Styler Hannah chatted to Triple J’s Matt and Alex as they “pack ’er up, boysss” and say goodbye to the station.
Triple J listeners, your mornings are about to take a turn for the less Matt and Alex-y.
Matt Okine and Alex Dyson announced a few weeks ago that they will, sadly, be leaving the airwaves at the end of the year after hosting Triple J’s Breakfast together since 2014.
From memorable skits such as “pack ’er up, boysss” to Darude’s Sandstorm appreciation and general WTF moments, the pair have certainly left a legacy.
“We haven’t been pushed, we’re jumping,” Alex told listeners as the duo tearily announced their farewell.
“It’s absolutely amicable; it’s just deciding that we’re going to move on to different things,” Okine added.
After 10 years at Triple J, Alex is planning to embark on a round-the-world adventure and attempt to ween himself off his “addiction to new Australian music”.
Meanwhile, Matt Okine is calling it quits after three years at the station to focus on TV, his music project Boilermakers, and his love of stand-up comedy.
The boys will host their last show on the morning of December 16, with new faces Ben Harvey and Liam Stapleton filling the void from January 9 2017.
It’s been an amazing three years for you guys and your show. What have you loved most about presenting on Triple J?
Alex: Honestly, it’s the connection with people from all around Australia. When something brings us together, whether it’s a great song, an excellent joke, or a deeply revealing story, you get a wonderful moment of hundreds of thousands of people on the same page feeling something together. There’s a real sense of inclusiveness at Triple J that is hard to manufacture, and it’s a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of it. That, and sometimes we get a free t-shirt. SCORE!
Matt: For me, it’s being in that room with Alex and just talking absolute garbage (laughs). But really, it’s the same – being a part of a discussion that’s being had with a million people across the country.
It’s funny because I make fun of being trolled and people sending in abuse on the text line, but at the end of the day, it’s those moments, and sharing that conversation and everyone getting involved – that’s the stuff I love.
You really can’t look past sitting in a room when Vera Blue is smashing out an incredible Like a Version, or one day someone else is doing an incredible cover of one of your favourite songs of all time. It’s those sorts of moments when you have to pinch yourself and realise, “Hey, well, I guess getting up at 4.30am isn’t such a big deal.”
So getting up that early doesn’t get easier?
Matt: Let’s say I turn up late every day. I should be a bit better at it but I’m not!
Alex: You don’t get used to it in the sense you wake up, stretch, and say, “Ahhh, I’m so refreshed!”, but you do get used to the feeling of being exhausted and hauling your decrepit self out of bed anyway to try and make people laugh.
Describe your relationship. Is it like Anchorman where you secretly can’t stand each other?
Alex: It’s honestly really great, which is lucky because I didn’t really know the guy until he started working at Triple J. I think I calculated that the 14th time we hung out ever was presenting the top 20 of the Hottest 100 in front of millions of people. That was weird. But we’re pretty good mates now, which is lucky because he forgives me for constantly letting people know he has a small tail and doesn’t like dogs.
Matt: (laughs) I’m actually writing a TV show where the concept is based on two people who can’t stand each other. I hope that Alex doesn’t see it because he’ll think it’s based on our relationship but it’s not.
We really genuinely get along and the fun times that we have are real. It’s pretty miraculous that it’s the case because we had not met each other at all up until a few weeks before we started on air. We got called into the same room one day by the boss of Triple J and we had this really funny conversation about this CD that I bought off this Turkish taxi driver at 5am one day. Afterwards, the boss asked, “Were you guys recording that?” and we said no, and he said, “You idiots! I can’t believe you didn’t record something like that, it was awesome.” It turned out that we can do that all the time; it’s been pretty rad.
Matt, you’ve been doing stand-up comedy for a few years now. What do you love about it?
Matt: Stand-up is awesome. Talking rubbish on air with a friend is incredible, but at the end of the day sometimes you think you’re going a bit crazy because you’re two idiots in a room doing whatever you want. It’s very easy to forget that there are even people listening!
Stand-up is real; there’s an immediate reaction. There’s something about having that immediate feedback, knowing that you’re sharing a moment with people, and the spontaneity of the situation is really special. You get away with a lot more when you’re in a room where people have paid to see you because they’ve chosen to be there, whereas on the radio, the listener can change stations. There are a lot more restrictions. For example, working for the ABC, you can’t mention particular brands or discuss political opinions. When you’re in a tiny room with 200 people, you can get away with a lot more and get your point across a lot better.
