Dave O’Neil on his job, keeping it fresh and his love for being on-screen

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Dave O’Neil on his job, keeping it fresh and his love for being on-screen

Being a comedian isn’t just your typical 9-5 job. Writing, directing and performing their own material, humorists are paid to make people laugh, and for Melbourne-based comedic Dave O’Neil, it’s the perfect job.

“The best part? It’s all over within half an hour. As a job, it’s pretty good,” O’Neil laughs, “No but you get a real high from it, from performing and all the applause and laughter, it makes you feel happy and good.”

Getting a thrill from the stage for more than 20 years, O’Neil has no trouble keeping his material fresh with his observational humour and genuine humility based on his own life.

“You just have to keep doing it, and keep doing new jokes. I tend to talk about where I am at the moment. When I started out, I was in my 20s so I was talking about share-housing, going to McDonald’s and nightclubs. Now in my 50s, I talk about parenting, teenagers, relationships, education, school – all the stuff that is relevant to me now. My kids provide some good laughs. Teenagers are funny because they are all self-righteous,” he laughs.

Along with his stand-up, writing several books, contributing to numerous sketch comedy shows and being a skilled radio broadcaster, O’Neil is most well-known for being on-screen. With a number of guest appearances on Spicks and Specks, to appearing on hit shows like Tractor Monkeys, Can of Worms and Good News Week, O’Neil expresses his love for television.

“I always want to do more TV, it’s a matter of getting the right show and the right opportunity. I’ve just filmed a pilot based on my own life called ‘Dave’ which is about my life as a stand-up and as a dad together. It’s like a scripted sitcom type show,” he says.

“But that’s the sort of thing I’d love to do, more of that stuff. I’ve done a lot of appearing on panel shows like Spicks and Specks, so I’d love to do a more where you’re acting as yourself – it would be fun.”

Recently performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for the 16th time, O’Neil brought his fifth and best-selling book The Summer of ‘82 to life on stage for a hilarious hour of stand-up about the 10 weeks from when he finished his last exam in HSC to when he got his results, which he will also be bringing in part to his upcoming gig in Geelong.

“It should be good! I’ll be headlining, Doug Chappel will be hosting, and Brad Oakes will be the support act so we will just be doing three separate acts of stand-up comedy,” he explains. “Brad’s got no kids or anything and he’s about my age, so he talks about a whole different perspective on life and about history. I will work off the crowd a bit, I’ll talk to the crowd, see what’s going on and see if there’s anything interesting there. It should be good fun.”

When & Where: Comedy Night at Geelong RSL, Geelong – April 29

Written by Talia Rinaldo