Jeff Green and Matt Elsbury – connecting with exasperation

Interview 8 – Jeff Green and Matt Elsbury

From the gains and losses of late-in-life parenting, the demise of heckling and the social media ‘self-esteem train’, to building comedy bridges on the back of global disasters… it’s an action packed half hour of Stellavision chat.

Jeff Green – famous in both the UK and Australian comedy scenes – believes many comics (and writers) begin their careers after a life changing loss (“I’m just not going to be that crushed guy!”). Keep an ear open for when Jeff explains why his ‘Ex’ is still next of kin on his passport ;>)

When Matt Elsbury is spotted in the street and asked to tell a joke (comedian’s bain), he semi-politely explains he is a professional, agrees a price on the gag, generates an invoice followed by a swipe on ZipPay (12 easy monthly payments). But he also cautions that earlier success does not guarantee future entitlement. As Matt puts it: “Your next audience owes you nothing.”

Stella ventures that comedians are ‘vicarious empaths’ – near enough to the action to be singed, but not so close as to blister. Finding the grumpy and exasperation in a situation, is to find the comedy (being just ‘angry’ is not really funny). Being able to create and explain a strong feeling, so the audience can compare it to their own experience is where comedy connections are made (and make you laugh despite yourself :>)

Don’t forget to check out the Stellavision website for forthcoming shows.

