Canada’s “domesticated hillbilly” Alex Mackenzie makes Fringe debut
Canadian comedian Alex Mackenzie is heading our way for Fringe World this summer, kicking off a run of three shows at Yagan Square on Friday, January 20 (get more info and tickets here). Described as a “happiness cheerleader,” Mackenzie quit his six-figure job at a pulp mill in 2019, sold his house and moved into an RV to chase his stand-up dreams. Now just a few years later he is in international demand, performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and hosting the Hungry for Laughs Comedy Tour, while his videos have reached over 50 million views. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with Alex Mackenzie to find out more about his journey so far, and what Perth audiences can look forward to when he brings his show Eh’ Domesticated Hillbilly to our stages.
It’s great to have you over here in Western Australia for Fringe 2023! Had you planned to pay us a visit for some time?
It is lovely to be here! I have been waiting to come back to Australia for two years now. My ex-girlfriend was Australian, probably still is, and I need to come bring her clothes back.
It’s a long way from Canada to Western Australia, how does the trek compare to your previous travels?
That it is! The biggest difference is I wont be able to bring my house with me. But the hardest part about the trip is leaving my dog Finley at home while I’m here.
Living in an RV and all I bet you have gotten around a lot, what’s the most unusual place your career has taken you?
Good question. I’m in a different city almost every weekend and I never know too far ahead where I am going to be. I would say the most unusual place I have been is the North West Territories of Canada! I did some shows up there in the middle of our summer and the sun never set.
It wasn’t always like this though… before you dived into the comedy hillbilly life you used to work a, dare I say, “respectable” job for a pulp mill. What’s one thing you miss about that old life, and one thing you don’t?
(Laughs) my father would love to hear you tell me I used to have a “respectable” job. The things I really miss from my old life are getting to spend more time with my niece and nephew and playing on my old hockey team with my friends. Now I am travelling so much I rarely get to see the people I love. The easier question to answer is what I don’t miss and that is my alarm clock. I remember telling my dad that success to me was not having to wake up to an alarm clock.
Do you feel that life before comedy helped shape your sense of humour? And what else might have influenced your style of comedy?
Definitely, I think that the people I hung around helped shape that. Like all of my friends from back home in Prince George are so funny. I feel like I was lucky to get to spend time around people who seemed to make everything into jokes and always were there to have a good time and not take things too serious. The other things that influenced my style of comedy I would say is rappers (laughs). I got really inspired by people like Kid Cudi, Macklemore and Eminem. Just the idea that if you really love something and work hard at it you could achieve it.
Finally, it might be a tough question, but as someone described as a ‘happiness cheerleader’ I have to ask…what IS the secret to happiness?
Ohhhh (laughs) well I dunno if I have the answer to this but I will try my best. Here’s two answers. The long one is to seek your potential. Closing the gap on who you are and who you could be has filled my life with joy. So think of the kind person you want to be; kind, dependable, trustworthy then as you go throughout your life ask yourself what would a kind, dependable person do in this situation. The more you act in line with the person you want to be you build self-esteem and confidence and once you have that you start thinking who could I be if I was everything I could be. And that pursuit seems to be what has filled my life with happiness.
The short answer….get a dog!