Words By: Laurent Shervington
There are fewer things that can take you back to early 2000s Australia better than an old episode of Rove Live. The five-time Logie award-winning show was a cavalcade of guest interviews, satire and comedic segments and was nothing if not a remarkably unique take on the variety show. Presenter and stand-up comedian Rove McManus has been reasonably quiet on the Aussie TV scene since the show’s finale in 2009, relocating to LA to present talk shows and is currently the co-host of Sydney’s 2Day FM breakfast radio show. About to embark on his first stand-up tour in over eight years, we hit up Rove via email, to talk Perth, Fringe and becoming a father.
Hey Rove, how’s it going?
It’s going good. I can’t complain. Well, I can but I’m guessing you were being polite and don’t really want to hear it.
So of course you’re originally from Perth – what was it like growing up in the West? How did you spend most of your time as a youth?
Growing up in the West was great. Most of my youth was spent enjoying our incredible waterways, both river and beaches, and to this day if there’s ever a chance to get underwater, I’ll take it. I come from a large family so it always feels like living in a big community when you’re from Perth. It’s a very connective thing to have when you’re away too. Saying you’re from here can be like a secret handshake at times.
Your show ‘That’s Me Talking’ will be hitting Fringe World this week, what’s in the title of the show?
The title comes from something my daughter said when she heard herself interviewing Justin Timberlake on my radio show. Which ties into the show, as this will be me talking about a lot of my experiences in my new life as a father and how much pressure there is to not screw it up.
You’ve said becoming a father has really changed your perspective, how do you see this change influencing your comedy writing?
I’ve certainly found it changes your perspective on life and how you see the world. Suddenly whatever might happen impacts not just me but my family now too, which means I find myself being a little less daring than I used to. Sure, it could be age too but I’d rather blame it on my parental responsibilities.
What’s it like working in Radio compared to TV?
You don’t have to dress as nice. It’s a plus to be able to turn up on a bad hair day and just host the show in a baseball cap.
You like to tweet a lot about Doctor Who, what do you think makes the show so special for you?
Like all good television, it’s the perfect escape. A strange man travelling through time and space in a blue box that’s bigger on the inside is hard not to grab your attention, no matter how old you are. Even my daughter knows what a dalek is. The fact that Doctor Who has lasted for over 50 years says it must be doing something right.
How do you think Australian television has changed since the 2000s?
The main thing I’ve noticed is that everything has a shorter run than in years gone by. We used to do a live, entertainment talk show that would run every week of the year from February right through to late November, so about 40-something episodes. Dramas would air for about 20 weeks. Now most shows have a run of anything from say 6-12 episodes and that will be them done for the year. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; it just seems to be the way it goes now.
Finally, what can audiences expect from your show at Fringe?
The title pretty much says it all: That’s Me Talking. It will be a solid hour-and-a-bit of me bringing every body up to speed with what I’ve been up to and where I’m at since my last tour. This is probably the most personal show I’ve done and it’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to perform stand up at home so needless to say I am very excited to be able to get back in front of a live crowd and just have a good time.
Get your tickets to ‘That’s Me Talking’ here!