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I’VE GOT ALL THE ANSWERS

We all have parts of our job we don’t like doing and for me, that bit is giving interviews about being a comedian.

I hate giving these interviews more than I hate having to listen to Alan Jones while I’m stuck in a taxi in Sydney; more than I hate hearing politicians use the phrase ‘fair dinkum'; more than I hate the person who convinced me that snorting tequila would be hilarious. (It wasn’t, it hurt, don’t do it.)

The questions are more often than not the same ones I’ve been asked a thousand times before, the interviewer has often not done any research at all and when the final thing is printed, my jokes have been printed as factual statements. (For the record: that time I said my career started when I was working as a weather girl on Latvia’s only English-speaking television station, I was joking.)

That being said, I know if a producer has forked out for my show or tour or to publish my book then I am quite properly obliged to help sell it. I know it’s a small price to pay for a job I love doing.

But if I lived in a world where I could, just once, be a total arsehole and no-one would get hurt or think badly of me or sue me for mental anguish, I’d behave very badly indeed.

Below is a list of the most common questions I’ve been asked in the nearly twenty years I’ve worked as a comedian.

None of them are one-off questions. (So, if you’re a journalist reading this and thinking I’m talking about you, I’m not.

These questions have been asked so many times that I honestly can’t remember who said what.)

Ok, here we go…

 

What’s it like being a female comedian?

Answer I give: I don’t know, I’ve never been a male one.

Answer I’d like to give: Awful. I wish I hadn’t cut my dick off. Seriously, that’s your opening question? Why can’t I just be a performer? Why does my gender always have to come into it? Do you ask Wil Anderson what it’s like to be a male comedian? Do you ask other men what it’s like to be a male doctor or a male male? Or course not, you’d sound like an idiot.

(Ok, I did give that answer once. I was called ‘nasty’ in the subsequent article. Yeah!)

 

What do you do if someone comes up to you in the supermarket when you’re buying tampons?

Answer I give: I buy the tampons. (I then smile tightly to indicate the question is answered and we’re moving on.)

Answer I’d like to give: Woah! Enough with the hard-hitting questions, Kerry O’Brien! Honestly, did you just say that out loud? Firstly, who on god’s green earth has ever come up to someone when they’re buying tampons for a bit of a chat? And secondly, what if they did? Where is the shame in that? I’m buying them, not inserting them, you idiot.

 

Do you get paid to be a comedian?

Answer I give: Pardon? (And then I just keep saying pardon until the journalist gets confused and moves to the next question.)

Answer I’d like to give: Oh no, of course not. I’ve been working for twenty years for free because, you know, who’d pay me to perform? We all do it as a hobby and live off air and happiness the rest of the time. Did you know that Rove McManus agreed to hosting Rove Live because he’d lost interest in lead lighting? True! And Dave Hughes who has been working on radio for over ten years only does it because he likes stealing stationary from other people’s desks. And as we all know, comedians are super needy people who are desperate for attention. It’s never occurred to any of us that we should get paid! Hey, would it be okay if I grabbed you by the back of the head and slammed your face into this table?

 

Is comedy an ‘art’?

Answer I give: Yes, comedy is a type of highly skilled performance. I understand some people think it’s just standing onstage and talking, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. Perhaps people get confused and think comedy is not a legitimate art form because it seems so natural.

Answer I’d like to give: When you did the air quotes finger-thing around the word ‘art’ I knew I was in the presence of a genius. Let me guess: you normally write for the gardening section of your newspaper, but when a comedy festival comes around, you get some free tickets to a show, get drunk and then write a hateful review that proves you’re a complete idiot with absolutely no understanding of the craft. Do you put air quotes around the word ‘wanker’ when you talk about yourself? Because that would be hilarious!

 

Tell us a joke!

Answer I give: Oh, I don’t really do ‘joke’ jokes, I tell stories and it’s difficult to put those on the page.

Answer I’d like to give: No, because you’ll screw it up when you write it down and I’ll look like the dick, not you.

 

Are all comedians depressed?

Answer I give: I’m sure there are some comedians who suffer from depression, it’s a pretty common illness.

Answer I’d like to give: Do you mean right now as I’m having to respond to this ‘tears of the clown’ crap for the hundredth time? If that’s what you mean, then yes—yes I am suffering from an acute attack of depression that will probably clear up as soon as this interview is finished. Do you mind if I distract myself for a while by sticking a fork in my eye?

 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Answer I give: Nope, we’re all good!

Answer I’d like to give: I’ve been watching you shower every morning for the past six weeks.

Actually, I think I might use that one from now on.

 

 

MORE STORIES BY CORINNE GRANT

The Crazy Cult of Busy-ness

Corinne Grant’s Rage Index: Rising

MI·SOG·Y·NY. Hijacked by pedants

The Vagina Dialogues

 

*Corinne Grant is a stand-up comedian, MC, presenter, writer and broadcaster and has performed both nationally and internationally. In addition to her years on Rove Live and The Glasshouse, she has appeared on everything from Spicks and Specks to Dancing With The Stars to Good News Week. She has co-hosted successful national radio shows, performed countless solo live shows and appeared everywhere from the Sydney Opera House to the Kalgoorlie Arts Centre. Corinne’s first book, Lessons In Letting Go: Confessions of a Hoarder (Allen and Unwin) was released in September 2010 and went into reprint just months after its release.

