Interview: Anthony Jeannot

anthony jeannot interview indexIn just his first year of performing Australian comedian Anthony Jeannot won the Search for a Funny Bone competition in a field that included international superstar Ronnie Chieng (The Daily Show, Crazy Rich Asians) and Nick Cody (Conan), and since then he’s sold out shows and won critical acclaim for five separate solo stand up shows at Edinburgh Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Sydney Fringe Festival. After performing a sold out run of his debut Edinburgh Fringe show Life Coach (Age 14), Anthony teamed up with acclaimed director John Gordillo (who has worked with comedians including Dylan Moran, Reginald D Hunter, Josh Widdicombe, and Shappi Khorshandi) to craft his debut album that captures the storytelling talents that set Anthony apart. Described as “a haunted house ride of millennial angst…grim, sharp, hilarious ****” by Short Com and “Narrative comedy of the finest calibre. ****1/2” by We Know Melbourne, after listening to the album we’re already big fans and are pretty sure you will be once you’ve heard it too. Here Anthony talks about his debut stand up album, the funniest thing that ever happened to him on stage, how the lockdown might effect comedy in the future, and how he’s looking forward to conspiracy theorists shutting the hell up.

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

Anthony: It’s a chaotic, angst-ridden laugh, like Mr. Bean and Lana Del Rey collaborated on a project.

CTW: Your debut stand up album is out now, what can you tell us about it?

Anthony: I don’t know about you, but I love making things hard for myself and seeing if I can rise to the occasion. So I thought, what’s one of the least funny things you’ve ever experienced. The answer was learning that at 28, I’d done none of the things I would have hoped to as a kid… And so that’s the hour. Luckily, the audiences and reviewers seemed to enjoy it, but who the hell knows where too from here?

CTW: How has the lockdown been for you?

Anthony: Long and repetitive, don’t know if I’d order a pandemic again if I’m honest. No stars.

CTW: How do you think it will effect your comedy in the future? Have you already written material about the lockdown? Or do you feel it might not be something audiences want to think or hear about?

Anthony: I think the next festival is bound to have a bunch of shows written about lockdown, and I personally won’t watch any of them. Like, we’ve all been on lockdown, what’s the deal with Zoom, since when was trivia cool? When you had a pop quiz in high school it was a burden and now it’s the highlight of you weekend. I do think lockdown will make people write a little bit more surreal if I’m honest. The formats of comedy available encourage weirdness, and I think that will live on after lockdown.

CTW: You recently wrote an article for Chortle about how you won’t be doing online gigs and gave very good reasons, but would you reconsider if they were financially viable, or if the comedy clubs remain closed for a very long time?

Anthony: I have to really think there is something interesting and fun I can do for the audience before I say yes to it. If there was a financially viable incentive, I’d probably take the time to figure out what that was, but it wouldn’t be me doing a stand up set into the void, it’d like be something weirder.

CTW: What are you looking forward to do when (hopefully) everything returns to normal?

Anthony: Conspiracy theorists shutting the hell up. Why is it that the minute something massive happens in the world it’s always your dumbest friends who feel like they’re the ones who have outsmarted everyone? That, and just being able to hang out in a park with some beers and friends, where we can all bitch about conspiracy theorists in person.

CTW: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you since you started performing?

Anthony: On stage? I had a ripping back handed compliment that I’ve actually written into the show now. I also used to have quite long spikey hair, and to try and engage the front row I directed a joke question to them and said ‘so, you’re probably wondering about the hair?’ and the woman said ‘Nah, I get it…I’ve seen there’s something about Mary.’

CTW: If you could change any element of the comedy world, what would it be?

Anthony: Genuinely, watching and exploring more of it. There are so many fantastic performers in the world doing genuinely interesting stuff. And I don’t think there is anything more rewarding than finding a comedian who just ‘gets’ you and your sense of humour. So stay home and stay safe now. But when this is over get the hell out there and watch comedy.

CTW: If money were no object, and you could collaborate with any living comedian, what would you like to create?

Anthony: I would love to write a stand-up show that told the same story from different perspectives. So each comedian is doing there own 1-hour stand up show, that works as a stand alone. But if you see all of them, you realise that it’s different opinions on the same set of events.

I love the work of Daniel Kitson, Simon Amstel, Alice Fraser and Laura Davis, so let’s say them.

CTW: What one piece of underrated comedy would you recommend to people?

Anthony: Laura Davis, Cake in the rain. She is an absolute superstar comedian and does wonderful stuff and everyone should listen to her.

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

Anthony: What would you like people to do after reading this interview?
Go out and listen to my album at https://open.spotify.com/album/18jzGrApZafS87UfSAhKkS?si=xB5QZ8b4Raetd5qNMkoeBA

Related Links:
As well as on Spotify you can also listen to Anthony’s album on Apple Music and Amazon.
You can follow Anthony on Twitter here.

Alex Finch.
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