BREAKFAST radio, TV shows, stand up gigs, corporate MC-ing – there’s not much Aussie SUBBY VALENTINE hasn’t turned his hand to in the world of comedy. This week he’s appearing at The Basement at the Comedy Store in Sydney and BBM’s RICHARD GADSBY got the chance to chat with him…
Hi Subby how are you?
I’m fine thanks. I’m actually working at the minute, so keeping pretty busy.
You have a reputation as a top MC, which is something not all good comedians can do. What turns a good comedian into a good MC?
To be honest, I think it’s just because I chat with the audience. Other comedians like that because it’s not just reeling off gags. Sometimes, when you do gags, you can accidentally step on someone else’s material which just makes them more nervous. I do more improv. When you chat to the audience, you get a feel for people as well and it can sometimes lead to the other comedians getting a bit of material out of it. But audiences are interesting. It could be their birthday, it could be some Danish person randomly telling you about the public transport system over there. People are great if you just get chatting to them.
Not as many as I’d like! They’re always the toughest thing to do but it’s usually a pretty good pay day. To be perfectly honest, most corporations aren’t necessarily interested in getting the best MC, they just want a big name.
When you’re introducing a comedian, do you ever get tempted to say ‘actually, I can’t lie to you, this next bloke is bloody awful.’
Haha! I’m tempted, of course, but you always have to be professional. If there’s an open mic night and a new guy comes up and really bombs, sometimes I’ll just say ‘well that was shit’. If it’s really that bad, then there’s no point ignoring the elephant in the room. But, generally, I try to be nice to people. One of the favourite things I do is, if I’m introducing a comedian who’s a friend of mine, I’ll just make up a load of awards they’ve won. So I’ll say, ‘ladies and gentleman, put your hands together for the winner of South Africa’s Golden Bunny award…’ It gets the comedians laughing.
You do a lot of other stuff nowadays, as well as stand up. Is there any aspect of it you like most – the radio work, writing for people, TV work etc?
There’s bits I like and bits I don’t like about all of it. I’ve had some good breaks, like with breakfast radio. I really like it when you’re left to do your own thing and interact with people. But, in reality, you’re never quite doing that because there’s always some cock in the background trying to stop you doing certain things.
Has the writing process changed for you at all over the years?
I’m probably braver now than I used to be. I was probably guilty of overwriting things when I was younger, now I’ll just go onstage and see if it works. I think you can spend a lot of time tinkering with your material, trying to make it work – but it’s only when you get it out there that you find out for definite.
– SUBBY is appearing at Club Luna’s Old Skool Comedy variety show at The Basement tomorrow night (Monday May 10th). Other Aussie comedians appearing include Tom Gleeson, Fiona O’Loughlin, Peter Berner, Mikey Robins, Nick Sun and a host of others. And BBM has four double passes to give away! To enter, simply email your name to [email protected].