“According to neuroscience, coming up with a joke is just as enjoyable as telling a joke.” – An Interview with CJ Delling

5 years ago
Stacey Waters

CJ Delling is taking us on a walking tour of her head. In this years’ Melbourne International Comedy Festival she’s dedicated to showing us her funniest show yet. Popculture-y had a chat with Delling about her work with writing and podcasts, and what we can expect from this years’ show.


Your show for this years’ Melbourne International Comedy Festival is called Funny Bits. This seems to be a somewhat vague title of a show, is it a case of us getting what it sounds like? A show full of just funny bits? Or will we see more of a theme emerge during the show?

In previous year’s my shows always had a theme to them; the concept of Predictions in 2013, Perceptions of Reality in 2014, and last years’ show was all about the news media. This year I just wanted to focus on making it the funniest show yet. The result is an hour of funny bits; no narrative, no moral, and no lessons learned. I believe Andrew Denton described it best when he said, “Watching stand-up is like taking a walk in someone else’s brain.”

In Funny Bits you get a guided walking tour of my head, except that you get to sit down for it and you don’t even need to bring your walking shoes. (But do bring shoes, otherwise you might not get into the Bull and Bear Tavern.)

You have a few podcasts, both as a host and guest, as well as radio. Do you prefer this medium to that of stand-up? Is it similar or do you find one more difficult or challenging than the other?

Podcasts are a fantastic way of turning a very solo endeavour like stand-up into a team sport. You get to be funny with other comedians and create something that’s entertaining, yet totally unscripted. I think it’s the element of “anything could happen” that make podcasts, and especially live podcast recordings, so enjoyable for comedians and audiences alike.

The news and culture show on the radio where I am a regular panellist has a very similar feel with the added pressure of time schedules, and making sure that no one swears live on air.

Your podcast, Under the News Desk, is an interesting look at commenting on topical news stories with a comedic angle. What inspired this?

Under the News Desk is all about the smaller news stories that fall through the cracks and don’t get much attention. In today’s fast-moving 24 hour news cycle, there isn’t enough time to unpack a few of the more obscure, strange, or down-right silly stories… mostly because these stories aren’t really that important. But they provide great comedy fodder to kick off each podcast episode. The inspiration behind the podcast is part topical comedy, part interview, part having a coffee chat with awesome, funny people.

On top of performing and doing a regular podcast, you also do a bit of writing for various shows. How did you find yourself getting more into the writing side of things, as opposed to stand-up?

According to neuroscience, coming up with a joke is just as enjoyable as telling a joke.

I love writing for other performers and shows, because I approach topics from a different perspective – be that the tone of a show or the ‘voice’ of a particular performer. It’s just another great way to use the skills and experience that I’ve built writing and performing stand-up material for myself. The key isn’t only being a prolific writer, but to be equally as productive with re-writing, editing, throwing things out, writing it again, re-writing, and the like. This is certainly an area I want to build up more in the next couple of years, in addition to performing stand-up comedy.

You’re primarily Sydney-based, does coming to Melbourne for the comedy festival allow you time to go and see other comedians that are more localised to the Melbourne scene?

Aside from making people laugh every night, the second best thing about the comedy festival is that I get to see shows of other people I find hilarious, but don’t get to see all the time.
I’m especially looking forward to seeing the amazing new shows by Laura Davis, Lauren Bok and Sonia Di Iorio and of course the narrative sketch comedy show Chimp Cop Nights.

Lastly, I noticed on your website you state that you live with a cat that was already living there beforehand? How did this magical thing happen?!

The cat belongs to the owner of the apartment and she now lives with me. Most places don’t allow pets, with this one it was mandatory. Oh, and yes, the cat totally knows that she owns the place.


CJ Delling will be at The Bull and Bear Tavern 23rd March – 3rd April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are $12 – $20 and can be purchased here.

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