Luke McGregor is the nicest person I have ever interviewed. He apologised for not asking me enough questions about myself, even though I was interviewing him. He had me laughing out loud at many points during our chat. Despite being a professional comedian, he even, kindly, laughed at my very-much-not-of-a-professional-standard jokes. His endearingly awkward, fumblingly likeable personality is not just a stage persona, as it turns out.
McGregor is bringing a show to Launceston this month for The Fresh Comedy Christmas Spectacular, on Friday December 21 at the Tramsheds. Audiences can expect lots of relateable content about dating and living with housemates – and also, ghosts. He’s still scared of ghosts, he informs me.
He’s returned to the island to perform many times since moving to Melbourne about ten years ago, but something strange has happened in the interim decades. Against all exceptions, Tasmania got cool.
“When I first started doing comedy in 2007, 2008, when I first came to the mainland, people would joke that I was Tasmanian,” he said.
“Sometimes I’d get introduced as, like, ‘he’s from Tassie, so sorry about that.’
“Whereas now Tasmania’s a cool, exotic destination with the latest art and seafood and blah blah blah. It’s not something that the MC uses to bag me out before I go on stage anymore.”
Besides his stand-up, the comedian is best known for the show he created with Celia Pacquola – who will also be in Launceston soon, on January 25 – Rosehaven.
The plot follows Daniel, played by McGregor, and his best friend Emma, played by Pacquola, relocating to Daniel’s hometown in small-town Tasmania. The pair try to make a go of it in his prickly mother’s real estate business.
Most of the show’s delightfulness comes from McGregor and Pacquola’s misadventures with Rosehaven’s supporting cast of oddballs. But it’s a fictional TV series. Surely their real life isn’t a constant cascade of hijinks?
“I actually saw Celia today, we went to an escape room together,” McGregor said.
“It was great, it was one where you have to line up a couple of statues and then a fireplace opens up and you crawl under a tunnel …. you just have to work out all these clues, put things in the right order so a door will open, blow out a candle so a light will turn on, that sort of stuff.
“In the one we went to there were four rooms that you have to go through to get out – and we failed. We had to get the person at the desk to let us out. They show you the statistics, and the one we went into, 55 per cent of people had completed. So we were part of the 45 per cent that failed.”
There aren’t any escape rooms in season three of Rosehaven.
The season, which started filming in Tasmania in June, isn’t a massive departure from the last season, McGregor said. There’s are no alien invasions, dragons, or shock character deaths. The difference may be that him and Pacquola have well and truly settled into their roles, and are having more fun focusing more on their characters than on an overarching storyline.
“If you liked the first two seasons, you’ll probably like this one,” he said.
“If you absolutely hated the last two seasons – I mean, give it a try, but we haven’t drastically changed the formula.”
There’s no screen date for season three of Rosehaven on the ABC yet, but in the meantime, you can catch him on December 21.
Homegrown audiences would be pretty familiar with the Hobart-born comedian by now. But for the handful of readers that haven’t seem him before, what should they expect of his style?
“Um … too funny,” he said.
“Put down your wine glass, because you will spill it all over yourself, from the laughs. Hopefully. Brackets hopefully.”
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