Standing up is one of Xavier Michelides strong suits, as is telling jokes, so an hour of stand-up was bound to happen sooner or later. This year at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Michelides brings Bad Accents and Inconsistent Mimes to audiences at the Imperial Hotel. We quizzed him on all things comedy.
Your stage persona is pretty amiable and upbeat, how does it compare to your ‘real’ personality?
I’m fairly upbeat, but I think I’m a bit more anxious off stage. I think my day to day amiable-ness is usually hiding any underling anxiousness about something (usually not worth worrying about).
Bad Accents and Inconsistent Mimes promises your best jokes so far told whilst standing, and that you’ll make audiences laugh. That’s pretty vague, but probably pretty accurate. Your previous shows have had a central theme of some sort – does this year’s have one?
The show is just a collection of my best stand-up over the years, no theme or idea, just a whole bunch of jokes. So actually heaps of themes, but only examined for five minutes at a time.
I hadn’t done a show of just jokes for a long time, so I felt it was about time I did one. I did a short run of just stand-up in Perth and it was lots of fun, I’d forgotten how fun it can be to do stand-up in a festival and have that freedom to adapt to the crowd (as opposed to doing a theatre or sketch show where there is very little wiggle room). So I thought it was about time to do one at Melbourne Comedy Fest.
You and your comedic styling have been described as “a character actor in the mould of Matt Lucas” and “like a young Rowan Atkinson”. Using references, how would you describe your comedy?
It is really character based standup in many ways, I introduce a premise and usually from that premise somehow introduce characters that end up interacting with each other, or just a character monologue-ing for a long time, and getting off topic. That is where most of the humor comes from.
Much of the praise heaped on you addresses your performance abilities and physical skills as well as your use of stagecraft. Have you ever considered non comedic performance? If you were to star in a ‘serious’ play, what would it be?
I’ve never really wanted to do serious theatre, never felt confident that I could pull it off or have the abilty to take my self seriously on stage. But then again. I have ended writing comedy shows with serious moments in them (the last two theatre shows I performed at the Comedy Festival had serious moments). Because really; good story telling needs those moments. I really love story telling so maybe eventually I will do a serious piece, but I have no idea what that is.
When asked “who are you going to see at this year’s MICF” a lot of comedians replied with “Xavier Michelides”. How does that make you feel? Which artists do you recommend?
Great, really good, praise from your peers feels the best, because they know what the job is, so they know what they are talking about.
I recommend Damien Callinan he is an amazing writer and performer always creates really clever funny shows. Also Nick Cody, he is one of the most solid stand-ups in Australia. And Watson have an amazing show which I saw last year at Fringe, scary and funny, just great.
And Ben Russell and Jimmy James, coz they said I was good.
Xavier Michelides’ Bad Accents and Inconsistent Mimes is playing at the Imperial Hotel from the 1st to the 12 April. Tickets start from $15 – buy them online or at the door.