Dave Hughes: PUMPED

Al Eveille is a lifestyle, entertainment and travel writer who loves sharing her adventures with likeminded readers everywhere. 

As one of Australia’s comedy greats, Dave ‘Hughesy’ Hughes has a lot of laughs up his sleeve. After almost twenty years in stand-up comedy, Hughesy’s success continues to grow across Australia and throughout the comedy clubs of the world. Certainly, Hughesy’s introduction to comedy has been organic, beginning during school after discovering a natural knack for making people laugh. Even though he was an academic achiever, the comedian call was too loud to ignore and after two attempts at studying, he stays onstage doing what he loves most. And given a natural inclination for humour and his continued popularity, there’s no doubt that comedy is his forte.

Having completed a recent Australia-wide and international tour with his wife and three young children in tow, the bloke from Warrnambool returned to KIIS FM with his long-standing co-host Kate Langbroek. But there’s no pausing between stops, with Hughesy’ returning to the stage yet again with new stand-up comedy show PUMPED. Comedy-buffs are sure to be at the mercy of his quick wit and leave with a belly full of laughs when Hughesy steps up to the mic. In the lead up to his show at Brisbane Powerhouse, we sit down with the comedian to chat his thoughts on touring, being a genius and how funny is funny no matter where in the world.

How did you start with full time stand-up comedy?
I had a dream of being in comedy when I was pretty young, at about fourteen or fifteen years old. Basically I thought I could be funny. When I got on stage at school to do a speech, people just seemed to laugh, so I thought there was something in that. Rather than getting trophies in sport, I’d get on stage at the local footy club and take the piss. That’s what got me thinking about it. When I was older, I dropped out of university, just because I couldn’t muster enough interest in either of the courses I tried. I got the marks to get into IT at Swinburne University in Melbourne, and the year after that I gave a business course a go, but I realised I made the wrong choice and dropped out. That was in the early 90’s. Comedy really was my calling. The first stand-up I ever did was at about 21 or 22 years old at a small comedy club in Perth, where I was living at the time.

Recently you’ve completed quite a bit of touring around Australia as well as the rest of the world. What did you learnt from your tour?
It doesn’t matter if you’re in Los Angeles, Montreal or London: humour is everywhere. I actually loved being on the road because I took the whole family with me. My wife came along with our three kids, so we were all travelling around. Of course, there were challenges that came with three small children and long flights – but we had a great time.

How is comedy abroad? Is it very different to performing for an audience of Aussies? 
Humour overseas isn’t that different. Funny is funny no matter where you go. When you’re going to a comedy club anywhere in the world, people are there to laugh. I suppose the main difference is that when I walk on stage in another country, people don’t necessarily know who I am so I have to be funny straight away and get that first joke out fast. 

Do your kids watch you?
Our kids don’t really watch but we talk about it. My son is six and loves AFL. When I tell him that I spoke to certain AFL players and show him video, he loves that and respects that his favourite players were listening to me.

What would you say to others wanting to get onstage for stand-up?
Don’t take it too seriously – it’s embarrassing when you take it too seriously. I’ve done this in the past and will probably continue to. Self-pity isn’t funny and I’ve been on stage feeling sorry for myself many times and no one cares. You have to realise that comedy is a ridiculous thing to do, but life is ridiculous as well! You also have to get on stage as much as you can. Take every opportunity to be on stage, whether it’s in front of fifteen people at a pub, all who haven’t paid to see you perform, or at a fancy theatre where 1000 people have.

You’re back on the radio with Kate Langbroek on KIIS FM. What is it about you both that makes this partnership so successful?
I always thought I had a knack for comedy back to when I was a teenager. I always had a natural inclination for it. For whatever reason, my brain works in whichever way it needs to for a laugh. Basically I think I’m a genius – that’s why I think I’m successful but not everyone will agree with me. As a duo with Kate, we’ve been on the radio since 2001 and we’ve lasted for so long because we get each other’s angles. We’re very relaxed working with each other. Basically I think we work well together because we’re both brilliant.

What can audiences expect with your new show PUMPED?
The show is about me and my peers and the experiences of going through my everyday life. It’s about me being a local celebrity and trying to get on flights when they’ve closed the gate, ridiculous requests my wife makes or my kids annoying me. The best comment I can have from people is that they relate to the stuff I’m talking about; finding humour in what I’m going through. That’s the best compliment I can get. I’m pretty confident that I’m in good form and people will have a good time when they turn up. 

Photographer: Garth Oriander


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