 

 

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21 Comments

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    Wendy Harmer

    hahhaha! I’d like to add: “Where do you get your inspiration from?”
    Easy. I subcribe to ww.inspiration.comm and get a daily newsletter full of wacky and fun ideas.
    Seriously, it’s a great privilege to be making a living at what you love doing…batting silly questions about comedy for the past 25 years comes with the territory.

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    Rachel

    I cannot believe someone asked you that tampon question. WTF.

    I immediately had to click on this because I’ve interviewed you before – when your Letting Go book came out – and I thought, crap, I hope none of my dumb questions have popped up here. Kind of like a Hoopla Media Watch!

    For the record, I’m safe :-)

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    Shell

    This kinda reminds me of Emma Stone’s answer to “What can you never leave the house without?” (Probably the worst interview question ever) her answer was, “My clothes!” I can pretty much leave without anything. It’s fine as long as I’m not naked.”

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    Sue Bell

    Worse question I had as comedian/ singer? Does your husband let you do this?

    • Reply November 29, 2012

      GlassGoddess

      OMG, Sue! Someone SERIOUSLY asked you that???? Just soooo bad …

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    Linda Jaivin

    I’ve been asked, ‘So do you have a routine for writing your books or do you just sit around in cafes and wait for the inspiration to strike?’

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    JessB

    You should totally use that last answer! It’s great! I snorted when I read it.

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    Sam Stone

    Do you buy Tampons? hahaha!
    What is it like to be a female comedian? Really?

    I am a twin with a guy and people always ask me “what is it like to be a twin” to which I reply “no idea what it is like not to be one”. And the ultimate cracker, “Are you identical?”….”Ummm, NO WE ARE NOT, he is a guy and I am a girl people!!”

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    sue Bell

    Glassgoddess, they not only asked me that, they were a presenter on the Council for the single mother and her child show on community radio.

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    ro.watson

    Interviewing is a skill. Both interviewer and interviewee demonstrate how skilled they are at a conversation. The notion of an answer you’d like to give when it meets the notion of an answer you actually give, shows a good interview. I am a sucker for those “in conversation” interviews with Richard Fiedler on ABC radio, in the middle of the night.

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    SteveS

    Tell me a joke, Corinne.
    The only joke I know is the one about the penguin driving across the desert, has car trouble and buys an icecream so tell me that one. It’s my favourite.
    Also, if someone asks you to tell them a joke, you should tell them that one, even if it’s not me.

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    ro.watson

    I like that “big horse” one.. Bloke rings up a radio station from a phone booth, and says “Can you play me that horse song”…” You know the one, I love you because you understand me, I love you because you care….”

    • Reply November 29, 2012

      SteveS

      Ah, Jim Reeves from the album “I love you big horse.”
      Wait a minute! Now I know two jokes.

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    ro.watson

    Thanks Steve S.~ I go that joke from somewhere entirely different, with an aboriginal edge to it..

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    ro.watson

    Whoops~ meant got that joke…

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    Mary

    It’s like a reporter asking a victum of a house fire/death/attack/missing child etc how they feel. This question really bugs me. What do they think they are going to say” we are so happy and over the moon, this is the best day of my life”. It’s just such a stupid question to ask them.

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    mary

    A bit like the 1964 TV ‘reporter?’ asking the Beatles (just as they had landed in Adelaide…..”what do you think of Australia???? Der…after 5 mins.?? He followed it up by asking, “what do you call those haircuts?…John Lennon replied, along the lines of…”I don’t know about the other guys, but I call mine Arthur”????? Rock on Corinne…please be more honest in interviews now that you’ve ‘come clean’ about what you really think:-}

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    ro.watson

    Yes Mary~ when my Dad died suddenly I got a call from a local country newspaper~ someone from the paper was asking me about the launch of his winery, I am saying he died, he is dead. Talk about persistence.

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    Amanda

    Can other Hoopla followers really relate to this? I’m sure there are some comedians, some journalists, and even some celebrity followers who relate to how ‘boring’ being interviewed is….
    I’m not one if them. This essay feels a little too self indulgent for a mere commoner, such as myself, to relate to. Just didn’t enjoy reading this.
    Sorry, much prefer broader subject matter that the broader community can connect to.

  • Reply November 30, 2012

    Tony W

    “Can other Hoopla followers really relate to this?”

    You don’t have to be celebrity to be asked stupid questions, and there are other forms of interview besides media. I’m pretty sure most people will have been asked this question at interview:

    Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

    Answer I give: I’m looking to build a career in (insert industry) and I’d like to do it in a leading organization such as (insert company name).

    Answer I’d like to give: Sitting on a beach in Thailand where I don’t have to kiss your arse. (shit, did I say that out loud?)

    Dunno how you couldn’t have enjoyed this article Amanda, I laughed all the way through it. Different sense of humour I guess.

  • Reply December 1, 2012

    ro.watson

    Well~ just saying this article did not make me laugh out loud,chortle or giggle~ but it tickled my fancy, and made me think. AlleyOop.

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