It’s a hard life trying to juggle comedy, music and broccoli and Stephen Lynch is willing to bare all about these daily challenges along with how he organises his shows and what makes him the rather funny man that he is. We talk nerves, bad jokes, job applications and everything in between with the musically talented and quick witted Mr Lynch, who’s getting all fired up for his tour to Australia.
Hey there Stephen, Lillie here.
Hey Lillie, nice to meet you.
Whereabouts are you right now?
I’m at home, in the states, in a little town in Michigan.
What time is it there?
About 10 at night.
So you’ve had dinner, what did you have?
I had chicken, a baked potato and some broccoli.
Interesting…Who cooked that?
Sorry, it wasn’t an exciting Thai curry dish or something like that.
No, no, I’m just curious as to who cooked!
Oh, I did. Yeah, my wife was out with her friends tonight so I took it upon myself to…
Oh dear, she left you to your own devices! Could you not find the menu drawer and the telephone?!
Well I’ve eaten out pretty much every day for the last two weeks so I thought I should probably take a break.
I empathise! So what’s been happening over the last two weeks that you’ve been out and about so much then?
Umm, just laziness! Nothing other than I don’t feel like cooking, it’s summer time here…
Ahh! That was an opportunity to say that you’ve been out and about doing crazy things over the last two weeks with no time for boring shenanigans such as cooking but no, just laziness.
No. Much like my dinner, my life is quite dull and uneventful. My life is chicken, potatoes and broccoli.
So you’ll be bringing chicken and broccoli to Australia for your upcoming tour?
Or Rock and Roll. For Australia, Rock and Roll and late nights.
You know what? We’re done with sex, drugs and Rock and Roll. What’s wrong with a bit of chicken and broccoli?
Haha! Oh now you tell me! Alright, fine, I’m bringing chicken and broccoli and baked potatoes!
There we go, delightful. So tell me tour related things, how’s it going?
The tour is going swimmingly. It’s been about eight months. So I’ve been doing tours around states, usually starting with a set list of songs and nothing else. I don’t know what I’m going to say and how I’m going to position things and by the end of it I’ve got a routine down pretty well. It’s much more loose and I know what’s gonna get laughs. I know what’s worked in previous shows; so at this point, it’s a well-oiled machine.
Are you ever scared of not being funny?
Every night. Well at least, every night that I have a show! Normally I don’t care if I’m funny or not because that would be awkward, being intimidated by your evening chicken and potatoes… Before a show I’m usually on the verge of vomiting because of nervousness. Even if I’m stunningly confident that the show is good, I don’t know if I’m going to be on or off that night. But I think that’s good. I think that gives me energy, which helps.
Do you not use quite similar shows for each place that you tour? I’m not saying you’d use exactly the same gags, but surely you cover similar material? I mean an infinite expanse would be impossible to create…
I take what works and I use it in the next show so by the end of it it’s more like a signature piece. It’s a show that I go to perform.
Do you ever feel like you are repeating yourself? Are you scared that you’ll say something and know how people are going to react or that they’ve heard it before?
Oh I mean, they wouldn’t have heard it before unless they saw a clip of it on YouTube and there’s nothing I can do about that. It becomes just more like me. That creates the performance, I kind of say something in a different way from one day to the next, so it’s not exactly the same. And I go off on tangents and kind of just allow things to happen. That’s when it’s the greatest, when something you’ve never said before, that has never existed in the world, gets a good reaction. That’s very satisfying.
Yeah, I get you. So, what comes first: musicality or comedy?
Well for me it’s sort of similar things but I’m widely only interested in music and I realise that the comedy is why people buy tickets. So people like it to be funny and I realised that. So, I did my best to make the songs and once the song is written it’s the recording of it and once it’s recorded it’s how I weave it in the other lines.
What would you class your job description as then? You know, you’re filling in a form – name, age (ahem), job title…
That’s a good question because I never know what to put! I feel like a fraud no matter what! I think comedian and then think, well I don’t stand in front of a brick wall and tell jokes yet if I’m a musician, I’m not a guy who’s in a band, selling songs. So it’s difficult. So I think I put whatever I feel like I am that day…
In your job life, it must feel relentlessly annoying feeling the need to tell jokes…
YES! I don’t really know any jokes! I’ve never stood on stage for an hour or two telling jokes, I just use the comedy style I have to tell jokes so…
Any of your interviewers asked you to tell a joke? Or tried stabbing any at you to get a reaction?
No, no fortunately none of them have asked me to tell a joke. And no! I’m surprised, people usually try and test their material on me!
I’m shocked, I’d even prepped a bad joke to test a reaction. Now I don’t even want to put it out there!
You might as well. Go and ruin the perfect streak…
Okay, here goes. Two peanuts were walking down the road.
Got it! One was assaulted.
I’m quitting while I’m ahead! What’s the first thing you wash in the shower?
First thing I wash?
Umm, my left arm.
Did you just virtually walk into the shower?
With my chicken and broccoli.
Thank you Stephen Lynch, catch you in a bit and enjoy the soggy baked potato. See you in Australia!
Words by Lillie Almond