Interview: Matt Okine
Katherine Sullivan | On 27, Sep 2015
While waiting to see if heâ€™s about to become a dad, Matt Okine has a lot of thinking to do. After years of stealing his flatmates’ shampoo and eating meals that consist entirely of food samples given out at the supermarket, Matt is now stinking rich. And itâ€™s awesome. But his nine-year relationship has ended out of the blue, and Matt canâ€™t help but wonder why? Where did it all go wrong? How much do babies cost? And why do racists always catch the bus?? We caught up with multi award-winning comedian and triple J Breakfast co-host Matt Okine to talk about his latest show.
Okine earlier this year picked up the prestigious Melbourne International Comedy Festivalâ€™s 2015 Directorâ€™s Choice Award for The Other Guy. It follows a year of sold-out festival shows and will now see him performing in Perth at Rottofest, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and Canberra from September through to November. The Other Guy is Okineâ€™s fourth solo show in a career that has amassed him a stream of awards including an Edinburgh Festival Fringeâ€™s 2013 Best Newcomer Nominee, The 2013 Sydney Comedy Festival Best Of The Fest (Local) Award, and the 2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Best Newcomer Award.
As well as his day job co-hosting triple jâ€™s coveted National Breakfast Radio program, Okine has also been seen recently on ABC TV hosting How Not To Behave with Gretel Killeen. In the past 12 months he has also performed sell out national tours of his live shows, filmed his second Live DVD, supported international acts including Dave Chappelle and Chelsea Handler, and appeared as a regular guest on several TV shows including ABC TVâ€™s Itâ€™s A Date and Dirty Laundry Live, and SBSâ€™s Legally Brown, all while setting the alarm for 4.30am.
TCI: You have experienced great success in the past year with picking up the prestigious Director’s Choice Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and selling out your entire run at the Brisbane Comedy Festival. Has this been a huge shock to you?
Matt Okine:Â It’s awesome! But I have to admit it hasn’t been a “shock”, as such. Mainly because I’ve been doing comedy for over ten years now. If I was a toll booth operater and turned up to work one day and 500 people wanted to hear me talk, I’d be heaps shocked.
TCI:Â What can audiences expect from your upcoming Brisbane show?
Matt Okine:Â You can expect a visit to the morgue because you’re likely to laugh yourself to death. I’m very sorry. Your family has already been notified. Also – in all seriousness – you can expect my best show to date. It’s set in a bathroom while me and my ex-girlfriend wait for the results of a pregnancy test. It’s something I’m super proud of and it’s a shame that this is your last chance to see it.
TCI:Â You have supported some big names in the American comedy scene such as Dave Chappelle. What was that experience like for you?Â
Matt Okine:Â I’ve never been more nervous than when I first met Dave Chappelle. The guy’s a legend, and I suddenly acted like a 6-year-old. I didn’t know whether to call him Dave, or David, or Bro, or Mr Chappelle. I freaked… We went out after the shows too which was rad because he does it proper. You know when they talk about being ‘in da clurrbs’ in rap songs? Well, we was in da clurrrrbs.
TCI:Â When did you realize your passion for stand up comedy?
Matt Okine:Â I’ve always loved it! I remember the nights that the Melbourne Comedy Festival used to be on TV were my favourite nights of the year. I’d only ever watched stuff on family television, but seeing Eddie Murphy’s RAW was my tipping. Finding out you could say anything you wanted literally blew my mind.
TCI:Â Who are your comedy idols?
Matt Okine:Â Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Mitch Hedberg.
TCI:Â You are also the co-host of triple J’s breakfast show. Is music a big passion of yours?Â
Matt Okine:Â For sure. I’ve been making hip-hop for years now, and I still do, inbetween shows and touring. My ideal would be to turn up anywhere in Australia, do a comedy show, then head to a bar and do a hip-hop show, and then DJ for the rest of the night.
TCI:Â Quite a few Australian comedians have successfully made the switch to film and television. Would you ever consider working in the industry, and if so is there a television or film series you would like to be a part of?
Matt Okine:Â Are you kidding me? Have you not seen my one episode of Neighbours or Sea Patrol?? Or the time I played a cross-dresser on All Saints?? I’m already in the industry. Pretty sure there’s Hall of Fame Logie buzz about my role as ‘Laurie the Dolphin Trainer’ in H20 already…
I’m hoping one day I can make my own sitcom. Followed by a movie. Followed by a book. Followed by a sweet, sweet, E! True Hollywood Story about whatever awful scandal I’ve managed to embroil myself in.
TCI:Â What has been the greatest obstacle of your career and how did you overcome it?Â
Matt Okine:Â Thinking that I’m not good enough. I also crave fried chicken daily. Is that an obstacle? It feels like one.
TCI:Â What are your plans for 2016?Â
Matt Okine:Â I think I’ll be getting up early every morning for the radio again… all whilst avoiding being wrist-deep in buckets of fried chicken.
WhatÂ Matt Okine – The Other Guy
WhereÂ The Tivoli
WhenÂ 2 OctoberÂ 2015
How Much $35
More informationÂ To purchase tickets, visit the Tivoli’s website here
Image Credits: Matt Okine