Bill is Aboriginal whose mob is Eora and whose father was a Wiradjui man from Dubbo. He moved to Canberra in 2008 when he was accepted into the Australian Public Service Graduate Program and completed an arts degree in history and ancient history. A finalist in the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island comedy competition Deadly Funny in 2018, Bill had his first taste for laughs on stage in Year 12 and took to the stage at the Phoenix pub in 2016. His first solo show, Mayonnaise Disputes and Monopoly Fights debuts at the Canberra Comedy Festival at The Street Theatre. He has helped put together Canberra’s first showcase of black comedy in the Koori Comedy Showcase.
The Street talks to Bill before the debut of his first solo show and the first Koori Comedy Showcase at the Canberra Comedy Festival at The Street Theatre.
WHY ATTRACTED YOU TO COMEDY?
A desperate need for attention. The only thing I ever got recognised for in school was an end of year speech in year 12. I didn’t know it at the time but it was a basic stand-up set with a few roasts of the teachers. The attention I got was like nothing I’ experienced before. I loved it.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FIRST SOLO SHOW – MAYONNAISE DISPUTES AND MONOPLY FIGHTS.
It’s a collection of stories about my family. They are the most insane people I’ve ever encountered and I love them for it. We’ve been accidently arrested, accidently referred to social workers, we’ve had a yearlong mayonnaise dispute and multiple monopoly fights. But we all agree, we hate the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
WHO HAS INSPIRED YOU IN COMEDY?
Billy Connelly. He is the best comedian who ever lived, but people don’t rate him because he primarily spoke to working class people about regular life instead of preaching to toffs about politics like modern comics do.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF COMEDY?
Long form story-telling and 1 liners. I don’t do observational comedy.
WHERE DO YOUR STORIES COME FROM?
My family. They are real stories so they are authentic.
HOW DO YOU TEST YOUR MATERIAL?
Open Mics. If your jokes can’t make drunks laugh at a free show then they won’t make sober people laugh at a paid gig.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN THE AUDIENCE IS NOT WITH YOU?
Silence. Heckling is better than silence because at least you got a reaction and can build on it. Easiest way to lose them is to bang on about politics.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN IT’S NOT WORKING?
Panic and smile a lot 🙂 I normally go back to short-sharp jokes to win them back.
YOU ARE STANDING UP FOR BLACK COMEDY AT THE FIRST KOORI COMEDY SHOWCASE AT THE CANBERRA COMEDY FESTIVAL WITH CY FAHEY, BENNY EGGMOLESSE, JACOB KEED, AND STEPH TISDELL. WHAT CAN AUDIENCES EXPECT?
They can expect a great showcase of local Black talent, but most importantly the funniest Aboriginal in comedy, Steph Tisdell is our headliner. It’s a huge result for us that Steph is coming to headline. She’s been on national TV multiple times and recently performed at ‘Just for Laughs’ at the Opera House
WHAT’S INSPIRING YOU CREATIVELY AT THE MOMENT?
My job, attending it every day is an amazing motivator to write as much as possible so I never have to go back.
WHAT ARE YOU READING AND WATCHING CURRENTLY?
Currently reading Modern Man in Search of a Soul by Carl Jung and re-watching Deadwood.