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March 31, 2011 / Siobhan Argent

An Indecisive Bag of Donuts: Lawrence Mooney (comedian) – interview


Published March 2011 by Beat Magazine

This Melbourne Comedy Festival is an ominous one for Lawrence Mooney. It’s his 13th festival, after 17 years in stand-up. By anyone’s measure that’s a great standard, but it doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that he might need a rabbit’s foot or two. Still, after almost two decades in the spotlight, it’s a safe bet he’s fairly immune to superstition.

Still, Mooney likes to make time for important rituals. Like donuts and wasting time. Hence the reason why his next show, An Indecisive Bag of Donuts, is dedicated to an art form he has perfected after years of afternoons spent at shopping malls.

An Indecisive Bag of Donuts is about a day in the life of a procrastinator. It’s a show about procrastination, indecision and distraction, and how one man can be so good at it. So it’s a little ironic really, to ponder how a show about an expert procrastinator got completed at all, especially when Mooney’s preferred procrastination technique is to gorge on deep-fried sugary treats and fritter away time at the nearest shopping centre in a carbohydrate coma.

Still, there’s more to Mooney than donuts. Apart from some early theatre work, he was also a breakfast radio presenter on Mix 101.1 for a few years in the early 2000s. He’s also been a presenter on the Get This radio show that Tony Martin and Ed Kavalee helmed until the show was axed in 2007. Perhaps not surprisingly, working for other comedians gives Mooney the impetus to pull out the big comedic guns. He points out that when you’re on-air with other comedians, “you work harder to impress them”. And that’s a harder task than with the average audience, who aren’t as familiar with your particular style of comedy. It seems radio offers a medium with wider latitude for anecdotes than stand-up, and it’s all been great for his comedic touch.

While the material he used for radio tended to be whatever news had happened during the night before, his new show is less topical, revolving around more life-related subjects. In radio, there’s no pressure to make an audience laugh.

It’s fitting, then, that An Indecisive Bag of Donuts comes with its own philosophical drive. While the premise of Mooney’s next comedy piece is a little like a show within a show, he’s quick to asser that “it doesn’t come with psycho-babble”, the type of soul-searching that can sometimes be embedded in such self-reflecting themes. Still, Mooney artfully argues that his donut feats are really excellent examples of existentialism, because if you enjoy the taste, buying them is a pretty good reason for existing. It’s not every day that you discover donuts are actually an existentialist’s best friend. In a weird kind of way, it does all make a lot of sense.

It turns out a show devoted to donuts does not just happen on a whim. Naming a comedy show, Mooney says, is “a lot like naming a child. You have to do the best thing by the show, because you’re going to get lumped with it for a few years.”

An Indecisive Bag of Donuts is an oddly perfect name; it sounds delicious, remains uncertain, and takes time to finish. The definition of procrastination, really. Fortunately for us, Mooney has utilised his extensive procrastination experience to extract comedy gold—and maybe a few more excuses to eat donuts.

Not to lure you off my super-thrilling blog, but Luke Buckmaster also has a ripper review of Lawrence Mooney here. My review will be coming soon.

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