Published on May 14th, 2013 | by Dedee W0
Billy T Nominee – Eli Matthewson
Originally from Christchurch, Eli Matthewson is another new face on the comedy scene who I discovered through the FanFiction Comedy shows.
He was also part of the talented trio who put on Minority Report at last years’ festival, along with James Roque and Edith Poor. As well as being nominated for the Billy T and Best Newcomer awards this year, he has quite the string of achievements behind him – he was a finalist in the 2011 National Raw Comedy Quest after performing stand-up for less than a year. He took a trip to Edinburgh Festival with co-writer Hamish Parkinson to perform their show Square Eye Pair in 2012, and this year he landed a new job as a presenter on U-Live.
I’m not sure where he even finds time for a quarter-life crisis, but that’s what his new show’s about apparently. I recommend you go see him while you still can, cos this guy is going places.
Your show Proposition: Great! addresses the issue of the quarter-life crisis. Is this really a thing these days? Are many of your friends experiencing the same thing?
Absolutely! I think definitely, all of my friend’s that have chosen creative career paths are now worrying that they have done nothing with their life, and all of my proper adult career friends keep talking about throwing it all away to do something fun. Young people have so much more choice and freedom these days I think as soon as we start feeling like we should grow up we freak out. I’m freaking out anyway. I can’t stop listening to Simon and Garfunkel and drinking tea.
Have you written many new songs for this years’ show? I love the ones I’ve heard so far – The Stormtrooper song, and the more recent Harry Potter one, from the Harry Potter FanFiction night.
Unfortunately not! It went through stages of having songs as I was developing it, but I’ve gone for more of a storytelling style show. There will be a couple of musical treats though!
When did you start doing comedy, and was it with stand up or comedy songs?
I started the first year I moved to Auckland, I moved up here to study acting and James Roque, one of my friends in my class, encouraged me to give it ago. My first set was mainly about Pokemon, I don’t know how far I’ve really come since then! I only started doing musical comedy last year – I find it takes me a lot longer to write a song so I don’t write them as often. Although when we were in Melbourne we went on Triple J (an Aussie radio station) and they challenged us to write some fanfics – I had two days to write one and the listeners challenged me to write it about Australian politics. I tried to write using the little I knew about Australia, and it ended up being about Julia Gillard going on a swim at Summer Bay.
Who are your comedy heroes and mentors and are any of them at the fest this year?
Rhys Darby is a huge hero of mine and has been incredibly helpful to me by supporting me as a stand-up as well as the comedy shows I do with my main man Hamish Parkinson. Nick Rado always has the greatest advice and his new show is out of this world good! Urzila Carlson is a truly inspiring comedian and human being. There’s a slew of cool young gay comedians in Australia who I got to meet at the Melbourne comedy festival – Tom Ballard, Josh Thomas and Joel Creasey all had awesome shows over there. Celia Pacquola is one of my comedic idols – she’s an unstoppable comedic force. Also Claudia O’Doherty, John Mulaney, Paul Foot … too many to put in one answer!
What were your highlights from your recent trip to the Melbourne Comedy festival with the FanFiction crew?
So many – David O’Doherty did a great fanfiction about Lance Armstrong that is up on youtube now and going a bit viral. The band that played at the Bollywood final night party was so good. Good dancing at the festival club. A vegetarian fast food joint called ‘Lord of the Fries’ that I ate way too much of. It’s an awesome festival, would recommend even just going over for a weekend of it to anyone!
What’s your advice to any of the Class Comedians or up and coming young comedians who may aspire to be a Billy T Nominee in the future?
As I just said going overseas – particularly the Melbourne fest as it is so big and so close – and seeing the comedy that is being put out there by young people. The comedy scene is changing and growing and I think what’s really strong in the new generation of comedy is the scope of different people involved. Hone in on what makes you you. Does that make sense? What makes you an individual is where your best comedy will come from. Also just be humble and willing to learn as much as possible.
Are you doing many extra shows at the Comedy fest this year?
Apart from doing Last Laughs I am pretty full up this year – I’m hosting the final FanFiction this weekend with James Acaster though! Have just started my new job on U-Live so everything is a bit busy at the moment! I did get to do a couple of extra gigs at the San Francisco Bathhouse in Wellington though – such a great room. Had a blast there. You can also catch all the Billy T and Fred award nominees at Last Laughs this Sunday, it’ll be a wicked night!
Dates: Tue 14 – Sat 18 May, 7.15pm
Venue: The Basement Studio, Level 1, Lower Greys Ave
Tickets: Adults $18, Conc. $15