INTERVIEW: Matt Okine Talks Being A Dad And Connecting Through Comedy

Main image: Cole Bennetts

It’s been two years since Matt Okine’s last live comedy show, The Hat Game, and a lot has happened in that time.

The comedian has written and starred in the second season of his Stan TV series, The Other Guy, penned a novel/loose memoir called Being Black ‘N’ Fish & Chips, and become a dad.

So what can fans expect from his new stand-up routine Solo Diner? “Solo Diner couldn’t be more different to The Hat Game,” Okine explains. “It’s about first dates, finding the one, breast milk and bird seed thieves.”

At the 2019 Brisbane Comedy Festival, Okine performed a series of intimate, smaller-scale shows, which he prefers. “There’s a different dynamic when you’re performing to a room of less people. You’re closer to them and can read the room. You really get to try things out and have fun.”

As an author, Okine has had to adapt to a slower style of feedback. “When you’re performing you can see how you go straight away. You walk off stage and know whether the audience liked you or not, whereas with the book things are slower, people are still discovering it.”

The novel, a coming-of-age tale that finds Okine reflecting on losing his mother to breast cancer at the age of 12, is both heartbreaking and hilarious – an engaging brand of storytelling Okine has become known for. His TV series, The Other Guy, won fans for its raw but amusing take on millennial life. “I’m proud of the way it represents what people in their 20s and 30s living in Sydney are going through.”

When asked whether it’s therapeutic to write about past experiences, Okine says no. “If I wanted to go to therapy, I’d go to therapy. For me, it’s about connecting people and representing real issues like anxiety and depression so that we’re talking about it, especially as men.”

With TV, comedy and writing on his CV, Okine is already onto the next challenge. This time: film.

“I’m currently working on the rights to the film adaptation of Being Black ‘N’ Fish & Chips and have my fingers crossed that it goes ahead. I’m excited to represent Brisbane, real Brisbane, on film. Queensland has movies filmed here all the time but they turn it into somewhere else, like Miami. I want to show the beauty of the city.”

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