About Me

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I am a full-time mama with a passion for writing and talking to fascinating people. I live in a one horse town with a Cowboy and my son. Thank Lord for cyberspace! I lived a colourful life in Sydney for a number of years. Working in advertising and journalism for FPC and the Sydney Morning Herald. During my time in Sydney I competed in a Dragon Boat race, choreographed a dragshow, used the Share Accomodation advertisements as a way to meet men and was told by Noiseworks frontrunner Jon Stevens that I was a bitch! Then came the decision to move back to country for 3 months to help out my Father with newspaper business while he was having treatment. Convinced I was a city girl I was caught by surprise when I fell in love with a farmer (and no, he didn't want a wife... still doesn't it seems!) convinced him that we needed to see the world, popped off to Vietnam to teach english in Saigon - before realising that the "food" in Nam didn't agree with me... turned out to be Monte - my son who is now with the Cowboy and I back in country NSW! I am in a wonderful stage of my life where I am focusing on the things that really make me tick. Including writing these chronicles.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wil Anderson sticks it to Mrs Crabby

Wil Anderson is crude, rude, and quick as a whip.
His quirky sense of humour first came to my attention during his reign as Breakfast Host with Adam Spencer on Triple J’s morning show. 
My best gal pal at work and I would get through our hung-over work mornings thanks to his good humour!
Since then he has hosted ABC’s Glasshouse and Gruen Transfer and appeared on other radio stations, but Wil confesses his first love is Stand up comedy.
I was fortunate to be able to speak to the funny man and ask him some questions about growing up in the country and what it takes to follow your passion.
Love or hate him, he is definitely true to himself and you just have to admire him for that.
Here is our interview: 

How did you become a funny man? Are you from a funny family?

I grew up in a small rural area called Denison in country Victoria. I lived the first 18 years of my life on Anderson’s Rd, named after my Grandfather who built the road.

People often ask if my parents are proud of my career choice. I joke they are proud I didn’t marry my own sister. I mean we dated, but it didn’t work out.

My Dad is a dairy farmer and has lived on Anderson’s Rd all of his life. He has never drunk alcohol or smoked. (Although he did do a lot of heroin, we were forever finding needles in the haystack!)

My Dad also married the first woman that he ever kissed, which he refers to proudly as his Graeme Anderson 100% strike rate.

My Mum and Dad are still together today, and I have a younger brother Ross and a younger sister Susie. Of course as the eldest I simply refer to them as “the spares”.

My family have a good sense of humour, but they are not laugh out loud funny, but then again neither am I when I am at home. Being funny is my job, so I tend to save it for when I am at work.

Do you think growing up in the 'country' has been advantageous for you?

I don’t think so. I had a pretty normal childhood which is great for a kid, although not as helpful if you want to be a comedian.

So many times as an adult I have thought, if only I were adopted, my parents had a messy divorce, or they had locked me in the cupboard for days on end I really would have some things to talk about on stage.

I mean obviously a good childhood is preferable to being raised in an Austrian basement, but all I am saying is a little bit of Fritzl in my life and I would have won a lot more awards by now (and definitely would have been interviewed on Enough Rope.)

It sometimes worries me as an adult that I am way too happy to ever say anything too profound.

But I guess maybe the one advantage that growing up in the country had was it was much harder to do what I wanted to do, so I guess it made me fight harder for it.

What has been the biggest career risk you have taken? Did it pay off?

It’s all been on e giant risk, I guess. When I was growing up even though I loved comedy, I didn’t know stand-up comedian was an actual job, and if it was how you became one. As far as I knew there was no Humorversity or School of Hard Knock Knocks.

So I asked a teacher at school for advice. (For legal reasons let’s just call her Mrs Crabby.) Mrs Crabby told me I should give up that dream because “I was not funny and wouldn’t be able to make a living being funny.”

Being a kid I respected her opinion and put aside my dreams and decided to instead go to University and study journalism instead. While I ended up graduating first in my year, and scoring a great job in the Canberra Press Gallery, I hated it and always wished I had tried comedy instead.

It took me years to get her words out of my mind and have the courage to pursue what I really wanted to do.

Years later when we were putting together the project that would be become The Glass House on the ABC, I suggested the name “Stick It Up Your Arse Mrs Crabby” just so she would have to open the paper each week and see that she was wrong.

I guess the biggest thing was just having the courage to give it a go. To realize the fear of failure was nothing compared to what it would feel like to have never tried.

But at the time I felt like I had a lot to lose. I had a good job at the Financial Review (and it was also my life, friends, peers) it was well respected and I was ok at it, but I wasn’t happy.

Journalism is about telling other people’s stories, but I wanted to tell my own. Modern journalism had become so corporate and agenda-driven, I just felt you could expose a lot more truth through comedy.

I wanted to try it, but my friends and family (who I am sure were just trying to protect me) discouraged me. They would ask why throw away three years of study? I guess in the end I thought I’d rather waste three years than waste the rest of my life.

