“Hon­esty is the best way to go”

Prob­lems? Dave Hughes has had a few. But, as he tells Stel­lar, he will never stop shar­ing them with can­dour

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - In­ter­view by HOLLY BYRNES

Co­me­dian Dave Hughes plays “Agony Un­cle” on his new TV show, and says he has no prob­lem plun­der­ing his own per­sonal life – or mar­riage – for ma­te­rial.

Like most comics, Dave Hughes has built a ca­reer out of plun­der­ing his own life for laughs, dig­nity be damned. But it’s an es­pe­cially brave man who goes on na­tional TV to tell the coun­try his wife is all too eas­ily dis­tracted dur­ing sex – and then asks a panel of guests to help him sort it out.

“Sure, it’s awk­ward, ab­so­lutely, but Holly [his wife] is well used to it,” Hughes tells Stel­lar. “She has a laugh and it’s all true, so she shouldn’t have a prob­lem with it.”

As long as plenty of oth­ers take um­brage at the sit­u­a­tions they have in their lives, then the 47-year-old’s new show on Net­work Ten, the aptly ti­tled Hugh­esy, We Have A Prob­lem,

should be in for a good run.

You fa­mously spent $3 mil­lion on the most re­cent win­ning house from The Block. Do you still have it, or did Holly make you sell it al­ready? Of course we’ve still got the house… that will be in the fam­ily for years. We tried set­tling early, ac­tu­ally – I was around there over sum­mer with the kids, in the pool. I rang the pro­duc­ers and said, “We’re just at the house, don’t ring the po­lice!” Be­cause we didn’t of­fi­cially own it then. So no buyer’s re­morse? Funny thing: I went to get a bank loan the other day and they haven’t val­ued it the same as I paid for it, which is fine, but an­noy­ing be­cause there were five bid­ders. What was the dif­fer­ence in the val­u­a­tion? Look, it was less, and that’s all I’m say­ing, all right? [laughs]. Enough less that it made me an­noyed. For f*ck’s sake [ex­as­per­ated]… I just think it’s good value and in a few years’ time peo­ple are go­ing to be go­ing, “Well, f*ck, didn’t he do well with it!” I am play­ing the long game, all right? That is what I say to my wife, any­way. You seem to revel in tak­ing risks, such as your open­ing mono­logues at the Lo­gies. I like to think the hon­esty I show about my own fail­ings is the first ex­am­ple peo­ple can look at to see that even though you are a deeply flawed in­di­vid­ual, you’re OK. But we live in an age of seem­ingly per­pet­ual out­rage. Do you think it is a dan­ger­ous time to be a comic? I don’t be­lieve so. Peo­ple who are get­ting out­raged – com­men­tat­ing about other peo­ple’s fail­ings with­out ac­knowl­edg­ing their own – need to make sure their own back­yard is in or­der, prob­a­bly. You have been open about your strug­gles, in­clud­ing al­co­hol abuse and pe­ri­ods of un­em­ploy­ment. Do you think that vul­ner­a­bil­ity con­nects you to fans? I’ve al­ways thought hon­esty was the best way to go from the start of my com­edy ca­reer, when I would talk about the fact I was on the dole. Em­bar­rass­ing things in your life make great com­edy fod­der. That’s the in­spi­ra­tion for this show. It’s corny, but it is em­pow­er­ing to ad­mit where you have gone wrong and then have a laugh. Are the guests on your show ex­pected to share in the same way? It’s def­i­nitely why I’ve in­vited peo­ple like Ju­dith Lucy on. She’s ob­vi­ously re­ally funny and I love her, but she’s some­one who is able to ex­pose her­self. Fiona O’lough­lin talks about the fact she was in a coma for three weeks and I had to ex­plain to the au­di­ence it was true, she wasn’t jok­ing. [O’lough­lin was hos­pi­talised for car­bon monox­ide poi­son­ing after over­look­ing a home heater leak dur­ing her on­go­ing bat­tle with al­co­holism]. Ev­ery­one thought she was dead but now she’s back be­ing re­ally, re­ally funny. Your long-term Hit FM ra­dio part­ner Kate Lang­broek also makes an ap­pear­ance on the show. What’s spe­cial about that re­la­tion­ship? There is a com­fort­a­bil­ity there now. We have been do­ing ra­dio for years. She gets to end­lessly mock me and I’m up for it. I think we un­der­stand each other, we are on the same wave­length in com­edy terms. She cer­tainly doesn’t suf­fer fools – and I like to think I don’t ei­ther. I’m lucky… and also don’t have to worry about the school pick-up now that I’m on drive [times­lot]. Not that the kids would tell me any­thing on the ride home. They treat school like I’m ASIO. They give me noth­ing. I go, “What hap­pened at school to­day?” “Noth­ing.” Well, are you f*ck­ing learn­ing any­thing?! Hugh­esy, We Have A Prob­lem airs 8.30pm Tues­days, on Net­work Ten.

“Peo­ple who are get­ting out­raged need to make sure their own back­yard is in or­der”

A (clock­wise LAUGH­ING from MAT­TER top left) Co­me­dian Dave Hughes with wife Holly and their three chil­dren; Hughes hosted the 2017 Lo­gie Awards; on the set of his new show Hugh­esy, We Have A Prob­lem with fel­low comics Ju­lia Mor­ris, Anne Ed­monds, Har­ley Breen and Nazeem Hus­sain; Hughes ad­mits to pay­ing hand­somely for the win­ning house on the last sea­son of The Block won by cou­ple El­yse Knowles and Josh Barker.

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