Comedian Shane Jacobson talks toilets and embarrassing his kids.
Your breakthrough role was as the eponymous star of Kenny, sort of like The Office of the plumbing industry. If pressed, could you
unblock a lav in real life? I actually have more skills in that area than I’d care to admit. I’d say people would be better off calling a real plumber – but if you were really in an emergency I might be able to help you out. One of my greatest memories is that I was at Cathy Freeman’s house and her toilet was blocked. She said to me, “Do you actually know how to fix that?” And I did! I’m never going to win a gold medal for this country… but I’ve sorted out the toilet of someone who has. You were also a pretty highranking boy scout in your day. You must have a few other badge-worthy skills we don’t know about. Sadly, there’s not a lot of call for tying knots in my life. But when the occasion does arise, I will stand back and think, “That’s a pretty goodlooking knot.” And, look, I’m going to step in if someone’s struggling to light a decent fire. As a performer, you paid your dues doing stand-up comedy and character pieces at corporate functions. Pharmaceutical Sales Rep of the Year Awards could have been a tough audience, but were they at least a good proving ground? Absolutely, and I still love the immediacy of working with a room full of live humans who respond to what
you say straight away. You soon find out if they find you amusing. Or unamusing, as the case may be. Fast forward to 2012 and there you are playing factory manager Mackie in The Bourne Legacy alongside Jeremy Renner. How
was that? It was fantastic working on a film of that scale. In Australia, we don’t tend to have those Hollywood-level budgets. And I’m happy to admit that I have a bit of a man crush on Jeremy Renner. I’m OK with it. I just don’t know if he would be. Now you’re hosting the kids’ talent show Little Big Shots. Did no one warn you about the children and animals rule? Well, kids can be unpredictable but this is the very show that welcomes that fact. It’s a perfect canvas for them. They’re not being judged – in fact, there are no judges on the show. It’s just about us celebrating what kids can do and being themselves. The show’s unique in that way: a talent competition without the competition bit. Are you glad you won’t have to make a nine-year-old baton twirler cry by telling him his journey is over? I’m not sure I could do it. I’ve got four kids, all under the age of 11. And my job is to make anything seem possible, give them the freedom to express themselves and have a crack at anything. Are you blown away by what little people can do? Yes, but I am more mystified as to what the hell I did with
the first 10 years of my life, apart from learning to walk and eat with a spoon without stabbing myself in the eye. I thought I was a genius because I could comb my hair and tie my own shoes. It turns out I was wrong. The host of the US version of the show, Steve Harvey, got into hot water in May for posting a memo that banned anyone from entering his dressing room without an appointment, or talking to him unless he talked to them first. Are you planning a similar embargo? I don’t know what the circumstances were, and we’re definitely at different points in our career, so until I’m as famous as Steve, I’ll probably send a memo insisting that people talk to me, to make it appear they all like me. I don’t reckon my family would let me get away with something like that. Celebrity or not, your kids must find you embarrassing. That’s just how it goes. Is your dad-joke game pretty strong? They’ve been embarrassed by me, I’d imagine, every day since they were born. That’s my job and I plan to be nothing but [embarrassing] for the rest of their lives. When you’re not onscreen or on radio, where can we find you? Outline an ideal Sunday. I’ll be at home with the family. I’ve got a fair bit of grass to mow and I’m a man with a ride-on mower. A large one. With a drink holder. It’s a bit of an obsession, looking after the lawn, and I’ll be honest, I usually leave it until the afternoon so I can have a beer at the same time.
``my kids have been embarrassed by me since they were born´´