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ARI SHAFFIR Shrooms, trash children and inspiring angry letters

Our favourite US shroom loving stand-up comic and host of Skeptic Tank Ari Shaffir is back on Australian soil and ready to unleash his thoughts on his Jewish as fuck upbringing in latest show Heretic. Shaffir will take to the Charles Hotel where you can catch him and his creative and curious mind this Friday, April 13 and Saturday, April 14. After growing up orthodox Jewish, Shaffir spent two years in yeshiva in Israel to then discover the blowjob and realise atheism was his true path. His popular weekly podcast is currently on it’s 321st episode and after co-creating Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening his outrageously honest, cynical, and carefree approach to comedy scored him his first Netflix special, Double Negative. From New York City in the dead of the night whilst packing between yawns to jet off to Australia the following morning, he chatted to SARAH DAY about what inspires his material and what it was like living in a seminary.

Who/what have been your greatest influences in shaping your dark sense of humour?

Mushrooms, depression, and The Simpsons.

You’re Netflix special Double Negative has a segment solely dedicated to how trash children are, can you tell me a bit about why you decided to roll with this topic and what inspired it?

Children mostly, and the way they are trash (laughs) specifically. They’re garbage man, they’re the worst; they’re awful, they’re so awful. The more I see them and like the more people have kids, the more I’m like “egh so annoying”. They’re just awful, I’m like guys… you’re ruining life for everyone.

Overcrowding the planet, am I right?

Yeah! They’re fucking not trained right yet, they can’t even wipe.

Tell me a bit about when you used to study seminary and what inspired you to break away?  

Oh, it was all day it was fucking boring as shit man. You had to wake up, pray and study for 30 minutes and then go to breakfast, then study for another five hours then onto lunch. I don’t know exactly why I left it behind, I think I sort of woke up and realised none of it was real. It might have been because I got my first blowjob and then I found out that that’s not accepted in that religion, so I was like, “oh well, easy choice.” I learnt a lot from it though, especially about critical thinking and logic, so it was great, I had a great time, I don’t feel bad about it.

Being able to say whatever you want for a living seems pretty cool but it must be difficult to constantly come up with new material, where do you draw your inspiration?

Dude it’s the best, it’s the best. It’s mostly just about you know, what gets you mad? What get you riled up? That’s the stuff so whatever that is, whatever sort of material that is.

Do you feel like you have to always be topical with what’s on trend at the time?

No, I mean some of the things that are trending are on my mind too, but no I don’t feel a need to. Everyone’s talking about the politics over here and I just get so bored with it. It’s so annoying like you’re all making the same fucking joke.

What’s some of the best heckles you’ve ever heard or received?

(Laughs) They used to call my friend David Taylor a bald faggot all the time, like just people from the audience. Not based on any joke he had, just something about him screamed that and people were just like “shut up you bald faggot”. He had it said to him so many times he had stock comebacks ready, it was so weird they just came out of the blue all the time.

Do you cop much flack from people finding your material too offensive or do most people accept that that’s your style of humour?

No I get it all the time, I’ve got death threats for 15 years. As long as the Internet’s around I’ll get death threats. I don’t care though, for that style of comedy you want people being mad and writing you angry letters and things (laughs).

Has people’s tolerance for comedy declined in regards to what you can and can’t joke about?

It’s weird because people read these blogs and then it gets in their heads like, “oh am I supposed to be caring about this,” but I mean, they don’t really care they just feel like they’re maybe meant to. So here and there a little bit you get people that are like “Ooh” in response to something but they don’t really care as long as you do it real and fun. The thing about dark comedy is that the risk is always going to be way higher than if you’re doing safe comedy. So that’s okay, if you fail some people will just get mad at you, no big deal.

In the past you’ve done a number of the big comedy festivals in Australia like Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Just For Laughs in Sydney; how do you find the Aussies respond to your humour in comparison to crowds back home?

Oh they’re great! Australian crowds are awesome, they throw up a lot more but aside from that everything is fucking great. Yeah they really get into it, it’s fun I like Australian crowds they’re there for the show and they don’t get offended by much which is cool.

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