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YouTube Transcript

uh sobbing a big bill oddie all right cutting to the chase
welcome again thank you so much to my lovely crowd of Newports comedy room
hunters who come so regularly to see these shows and stick around for these
rather unique podcasts we are in fact building up an interesting archive of
some fantastic Australian or Australian working comedians who have really got a
bead on the social context and the zeitgeist if I can use that word because
there is no one more acutely able to comment on what’s happening in real time
as our stand-up comedian community now community of stand-up comedians I
suppose that’s true but you don’t really get together an it though comedians but
can I please welcome to two really hard-working comedians in Victoria
predominantly but nationally and to some extent internationally I think that’s
fair to say will you please welcome to the Stella vision here at the Newport
comedy room podcast the wonderful Jeff green and Matt Ellsbury thank you please
tell her thanks for having us and thanks for putting on such a great show with a
wonderful audience and we both had a great time very rarely perform on raffia
it’s it’s a first for me I have to say I’m just a little nervous that your
intro stellar for the podcast has said the bar little high talking about the
zeitgeist when I believe about an hour ago I was talking about my two-year-old
and a cupcake how profound allowed to be during this podcast hurry the process up
a bit with a few Jane away but we can’t just can’t defame ah we can’t do that
now listen this is called funny about boxes inaudible you can you can pick it
up on any of your Spotify or podcast listening devices that you have but what
we do here on this show is we talk to comedians about the nature of writing
and what that actually means because writing comedy is a bit weird isn’t it
it is weird I’ve I’ve written three books three well I’ve written my show so
I’m a writer often call myself a writer when I when I don’t want to mention
a comedian in taxis Sam a writer yeah and or you know if I’m coming into the
you know coming into the country and you have to put your your occupation down
because if you book comedian they go well tell us a joke and you say well
your parents are proud of you and then you don’t get in my standard line is now
I say I’m sorry I’m a professional I’ll have to invoice you do you know Stevie
Nicks from Fleetwood Mac still on her tax return rights
roxtor right that’s beautiful yeah so I’ve so I wrote three books and back in
the 2001 was called the ages that have living together that was the first book
and then the second book was called the 80s that had been single they tragic
follow-up and then the third book was the eighth set of having a baby and and
I’ve I’m island and as met directors and my personal life for material and I’m
actually a chemical engineer that’s my degree genuinely yeah which basically
means I can make a bong out of anything right but did you say Bob I’d bonk no
bomb now yeah well both in fact but I did my did chemical engineering at uni
I’m a maths physics and chemistry so I’ve always looked at jokes as like
puzzles so I see that I see the punchline and this is James I’m speaking
genuinely I I try and put them together I know there’s a there’s the perfect
combination of the of the words and the N where to put the punchline
and so I’ve often that’s all that’s often how I approach writing I am I try
and find a theme to what I want to talk about each year I give it a heading and
then I and then that gives me a spine so that I don’t drift too far off or if I
get writer’s block I know I’ve got to come back to what I’m supposed to be
talking about so I was watching you tonight and your methodology and so you
start with the end and you you move back to them and so that you can create the
logical conclusion yeah I usually start with the punch lines in what Matt says I
usually start with a punch line and then and they
create that the proper build-up and then I and I really work hard on the on the
woods and I try and make it as economic as possible and I try and choose the
right words it’s not Lots have been talked about in terms of comedy with
what the right work Mark Twain talks a long time and so does Bill Bryson all
about the correct word in in in in comedy writing so I try and I perform it
with the audience often when audiences are watching me they think I’m talking
but I’m not I’m listening I’m listening or than a talk so I’m listening to how
they’re responding and and then I’m editing and I’m also remembering what
how little bits went and so I changed I changed my delivery according to the
audience I changed the order of things I changed the material up I’m gonna
choose and and and so and basically that’s and that that then becomes the
show because I was watching you again tonight because I’ve seen you several
times and I guess you you you know it’s like a matrix you can mix it up and
change it as you go but what at what point do you walk into a room and
determine how you’re going to do that and I’m looking if I’m looking for mana
bill so I’m lucky if I’ve got people who are on before me because that will give
me a reading of the room and then I’ll look at the audience and a look at the
demographics and I’ll make a right on my hand still still right set this now a
lot of people don’t lock comics don’t Bryce I write setlist out for every show
yeah and it just makes me feel better and I don’t always follow it if I rarely
follow it but at least it’s there and the material is front front and center
of my mind well look I do put a bit of work into curating each show and making
sure that there that the acts kind of complement each other and and and Matt
I’ve know your work and Jeff I know your work and even though you’re completely
different you do both love to talk about the arrival of children in your life and
