Comedy Fest Chat: Dr Professor Neal Portenza

Dr Professor Neal Portenza won Best Comedt at the 2012 Melbourne Fringe, was a nominee for the 2011 Golden Gibbo at MICF and sold out athe the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe. He doesn’t like possums and is only having Wednesday nights off this MICF for his show Dr Professor Neal Portensa Performs his own autopsy live on stage. One Night Only. (Obviously).

Dr Professor Neal Portenza
Dr Professor Neal Portenza

What MICF shows are you most looking forward to seeing?
Anything that’s at The Tuxedo Cat and The Boy With Tape On His Face.

What makes MICF different from all the other festivals?
There are more toilets in Melbourne per square metre than any other Australian city, which is very hand during a festival. People are constantly urinating in the street in Adelaide. In Perth they’re defecating. It’s appalling behavior and needs to be addressed.

What do you insist that visiting artists do in Melbourne?
Possums are a pest in Melbourne and at night I organise a small group of keen people on possum hunts. We skin and cook the possums in and around Melbourne’s trendy but ever dwindling laneways. I recommend visiting artists leave. They’re stealing my audience and costing me money.

What comedians/performers have influenced you the most?
Dr Brown, Shaun Micallef, Bert Newton and Graham Kennedy, Monty Python, Lano and Woodley, Mr. Bean, The Mighty Boosh. I am aware there is an absence of females on this list, but to be truthful, I’ve not been influenced by many female artists, which is unfortunate but is my reality and I hope my future son/daughter will be influenced by a more gender diverse range of performers.

What advice do you wish you’d been given before your first gigs?
Don’t f&*k it up, idiot.

Do you do still your own leafleting? Can you tell us something great or horrific that’s happened to you when leafleting?
Yes I do. Nothing horrific, I’m an oddball in that I enjoy the process. I like being allowed to legally harass people.

What’s the best (or worst) thing a review has said about you or your show?
Called me an idiot in a disparaging way, not realising that calling me an idiot is precisely what I’m being paid to be. Sometimes, the bigger publications can miss the point and people in the Herald Sun can be downright nasty. Each are entitled to their opinion, unless they’re stupid and their opinion is wrong.

If you could invite anyone to see your show (and you know they would come), who would it be?
Glenn Ridge. He knows why…

What comedian (alive or dead) do you wish you’d seen live?
Rowan Atkinson. Graham Kennedy.

When did you realise that being funny is the career for you?
I have yet to have that realisation.

What’s the best heckle you’ve received?
Shut up Jesus.

Is there anything you’re not prepared to joke about?
Rape is my off-limit thing because I can’t get possibly have the point of view of a victim. There are great shows dealing with issues like this though including Edge! and Adrienne Truscott’s show, both of which I highly, highly recommend.

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *