Dave Hughes, comedian
The best part about being a dad is that you’ve finally got something you’re prepared to die for. The worst part is that often you’re so tired you wish that day was today ...
From former abattoir worker and university dropout to one of the country’s biggest comedy superstars, Dave (Hughsey) Hughes’ rise to fame has been anything but ordinary. The original angry dad has dominated airwaves, graced our television screens and now, he’s taking his stand-up comedy show Sweet on the road to perform at Jupiters Hotel & Casino on Saturday September 24. Be thoroughly amused with his hilarious quips about everyday life, his tales of parenthood and what it means to be Hughesy. Before he hit the road, we caught the legendary funnyman for a chinwag about forgetting the bullshit and bombing on stage.
You’ve previously worked in an abattoir and were a bricklayer for about half an hour. What was the worst job you had whilst trying to make comedy your career?
I had a lot of bad jobs. I once worked as a petrol station attendant filling up cars but I got sacked – I don’t know what I was doing wrong. I was cleaning windows so maybe I was over-attentive? I don’t know. That was really disappointing.
Now, of course, you’re selling out shows and touring the country winning awards. Has your material changed to reflect the change in lifestyle?
It has, I used to do jokes about being on the dole so I don’t do them anymore. I remember back in the day I had a cracking dole routine and one of my struggling comedian buddies asked me what would happen when I get rich and famous. I told him I’d cross that bridge when I come to it. Now I just complain about my share portfolio.
You’re bringing your stand-up show Sweet to Jupiters Hotel & Casino on Saturday September 24. Can you give us a hint as to what lucky ticket holders can expect?
A really really fun night out. It’s obviously me talking myself up but I think you need self confidence, I’ve got it in spades.
Any particular themes you might be touching on?
I generally talk about my own life and the silliness of having three small children, being a B-grade celebrity and trying to work my way through. Anything can come up, whether it’s the disappointment of us not winning enough gold medals at the Olympics or my dog getting a balloon stuck in his arse, you never know.
Let’s take it back a bit, have you always wanted to be a comedian?
Yeah absolutely, I’ve always loved comedy. I did a speech about a saint in year 11 religious education class and managed to crack the room up, I failed the subject but it propelled me to want to pursue comedy. My classmates gave me tens for my speech but I still managed to fail. Go figure.
What was your first gig like?
Terrible! I was at a small comedy club in Perth and you don’t realise how bright the spotlight is, it blinded me. I felt like I was being interrogated by a terrorist organisation, I lost it basically. No one laughed except one guy who I went to the show with but he was just laughing at how bad I was.
But obviously it didn’t deter you from getting back on the horse?
I went back the next week because I knew that if I didn’t get back on stage very very soon I would never do it. I went back the next week and managed to get off stage with my dignity so that was good.
You’re a dad to three gorgeous kids. What’s the best and worst part about being a dad?
The best part about being a dad is that you’ve finally got something you’re prepared to die for. The worst part is that often you’re so tired you wish that day was today. They are tiring but they are funny.
Do your kids always appreciate your hilarity?
They always have a laugh but they mock me basically. My three-year-old daughter woke me up this morning with some bubble gum and told me to blow a bubble so there I was at 6:30 am chewing Hubba Bubba in bed because she demanded I blow her bubbles.
Being a comedian can leave you open to cop a fair amount of flack. How do you deal with the haters?
There’s a mute button on Twitter, which I discovered a while a back – it’s great! Someone says something negative to me on Twitter and I just mute them, they don’t know that I never hear from them again so they can keep being nasty but it’s just their four followers that get it. I think social media has made criticism easier, you get it from so many corners now that it doesn’t really mean anything. It used to be that there was just letters to the editor in the newspaper so you’d open it up and Terry from Mildura has a crack at you and it would ruin your week. Everyone has their critics. Mother Theresa has been made a saint and people are still piling in on her.
What’s your definition of success?
Just being happy in the moment. Forgetting all of the bullshit and just enjoying the moment, whatever that moment might be. I’ll get deep for a second but we’re all going to be dust in 100 years so why the fuck do we worry about anything? It’s liberating. I really want to teach my children not to worry. As long as they realise that life is silly and it will always be silly, that’s the key.
Any words to live by?
You never know how far one-percent can take you. We’ve gone through this whole conversation on one-percent of battery so make your last one-percent count!