they’re they’re sort of I would say impact but actually I think I should say
onslaught you’re such it’s such an all-encompassing thing particularly as I
mentioned before I was stupid enough to come to this game particularly light and
so I think you kind of become the bridge then you have the friends with our
children and the friends with children and the the divide starts to open well I
was the friend without the children and became the friend with children so I
know what both sides alike and I won’t say which one I want back
because then though Doc’s will come around and take my children away from me
but if you talk to each group but particularly because the arrival of
children is just so all-encompassing I have not had a proper night’s sleep in
five years and it’s not because the the asthma’s acting up or anything is
because of the arrival of Rugrats it just changes every single thing I don’t
think you ever sleep again after your children or I’m probably I’ve slept for
five years but I have a bladder problem entirely different and but also equally
I have children I children later my children were born in my 40s and my
sisters had kids when my sister was 17 when she had a child so you know my
sister’s kids are all grown up I got I got grandchildren nieces and stuff but I
children late in life like a fool but but I’m really glad I did I’m glad I got
that out of way at the way I don’t think I would have been a particularly great
dad at that point you look I disagree though because look at that there is a
physical toll on having children later in life and and you maybe do it a little
bit out of sync with your your coach or your friends and so forth but actually
although my partner says to me our daughter is being raised as if by
grandparents which is not a great comment but actually I think we’ve
probably done a better job as a consequence better job we’ve got more
patience or I mean one of it one of the things is that you do well I feel I’ve
got more patience and I also I’ve had I’ve got all my partying out the way but
but equally I go you know when the kids want to go to the Melbourne and Royal
Melbourne show and I’m in my 50s and they want to go on the rides and I’m
saying let’s go on the teacups and they don’t know dad let’s go on the
dislocator I know dad take us on the blood clot and
there I’m always saying yes Jeff get on the blood clot with him I said but
remember 50s it turns you upside down throws your body into five different
directions I’ll have a stroke imagine coming back home from the Royal
Melbourne show did you down enjoy the raw bubble show you can ask him it’ll
take a while to get down so I have to tap him out with his nose on a special
keyboard but at least you do get a park nearer to
the turnstiles but anyway the one thing I think that the universal truth that
people accept about artists or Flanders oh and anyone that spends a great deal
of time contemplating is that you at you you you you have an enormous need for
introversion and you have an enormous need to spend just long hours by
yourself contemplating things so that you can reconstitute it into a consumer
before Martha comedy or a novel or a radio play or a podcast or something but
when the kids come along that’s kind of gone and they see an asshole and you
just leave it to your partner to do but I don’t get that feeling that you too
have done that so I have a very genuinely I have a very understanding
partner and and often she will say to me you know you are following your dream I
don’t you know I like to bring the children up but I want to break and and
it’s it’s very hard to get the right balance out between her having a break
and you bringing in the income I mean that’s what every favorite families
going through that one of the good things I did feel when I had kids was I
was actually losing touch with my audience when I was in my 30s I doubt I
was partying had quite a lot of money a disposable income without children and I
felt like I was I wasn’t connecting the main thing about comedy is three rules
of comedy Connect connect connect there they are the rules of comedy and you
have to you have to connect your job onstage is to attend to your
relationship with the audience at all times the minute you stop and looking
after your relationship with them is the mini you start dying on stage so that
relationship that you have with the audience is vital and I found that I was
having less and less in common with the people who were going doing it tough who
were bringing up children who were paying mortgages who was struggling with
bills and I was really struggling to find out what we had in common then the
children came along and suddenly I had a lot more in common and and and and it
really reap it rebuilt my relationship and made me I think a better more
empathic comic so you joined the club I suppose yeah and what about you met
because you would have been on a similar pathway I guess you’re relatively late
to parenting you said so what were you doing with all of that
free time your head um well it is a similar story I didn’t quite hit Jeff’s
income stream or level of prettiness so I didn’t have quite the part he’s
available to me but it is a very similar sensation but the main difference I
found with the writing because we are a two-income family unless you ask my
partner in which case she’ll say one and a half and I’m not the one but so as a
result I you know I work at night I do home dad for most of the day and I’ve
learned previously I used to take about half an hour to settle myself into a
writing session like kind of unwind set everything up get it and now I have half
an hour and so if I spend all that time on one the unwinding I’m unprepared for
the combat I have to go back into with the children I’ve got two minutes to get
in get started and get underway and then be hauled back in as soon as you find as
soon as you smell smoke basically you know the writing sessions over because
