Alex Williamson seems like a nice guy. Happy to give real answers, doesn’t try and force humour (though it tends to slide that way anyhow). The only problem is, well, technological. So much of our conversation is incomprehensible that I worry Alex is speaking to me from beneath a river of mud, and there are several responses that, on reflection, probably aren’t what was actually said.

Comedians must live a strange life. On one hand, they get paid (sometimes) to make people laugh. On the other, they must always be expected to have a quip or hilarious observation ready. Makes you wonder if Alex would rather be a vet or fireman instead.

“Well, if I were a fireman I’d be taking fires out of people’s houses, which doesn’t sound as fun,” he reflects. “Usually you have to just take a bit of a gamble, put on your game face and pretend to be funny for two or three seconds. Put on that impression, and they generally buy it. If not, if I can’t think of anything funny, I find you just act nice. People seem to dig that for some reason.”

A large part of Alex’s success has come from his hugely popular YouTube films. “You know, the online material seems to just crop up here and there, though I haven’t been working on it as much lately. I’ve taken a bit of a step back, but I’m really committed to keep that alive. I like to cook giant lizards and sit down. Then I’ll make a video.”

It’s no surprise, given there are several … wait, what? Lizards?

“In the live show, there’s elements of impro. You have to be open to that. You know, sometimes when we touch? I’m happy to say that. It’s a really exaggerated conversation I had with a dragon in Vienna.”

I … see? Definitely a reptilian vibe I’m picking up here, though by now the phone connection is so muddy he could be propositioning my grandmother and I’d be none the wiser. I nod in stunned silence, then remember he can’t actually see me. I try asking about his upbringing; was comedy always on the horizon?

“I played footy back then, and a few of the older guys there were really good storytellers, they told anecdotes that probably aren’t suitable for any media outlet in Australia. They weren’t able to go and tell these stories to the world, you know, since they all lived and worked in a small town, so I was kind of inspired to go and be a voice for them.”

Which is ironic, you know, because lizards.

Catch Alex Williamson at Enmore Theatre on Friday May 2 as part of the Sydney Comedy Festival, tickets through Ticketek.

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