in conversation with Steven Oliver
we caught up with the man behind this year’s show ‘Bigger & blacker’, Steven oliver.
You might know Steven from being sexy on ABC’s Black Comedy. Or perhaps from hosting Faboriginal on SBS. But his talents don’t end there; get ready for a bit of a rap, a bit of a sing, a bit of a tap and a lot of shaking his ring — all in the Wonderland Spiegeltent.
Tell us (in no fewer than 100 words), who is Steven Oliver?
I’m still figuring that out! I’ve been a writer, a performer, a poet, a songwriter, a dancer, a wannabe singer and a sexy bitch. You might have seen me on ABC’s Black Comedy, or hosting SBS’s Faborginal, or even in the documentary Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky, but my work on television is only a small part of me — you get to see a lot more of me in my show!
I’d love to hear about life when you were younger. Where did you grow up?
I’m from a small town in North West Queensland called Cloncurry, population about 2500, and that’s where my performing started. I was 5 years old in the backyard of my grandparent’s house and whenever there were family barbecues or parties going on they would always get me to put on a little dance show to entertain everyone. Then I moved to Townsville to go to school and danced my way through there.
Have you always been funny? Or is it something you had worked towards?
I think my family has always been funny and I just think Blackfellas in general are funny — it must be in the blood. And being gay is a big part of that too. From being part of the gay community, to watching drag shows and being a simple bitch sometimes, we’re always making each other laugh. Even just being an Australian in general, there’s a specific sense of humour we all share and its all mixed up in there.
Before the life you now live, what were you doing?
I’ve always performed, but, that being said, I’ve worked a few odd jobs too. I’ve worked at a Telstra shop and also as a receptionist at the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Legal Service. If you ever saw my sketch ‘Black on Track’ on Black Comedy, it all came from working at that call centre and pretty much is all true lol.
Deep down, are you the same person from all those years ago?
Yes and no. I think deep down there’s a spirit you have as a person that stays the same but the way you perceive the world can definitely change. For example, when I was younger my two least favourite Michael Jackson songs were Man in the Mirror and Human Nature and now that I’m older they’re actually my two favourite songs. I think that comes from life experience and becoming a bit more humble.
Comedy is always going to be subjective. Do you have a team you bounce your jokes and ideas off? Or are you flying solo?
I fly solo. Definitely when I’m hanging out with friends I’ll come up with some stupid stuff and get a laugh and then I’ll think ‘ooh I’ll use that!’ But I don’t have a team. Pretty sure that only happens in Hollywood.
Was there a defining moment in your life, when you knew you were on the right path?
No, I think I’ve always had a strong instinct for being a storyteller and a performer. I strongly believe that when you have moments of déjà vu, that’s a sign you are on the right track.
What’s the worst thing about being Steven Oliver?
The worst thing is being a dramatic bitch.
What’s the best thing about being Steven Oliver?
The best thing is being a sexy dramatic bitch