one of the children who’s gotten out of sight has put a knife in something
electric so that’s when you know creativity is done find the phone corn
bill ambulance back to real life my wife says um I said darling I’m
having trouble writing my show I can’t look after the children she’s you’ve got
five minutes go right oh yeah I can get into the zone in five minutes she just
thinks it just fucking falls out of me but it doesn’t it’s em it looked better
it sounds cruel but I had suspected supportive it’s very supportive I
couldn’t have done it without her and I genuinely could not have done anything
couldn’t have been a parent and a comic without her now um Jeff put this at this
squarely if you’d stayed in Britain you probably would have been a bigger star
and earned more money Australia just can’t really support its artists and it
doesn’t want to it doesn’t necessarily like us unless there’s a bushfire fund
and then it really likes us but um so so can I talk can you talk a little bit
about as much as I know you love and appreciate your wife and moving here
there is a part of you I imagine that thinks if you’d stayed in Britain apart
from Boris Johnson you would have had a bigger career is that fair to say yes I
would definitely because the UK definitely do
UK’s in the middle of everything I mean there’s lots of opportunities you’ve got
you know you know all the radio stations radio one two three four or five you got
all the BBC’s nine BBC’s ITV channel five and they’re all creating and comedy
a good quality comedy and there’s just opportunities all times and and and the
UK’s in the centre of thing I know that because I used to read headlines when I
lived in London like um you know if a global financial crisis envelops the
world world leaders gather in London to discuss fiscal strategy then I came to
Australia I read headlines like trapped supermarket Sparrow fine alright and the
cost of real estate and football yeah yeah yes and that and and less atlas
this value attached to it to their comp comedians and it’s a shame because
they’re comedians are great you know we got em wonderful social commentators
like Will Anderson like like all of the people who are you know earning a living
in this country are difficult living but they are only you mentioned early about
him the kind of era that we’re in and I’ve watched I’ve been and I’ve been a
comedian for 30 years I did my first gig when Ronald Reagan was president that’s
that’s a long time ago so I’ve watched all of the four trends so when I started
out was very political Ben Elton was was a big comic in those days then we went
into observational I’m considered an observational comic observational comedy
people have michael mcintyre me Adam Hills people like that then then we then
we went into surreal like Eddie Izzard Ross noble fest surreal comics then
improv lots of people just you know trying to work what the audience got and
then background to politics again we’re currently in the me to era of comedy
which has happened for the past couple years Australia has a very small comedy
community and they sometimes can be very self-important and they do tend to like
to put their opinions down and we do feel under pressure at the moment to be
to be censoring ourselves there is it is not a libertarian atmosphere you
couldn’t you can’t dissolve things you cannot say in Australia in the UK it’s
still a very broad Church you can say what you like and the audience will
decide you know we are we are we’re so censoring only
ourselves self censoring I don’t think it’s a good thing
I much prefer anything to be said on stage and for the audience to decide
whether it’s funny valid or good jokes or bad jokes
I don’t like censorship and it’s a shame that we do have it do you think the
presence of social media and its impact on what comedians can and can’t do
apropos of what Jeff just said do you think it’s improved life for comedians
or is it it’s are we just becoming incredibly overly self-aware and a bit
too precious here in Australia well the word echo chamber gets sewn around about
social media a lot and it you find that every market becomes divided into
smaller and smaller sub markets and so trying to find an idea that catches a
large group gets harder and harder as people tune in more and more to their
own comfort area so it’s as with any technology control out the standard get
off my lawn line of you know there’s good and bad in any sort of groundswell
shift but in the case of social me one thing there was I’m trying to member how
long ago was there was basically a letter signed by about a dozen legends
of Australian comedy but legends of a previous style shall we say people like
you Kevin bloody Wilson and Vince Sorrenti I think was in there as well
Alba moaning the overly PC nature of the audience and the the main thing that
came to mind to me is that moment these are people that have earned their
stripes over a long time even if their style of some of them does not gel with
the current audience something I think that every comedian needs to remember is
that you’re next audience OHS you nothing they do not owe you a laugh
because you’ve put in a certain amount of time or as in a certain number of
miles in the tirado you have to make that group in front of you laugh and
this is what Jeff was talking about Connect connect connect you have to go
to them and make the experience happen in their heads and so they don’t owe you
a laugh because you’ve turned up you have to earn it each time you go out and
so with the current bemoaning largely and this is the also social media has
made it that there’s like a permanent record of everything we do now there are
no mistakes that get swept under the carpet because the carpet is being
lifted under lifted up and looked under all the time and in a permanent ongoing
way that’s a good point yeah when I started out there was no internet there
wasn’t even any telephones or electricity we were all we were doing
gigs on horseback and I heard that wheel there is sir yeah it’s true no people
used to heckle more that’s a bit hectic there was a wall of hair now with the
internet they don’t need to they can go to the toilets and heckle you at home
send you a nasty tweet and but I enjoyed heckling I enjoyed that they yes doing
enjoy yeah but and and and and and some of the great things you know gex I’ve
had some wonderful ankles because what have you um I like I saw a guy on stage
a guy who walked on and said hey I miss good evening I’m a schizophrenic because
how much have it why don’t you both fuck off then he’s a big no I think that’s
very much a UK thing in the in the UK heckling is more of a contest yeah in
Australia you’re lucky to find a heckler that uses
consonants it tends to be which is harder to see to Australian
heckling you generally don’t find you find it lower than the blood-alcohol
level I think it’s generally the concept of it it’s awkward isn’t it
okay so are you you’ve tapped into what I think is is starting to emerge again
comedy has sort of sat in the background as a bit of window dressing in there in
recent decades we’ve had a great economy we are starting to get to some pretty
awkward times in on the global horizon we have untold numbers of extinct
species about to drop off the planet we have an environmental change happening
we have a virus it’s turning into a pandemic which no one has seen the likes
of since the Spanish flu I think comedians are going to be highly in need
one more time but what I do want to ask you please do come into their own
actually your rights comedians come in sit around when when that when our backs
are against the wall that happened in the UK and during them after the GFC and
austerity and and and also during the Gulf War and committee were comedians
work was suddenly sought out by audiences for relief but also for
observations and for dialogue and for narrative on what’s happening and making
sense of it that’s right making sense of it and kind
of cutting to the chase yeah and and actually explaining to them to the
public what isn’t happening but in the context of political
correctness it’s getting a little bit weird so my question to you is given
that there are currently people that are still trapped on a boat as we speak
what’s it like being a comedian on a cruise well what’s it like being a
comedian on a cliche coin thing comes to mind again because you can get heckled
the days after the show and the crew ships the only place that will give you
that environment you’ll find yourself getting heckled at lunch you’re trapped
on board and there’s a lot of old people it’s like a floating Adelaide cruise
ship Cheerilee
yeah it’s a it’s in you know and I don’t mind them I find them I find that you
know you get stuck behind them on that I go not the gangplank they’re discussing
the ship going it’s gonna be better than when we sailed with Noah you come on you
old bastard so I wanna get to the cabin before the ice caps melt but term they
are there their audiences that’s the thing as a comment you can’t be precious
their audiences they’re people and you have to connect with them you have to
find a bridge and I don’t mind I don’t mind them I don’t mind audiences I love
that’s why I’m in this game loved performing for people well there’s
another question Jeff with a degree in chemical engineering you could have been
making pills you could have been thank you take any cells
but you bet you went for comedy so what happened um
what genuinely happened I worked for a company called POC when I left uni we’re
selling oxygen and acetylene to welders then I got fed up of the glamour of that
and then Germany paparazzi yeah I got dumped by a girl and a lot of comedians
there is usually a big incident that happened in their lives that made them
get onstage you know maybe they lost a job lost her parents you know we have
had a relationship breakdown that just made them go and what am I gonna do am I
gonna be this person my previous life or is it is it gonna be a catalyst for
change and so I got dumped by this girl and I was I’ll show you I will show you
I’m not gonna be that guy that still works at BO saying nice in South Wales I
will get out on stage and em and tear and and and and and and and and prove
her wrong well and wonder what do you think your wife would say to this girl
if they ever miss AHA well she said she said she’s my next of kin on my on my
passport because I thought you know where if I die she can deal with all my
shit right so you clearly over her there
it was there my wife would be five like I suspect my wife would be five thank
you for dumping him and that was the reason I was I went to the comedy store
I would cheer up and saw three comics and when this is what I want to do wow
that’s amazing Matt Matt do you have a sort of a muggle
life as well as comedian ah I think it’s part of the puzzle I mean as I was
talking to one of your lovely audience’s members before well-balanced people
don’t go into comedy they don’t need to I see
to combine it with the previous topic I almost made a cruise passenger cry by
accident I love doing it deliberately but this was by accident now we were in
conversation I mentioned clearly my son’s in the show and this lovely person
asked me how I would feel if my son’s wanted to go into comedy and without
thinking about it I immediately said I hope to give my son’s a secure enough
upbringing that they feel no need to go into comedy and she’s a miracle oh why
cause this Brad I suspect your mother probably cried more ah she just enjoyed
the fact that I was having a house at night besides I was a disappointment to
my mother doing comedy I felt really I do because she was she’s a single mom
and she got me through uni and a lot of a lot of sacrifices and then I said I’m
gonna be a comedian she cried my mother fought all comedians were