To this day I still don’t know if I will ever be as good a comedian as I could have been a journalist, but I would rather be crap at something I love than good at something I hate.

When I first started comedy, people encouraged me to at least keep my job while I was trying it. But I was watching Oprah one day when she was interviewing Roseanne Barr. Roseanne said something that really resonated with me. She said: “If you have something to fall back on, you tend to fall back on it.”

So I quit my job and decided to become a full-time comedian. That way I knew that if I wanted to pay my rent and eat I would have to get good at it as quickly as possible.

That said it was a hard slog. The first year I did comedy I earned a grand total of $4000. Less than Shane Warne’s monthly mobile bill. The next year it was $6000, which is still less than the dole.

What do you think of Twitter?

Like anything it’s a medium and it’s what you do with the medium that is important. People say: “I don’t like Twitter because why would I care if someone ate a sandwich”.

Well don’t follow them then. That is not the fault of Twitter, that’s the fault of the dickhead who thinks you are interested if they eat sandwiches. It’s like saying you don’t like books because you didn’t like Max Walker’s How To Hypnotize Chooks.

What is your advice to a no-name trying to build their persona in the media?

Don’t do it. Well unless there is a voice inside you that doesn’t give you a choice. It’s too hard a business for someone who just wants to do it, you have to need to do it.

(Plus I am not that good at my job and the last thing I need is young, talented, ambitious people getting into the industry and taking my jobs.)

Oh, you should never google yourself. I tried once but I couldn’t bend my head down that far. But seriously I think it was Tallulah Bankhead who said being famous means people you have never met hate you- and the internet proves this. I tend to live my life by the what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you principle;

There is no prize at the end. I have learned to judge the value of my life and career by my own measures. There are no amount of good reviews or golden statues that will fill an empty hole inside you;

And while we are on the topic there is no point wasting your time worrying about what some dickhead you probably wouldn’t like anyway thinks of you, just like there is no point getting angry when someone gets a job that you didn’t want;

Don’t let people tell you what to do. If a sign says don’t walk on the grass, fuck ‘em, get your bike and do some burnouts. Life is too short to not have some fun along the way;

Working in the media is like being a football coach. You will get sacked at some stage, it’s just a matter of when;

And it often has nothing to do with quality, in my experience the things that people liked the most and still remember were all jobs I eventually got sacked from. Every time I got sacked, I went away and worked harder and the next opportunity I got was always better than the last one;

What was Nicole Kidman really like? (he took her on a date to the Bondi RSL back when he worked on Triple J) 

Delightful. And much more funny than you would think. Although I did pay for all the drinks, apparently you can’t get change for a million dollar note at the RSL.

What is it about Stand up comedy that has you hooked?

I like having a job where I don’t have to go an office; can wear tracksuit pants and thongs more often than not; and can say what I like when I like; (and yes I realize this is one step away from being homeless and standing in a mall with a cardboard sign that says “Will Tell Jokes For Food”);

I think stand-up is the most pure form of entertainment there is. Can you entertain a room full of people with nothing more than your thoughts?

If you find something you truly love and you are willing to work hard enough at it, you will be able to find a way to make it your career. I still like showing people around my house and saying: “Dick jokes paid for that couch you are sitting on… now let’s go for a swim in the Shannon Noll pool”;

It is better to be okay at something you love, than be good at something you don’t (this also applies to my sex life);

But interestingly the reasons you get into something are not always the reasons you continue to do it. You can get into comedy because you think it would be fun to meet girls or have people know who you are, but you will soon realize how unimportant those things are. The work needs to be its own reward;

My friend who has a real job once said to me: “You know mate, when we are 60 we are going to be sitting on my porch, but we are going to be telling your stories”. Neither of those positions are necessarily better than the other, but sometimes in life you have to decide who you want to be on the porch.

You have worked across many mediums - what has been your favourite and why?

I consider myself a stand-up comedian. That is my trade. My day job. The others I just dabble in so that people will come and see me tell my jokes.

TV and writing I don’t really enjoy doing, but I enjoy having done. I find them hard, but rewarding when completed. Radio on the other hand is great fun to do, so immediate, but the downside is it is so all-consuming of new material that you never have time to get things how you would like them, and when you do they are gone in a minute.

What has been your greatest life lesson?

That it takes hard work to make it look easy. I don’t really think I have ever had a “turning point” in my career, it’s been more a series of minor successes and set-backs. Two steps forward, one step back.

I am not much of a self-help slogan guy, but it’s like they said in Batman Begins “why do we fall? So we can learn how to pick ourselves up!”

The biggest lesson for me has been to not be discouraged when you don’t get a job; someone else gets a gig you want; you have a bad gig; you get sacked etc.

The first time I got a gig at Triple J I was sacked after week because the presenter I was working for didn’t think my stuff was funny. A year later I was hosting The Breakfast Show.

