Wil Power

21 August 2012 | 7:15 am | Simon Holland

“I think wanting everyone to like you is the biggest mistake you could make.”

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When Wil Anderson decides to write some new material, no-one is safe. The Anderson way is to inspect the nuances of life and destroy them with a smile in every manner possible. Husbands will hide their smiles from scowling wives, mothers will cover their child's ears, but one thing is for certain; it will continue to become a global smash hit. “I've always been one of those people that thinks that you have to start with an idea,” says Anderson from the warmth and comfort of his London bed. “You start with an idea of something that you want to do and you just build the rest of it from there.” If you set out thinking 'I wanna have a TV show or I wanna have a radio show,' then that's kind of missing the point, having that as a goal. What you should say is 'I have this idea that I want to express, what is the best form for me to express that in?' What you'll find then is that you'll end up doing a shitload of things because each idea you have has a better way to express it. If you just keep coming up with ideas and keep hanging around for long enough then I guess you build something of an empire,” says Anderson with a laugh.

The appeal to Australian audiences stems from his genuine sense of humanity and his core values, stemming from a childhood spent in the traditionalist dairy farm game. “The first person I met in show business was me,” he states. “I was always just making it up as I go along. I had no idea how it was meant to work, and I still don't really understand how it's meant to work.” His voice lowers to dispense the sage-like quality one gathers after eighteen year in the business. “Here's the big secret; no one has any idea how it's meant to work. The more you do showbusiness, the more you realise no one knows anything, and so y'know, you might as well just have a crack. My theory has always been if you find something that you love to do for free, just find a way to get someone to pay you for doing it and you'll be just about as happy as you can be. I like doing stand-up and I like telling jokes and if I work hard at telling jokes then I'll be able to keep doing it.”

Indeed, Anderson has picked the toughest of callings, one subjected to the battering opinions of the masses. It's here that the strength of Anderson's character is revealed. “I think wanting everyone to like you is the biggest mistake you could make.” US comedian Bill Cosby was the one that said 'I don't know what the key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.' “Comedy is inherently subjective. One person's Seinfeld is another person's Kevin 'Bloody' Wilson. You don't need everyone to like you. I think that's the mistake that most mainstream comedy makes. The minute you go out to try to get everyone to like you, no one likes you. Do what you want, make the sort of work that you're interested in and hope there will be an audience out there for what you like.”

Catch Wil Anderson: Wilarious from Thursday 30 August – Sunday 23 September, Sydney Comedy Store.