manic-depressive drug addicted alcoholics wow she was so accurate she
sprang on because they are Wendy self-medicating to get it just right
there but she must be here before you now you’ve moved from you’ve got a
lovely family I mean we live in a nice part of the world and so forth yes yes
yes and she can all sit yeah without stopping it Christmas Island so that’s a
good cook for her yes um okay look we’re gonna we’re gonna wrap this up soon too
but you both write independently of stand-up the thing is a lot of the
public don’t believe that comedians actually write out the stuff that
they’re going to say but you kind of have to don’t you
well some some don’t so you know I people say where do you get your
material from I go I have three places one is the blank page with with the head
the other is when I’m on stage and improvising around the topic that I’ve
all the ideas that I’ve written on the blank page and then sometimes the
audience will chip in so did you improvise a bit tonight I
usually I’m improvising when the audience is really behind it yeah
there’s a couple of bits something that playing yeah there’s because it’s that’s
quite a new show that’s and I’ve I did tonight yeah that’s from Adelaide and
Perth okay so a lot of that was new a lot of the times I was still still not
well I liked it because I wrote it in something yeah yeah
thank you yeah and what about you Matt do you have been again with the five
minutes between the children throwing toys out of the side of the car and
smelling them yes Matt smoke sure Missy but I did think that when I had a young
child and I was you know walking and walking and walking and I thought you
know what I can’t write any more novels I have no time but I can write five
minutes of comedy and I’m just gonna do that I was just gonna say Jeff and I
have two very different processes because I particularly when I’m running
stand-up I always think about myself I don’t write well I react well okay so I
will if I’m trying to write on a particular topic I will just read as
much as I can and find ideas to bounce off rather than starting from the blank
page I need to be need to have something to react to to use tonight for example I
had a plan for how it’s gonna open the set and then you introduced me as being
a nice guy yeah and that sent me in a completely
different direction because for the reasons I outlined nice not really in my
repertoire at the moment and won’t be until I can get back into some hacks
well yeah because of this lack of sugar and carbs in my life Xmas psychosomatic
Matt you’re just causing yourself an illness you’re not the first person to
say that you may be the last we do people who suffer from any sort of
allergic reaction here the whole psychosomatic thing a lot and I you you
couldn’t say smells kind of the glint in her eye there she did that as I wind up
and if I if I was eating normally it wouldn’t have worked but I’m not
so so yes mainly on you makeup again I am just a bounce off what Matt said I
although I do have a blank page I can’t write about anything until I know how I
feel about it yeah I have to feel something I have to feel and it’s not
always anger angers not funny emotion people don’t like to laugh of angry
people grumpy as well its exasperation is funny but not hang on and so you have
to find your exasperation and you have to find them because audience is also
they’re triangulating what’s what you’re saying
what’s your emotion what do you think about what you’re saying
and then they triangulate and then they find the joke in the middle when your
emotion neutral audiences don’t can’t laugh and an emotion neutral comedian
what does he what does he think about what he’s saying she think what you know
we need to know where what we need to know where the feelings are from your
point of view to find what you’re saying funny so I need to find out what I’m
what I think about and often you have to choose a very strong emotion about
something if we’re talking about the Royal Melbourne show I can’t be oh into
the Royal Melbourne show people don’t care our next that’s not interesting
before it I just went to the Royal bubble show it was the worst fucking day
of my life people go oh tell us more because they’ve had that experience
yeah well and and and and you’re and they can see you’re your M commitment to
the to the topic I think comedians are vicarious impacts I think that we sort
of carry the hopes and dreams of all of the audience but we also carry the fees
and conundrums that we face each day as well and if we’re any good we do a lot
of us don’t manage that no that’s true you pointed at me then I feel awkward
listen I want to thank you both so much for coming along to television at the
Newport comedy room and our little podcast that we’ve been creating for
some time now you can hear it on audible you can hear on Spotify thanks to Dave
Stokes author to audio who has been putting all of these together for me
thanks again to the new fall comedy room as a club and thank you both for such a
great insight into what it is to sort of you know write comedy and be a comedian
because Jeff you’ve just analyzed it beautifully and it is far more complex
and a far greater skill and an that I think people really ever want to
give it credit but I I think I should try it kept right five minutes tonight
when you get home just try it and then instead I’ll give you five minutes
that’s my pop and don’t just write it and then stand on stage and just see how
it feels because it’s a great way of losing weight it really is yeah couple
of kilos go just very very quickly but hey listen thank you all so much can we
please give a big round of applause to Jeff and Matt for their participation
tonight what great guests they’ve been and and
what sort of fantastic insight as well and thank you also to you as well and
please join us again at television at the newport podcast thanks to everybody
see you later good luck

