comedian, writer and actor.
On TV he’s appeared on shows from Play School to Good News Week. You’ve most likely loved him as Mick Holland from Offspring, as Alexander Downer in Keating! The Musical or in his own work Shane Warne The Musical. In fact, he has so much talent he’s now to decide whether others have any when he moves into one of the judges’ chairs on Australia’s Got Talent. We asked him a few things…
1. What makes you laugh?
I find myself laughing less and less at stand-up comedy and more at character-based comedy. For me, I find the greatest humour comes from a connection with a character who is trying to get the thing they want in uncomfortable, absurd, hostile or ridiculous circumstances. I really connect with struggle, and obstacles, and the space between who we are and who we would like to be. Humans are strange, both individually and collectively, and I find the comedic possibilities in humans smashing into each other endless.
2. What gives you the most comic material and why?
Life. It’s always life. My life, my friends’ lives, and being part of the world. And it’s always monotony, or pain, or anguish, or failure that makes the best comedy fodder for me. I’m fortunate enough to take things that I find horrible but unavoidable in life and turn it into comedy. Basically nothing funny comes from things going well, or from being happy in any way.
3. What’s a joke that you’ve told that has absolutely fallen flat?
My wife’s a doona hog. It really annoys me. But that’s nothing compared to how I feel about hedgehogs. They’re tiny. Why do they need all that hedge?
4. Who would you like to sit next to on a long haul flight and why?
No-one. Surely that’s everyone’s answer. Either no-one, or, failing that, someone who’s dead. And small.
5. Do you have a favourite performance hall / venue / arena?
I love theatres. Old theatres, especially. There’s something about a dedicated and long-standing theatre that is magical. Not in a “can’t-you-just-feel-the-ghost-of-past-theatrical-greats?” kind of way. More for the fact that I watched theatre there. My father and his father and many generations before watched theatre there. And now I’m on stage. I’m a part of it.
6. What kind of birthday cake do you request each year?
I’m not a cake person. I like cheese. I ask for a cheese platter. Not that I necessarily get it. I’m a December birthday, so nobody (including me) has time for that shit with Christmas around the corner.
7. What inspires you? Or who?
Ideas. I could write a shopping list of things that specifically inspire me, and it’d take days. But I think it’s the fast, free-flowing exchange of creative ideas that turns up the inspiration dial for me. Also, seeing great work. It’s both depressing and inspiring, but hopefully more of the latter.
8. What does the performing arts mean to you?
It means being in a room with creatives, and then being in a room with an audience. It means suspending disbelief and telling a story in real time with real reactions. It means freedom; being able to say the things and do the things they won’t let you do on telly. It’s old fashioned magic and like everything beautiful and good, it changes every time. Some nights there this electric charge in the room; even a show that is totally firing can have moments where its transcendent and wild. It’s real. You have to deal with others. You have to leave your house. You have to go to the toilet at interval with all the other humans. You have to sit next to strangers. You have to put pants on. Watching television is great, but it’s passive. With performing arts, you have to put your pants on.
9. And finally, what can’t you leave the house without?
I have this ridiculous bag that is full of so much crap; lyric books, pens, play school and Offspring scripts, whatever books I’m reading, pieces of paper my manager gives me that are supposedly important but which I never look at again. It’s really heavy, and I should probably clean it out, but I know it’s got everything I need in it so it’s easier just to take it everywhere.