Alex Aloschi-Hopfner is a Regular Contibutor for Awards Victoria, and this month he delves into the comedic stylings of Lachie Clarke who, at 15 and this year’s national Class Clown runner-up, is well on his way to being Australia’s next big comedy up-and-comer.
Lachie Clarke is a student at Trinity Grammar School, Kew and has a big ambition on his future career on being a comedian.
He had started to be a little joker when he was already saying and making jokes at school. Clarke (who’d put his jokes in public speeches) gave himself the challenge to see if being a comedian could be his thing in his life and personality.
After giving stand-up a go this year, he played his major show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival during his 15TH birthday. Lachie says he just loves to say some jokes to get some laughs.
Lachie puts time and dedication into his jokes so he knows to get the whole audience’s attention, but in today’s interview he has tried not to put in puns; so don’t expect any jokes to come to your face!
Q: What made you think of being a comedian on stage?
A: Well firstly I was already making jokes at school. When I used to do public speaking or speeches a lot for the school, at times I’d just put in some jokes in the speeches.
After doing speeches a lot, I’d thought to give stand-up a go and ever since then, it has been great.
Q: At what age did you start becoming a comedian?
A: I started stand-up comedy at the start of this year, which is the age of 14.
I turned 15 during the Comedy Festival and yet I’m still pretty young, but I do love my jokes.
Q: You’re a huge hit on Melbourne’s comedy; do you think you want to be recognised to people as a comedian?
A: Well yes and no; there’s two sides to this point actually.
Yes: It would be pretty cool to be recognised as a comedian, and some people on the streets saying “Hey, you’re that comedian” and everything.
No: I guess it would be annoying if I get recognised too much later in my comedian career when they ask for a joke. It’ll be too much at one point when everyone thinks that I’m just a comedian and nothing else, and from there I guess it’ll get too tiring.
Q: Do you have a role model to look up to?
A: Everyone that knows me thinks I get my ‘sense-of-humour’ from my grandpa; who’s a very good guy. So at times in this area of comedy I look up to my grandpa.
In terms of stand-up comedy I personally look up to the ‘big people’ such as: Dave Thornton, Dave Hughes; obviously and also those people who I think have a good sense-of-humour, because I like it and want to use it in the future.
Q: As a comedian, how much time do you take out of your own time to think of some awesome stand-up comedy jokes?
A: If I see something funny, I’d write it down, which would take a few minutes. And I’d just store it and keep it on my ‘Notes’ on my iPhone; which generally I use to store all my jokes.
At times when I have some good space, I’d write them down for my next show and test them out to see if they’re good enough to use in the future.
Q: A lot of people train before anything; how do you usually train yourself?
A: I usually train myself before a ‘gig’, with a microphone that I use so I can imagine myself on the stage.
Ever since I was in grade three I wanted to be a rock-star. So my parents got me a microphone, but as I said, I use the microphone now to get ready and prepare myself for the ‘gig’ or show. When I practice with the microphone, I just don’t talk into the mic, I usually practice holding the mic and I also just go over the materials I could do during the ‘gig’.
So when I train, I time myself so I can be spot on before I go on stage.
Overall when I train, I try and take out the bad parts; so I don’t look at myself at the end of the day looking silly and an embarrassment.
Q: You recently entered the “Comedy Festival – Class Clown” contest a while ago, could you describe the contest in all parts?
A: Well a quick brief on what the contest is.
This contest is open for students in years 9 –to– 12, to have a go at stand-up comedy. Basically in this comp there are the heats, states, nationals then national grand-final. In most states there’s one heat and then one state final so if you win the state finals, then you’re automatically through to the nationals but in Melbourne and New South Wales how-ever, I think there was about 4 heats, and the winners of those state heats would go into the state finals and the winners of that would then go into nationals, also the runners-up in the state finals also qualify to go into the nationals.
Myself in this, I came 3RD or 4TH in the first heat (Melbourne Heats); which to myself was unexpected and I was very surprised. In the next part it was the state heat which I got 1ST place and I then became runner-up overall in the whole national competition.
During the competition I met a lot of really nice people and the best part that I really loved about it, that I probably wouldn’t see myself mixing with, but I did because of the similar things they do like me. If I never entered this contest, then I really wouldn’t of had met them ever in my life, and that’s what life does; It provides opportunities for you in-front of you, and the ones that you want to do, just do it because you’ll probably regret it if you don’t.
Q: You came runner up overall in the Class Clown contest, how much practise did you to put into it?
A: I put into a lot of practice overall.
In the first heat I practiced heaps, as it was the real first stand-up I’d ever done in-front of people who want to hear my jokes. So it was all practice, practice, and practice to make sure that my time was right because in the competition you cannot go over 5 minutes. Therefore I had to make sure it was perfect for the first stand-up.
In the state final it all got a bit more intense because it was more serious. In this part I knew I needed to keep practicing and keep on doing it so I can get much more than last time; so I can look and sound much better than I was in the first heat.
Then the next part was the nationals; it just really hit me because it was my first time to actually do stand-up when I originally first entered. Now I’ve progressed to such a huge section of the contest, I never really thought I’d make it so high. In the nationals I was really, really nervous because I was performing to over 300 people. At this point I needed to be on my game, and so it was a lot of practice leading up to that. Every night during this nationals faze, I’d go into my room and practice for an hour and come out onto the stage prepared and ready for the nationals!
Q: Yourself who goes on stage to perform, how regularly do you go on stage to get some laughs?
A: Well being a comedian myself, who really only goes on the stage regularly to crack some jokes; and that’s what I love about being a comedian, the audience and them loving the jokes I tell them.
It’s the rush I get, I go on the stage and hopefully if I tell the joke correctly it will go perfectly and get some laughs. You could say nervousness. When I tell the audience the main joke line all that rush and anxiety just goes off your chest after you’ve got some laughs; to which makes me feel a whole lot better.
To answer your question I go on the stage at various times when I’ve got my jokes and puns prepared.
Q: Do you ever get recognised on the streets as a comedian at times?
A: At times I do get recognised on the streets.
Sometimes I get asked if “I was that guy on Nova doing stand-up” or “If I was performing at this venue one night”. Other than that I don’t get fully recognised.
People do hear me on the radio; Nova, and they just think about how a young teen is getting big gigs at his age. Yet to now it still blows me away when I think about how I even got to be on Nova.
Q: Last and final question, what advice would you give for the rookie comedians to make a flying start into their career /or journey?
A: In my own opinion just give it a go, because doing something like this is really fun. Other awesome stuff such as being part of a youth community who share the similar traits to what you have; and if you go into a comedy contest you’ll meet a lot of nice people around.
One tip of advice, you might not be good at it first, but just give it a lot of practice and with a lot of practice you will get good. I strongly recommend the class clown contest if you’re in that year level area as I said before (Year 9 –to– 12) because it is just great and even if you don’t do well in it you still get to meet some fantastic people.