Mitchell Faircloth – Punter to punter

Interview 7 – Mitchell Faircloth

Mitchell is perhaps best known as ‘Slim Whittle’, playing alongside a cast including Tracy Harvey, Tony Rickards as “Con Marasco” and John Rothfield as “Dr Turf” on ‘Punter to Punter’ – the seminal radio show broadcast on 3RRR on Saturday mornings during the eighties.

But his talent reach is much broader, including songwriter, musician, illustrator and also script writer for Tonight Live with Steve Vizard and The Gillies Report, and performing many acting roles – as recently as 2019 with Hugo Weaving in Measure for Measure, and independent candidate for the 1990 federal election!

You are up for a real treat in this interview, as Mitchell and Stella talk Melbourne comedy, life in Byron Bay and have absolutely nothing nice to say about ‘the sport of kings’!

Don’t forget to check out the Stellavision website for forthcoming shows.

To listen to all our podcasts and episodes, go to:

Funny about books

Hobson Words

Come to Stella Kinsella Books for stockists, and the fascinating back stories on Stella’s own publications.

Steve Kearney and Neill Gladwin – Los Trios Ringbarkus

Interview 6 – Steve Kearney and Neill Gladwin

From the primordial soup of the late 70’s, free education, Dada discomfort, performance art, teacher training at Rusden, Buster Keaton and post ‘vaudevillia’ came the bumbling genius of Steve Kearney and Neill Gladwin as Los Trios Ringbarkus – the ‘anti-tainers’.

Melbourne’s thirst for cabaret, variety and live venues during the early 80’s provided the perfect environment for the trio pair to climb the dizzy stacked chair heights of accidental comedy greatness. 

A career together spanning over ten years, later saw the two become production and direction icons in the Australian and Hollywood movie lands, but only after ‘time served in the comedy crucible’.

When asked about a touted documentary, the two replied: “It’s pretty hard to write a documentary about yourself.” To me it just sounds like a dare :>).

Don’t forget to check out the Stellavision website for forthcoming shows.

To listen to all our podcasts and episodes, go to:

Funny about books

Hobson Words

Come to Stella Kinsella Books for stockists, and the fascinating back stories on Stella’s own publications.

Lauren Bok and Joanne Brookfield

Interview 5 – Lauren Bok and Joanne Brookfield

“I’ve felt the steely, cold wind of a giant bomb stinking up the stage and when you get off and you’re like, I can’t look anyone in the eye…I’m going home to wash myself of the failure that is surrounding me.” Lauren Bok on a bad night at the office.

Lauren was the first of 60 women interviewed for Joanne Brookfield’s new book “No Apologies” – celebrating the power of women, their voices and their stories. When you do the math, that’s 60 interviews x 5,000 words per interview = 300,000 words that Joanne has skillfully crafted into a 65,000 word ‘must read’.

Stella questions: “Can we hope for the day when we don’t actually need the book? Where inequality at lots of levels: gender, race, disability, etc doesn’t exist?”

As Joanne points out: “The point of the book is that we’re not there yet!”

There’s a real sense of closeness among the comedy ‘sisterhood’, which stems from bizarre inequities and impossibly shaped hurdles. “We’re not allowed to get it right, but we’re always told we’re getting it wrong.”, says Joanne. It’s appears to be not just about equality, but a unique response rejecting/countering phobic, sexist material delivered up as entertainment by the comic majority.

Gender archetypes have made it a challenge for women to ‘rage on stage’. The suggestion is that ‘permission’ is gendered – “Go for it dude! But be careful ladies”. But of course comedy has the unique ability to mock itself, holding up a mirror in a powerful medium for different points of view and diversity of perspective – inclusive regardless.

As lauren so beautifully puts it…

“Be the change you want to see in the world”

Don’t forget to check out the Stellavision website for forthcoming shows.

To listen to all our podcasts and episodes, go to:

Funny about books

Hobson Words

Come to Stella Kinsella Books for stockists, and the fascinating back stories on Stella’s own publications.

Upload, distribution and promotion

I upload your audiobook files for distribution, ensuring we meet the publisher’s and online store’s audio specifications.

My preferred method at this stage is to use an ‘aggregator’. I currently use the Author’s Republic who enable distribution to Audible, iTunes and another 30 online stores and libraries.


I’ll need a high resolution image of your book’s cover, your PayPal email address for royalty payments and of course, your audiobook recommended retail price.

Author’s Republic track and report your sales and royalty payments from all of the outlets you have distributed to, into a single account, that only you have access to.


