Wil Anderson

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Wil Anderson


Anderson, a five-time winner of the Comedy Festival’s People’s Choice Award, is currently performing Fire At Wil at The Comedy Theatre. “It’s about 70 minutes of the funniest shit I can think of, said in a row,” he says on the show’s ethos. “I kind of hate the idea that anyone would ever come to a comedy show based on what it’s about. The idea is that, whatever I’m talking about, it just should be funny. I guess the thing that I will say is that it’s a little bit more focused at home, because this is the first show for the last six years that I’m not going to tour overseas. Having the opportunity to be able to talk about Australia Day or talk about Adam Goodes or talk about these things to an audience that really, truly understands them inherently is pretty fun.”

Pressed for a broad evaluation of Australia – that is, whether we’re on the right track or headed down a dark path – Anderson offers his two cents. “Neither of those things are true,” he declares. “We’re not a racist country and there’s not no racism in this country. We seem to have this black and white opinion of things these days… this kind of striving for black and white, for people to have definitive opinions – rather than understand that everything’s pretty messy and we have to look for a compromise – is probably what’s ripping us apart at the moment.


You hear it on radio all the time. ‘So this three-month study by the finest scientists in the world is coming out, give us a call and give us your opinion about whether it’s shit or not.’ And I’m like, ‘No, don’t. Go home, read it for a week, talk to some experts and then maybe offer your opinion’. Or maybe don’t, because they’re experts and maybe it’s your time to just shut the fuck up and be an expert in whatever you’re an expert in.”


Anderson points out that he doesn’t have all the answers. However, that’s precisely the point. “I don’t care if I’m right or wrong. I just feel like we need to find a way to work together to keep the country moving forward. That’s where I feel like we’re at. I feel like we’re a bit stagnated because we’ve forgotten how to move forward together.”


To that end, there’s no grand plan to bend people to his, ahem, Wil, via his shows. “My sole concern is to make people laugh as hard as they possibly can for 70 minutes. There is no other agenda to what I do. There’s no higher calling; I don’t think that comedy can change the world. I don’t think anyone is walking in with one opinion and walking out with a drastically different opinion. But I do think that comedy is at its best when the performer is talking about something that they’re genuinely interested in.“


While he asserts that comedy cannot change the world, Anderson ponders loftier notions of control. “I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason to life,” he says. “I think we’re an accident in a tiny corner of the universe and there’s no specific meaning to any of our lives, other than the meaning that we give our own lives.


I understand people wanting to subscribe to something. There’s some comfort in going, ‘This will explain it all.’ But it won’t. It can’t. There’s no guidebook and even if there were, the wisest words of all are from the fucking theme song to Diff’rent Strokes: what might be right for you, may not be right for some. There’s no one size that fits all. I have kind of resigned myself to that, but not in a bad way – more just like, ‘This is life. Some good things are going to happen, some bad things are going to happen.’ The one thing that I have kind of realised is that it’s how you handle those things that defines you much more than what those things are.”