Matt Okine

He’s one of Australia’s most beloved performers; a comedian, author and actor, and he’s coming to the Gold Coast for GC Laughs Festival on Sunday March 21st.

We sat down for a chat with Matt about what he’s excited most to do while he’s on the Coast and how one juggles doing all of the epic things he does, while also being a new Dad.

What do you love most about visiting the Gold Coast?
The beach, the sun, the surf, but also the food. I love sitting in Rick Shores on a sunny day, eating a bug roll and looking up along the beach towards the high-rises of Surfers. Followed by a session at one of the local taprooms. There is seriously no better spot in Australia to spend an afternoon eating and drinking.

What can we expect from your GC Laughs Festival show ’Solo Diner’?
Most people only know me from the radio, or TV, so they’re always surprised when they see me do a full-length stand-up show. This is where it all started for me. I guess this year’s show is about the journey from being the solo diner on tour to being the person requesting a high chair and boiling water to heat breast milk in the restaurant. It’s about lying on first dates. Its about crime podcasts and bird seed thieves. It’s about birthing classes and finding a good parking spot when your partner is 10cm dilated. It’s about all those things and more. It’s hard to explain a stand-up show! It’s about everything and nothing at the same time.

You recently wrote and starred in hit TV series, The Other Guy, can you talk to us about the premise of that and how it all came to fruition?
The Other Guy started as a stand-up show that actually won the Director’s Choice Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The stand-up show was based on the breakdown of a relationship that had happened in my life, and we made the TV show into a fictionalised version of what happens in the aftermath of a breakdown. You see my nude butt in it quite a lot though, so if brown peaches ain’t your thing, then stay away.

Is writing a TV show something you’ve always wanted to do?
Absolutely. When I was growing up I was obsessed with Seinfeld. He’s part of the reason I even wanted to become a stand-up. TV is hard work though. On the radio, you can look like crap for your whole shift and nobody knows. But on TV, that pimple or that bald patch is forever.

You also hosted a cooking show… is cooking a passion of yours and what are your favourite dishes to cook?
I think cooking and joke-telling are pretty closely related. It really comes down to creating things that you hope other people will enjoy. Whenever I’m not performing or writing, I’m eating or thinking about food. As we speak, I’m in Adelaide at the food markets, trying to digest a huge pork roll that I just bought. I think I’ve eaten half a kilo of crackling.

Oh you also wrote a novel, talk to us about that…
My novel, Being Black n Chicken & Chips, is about a twelve-year-old boy, trying to start high school while his Mum dies of cancer. It’s based on my very first award-winning stand-up show of the same name, and I wrote the book whilst my partner was pregnant. One of the most incredible things I’ve ever been able to do is dedicate it to my daughter, Sofia. That’s the very first page of the book, but it was the last thing I wrote. All the struggling I went through to create and actually type a story became worthwhile when I realised that it’s ultimately a way for my daughter to connect with the grandmother she’ll never get to meet. I’m really proud of it.

How does one juggle all of the things you do?
Just do it. I know I stole that motto off Nike, but seriously, you just have to do it. There would be times where I would be writing late into the night and waking up at 4am to be on set by sunrise. You just have to block all the negative voices out in your head, and focus on what’s the most important thing in the moment. Stop worrying about the mountain, just worry about where to put your foot next.

If you had to choose one of the above as your greatest passion, which would you choose?
Being a good Dad.

From where do you find inspiration for your work?
Trying to find inspiration is like trying to find a partner. The more desperate you become, the more likely you’ll be going home alone (without a joke/story/etc). I try to just live my life and hope that I bump into inspiration when I’m out shopping, or catching the bus, or drunk in a bar somewhere.

Anything you’re super excited to do on the Gold Coast while you’re here?
Drinking wine and eating bug rolls at Rick Shores. I better wait ‘til the day after my gig though…



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