Lawrence Mooney Reckons His Brothers Are Funnier Than He Is

21 March 2016 | 4:05 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

“Well they’re funnier than me, my brothers; I’m actually the least funny."

He's a serial MICF performer and Lawrence Mooney says he's graced the festival program "pretty much every year since 1998", confessing it's an "incurable habit". From 1998 — 2004 he clarifies, "I was in a duo with Damien Callinan," and, although most of the subsequent years saw Lawrence performing solo, he's also "been headlining ensembles at either The Comic's Lounge or The Comedy Club".

This particular show, Moonman, kicked off at Adelaide Fringe earlier this year and Lawrence offers, "At the beginning of the year, you write a new show, find its feet or muck it around in Adelaide, which is an exciting process, too — and not to say that Adelaide doesn't get a good show, it's just a different show because it's evolving every night and so each show is different, and you're also a bit more on your toes 'cause you don't know where the show's going exactly. And so as it becomes more and more polished, it's a bit more of a complete thing with a beginning, a middle and an end."

When asked whether he prefers to stick to the script or to go off on tangents, Mooney shares, "Look, I like both and so — when it's become actually well-rehearsed or scripted — you kind of can earn the digressions, 'cause you know exactly where the really strong laughs are; it's not exactly the same each time, each audience is a different amorphous beast, but I like to earn a digression. So if there's this massive laugh about whatever particular thing, the topic, maybe lip balm, you know, then you can drill down on it a bit more and play around."

On changing up his material, Mooney opines, "I think it's probably important to change it up year after year — I don't know whether, within a season or a Comedy Festival, you're gonna get many returns." How good would that be, though? "That would be a lovely thing!" We then discuss how "frequent flyers to the comedy lounge" should be rewarded and Mooney jests, "I'll look into a reward system'. And what about rewarding those punters who laugh the loudest? "They're, like, gold frequent flyers," he suggests, without missing a beat.

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He admits he's "a bit of a serial note taker on the phone" when it comes to collating ideas for comedy gold, and provides an example: "it might be something like, 'Men's haircuts,' question mark. 'Reflection of their psyche'." After giving an idea "a bit of air on stage", Mooney will then suss out whether it's a keeper. "[If] no one goes for it... you think, 'That's not gonna work'," he concludes.  

His go-to "LMAO" flick is "Dumb And Dumber the original", but Mooney acknowledges, "If you see it with friends it's a different set-up, too, because you're kind of reassuring one another that's okay to laugh."

Mooney's family members habitually become material for Mooney's stand-up and the comedian claims, "Well they're funnier than me, my brothers; I'm actually the least funny, but I've just taken rivalry to a ridiculous [degree]... I think I must come from a family of megalomaniacs 'cause they're all kind of chuffed that I have [named them directly]." So what happen if they don't score a mention? Mooney chuckles, "It's like, 'Why wasn't I mentioned this year?'"