5 mins with Matt Okine

5 mins with Matt Okine

Since making his debut as a Triple J Raw finalist at 18 in 2014, Brisbane-bred comedian Matt Okine has toured internationally, won Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Best Newcomer, and appeared on TV and radio. Lucy Stephens chats to Matt in the lead up to his return to home soil this month.

By Lucy Stephens | 29th January 2014

Q: What can audiences expect to see in your “Happiness Not Included” show?
A: Just an hour of ripping hilarity (laughs).  I usually like putting in a bit of my life story  – all the things that have happened to me in the past year and a little bit about myself.

Q: You grew up in Brisbane and now live in Sydney. Do you love coming home?
A: Yes - I’m really looking forward to coming home to see all my friends and family and everyone that comes to my show. I’ve been in Sydney for 7 years, but I’ll always hold onto Brisbane quite fiercely. So much so that people here ask me, “did you just move down?” And its like, no, I just love Brisbane.

Q: You’ve also recently replaced Tom Ballard on the Triple J morning show.  How’s that been?
A: Well, it’s very different! In live comedy you’re spending 12 months of the year making your show the funniest thing you possibly can, perfecting every line. And with breakfast radio, you’ve got to talk for three hours about anything and everything. Sometimes stuff I don't even know about!

Q: Was comedy something you’d always thought of growing up?
A: Yeah, it was, but it was always a question of, ‘how?’ So to have that opportunity presented to me through the Melbourne Comedy Festival was great. My very first gig was that competition, and in my first heat I’d never even been to a comedy show before. So I was virtually sitting there in the crowd when the comedy show started and the MC came out and started ripping out this great material and I just sat there going, “Jesus Christ, what have I gotten myself into?” I mean, I had to do that in about 20 minutes!

Q: As a comedian, who do you look up to?
A: Before I was a comic, it was guys like Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle. You know when I was a little kid, Eddie Murphy was my intro into the real sort of adult-style stand up comedy. I loved all those guys. Mitch Hedberg influenced me when I was starting comedy – he’s very much a comedian’s comedian – a really good joke writer. Will Anderson I think is amazing – I constantly call Will Anderson for support and advice. He was the first - aside from that raw gig, his show was the first hour long show that I saw at the Brisbane Power House. It’s kind of nice to be going back there then. I know I’m not in the same room as I saw him in just yet but there’s always next year.

Q: You’ve also performed as a hip-hop artist. Is this something you still will do?
A: Yep. I keep it totally separate, because I don’t want hip-hop to turn into joke hip-hop. Its fine if you want to do some musical comedy but I don’t want to get the two mixed up. They’re just two completely different passions of mine. I just decided that I wanted them both to be taken seriously even though they can both be as light hearted as one another.

Q: So what’s next for you after these series of comedy festivals?
A: After this I’m going to do my best to find a tiny, quiet beach somewhere with my girlfriend that serves really cheap cocktails.

Matt Okine will perform as part of the Brisbane Comedy Festival at the Powerhouse from Feb 25 – March 3.
Visit brisbanepowerhouse.org

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Article by Lucy Stephens

Lucy Stephens is a Senior Digital Journalist and Content Strategist at Style Magazines. She's a travel addict, considers gelato an appropriate meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner (salted caramel, preferably), and suffers from a moderate to severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out).