l_5f344a176c4282a24beef9ee1f803afaWHEN you hear the phrase ‘black metal’, side-splitting humour probably isn’t the first thing that pops into your head. But that didn’t stop Aussie Steve Hughes making the switch from a semi-successful rawk-tastic drummer to very successful stand-up comedian. BBM’s Amy Baker investigates…


Hey Steve. You’re back in Australia. How long has it been since you’ve been on home soil?
I’ve been in the UK for 10 years straight up now. I’ve had a week or 2 over here for Christmas and stuff but apart from that I’ve just been working the whole time.

What have you missed the most?
Space. (Laughs)

What made you make the transition from heavy metal drummer to stand-up comedian?
Well, I had to get off the dole for one thing. I’d always been creative and been in bands but you have to do that with other people, you have to wait for them, rely on them and it was hard to tell them when you thought that they were shit. With stand-up I get to be creative and if I make mistakes its no-one else’s fault but mine. You don’t have arguments or have to compromise with anyone.

What’s the most rock and roll thing that you have done? Any TV’s out of windows?
The most rock and roll thing I’ve done is get to 43 years old and have worked fuck all. I haven’t done any proper jobs. I’ve done random shit like make frozen pizzas but no proper work. I’ve made a career out of music and escapism, that’s pretty rock and roll.

Have you made any observations about how English people and Australians differ?
English people laugh. They laugh at everything as long as it’s good. My best kind of audience is a mixture between English, Irish and Aussies. The English laugh and it gets everyone in the mood. It’s hard to offend the English and the Dutch. Nothing can freak out the Dutch. They’re fucking mad, especially in Amsterdam.

Have you had any funny incidents in Amsterdam?
All of my incidents in Amsterdam have been funny.

How have you enjoyed the cold weather back in England recently?
I like it, it’s cool! I don’t want to dress like a teenager and wear shorts all the time, I’m 43! I can guarantee you that there are guys in Australia who have never worn trousers in their life. You can tell they slept on their mates couches the night before, wake up in the morning, put on their thongs and they’re dressed.

How do you think that British and Australian comedy compares?
Australians always claim that they take the piss out of each other but they can’t. Australian comedy can be far more tedious, far more conservative because of the culture. There are some really great artists in Australia but there is no real comedy scene for them to work and get famous. Because of the lack of culture and lack of history here you won’t get anyone writing anything like “Black Adder”. We’re just a bunch of white people stuck on an island together – we can’t take the piss out of the people around us like they do in Europe. I think that as a country, if you don’t own tragedy, then you can’t have great comedy. Australians need to learn to say “Life is fucking shit” and stop apologizing to each other.

Is that why you moved to the UK?
Yeah. There is such a great scene there, you’re around so many good people and it keeps you on your toes. You need to stay around people who are good so that you continue to improve because if you become successful you don’t want to become shit again. There are genius comics who pull out old school subject matter and still make it hilarious. Australians just don’t get enough work to get better. You get that opportunity in the UK.

Do you have anything exciting in store for 2010?
I’m on tour with Reggie Hunter from May to July in the UK. We’re doing about 40 dates, pretty much every night. I’ve also been working on a solo heavy metal album. It’s pretty much finished, its called “Eternum”. I just need to mix it, the art works done – a friend in Manchester did it for me. I’m just not sure my guitar skills are up to scratch. That’ll be out some time this year.

Steve Hughes is appearing at The Lair at The Metro in Sydney from Wednesday April 21st to Saturday April 24th.