Adelaide's King of Comedy - Dave Flanagan






Leigh: He’s been Adelaide’s King of Comedy for as long as most of us can remember. As a performer, a teacher, a mentor, nobody understands comedy quite like Dave Flanagan.

Leigh: Dave, the business of comedy is actually very serious, you’ve been in it for a long time; tell me about the business of comedy?

Dave: It’s a serious thing, we laugh at stuff that goes wrong in our lives, we don’t actually laugh at. I’ll give you an example. If you win the lottery, it’s a really happy time, it’s fabulous, but it’s not funny, but if you win the lottery and lose the ticket, that’s where the comedy starts. And that’s what we talk about; we talk about the things that go wrong in our lives.

Leigh: Do people expect comedians to be on all the time?

Dave: Yes. And that’s probably one of the problems of being a comedian, is, you go to a party and everyone just wants to tell you a joke, unfortunately you’ve probably heard the joke one hundred times.

Leigh: Can you actually teach people to be funny or do you need to be inherently entertaining?

Dave: No you have to be confident. The first ingredient of being funny is being confident. You can have the worst material in the world but if you’re confident about it you can make it very funny.

Leigh: And when he’s not onstage himself Dave teaches that performance confidence to everyone from CEOs to groups of the unemployed and it’s genuinely changing people’s lives.

Dave: Most of the people that have done the course turn their life around, I say to them I don’t want to change their life I just want to change their mind, and if they change their mind they will change their life. And that’s what happens, but out of the people that we put through, I’d say 10% to 50% have got full time jobs, other people have taken up courses, but they’ve become a lot more interested in changing and moving on.

Leigh: So they can see a future?

Dave: Absolutely, they’re a lot brighter.

Leigh: The Comedy Cellar has been an institution in Adelaide for ever.

Dave: Twenty-five years.

Leigh: Twenty-five years, there’s not a lot of businesses in terms of entertainment that can boast the same sort of success, and during that time you’ve seen some, really some rising stars. So, tell me in terms of home grown South Australian talent, what are some of the best that have come through your doors?

Dave: I suppose, I love Fiona O’Loughlan, she is sensational and Adam Hills, when he was here, but I suppose the person I’m very, very proud of is Ray Crowe.

Leigh: He’s the bloke that does the shadow puppet thingys?

Dave: Yes, royal command performances, all that sort of stuff, he’s such a sweet man. But the interesting thing is whenever they’re in town all those people, they’ll just drop in, we don’t know whose going to drop in to the place.

Leigh: So you never know whose going to be out there in the crowd?

Dave: No, I could be home one afternoon and they’ll say I’m in town, doing a show, can I just drop in and do five. Ray could be in town from overseas and say I want to do a new magic bit and drop in. it’s fabulous you know.

Leigh: So it’s a bit like home?

Dave: It is, it’s their club, it’s their club rooms so to speak. And the audience actually appreciate that because we get excited when they just drop in.

Leigh: So apart from being funny, and clearly running a very successful business, what does the other Dave Flanagan do? What do you do to chill out, relax?

Dave: The most valuable time for me is with my family. We adopted a little girl from overseas, Purnima My wife Sue and I just besotted by her.

Leigh: How old is she now?

Dave: She’s fourteen.

Leigh: Oh goodness!

Dave: Adopted her when she was six and a half, and even just going to India was an eye opener for us, it changed the way I think about the world and all that sort of stuff.

Leigh: you sound like you’re a lucky man.

Dave: I am. Very lucky. I do what I want to do for a living, it’s been a challenge but life has always been a challenge for everybody, but I have the most beautiful family, I’m happy.

Leigh: Can’t beat that.

Dave: No.

Leigh: Thank you for your time.

Dave: And I live in South Australia, what else can you want?

Leigh: Absolutely.

Dave: Yeah.

Leigh: Lovely to see you.

Dave: You too.