Hobart ‘worst three days of my life’: Comedian Aaron Chen

Aaron Chen.

Aaron Chen is one of five comedians in the Melbourne International Comedy Roadshow, along with Georgie Carroll, Blake Freeman, Ben Knight, and Lloyd Langford. See it at the Princess Theatre on June 26; tickets $40 through Theatre North.

Is the roadshow going to be a similar show to what you did in Melbourne? 

Well, it’s a 20-minute spot instead of an hour spot, so it’ll be more of a best-of thing.

What’s your best bit? 

My best bit is about neoliberal woke capitalism.

What is neoliberal woke capitalism? 

It’s when companies co-opt causes. Like, they’re being anti-racist, feminist, they act like they have queer pride – but they’re co-opting it for profit. And people support these businesses because they have the same stances as them. But they’re still big businesses and technological autocrats, you know what I mean? They’re still trying to [screw] us over.

Cool. Good summary. 

Thanks.

Have you been to Tassie before? 

Yeah I have, I’ve been to Hobart and Launceston – all around actually. It was a nightmare.

One time I was in a pit, it was one of the worst times of my life, and while I was in it I booked a plane ticket to go to Hobart to get out of Sydney for a few days. I booked it for like three weeks ahead, and by the time the flight came around I’d gotten out of the pit, you know what I mean? And then I had to go to Hobart, and I was staying at this hostel, and it was one of the worst three days of my life.

Why was it so bad? 

I feel like Hobart is a city you have to embrace with someone else, you know what I mean? It’s fun to like, get a car, drive around, go to nice restaurants – but I was just there by myself. I was at a backpackers and someone was having sex above me in the bunk and it was just awful. But nah, I’m so excited to come back to Hobart and give it a second chance.

Yeah cool. We’re actually in Launceston, so. 

Oh. [Laughs] Well I love Launceston. That’s on the sea, hey? There’s water there?

There’s a river? 

Yeah. I remember that. I like Launceston. It’s funny, it’s a funny city. What’s the best restaurant in Launceston? While I’m on tour I like to try the local cuisines. What’s Tasmanian local cuisine?

Probably wine. 

Oh, wine. I’m not a big wine drinker. If I do drink I drink clear spirits, because I get quite a flush reaction to alcohol, and clear spirits are the least aggressive. I get quite nauseous when I drink, it’s real bad.

We do gin. 

That’s clear. Maybe I’ll give that a go.

Where’s your favourite place in Australia? 

Sydney.

Why? 

It’s so crazy. Everyone’s so dumb in Sydney, and they know it. Like, in Bondi everyone’s just drinking smoothies, they’re walking their dogs, they’re wearing activewear, they’re living this health lifestyle – they know it’s stupid, but they still do it. It’s so fun.

What part of Sydney do you live in? 

I live in Marrickville, at the moment.

So what dumb things do people do in Marrickville? 

Um, in Marrickville, everyone’s kind of a wanker…but we know that we’re not Melbourne. People in Melbourne don’t know that they’re Melbourne. Like, people in Melbourne are pretentious, and they don’t know it. Whereas in Sydney, I feel like there’s more tall poppy syndrome.

Is that a good thing? 

Yeah, that’s a good thing. You can’t let people off the leash.

Really? I hate tall poppy syndrome.

It is a bad thing but you need it, you know what I mean? You can’t have people becoming too successful.

What would you say to encourage people to come to the roadshow? 

Just be yourself. And make good decisions based on your circumstances.

OK. So, is coming to your show a good decision based on most people’s circumstances? 

It depends on the circumstances. It’s very hard to say.

What circumstances would someone be in for your show to have a positive effect on them? 

Maybe if you’ve got a free night and you want to see something you haven’t seen before. But if you don’t have a free night, or you can’t be bothered going out, then it would be a bad decision.

So don’t cancel your standing plans to come.

It depends what your standing plans are, if it’s a good excuse to get out of a plan. Someone’s invited you to dinner and you don’t really know them well and it’s giving you the heebie-jeebies just thinking about going to dinner, just say that you’ve got to go to this show and that you love some of the comedians on and then there’s an excuse to get out of dinner.

OK, cool. That’s good advice. 

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