Mixing Business With Pleasure

3 April 2012 | 10:01 pm | Nick Jarvis

“There are a lot of drunk older women in regional Australia that want their tits signed.” Smart Casual's Nick Mattick talks to Nick Jarvis.

Half-brothers Nick and Ben Mattick (AKA Roger David and Fletcher Jones) are on their way to joining the great pantheon of Antipodean comedians who successfully mix music with comedy – from Tim Minchin and Flight Of The Conchords to Tripod and Axis of Awesome – and they're stamping the genre with their own dry, silly style.

Their launch pad was placing as finalists in the 2008 Raw Comedy competition, which lead to a series of full-length shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival – 2009's Art vs Smart Casual, 2010's Same Mother, Different Fathers, 2011's The Story of Captain Entrée, and now 2012's Broken Dreams – but it was familial banter that got them started in the first place, Nick Mattick (the one with the beard) says.

“We're brothers so we've always joked around, and when we saw a comedy gala on TV we both wanted to be in it. Ben's the guitar player so he comes up with the music and we both write the gags, and then during the performances we play around with it a bit and improvise, and then take the good stuff and cut away the chaff. After doing that a few times we have something pretty good.”

The Smart Casual style veers solidly towards the silly – songs about Stephen Hawking and Jennifer Hawkins having a son called Hawk Hawkings, cautionary tales about leaving your kids with Britney Spears or Eric Clapton (harsh, but fair), and pleas for Ellen DeGeneres to stop dancing.

“We try to stay away from anything smart,” Mattick says, “and focus mainly on each other's flaws. The sort of comedy acts we like are, for instance, this guy from England called Tom Basden who's really good, and aside from music, Ricky Gervais, Stewart Lee, The Mighty Boosh, and Sam Simmons.”

It's a game plan that's seen them tour the length of the country with the MICF Roadshow, taking their comedy stylings as far as Magnetic Island, and collecting fans along the way.

“The people in northern Queensland were great,” Mattick says, “they were heaps less dumb and less racist than the rest of the country gives them credit for... Also, there are a lot of drunk older women in regional Australia that want their tits signed.”

For a duo named Smart Casual, their stage costume for the past four years of two check shirts, two pairs of jeans, and one pair of Wayfarers has veered more towards the casual than the smart, but Mattick assures me that's all about to change in 2012.

“We've matured and gone out and got ourselves some suits from Kelly Country. Why would you hire a suit for $100 when you can buy one brand new from Kelly Country for $99?”

Sage advice for fans of polyester – but it's not just the duo's attire which has evolved over the last year. Their new show is also a step forward, and sees the duo put aside their broken dreams and “corporate whoring” to move to Poland with nothing but a beard and a guitar, to try and 'make it'.

“Our current show has a narrative running through it,” Mattick says. “We sing, dance and fight on stage for 50 minutes and it's all very silly. We also open the show with a burlesque dance involving snap pants, so there's something there for everyone.”