Interview: David Quirk
It is probably not everyday you think to yourself: why is it that comedians seem to always have comedic names? Or maybe this question bothers you multiple times throughout the day, interrupting your sleep, threatening to destroy your quiet sanity. Who am I to make assumptions about your daily difficulties?
David Quirk, a man with a slightly odd (but completely real) name, is the purveyor of stand-up that is some of the most enjoyable and rewarding that I have ever come across. We played ‘How Accurate Is Your Wikipedia Page’ via the telephone on Saturday the 1st of March.
I should take a second to mention that Quirk’s talent is widely recognised: he’s received some of the highest critical acclaim possible from his peers. In 2013 Quirk’s show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) won the coveted ‘Piece of Wood’ Award (the Comedians’ Choice award, putting him among the likes of Lawrence Mooney, Tom Gleeson and Damian Callinan). The fact that he won it last year also means that he’ll be a judge on the panel deciding who should get it in 2014.
The story behind Quirk’s Wikipedia entry is intriguing. “The guy that made it did it as a dare,” Quirk shares, and he knocked it up in little over an hour. Everything that’s on it is just this guy’s impression of Quirk, and as there’s a few “completely inaccurate” statements, future interviewers beware. Among the verified attributions include that David rides a skateboard and is still technically “on the books” at a retail skate store.
David is pretty down to earth and doesn’t get recognised much on those rare occasions he does do a shift at the skate store, but when he does it’s generally by “hardcore fans of Sam Simmons” who recognise him from the TV show Problems. Problems got a pilot in the US recently but unfortunately hasn’t been picked up. You can check it out on ABC iView (if it works for you).
We chat about Quirk’s appearance: it’s difficult to gauge in stand up videos, but he seems tall, and he’s got what I’d describe as a ‘Wolf Creek’ kind of vibe happening. He laughs and agrees with the statement that he’s a little scarier looking than most comedians, singling out the “caveman brow and hollow cheeks” brought on by his vegetarianism. It’s “an intense look that can be good for comedy, though sometimes bad … if you’re overweight or just have some strange feature it’s good because you can make fun of it. But if you look like an ordinary bloke, then wherever I go my act is at least different.”
Quirk has recently taken his vegetarianism further: he recently has undergone a “hardcore vegan change.” While he admits “on paper, there’s almost no humour about caring about the plight of animals,” he does explore these issues in his stand-up. But this is where I think Quirk’s most compelling comedy comes from: deep thought experiments that have you laughing but later get paraphrased as questions to friends about their stance on eating animals. Quirk says he thinks “animal rights is the last social justice issue” and I can’t help but agree and wonder how he’ll humorously dissect the issue in his show ‘Career Suicide’. Hence the origin of the name of the show: Quirk believes this show could either be great or possibly be, well, career suicide.
Before you think Quirk is on some mission to have you reconsider your life as a flesh eating carnivore I’ll leave you with some of his advice for writing stand-up. Every line of the show is written with the belief that “you’ve got to make yourself laugh first”. So my advice is to get along, and laugh with Quirk as he commits career suicide in front of you.
For more details and to book, go to his MICF page.