Josh Wade
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Josh Wade

There is no doubt when it comes to Australia’s love for home grown comedians. If history shows us anything, it’s that the more outrageous and un-politically correct the jokes are, the more us Aussies love them. Made popular by the likes of Rodney Rude and Jim Jefferies, there is something so appealing about hearing someone make jokes you really shouldn’t be laughing at. At the forefront of the modern era of comedy in Australia is Josh Wade, commonly known as his character portrayal of ‘Cunny’.

Cunny is a foul-mouthed, bong smoking bogan who holds quite inappropriate concepts on the world that Aussies can’t help but relate to. Whether that be through comparisons to themselves or just someone they have come across, every Aussie knows a bogan. Having a massive burst of popularity via the digital age of YouTube and Facebook, Josh Wade has now established a huge name for himself in the comedy industry and has attracted legions of fans all over the country.

Wade first crafted the character of Cunny while doing stand-up at the “innocent” age of 13.

“I was doing open mic stuff around Townsville at10 o’clock at night in pubs. There would only be about three to four 45-year-old men who were obviously at the bar wanting to escape their 13-year-old kids at home – so the last thing they wanted to hear was one on the microphone. I realised no one was laughing because I was just talking about things that were unrelatable to them,” Wade says.

“At the start the person who got me into comedy was Ellen DeGeneres. Through watching her stand-up, I tried to emulate that a lot when I started out and then I realised that being a 13-year-old boy from Townsville who sounds like a 45-year-old lesbian with opinions on America wasn’t really working. So where the vulgarity of the character I now do comes from was realising that if I want people to pay attention to me I have to speak like them.”

Comedy online is something that’s only really come about in the last five or so years, but has been on the increase with popularity ever since.

“Back when I was about 15 and posting videos I realised if I wanted to get out of Townsville – simply by being funny – I would really have to push myself,” he says.

“I didn’t get a degree. I didn’t finish school. So I thought, ‘What is the best way to do it?’ I gave myself a goal and said, in a year’s time I am going to go down and do the Melbourne Comedy Festival through building enough fans on YouTube and Facebook to get an audience.”

His plan worked, with Wade selling out two shows at the 2016 Melbourne Comedy Festival.

While pursuing his comedy career, Josh Wade moved to Sydney when he was 18 where he soon made friends with Neel Kolhatkar – another renowned Australian comedian.

“We sort of just linked up and went ‘Okay we have the same goal’. We had both been doing stand-up and open mic and then we both started doing these videos. It was sort of a collaborative effort and then Frenchy came along and it’s been a community that we have sort of built up. Now I go on Facebook and your whole newsfeed is videos. It’s like YouTube on crystal meth,” Wade laughs before elaborating on the current growth comedy in an online environment.

“Now there is a whole scene – anyone can do it. You’re now seeing traditional comedians who pretty much need to adapt or die. I see a lot of traditional comedians like Hughsey (Dave Hughes) who are going, ‘We have to make online content’. People have such a short attention span now that if you don’t make something weekly or every couple of weeks, there is always someone new and just as good that is going to come out. There’s something now for everyone on the internet.”

The last two years have seen Josh Wade jetset around America making videos all over the country while also using time for some very personal self-reflection.

“I have spent a lot of time in America the last two years and I have had a lot of time to sit around and do nothing but smoke bongs because it was legal. I sort of fell down a rabbit hole in terms of discovering everything I had learnt from school and society was false. I feel like everything was a lie. I feel that I was never told the full truth. I still don’t know the full truth but I definitely don’t believe anything I was brought up with,” he says.

Using this mentality for his upcoming Australian Tour, Cunny’s Modern Life, Wade tackles issues that he has seen in the world over the course of his life.

“This show is kind of like a really messed up TedTalk. Cunny’s Modern Life is a play on the show ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’. From 9/11 to the wars to the financial crisis and all those different things, it’s kind of my take on it all in an absurd and funny but truthful sort of way. It’s almost like watching a 70-year-old man who is pissed off with the world and just rants for an hour,” he says.

Written by Alex Callan

When & Where: MusicMan Megastore, Bendigo – August 16; Karova Lounge, Ballarat – August 17; Pelly Bar, Frankston – August18; Wrangler Studios, Footscray – August 19; Barwon Club, Geelong – August 20 & the Loft, Warrnambool – August 26.

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