It usually takes around 2 weeks from the time we upload your audiobook files until publication. Audible and are usually first with iTunes and the other international outlets within the following 2 to 4 weeks.

Once you have a live link to the outlet’s page for your audiobook, you can include it in your promotional materials, and of course on your website.

Please take a look at the Author’s Republic frequently asked questions here:


Audio or audio visual?

If you would rather sell your audiobook through the store on your website, there are two options. I can create a single MP3 or an M4A file. Both files will contain the book cover graphic. The advantage of M4A, is that you can display unique images for each part, chapter and section of your audiobook. This make navigation and bookmarking on your smartphone a lot easier. We can go even further by displaying important figures, tables, photos and infographics. I guess that makes M4A an audio visual book!

Here’s a quick description of the M4B/M4A format in (almost) non-tech terms:


What’s involved in editing and production?

I aim for high clarity, quality, consistency and completeness during editing and production. I can use your recording if you wish, but prefer to record you myself. The largest factor in the final audio quality is the standard of the original recording. You just can’t “unbake the cake” (or can you?)

Love this:


Editing usually takes 5 to 6 times the recording duration (in our example 40k word count, about a week). During that time, I cover the recording from top to tail cleaning up re-records, pops, clicks, pacing and heavy breath intakes. I also label each section of audio according to your book’s table of contents and each headed section.

I use a series of audio production tools like: equalisation, RMS normalisation, noise reduction and auto ducking. These help to produce the best possible sound for your audiobook.

Within a week, I’ll send you a sample of the mastered recording. I can also break your recording down into ‘Sound bites’. Quotes and excerpts that can be used to help create sales lures or to promote your message on social media.


Once the editing is complete, I prepare each book section with its own MP3 audio file. Those files may then be used to distribute your audiobook to many online stores including Apple’s iTunes, Amazon’s Audible and Spotify.

Listen to an audio sample here:

Here’s a link to a book on audiobook production:

Recording an audiobook

If you decide to author narrate, I come to you in your home, office or book a studio. Your carpeted dining room or office with high ceilings and soft furnishings is ideal – it’s familiar, has good acoustics and is generally soundproof enough. I bring all the audio gear with me and join you for the entire recording.

It seems to help to have someone to tell your story to – kind of a one man private audience. It helps you perform and engage. Just being there to answer questions, stop for a chat, note down quotable quotes, time stamp mis-reads and desk check pronunciation.


Book prose that works well when written, can sometimes trip you up when spoken. It took 7 goes to nail: “No drill dentistry in the local shopping strip” and don’t get me started on pronouncing the names of Polish researchers!

I often suggest beginning with an author interview to help you warm up your voice. It becomes useful later as social media content for audiobook promotion. A 40k word count book will generally take around 7 hours to record.

An array of interesting articles on aspects of audiobook recording and production here:

Should I self-narrate?

Your voice is a valuable, recognisable addition to your brand. It is also of course a big part of who you are and how people perceive you. If you are an expert, coach or speaker in your field, then it’s almost a no brainer. A great example is Hillary Clinton’s audiobook ‘What happened’ where she muses on the results of the last US election/debarkle. Who else’s voice would you expect to hear? It’s her story to tell.

And it’s a big story!:

The author’s voice

The avid reader’s ideal is curling up on the sofa with a good book. Does this sound familiar? The feeling of escape, the holding of the book, the smell of the pages and the immersion of your inner voice and imagination. We construct and voice our own version of the author’s intent.


But life gets in the way sometimes. The couch opportunities can be few and far between. We’re travelling, walking jogging, keeping house, mowing lawns or stuck in the peak commute – SWT – sheer weight of traffic. Even as a passenger, the spectre of being ‘car sick’ keeps our head out of a novel. We miss lectures, are verbal learners and speed readers and listeners.


And don’t forget the communication premium that comes with the storyteller’s voice – dramatic effect, intimacy, familiarity, intonation, pausing and expression. It’s the reason we suggest authors narrate their own writings – they are after all, your words, meanings and feelings.

On bringing authenticity and emphasis to your book reading:

Many times published author and narrator of some 1,300 audiobooks talks about his experiences in this article: