Lawrence Mooney is a comedian who has lit up television screens, radio airwaves and live shows for over a decade. Now touring with his latest show Part of the Problem, Mooney lets us in behind the scenes to talk about how comedy is his dream job and why the Turnball character worked so well.
LQ: Where did you come from and how did you find your way into comedy?
LM: I grew up in Bayswater in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. My parents migrated from Liverpool in England so some would say it’s in my blood. At school I discovered I could make people laugh which is just as well because I was crap at sport and you need something. By the way none of the good sports people I went to school with are professional sports people because they’re in their mid fifties.
LQ: You’ve worked in radio, television and stand up. Which medium do you think works for the best comedy and why?
LM: There is nothing that compares to the immediacy, rapport and pure energy of being live. It’s the best way to see comedy. Next is radio because you have the intimacy, you’re listening in the car or at home, it’s one on one.
LQ: Why do you think your Malcolm Turnball character resonated so well with Australian audiences?
LM: It was a gift comically because it united people. Liberal voters would come to laugh at him because they didn’t like him and thought he was funny and Labor voters hated him too. It was perfect and people loved that show.
LQ: Do you have plans to create a new character for the current Prime Minister?
LM: Absolutely not. He’s so drab there is no way of nailing him. I suppose the ultra Christian thing is one way in but I also don’t like him and I think you have to like your subject. I like Turnbull.
LQ: Using political figures as caricatures has a history in Australian comedy. What role do you think comedy and satire plays in a democracy?
LM: It’s an essential role for distilling the politics and the moment and it’s very effective. Bob Katter appears in this show, and he is a delight to impersonate.
LQ: Who were your greatest comedic influences coming through in the industry?
LM: Greg Fleet is without a doubt my greatest influence. I can hear him in my patterns, in my delivery and the way I use my body. He really did spawn a generation of comedians in Melbourne. A genius and a massive influence on comedy.
LQ: What do you see as the greatest issues and greatest triumphs of the Australian comedy scene?
LM: I think that the comedy scene is being muted and censored by a lot of people deciding to stand in judgment of what they think is funny. You can’t tell people what is funny and not funny. You just can’t.
LQ: What about your upcoming show, “Part of the Problem”?
LM: Well, it’s all about white male privilege and my life. How I live a compartmentalised little life, immune to the world. Most people think that but it’s not true, we are all in this together.
LQ: What would be your ideal creative, dream project?
LM: I’m doing it. Triple M breakfast in Sydney. The flagship shift, in the biggest market in the country and I’ve got my own show with complete licence to do and say what I want.
Lawrence Mooney will perform his hilarious stand-up show “Part of the Problem” at the Ipswich Civic Centre on Friday, November 15. Showtime is 8.00pm and tickets may be booked online at www.ipswichciviccentre.com.au.