I have always tried to do as many things as possible (stand-up; writing; TV; radio etc) so that when one of them falls over I have another to take its place and I don’t have to get a real job.

Sometimes it seems from the outside that one thing, or job is a turning point, but it is rarely like that in real life. It is more like a series of small things that reach a tipping point.

It’s like the fame thing. It never happened overnight for me like it does for some people, so I never had to deal with it.

It was more like when you have lost some weight and you see someone you haven’t seen for a while.

They find your weight-loss amazing, but for you it doesn’t seem so remarkable because you have lost a little bit at a time and have continually adjusted your expectations.

Thanks Wil. 
I really appreciate your time in answering my questions. You are an inspiration!
Particularly love how you have succeeded and went out on a limb to do so.

I have TWO remaining WILOSOPHY DVDs to give away to 2 lucky readers. 

To go in the running please tweet or update your facebook status with the link to this interview and then leave a comment when you have done so.

Please leave contact detail of some sort in the comment box so I can find you if you win. It will be drawn out of a hat next week.



  1. Wow! Awesome interview Sharni. Really enjoyed it!

    And to think, I am not really a fan of Will. Ahem.

  2. I like stories when the Mrs Crabbys of this world are proven wrong. Great interview. I am a bit fan of Will and have loved him from his Triple J days too.

  3. Great interview Sharni! I too have suffered through workaday hangovers thanks to Wil and Adam. I also once literally drove off the road when Adam referred to Paris Hilton on their show as a cum-guzzling publicity whore live on radio. Best. Comment. Ever.

  4. Great interview Sharnia! I almost went to uni in Canberra & would have been the same time he was there, ended up in Sydney instead to my Communication degree.

    Well done getting the interview.

  5. Hey, great interview, Sharni :) And retweeted as markh110 ;)

  6. will you are a legand mate loved the days when you were on triple m

  7. Great interview - the best part of my morning used to be the drive to work listening to Adam and Wil!

  8. Done and Done lady!
    I actually made it to this party before it was over! Hooray!

    I really enjoyed this interview. I laughed out loud at many parts. Thanks for brightening up my evening!

  9. Thanks for the great interview, looking forward to reading it properly after I drop my kids off to school :)from Andrea

  10. Fantastic! I always love reading interviews with Wil. He honestly is an inspiration like you said.

    I posted the link in a tweet! Here: twitter.com/addictedancer

    Thanks for sharing with us. :) xo

  11. I posted on my Facebook :)

  12. Lovely interveiw, great way to start my morning...
    Also retweeted and posted on FB.(and I could really use a DVD)

  13. Nice story. Retweeted as @laceman.

  14. Twittered at twitter.com/rdomain


  15. loved the interview with Wil! Will come back later and check out the rest of your blog.
    I've also posted to my FB profile. I would love to win a DVD...I've tried a couple of times before on Wil's page but haven't been successful...maybe 3rd time lucky!
    Have a great day!
    Lis : )

  16. Great interview! Great insights into the man. I'll repose the link. I want in on the free DVD!

  17. Lovelovelove Wil Anderson :)


  18. Everyone needs a little Wil in their life.


    Broome, WA


  19. Oh yeah Tweeted here.....

    Broome, WA

  20. FUNNY AS!
    Been down that road too... Who knew?!

    Tweeted here: twitter.com/JBMarigold

  21. Salutations friend! You are now the proud winner of the Best Blog Award! It is my pleasure to pass it along to you! You may come to my blog Artisan of the Human Spirit to pick up the emblem and do what you have to do! I recognize your efforts and skill and wanted to give you a well deserved atta-boy or atta-girl! Enjoy and congrats!

  22. Great interview Sharni. I love what he says about people you don't know hating you. I go by the adage that what people think of me is none of my business!
    On another note, I have been graced with a blogging award that I would like to share with you. You can pick it up at my blog. Keep up the great work!


  23. posted the link on my facebook and twitter LOVE IT!!
    i would love a copy of the dvd
    thanks WIL ROCKS MY WORLD!!!

  24. What a great interview Sharni!

    I loved reading it and got a lot out of it!

  25. Great interview. I feel like I actually know Wil like a mate now. Thanks heaps =) Very inspiring.

    Linked on twitter.com/meetbryce.

    contact detail bryce(at)meetbryce.com

  26. I really enjoyed this interview Sharni...in fact-when it comes to Wil Anderson-whether he's on the radio, tv, doing his stand-up gigs or being interviewed by someone like yourself- I generally can't get enough :) I dig Wil Anderson!! Thanking you...(ladybug.555@hotmail.com)

  27. Great interview. Thanks for sharing.

  28. what a great interview!

    it's now got me thinknig hard... dammit!

    i loved this comment "I would rather be crap at something I love than good at something I hate"

    wise words.

  29. Hi, I just updated my Facebook status with the link and comment



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