When it comes to politics, Julian Morrow is no stranger. In fact, for many of us, his name and antics are the epitome of political satire. One seventh of ‘The Chaser’, we spoke to Julian ahead of the 16th Inaugural ‘The Chaser Lecture’ happening next month about the new speaker Bassem Youssef, his favourite Chaser moment and, of course; politics.
How do you feel about the current political situation in Australia?
I feel great about it. But only because a depressingly dysfunctional political environment makes my day job easier.
What is it that you love about Bassem Youssef?
Bassem Youssef is a remarkable figure. Jon Stewart’s international bro-mance with Bassem is grounded in admiration for his very serious decision to be flippant about the likes of Mubarak and Morsi in Egypt. As long time abusers of free speech who’ve mastered the art of being inconsequential, The Chaser is looking forward to being humiliated by Bassem’s account of what it’s like to do political comedy and satire in a place where “dangerous comedy” isn’t some line trotted out in a press release.
What makes this year’s Chaser lecture different?
The 16th Inaugural Chaser Lecture is also the very first one … so that’s a point of difference.
What type of music are you into?
I’ve got young kids so at the moment it’s mainly a mix of They Might be Giants “Science is Real” and songs from The Muppets … so it’s actually much better stuff than when I last had any choice in the matter.
What inspired you to start political comedy?
I got very lucky really. At university I didn quite a bit of extra-curricular stuff, but nothing much in the way of comedy. I regretted that when I graduated and made a quite little promise to myself that I wouldn’t miss another opportunity. It just so happened that not long afterwards Charles Firth told me he was starting a newspaper… essentially the first time I wrote comedy was in the first edition of The Chaser.
What other passions do you have?
Out of all the things that the chaser have done – which one has been your favourite and why?
It’s hard to go past the APEC Motorcade in 2007: the stunt that went horribly right. Even though it was a fairly ordinary piece of comedy that was executed in an ambitious but clumsy way, circumstances conspired in our favour to turn it into something way bigger than anyone intended.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
When I was an industrial lawyer, my boss told me “Never write something that you wouldn’t be happy to have read in open court.” It’s sage advice, but of course it all depends what you’re be happy to have read in court. And while some like avoiding trouble, it turns out I quite enjoying getting into the right sort of trouble.
What was the last comedy show you saw? Do you feel that seeing other comedians perform influences your own style?
Probably the most rewarding thing I’ve done in the last few years is starting up our live venue, Giant Dwarf at the old Cleveland Street Theatre in Redfern. The last show I saw was the superb two-man on puppet show Bruce. It was far too artful and skillful to have any influence on me.
If you had to say one thing to the Prime Minister – What would it be?
It’s good to have something to fall back on.
The 16th Inaugural Chaser lecture is being held on November 9th @ The Sydney Town hall.
See the website for ticket details.
Check out the trailer for the upcoming lecture here:
Cover image from ‘The Campaign Brief.’