Steve Hughes is an Australian born comedian who now resides in Britain. He’s certainly not afraid to say it how it is and he wants the world to wake up to what’s actually happening. He’s made the move from heavy metal to stand-up comedy, and he’s sure to leave you questioning all aspects of society.
So, you’re about to start your tour. How are you feeling about it?
I’m looking forward to it. I’m glad I’m starting in Bristol. It’s a bit anarchic; they’re always very kind to me there.
What you do is known as ‘heavy metal comedy’, how would describe your sense of humour?
Well, I would describe my sense of humour as very good to tell you the truth. I have a good sense of humour. Some people have better senses of humour than others. Some people don’t laugh. I feel very sorry for them.
My sense of humour in terms of the show… well, it’s called Big Issues so there’s social commentary, but there are also a bunch of knob gags. As George Carlin, who used to do social commentary as well, said, there are two sides to comedy; there’s the big stuff like religion and politics and then there’s the other stuff like lost socks, farts, and going to the shop. And that’s right; they’re both part of life. I’ll talk about religion, New World Orders, politics and the takeover of governments by capitalism, and I’ll also stick in some cheeky knob gags. You’ve got to keep it balanced. So, if people come along, I’m sure they’ll laugh, and if they don’t, I’m sure they’ll be interested, and if they’re neither, well there’s nothing I can do about that. We’ve all gone to movies that we don’t like.
Do you find that you attract a certain type of audience?
I think as you become more known that sort of thing will happen. Sometimes it’s great because an audience know what they’re in for. But some people are actually shocked by the kind of information I have. I don’t even talk about half the stuff I read about because some of it’s too full on for people. They feel uncomfortable and I understand why, sometimes they don’t want to hear it because it’s frightening and depressing. Hopefully my show won’t be depressing. It’ll be funny.
I think it’s important to have seriousness in a show. People are so used to taking everything that’s presented to them as fact.
Well, as Oscar Wilde said ‘if you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you’. The world is uncomfortable and disturbing; they even want to ban ice cream vans because apparently they don’t live up to our health and safety regulations. I’ve never heard of any child dying from poisoned ice cream in the 45 years I’ve been on the planet, but apparently we have to monitor something that hasn’t been happening. Mr Whippy’s a terrorist now.
Is there anything that you’ve been told you can’t do while on tour because of health and safety regulations?
I’ve been told that there are things I’m not supposed to say. In a society that bombs other people in the name of free speech, that’s very interesting. And if we have free speech then why do we have hate crime? What is a hate crime? In a bad temper or an argument I can call someone an offensive name and that means that I now hate them. But isn’t that how families operate? I don’t think that means that you hate them. These are all tricks so no one says anything anymore.
Before you were a comic you were in heavy metal bands in Australia, why did you decide to step away from that?
I needed to make money, and I needed a job which required me to be creative and my own boss. I wanted to do bands but I wanted to leave Australia, and bands are very difficult to continually maintain. I was always driven to succeed and do something to get out of the country and see the world. I thought bands would be a good way but you’ve just got to hope that everyone else is as motivated as you. Eventually I thought if I do comedy then there is no band and therefore I can just leave and go and live in England, rather than trying to drag a whole band with me. I don’t need to argue with the guitarist anymore and I don’t have to carry a drum kit. I just have to turn up with jokes.
You came over to Britain which has been home to some of the most amazing bands in music history. Who is your favourite British band?
Iron Maiden because they changed my life in 1982 when I saw them for the first time. They made me want to be in a band. I don’t like all their records, but they are my favourite band. They still rock. They don’t wimp out, and they play everywhere in the world. Iron Maiden go to Brazil and sell 40,000 tickets. Let’s see if Beyoncé is selling 40,000 tickets in 35 years, shall we? The mainstream likes everything being trendy and beautiful. They’re not fans, they’re sheep. Beyoncé’s fans are herdpeople. X Factor watchers. Heavy metal fans aren’t herd people.
Those people have been mainstreamed and are scared to go and see anything they may really like in case the other herd people laugh at them. Those herd people are scared to be laughed at ‘oh no, what if I don’t fit in?’ well then you might develop a personality instead of listening to music you don’t really like so you fit in.
Watch Steve Hughes Live at the Apollo:
Kristy Guest is a member of The Gramophones