Interview: Daniel Muggleton

daniel muggleton interview index

In a review of Daniel Muggleton’s special “Let’s Not Hang Out” I commented that it was “An absorbing and entertaining set which has a lot of killer lines”, and it’s an hour of comedy that made me want to see him live as much as I can. An Australian comedian now based in the UK, he’s sold out shows at festivals across Australia as well as at The Edinburgh Fringe, appeared on the sketch show The Feed and also written for the award-winning web series SYD2030. Described as “Very, very funny” by the Sydney Arts Guide, and “An hour nonstop of laughs” by The Plus Ones, here he talks about his new show which might be called “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy But I Assume It’s Easier for Straight White Men”, how comedy audiences differ across the world, how he’d like to host a late night chat show and why he tries to have as few funny things happen to him as possible

Comedy To Watch: How would you describe yourself to someone who wasn’t previously aware of your good self?

Daniel: My friend told me I’m a nice guy but I’m a dick about it, which I think hits the nail on the head. Also, English people insist that I’m laid back but any Australian person would probably disagree with them.

CTW: And what can we expect from your new show, Nothing Personal?

Daniel: Potentially a title change, I thought ‘Nothing Personal’ was nice as I don’t really reveal much about myself on stage AND it’s something you say to someone you’ve offended unintentionally. But now I’ve hit on the title ‘Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy But I Assume It’s Easier for Straight White Men’ and I’ve never had a funny title before so that’s kind of fun. Just need to check it’s not too long.

CTW: How did you get in to comedy originally, and how do you feel you’ve developed over the years?

Daniel: I started at university when a mate was running a comedy night and told me I should give it a go – otherwise I never would’ve done it. I’d never joined anything voluntarily in my life until that point, and I haven’t since. Comedy is good in that it gives you the time to sit around and think about shit other people don’t have time to think about because they’re busy working. I think that’s good because I was brought up in a pretty middle-class, school-university-job-marriage-kids-death household so it’s nice to be able to sit around and try and figure out why white people suck at dancing.

CTW: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you since taking up stand up?

Daniel: I try to have as few funny things happen to me as possible. If your life is already funny as a comedian then all you have to do is report that to strangers, but if your life is boring… you do really have to figure out why white people suck at dancing. That’s true craft.

CTW: You wrote for the award winning web series SYD2030, how would you describe the show, and are you planning on making any more series?

Daniel: I co-wrote it, my friend Tatjana Marjanovic wrote the story and the First Season, I just helped punch up the second and sort her grammar out. She says it’s like Gossip Girl for law students, so it was fun to work on something that wasn’t comedy. I also acted in it, as a French Exchange student – accent and all – which despite being mostly cut from the show, wasn’t cut out of the enough in my opinion. No series in the pipes at the moment but maybe a few little shorts in the next couple of months.

CTW: Who would you say is the best comedian in Australia, and if you could work with them what would you like to do?

Daniel: There’s Carl Barron who’s the best Australian comedian ever, but he’s kind of his own thing – so I wouldn’t want to work with him, maybe just meet him sometime. Steve Hughes on form in absolutely brilliant as well. In terms of people I’ve worked with, I’d say James McCann, Rohan Ganju & Luke Heggie are my favourites. Rohan & I have a dumb film idea we pretend to write, but I like what they do so I don’t want to ruin it by working with them – I just like watching them do what they already do.

CTW: How do Australian audiences differ from those in the UK, and for that matter the rest of the world?

Daniel: I think Australian audiences aren’t as exposed to live performance as frequently as audiences in the US & UK. So sometimes they’re a little slow to warm up, or don’t know how to interact with a performer – as there’s definitely an art to being a good audience member. I find US audiences just want you to hit them with as many punchlines as possible, English audiences love you unless you mention Northern Ireland and Europeans are very happy to have their boundaries pushed.

CTW: How do you feel about hecklers, and has there ever been a heckle which has made you laugh?

Daniel: Heckling isn’t good, but it’s kind of a broad term. People yelling out, ‘You’re shit!’ is pretty unimaginative and boring but you can deal with it – whereas people just chatting and ignoring you is rough. People have yelled out stuff when I’m on and its been very funny, so I laugh with everyone else. I think it’s very easy to tell when people are trying to ruin the show or big themselves up, or genuinely participating but either way just shut up and let us talk. We’ve got your number, we’ll call if we need you.

CTW: Apart from stand up and writing is there anything else you’d like to do in the comedy world?

Daniel: I’m definitely a stand-up in that I want to be on stage in some club talking to people, that’s my favourite thing. Acting takes forever and writing is really hard (and then you have to get it made and that takes even longer than acting). I enjoy compering and hosting, so hosting a late night show would be cool, or some kind of panel; it seems like such an old school gig but there’s something nice about being the guy people tune into every other night, like that familiarity everyone kind of has with Letterman is nuts.

CTW: If money were no object, what would you like to create?

Daniel: I’m weirdly patriotic about Sydney Comedy for someone who recently ran away from it. So I would love to create a purpose-built comedy venue in Sydney, like a proper Comedy Cellar, NYC-style vibe right in a place where people actually go out AND that’s open nightly. Sydney has 6 million people and zero nightly comedy clubs – it doesn’t make sense.

CTW: What one piece of underrated comedy do you wish more people knew about?

Daniel: Norm Macdonald’s book ‘Based on a True Story’ is easily the funniest thing I’ve ever read, watch his interview on Conan promoting it before you read it. He’s just so funny all the time. Also David Spade’s first HBO hour is brilliant, I stumbled onto it and it’s just super funny for the full 60. It’s called ‘Take The Hit’ and you can find it on YouTube.

CTW: And finally, if you could interview yourself, what question would you most like to ask? And what would the answer be?

Daniel: Do you have any moves on dates? Yes, one. I go to a Japanese restaurant and then fold the chopstick wrapper paper into a chopstick holder. Smooth right?

Alex Finch.

Related Links:
Daniel’s Official Site.
Info on his live dates.
A clip of Daniel performing stand up.

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