by Ryan Meehan
Monty Franklin is an Australian born stand-up comedian now living in LA. He regularly opens on the road for Rob Schneider and will be appearing in Rob’s new TV Show ‘Real Rob’ toward the end of 2014 in a role that Rob wrote specifically for him. Monty’s numerous television performances include Channel 10s The Circle, Foxtel’s Stand Up Australia, and as part of The Comedy Channel’s special –The Best Of Stand Up and Comedy Gold. Performing sold out shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010, he received wide recognition and praise for his shows The Full Monty, Monty McFly and Eyecandy. The winner of The Comic’s Lounge Stand-up Competition 2006 and the Melbourne winner and national finalist of The Green Faces Comedy Competition, Monty has performed at hundreds of sporting clubs and corporate functions across the country, including The Children’s First Fundraiser 2008, which saw Monty heading the comedy team in the debate “Is Comedy More Entertaining than Sport?” Monty performed at the 2009 Carols by Candlelight to a crowd of 15,000 at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, and MC’d for 18,000 music goers at the 2010 and 2011 Pyramid Rock Festivals. Monty was the host of the pilot TV Show ‘Australia UpLate’ and co-creator of ‘El Cheapo’ and ‘No Monkey’s On Bikes’ with Channel 7. Monty is now based in Los Angeles where he regularly performs at The Improv Comedy Clubs, The Comedy Store, Laugh Factory and all major comedy clubs around LA, the only Australian to be doing so. I’m happy to have Monty as my guest today in 7 questions.
RM: You seem to be in really good shape…How would you briefly summarize your exercise and dietary habits? Is the decision to maintain your physique something that is done primarily to stay healthy and feel good, or because you are interested in getting more acting work?
MF: I don’t think keeping in shape is a means to get yourself more acting work, I should probably work on my acting for that. My family is fit, my mother and sisters are personal trainers so I was forced to lead a healthy lifestyle. Plus growing up in Australia you are constantly on the run for your life from crocodiles and killer koalas – It’s like The Hunger Games with furry animals that will kill you.
RM: When was the first time you realized that you were not only interested in and entertained by comedy, but felt that you were also being educated about what it means to be a comedian?
MF: You only start to learn about the ins and outs of comedy and how it really is once you are accepted by your peers, which you can do through years of painful open mic gigs and financially crippling road shows. Once you earn your stripes you start to learn from the best about how it is. The thing is no one is ever done learning there’s always something to be educated on in this business. Just when you think you’ve experienced it all, someone gets stabbed in the room while you are on stage. (yes that happened)
RM: How would you best describe the relationship that you have with Rob Schneider? Where did you first meet him; and what do we need to know about “Real Rob” as well as the character you play in that show?
MF: Rob is a legend. Simple as that. He’s giving me the opportunities and I am not holding back when they come. He saw me at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood a year ago and I’ve been opening up all over the world for him ever since. He’s been a sensei to me. His show “Real Rob” is a comical look at his real life and the stories he can share from it. It’s Rob as people have never seen him before…it’s the REAL Rob. People are going to love it.
RM: What’s the biggest difference between the way people view comedy here in the states and the way people view the art form in back in your homeland of Australia?
MF: American audiences are far better behaved than Australian audiences. I think it’s because there is so much entertainment here, and Americans learn from a young age to give someone performing a go before shutting them down with abuse. Whereas in Australia an audience will hurl abide first, then see if you can handle it. You are given the attention of an American audience and it’s your job not to lose it, you are given an Australian audience and it’s your job to win their attention. Or maybe that’s just because I have a funny accent and Americans listen to me straight away because I sound like the guy off the Outback Steakhouse ads.
RM: Which stereotype about Australian people do you hate the most and why? Why do you think it bothers you so much; and to an extent do you believe it’s at least somewhat true?
MF: Honestly I like all our stereotypes. The whole notion of Australia to any American came purely from Crocodile Dundee. So everyone sees us as laid back, good natured, rugged, wild kids who love a laugh and a beer. Which is pretty spot on for everyone back at home, sure there are dickheads around but there are dickheads all over the world. Then people like Steve Irwin, Hugh Jackman and a list of other great Australians have just enhanced the world’s view of us by being great people. I’m very proud of our stereotypes because they obviously make people enjoy is and our culture as every time I tell someone where I’m from their eyes light up and they say “oh great I’d love to go there”. And all Australians owe that to the great people who have presented us to the world in such a good light. Even today there are still so many Aussies doing us proud like the Hemsworth boys, they just look like a couple of my mates from back home, good guys.
RM: Which portion of the comedic writing process do you find you struggle the most with and why? How has your approach to that portion of joke construction changed since you first began performing?
MF: I’ve never been a writer of jokes rather I am a storyteller and try to fill good stories with as many jokes as I can in order to bring it to life. I rarely write jokes out I just have ideas and try them on stage and see where they may go. Which I wish I did have a couple of quick written jokes to tell because people always say ‘tell us a joke” and I can’t because I don’t do quick jokes I do long winded stories with no point. Something I’ve learned to do and try to do more is record my shows and listen back so I can really see what works where, and what needs to e drawn out or taken in another direction. You learn a lot about yourself from looking at video.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2015 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
MF: Some things that I can’t yet divulge in. But Rob’s Show ‘Real Rob’ will come out in 2015 so that will be good and he’s already talking about season 2 which he wants me to be a part of. Lots of standup and a few things in the pipeline, 2015 is going to be a big year.
Official Website: http://www.montyfranklin.com/
Monty on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/montyfranklincomedian
Monty on Twitter: https://twitter.com/montyfranklin
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