Did you find it hard starting out in the world of stand-up?
Matt: If you ever think you’re going to have a good gig, you’re almost destined for failure. If you go in thinking you’re going to nail it, without any nerves, you’re screwed. That element of fear keeps you on your toes. It’s going to keep you awake. You’re going to have that energy pulsing through you so that anything can happen. I still get nervous every single gig and I think it’s important.
How do you find inspiration for your material?
Matt: Trust me, just being me offers up enough moments of idiocy. I can always garner some kind of story from my own stupidity.
On the radio I do hold a kind of dumber persona; it’s important for Alex and I to have differing characters on air, so we can have different opinions on things. If we agreed on everything for three hours, it just wouldn’t be interesting. Often I will lend myself to asking the dumber questions or being more naïve to stuff.
When it comes to writing my own material, I think about the stuff that goes on in the world a lot more than people realise. The older I get, the more I care about what’s going on politically and I’ve realised that things that happen within the government and politics in general has a real life effect on everyone. I have strong opinions about these things and while I don’t want to preach them, I do want to, at the very least, poke fun at them and in my own sneaky way, get people thinking.
Alex, do you foresee a foray into the world of comedy?
Alex: I have had a very little foray into stand-up (three five-minute attempts) and while it went pretty well, it’s such a confrontational form of entertainment I don’t think I have the stomach for it. I think I’d head more in a comedy writing direction which gives me a bit more time to craft the jokes and avoid eye contact. Plus, you don’t sweat as much and can play Minesweeper at the same time.
Matt, what can we expect from your show at the Brisbane Comedy Festival next year?
Matt: I’m going to be looking back at the last two years. You can basically expect two years of me being an idiot. Performing in Brisbane is the best. It never ceases to amaze me how often I’ll see people that I hadn’t expected to see – people I went to school with, people I used to play soccer with when I was 12 years old and it’s so amazing that they come back and support me. There’s nothing better than having beers and looking down at the Brisbane River on a Sunday arvo in New Farm.
The Brown Snake?
Matt: Yeah, I love a mango and looking at the Brown Snake! (laughs) That Facebook page [Euphoric Queensland Memes] is taking the world by storm.
What’s your approach if a joke really bombs?
Matt: Just ignore it and move on. Like when you trip over on the street, everyone will notice it but if you make a big deal of it that’s when everyone will really notice it. Just put your head down and get on with things – and back it up with a really good joke and you’re good to go.
Matt, you mentioned you’re writing a TV show. Tell us a bit about it.
Matt: I am – it’s something I’m very scared of because it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. I’m really excited about it, but you know when you get really excited about something, you just want it to be so good. Ever since I started watching Seinfeld as a kid, it’s been the dream. I get to write with another Queensland comedian called Becky Lucas and we’re in the middle of writing the first couple of episodes. It’s super-exciting – I can’t wait.
Quick-fire questions with Matt and Alex:
Favourite song of all time?
Matt: Paranoid Android by Radiohead. Or Empty Cans by The Streets. It’s an absolute tune. I listened to it the day I moved from Brisbane to Sydney and it’s just one of those tracks that’s always meant a lot to me – I love it.
Alex: Coldplay – The Scientist.
How do you unwind?
Matt: Nothing like a long lunch. A day does not go by where I don’t think about long lunching.
Alex: Watching sports highlight videos on YouTube.
If you could do any job in the world, it would be…
Matt: Rapping, but I’m doing that so it’s OK.
Alex: An architect.
The best advice you’ve ever received?
Matt: “You’ve gotta be in it to win it.” I know it’s a bit lame to take your mottos from a Gold Lotto commercial but it’s true. Or “real Gs move in silence like lasagna” (the Lil’ Wayne track).
Alex: “Control the controllable.”
Fave show on Netflix?
Matt: Master of None.
Alex: Planet Earth.
The most influential book you’ve read is…
Matt: Steven King’s It. It scared the hell out of me as a kid but opened up my eyes to the world of incredible characters.
Alex: Fiction would be Harry Potter, and non-fiction is Stay Alive, My Son by Pin Yathay.
Most frequently-used emoji is…
Matt: The crying laughing or crying actually crying face.
Alex: Smiley face, of course!
Your next holiday destination is…
Matt: I’m going to Federal in the Byron Bay hinterland soon and overseas is Queenstown next year.