Struan Logan is the Scottish comedian taking Australia by storm. After road tripping around Australia and New Zealand headlining gigs whilst meandering through, he then made his way back home via South East Asia performing stand-up in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
In his show, Logan regales you with stories about how Scottish privilege was his best travel ally, doing jokes about Islam in a Muslim majority country and how he understood religion by seeing Buddhist Hell. We caught up with him to find out all about it!
How did you get into stand-up?
I always liked stand-up on TV when but Youtube when it first came out was what single handedly made me obsessed with comedy. Getting all of these shows and albums at the touch of your fingertips is very good to learn about comedy but terrible if you are still a student at that point. What made me want to do it was going to the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time and working as a flyer. I got to see so much live stand-up where someone got to tell their stories and share a different point of view to the world. Long form solo shows are where you can get something better across than just by being there for 5 minutes on stage.
What have you learned about comedy from being on the scene?
The main thing I’ve learned is that individual “scenes” don’t matter, it is just about being a good comic and understanding to tailor your sets right for the correct place. The main problem with staying in an individual place is that you only get good in that area. You occasionally meet a comic with a huge ego because they are a ‘big deal’ in the scene. I was headlining a gig in Berlin and had to deal with some jacked up comic because he was “big in German.” He didn’t understand why I shook my head at him after he said that.
I did a split show in Edinburgh Fringe with a UK act called President Obonjo who plays a character act based on an African Dictator. One day we had a very quiet show and did what essentially became a private show for a Nigerian family of mum, dad, the three kids 10, 8, 6 and Granny! Kids are tough to do stand-up to as they have a low concentration but I managed to crack a few laughs out of them. As hard as I tried I never won granny over.
Why do you like storytelling?
I have come from a family who are good at storytelling, many Australians say it is a very celtic tradition of sharing stories but I have met plenty of Scots who can’t tell a tale to save themselves. Every comic has the version the want to be and the one they actually they are. Whilst many of us comics would like to be dropping harsh trust bombs like the resurrected ghost of Bill Hicks, I am far better at spinning a yarn.
What do you adapt to your audience being from overseas?
A lot, sometimes you can change the references but often it is just better dropping things and writing a whole new thing for the crowd. Some tales in the show aren’t so much adapted as exclusive to that country. I have a story about being attacked by a iced-up junkie in Melbourne at a show which I feel is the true blue Aussie experience. That doesn’t work anywhere else because ice is a very Aussie experience (dealing with people on it not being high themselves). Outside of Australia they think you have to be wary of poisonous snakes, spiders or crocs but you realise a meth-head on the tram is much more of a common inconvenience.
Your show is about backpacking, why do you think so much comedy comes from those experiences?
Because you are meeting so many new people and in new situations it is impossible not to have comedy come out of it. In hostels you hang about with other backpackers who share stories then you contribute yours. There is the cliche that people who go off travelling to ‘discover themselves’ a far more accurate version is if you go backpacking and don’t have a good story out of it they failed miserably.
Comedy allows us to gain insights into thoughts that are different from ours. Would you find this is true when you perform?
I agree from seeing other shows but you can’t always know it from your own work because you are rarely the person present when they are talking about your own show. I get a little bit of that feedback from reviews or close friends being completely honest but normally you will not entirely know what people think of your show as everyone has a different opinion about each bit.
Travel broadens the mind, do you try to bring much wisdom to the performance?
Not really. Of course you sneak in a couple of little agendas in the show through jokes but nothing derails a comedy show like trying to impart wisdom. It is like those really boring sermons you get at school where a minister tells you a long, uninteresting speech but then relates it back by saying, “And do you know what the football represents? Jesus!”
As you have experienced being in Australia what do you find the funniest thing about Australians?
In Australia when people say “How ya going?” as a greeting, they don’t mean it literally. I find this after a lot of blank stares whilst I described my day.
Why should people see the show?
I am committed enough to bring this show to Australia by getting a plane halfway across the world and live in this country for two months. If it was shit I would be very much bankrupt and be having a horrible time out here. Thankfully the shows have been fun, crowds have been delightful and I have caught some other people’s kick-ass shows whilst out here. I couldn’t afford to bring a mediocre show out here.